New in Home Entertainment – June 14, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

June 14, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles
Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Easily the best alien invasion film of the year, and yes there have been a few, Battle: Los Angeles follows a group of soldiers sent in to do battle with an encroaching alien invasion that is taking over the world.  Led by Aaron Eckhart, the group must not only survive, but curtail the invasion as well.  There’s not a lot of comedy relief here in this brash and intense movie that is more like a war film than a sci-fi pic.  This is a serious nail-biter wrapped up in some amazing special effects.  As for the bad reviews this film got, I don’t understand them.  I think there was definitely a piling-on by critics from the beginning.  While its not an Academy-worthy movie, it certainly is entertaining and a strong representative of the genre.  B+

Kill the Irishman
Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexual content/nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on a true story, Ray Stevenson is Danny Greene, an infamous Irish thug that stood up to the the Cleveland mob in the 1970s, which led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the country.  While its not a bad addition to the mafia genre, its not the greatest rep either.  The acting by Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio and Christopher Walken is pretty good, but much of the supporting cast come off as merely cliched Italian mobsters with no depth.  Also, the film’s pacing suffers from the director’s inability to move the non-violent scenes along with a rapid enough clip.  That being said, I rather liked the story and found myself researching it afterward.  Check out the documentary Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman for a more in-depth look at the titular character.  B-

Legend of the First: The Return of Chen Zhen
Rated R for strong violence, martial arts action and some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

There have been many films based on the legendary fictional character of Chen Zhen, including my favorite martial arts film Fist of Legend with Jet Li and Fist of Fury with Bruce Lee, but never before has he been portrayed as a chinese pseudo-superhero, attempting to take down the Japanese as they prepare to invade before WWII.  Just as you would expect from martial artist Donnie Yen, the fighting sequences are spectacular.  Andrew Lau, the director whose film Infernal Affairs was remade into the multi-Oscar winning The Departed, has a way with filming action that is unique and exhilarating.  The problem lies in the scenes without action.  These scenes plod along in such a manner that the film just stalls.  There is some huge potential here for not only a hit, but a franchise.  Unfortunately, its hard to get past the ridiculously boring plot points.  B-

Hall Pass
Rated R for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

From the Farrelly Brothers (There’s Something About Mary) comes this adult comedy about two friends (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) who are given a one week “hall pass” from marriage in order to get over their respective mid-life crises.  This may not be the best Farrelly comedy, but it’s actually a darn funny movie with some good shock value.  Many of the jokes are tired and cliched, but many of them will make you laugh out loud as well.  The movie is predictable, but the jokes and sight gags move it along to the point where its much more than just bearable.  B-

The Boondock Saints: Truth and Justice Edition
Rated R for strong violence, language and sexual content 

Available on Blu-ray

I’m not a big fan of this cult classic about a couple of Irish vigilantes who make a pact to take on Boston’s criminal element, but I seem to be in the minority of those who don’t love it.  In fact, according to IMDB, many in the twenty-something demo consider this film to be one of the greatest movies of all time.  While I do appreciate the unique style of the film, I just couldn’t find myself getting into it.  The film might be over ten years old, but it still has a huge fan base and this new set contains loads of features just for them, as well as both the R-rated and unrated versions of the film.  C

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