New in Home Entertainment - August 30, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

The Elephant in the Living Room

Rated PG for thematic material including some disturbing situations, mild language and smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This very daring and sometimes saddening documentary by filmmaker Michael Webber looks at the American subculture of people who raise dangerous exotic animals as common household pets.  The majority of the film follows an almost invalid man that keeps two lions in a horse trailer until an Ohio police officer helps him build a pen that will more safely and comfortable hold the big cats.  This story line could have been the entire film and it would have been a strong and convincing case against the common practice.  While I was really interested in the other bits and pieces of information thrown out such as the world of exotic pet auctions, reptile expos and escaping pet cougars, many of those subjects were not covered in enough detail and felt more like incomplete thoughts than a strong argument.  What I would really like is to see this doc as a weekly show where the officer takes on all forms of exotic pet abuse.  But regardless, I still found the story to be both incredibly informational, interesting and profoundly moving.  I didn’t cry like when I watched The Cove, but you can’t help but feel for these beautiful animals in the hands of the wrong owners.  A-

Win Win
Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Paul Giamatti is a nice lawyer who coaches the local high school’s wrestling team.  When he finds himself broke due to a tough economy, he decides to unethically take guardianship of one his clients in order to pay himself a small stipend to help make ends meet.  When the client’s grandson, who happens to be a championship wrestler, shows up on his doorstep to live with his grandfather, the lawyer decides to take him in until things can get settled with the kid’s deadbeat mom.  This is truly an example of a nice and enjoyable film.  The characters are nice but flawed people and the story, while containing conflict, doesn’t revel in it.  It is genuinely funny and doesn’t give off a whiff of indie pretense.  More importantly, it looked like they had a fun time making it, and personally, I had a fun time watching it.  A-

The 5th Quarter
Rated PG for thematic material, some language, medical images and brief smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

The 5th Quarter is based on the true story of a car crash that took the life a fifteen-year-old boy and the effect it had on his family and friends.  Unfortunately, it’s a great and inspiring story that is very poorly told.  Recently we’ve seen some really decent Christian or faith-based films such as Soul Surfer and To Save a Life, but for every good film in this genre there are several stinkers and this one smells to high heaven.  You would think that with stars like Aiden Quinn and Andie MacDowell that you would have the makings of a decent picture, but unfortunately, they both acted down to the horrendous script and the rest of the cast didn’t stand a chance.  The one saving grace is that the film is only 90 minutes long which eases the suffering a small bit.  D- 


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