New in Home Entertainment – September 20, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

September 20, 2011

Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition

Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In 1941 Walt Disney was in a financial jam.  He had spent so much money making Pinocchio and Fantasia that the studio was almost broke and in dire need of a hit.  With WWII consuming Europe, the international box office was all but lost when a baby elephant with humongous ears flew in and rescued the studio.  Seventy years later the film is seen as controversial due to its portrayal of African Americans, but Dumbo is much more than a controversial film.  It still holds up as a visual and musical work of art and having put it to task with my sixteen-month-old, I can assure you that it is still capable of winning over the hearts of both children and adults.  This new enhanced digital restoration is gorgeous and with blu-ray picture and sound, the film has never been better.  I do wish Disney had included digital copy so I could pull it up on my iPhone every once in while, but aside from that the set is loaded with both new and old features.  A

Rated R for some strong sexuality and language throughout
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Desperately trying to escape the labeling of “chick flick,” Bridesmaids became a word-of-mouth sensation this past summer and should hit big with this new DVD/Blu-ray release which offers up both the theatrical and a new unrated edition.  This story of a bride and her crazy girlfriends filled the originality gap left awkwardly vacant by Hangover 2.  Watching Kristen Wiig knock it out of the park with this screenplay she co-wrote with pal Annie Mumolo is a blast.  But even more fun is watching co-star Melissa McCarthy (who just won the Emmy last Sunday for Mike & Molly) steal every scene she steps into.  She pretty much walks away with the picture and might even walk away with some statues come the end of the year.  A-

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The Complete Season 6
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Seasons one through five of this comedy from FX have provided me with some of biggest laughs of the past few years.  Danny DeVito and gang, week after week, push the envelope of decency until there’s no where left to go.  So it’s no wonder that the only direction the show can turn is down weird street.  Season six has many laughs, but way too many scratch your head moments.  I loved the episodes “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” and Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth,” but cringed during “The Gang Gets a New Member” and “Mac’s Big Break.”  The good news is that season seven just started and it appears that things could be back on track again.  C+

My Life as a Dog: Criterion Collection
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Swedish with English Subtitles

Before cranking out hit films like The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, Swedish director Lasse Holstrom hit the scene big-time with this little indie about a boy who goes on a journey of discovery when he is sent away to give his dying mother some rest.  It’s a weird little film and I’m never really fully understood it, but you can definitely see why so many people hold it up with reverence.  For a Criterion title, this release has relatively few special features but the new digital transfer looks terrific and the 1973 short film included here is an interesting look at Holstrom’s earliest work.  B-

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