New in Home Entertainment – October 18, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

October 18, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

In another attempt from Disney to milk this franchise for all its worth, Pirates 4 brings back Johnny Depp as Captain Sparrow and this time he is after the Fountain of Youth.  Props go to Disney for an interesting premise and the invention of blood-thirsty mermaids, but just like the previous three films, there is much more style than substance.  I like the idea of Penelope Cruz as an old flame, but the lack of chemistry between the two characters hurt the chances of a nice romantic development and instead turned into a sort of mean entanglement.  One thing I was hoping for was that the 3D would look better on TV than it did in theaters, but the film is so dark that the 3D is not just cheesy, but wasted as well.  C

Little House on the Prairie: The Complete 9 Season Set
Available on DVD

From 1974 to 1984 Little House on the Prairie was one of NBC’s biggest hits on television.  Now, several decades later, the 55-disc set is being released with as complete a collection as you will find.  All 9 seasons and several special features about the book, show and legacy are found in this attractive new set.  While I usually like to find the time to dig into DVDs I review, there was no way to watch what seemed like hundreds of hours contained here, but what I saw was a nice trip down nostalgia lane.  The episodes here are nicely restored and while I used to make fun of my mom for liking the show so much, I can now admit that it is a very enjoyable piece of entertainment.  B+

Bad Teacher
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Cameron Diaz is the world’s worst teacher.  She comes to class each day, turns on a movie, and then sleeps at her desk while recovering from the previous night’s bender.  Her whole goal in life is to find a rich man that will take care of her, and she is convinced that a boob job she is saving up for will get her there.  In order to save enough money for her surgery, she lies, cheats and steals from any source she can find.  Just like horrible bosses, she is a despicable person that has the power to shape the lives of those she influences negatively.  But unlike Horrible Bosses, she is the hero and not the villain.  In that regard, the film is somewhat enjoyable as her behavior continues to shock from scene to scene.  The film is flawed being so over-the-top to be believable, but in light of last year’s documentary Waiting For Superman, many of her antics can be seen as possible.  The most important thing is that the film proves to be funny in spite of its many problems.  C+

Page One: Inside the New York Times

Rated R for language including sexual references
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

With traditional print media feeling a lot of pain over the last decade, Page One: Inside The New York Times attempts to explore the industry by studying one of the world’s most important newspapers.  If you have ever been interested in the inner functions of a major world newspaper, this is a great documentary to watch.  It’s not as informational as I would have hoped, but it does put you into the day by day in an engrossing way.  B-

Robotech: The Complete Series

Available on DVD

In 1985, the year after Little House on the Prairie left the airwaves, another influential and very different television program became a huge hit with sci-fi fans world-wide.  Robotech follows a group of humans as they attempt to fend off their world from an alien invasion.  This new set contains all 85 episodes of the legendary anime project with over 10 hours of bonus material.  Personally, this is not my cup of tea, but it is easy to see why this series has built up such a large fan base.  I can imagine that many fans will want to hold out for the inevitable blu-ray release, but until that time, this set will give them a nice diversion.  B-