New in Home Entertainment – October 25, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

October 25, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

After the disappointment I felt from watching Thor and Green Lantern this summer, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to checking out the genesis story of Captain America.  Fortunately, the low expectations probably came to the aid of my enjoyment of the film.  The film takes place during World War II when a young soldier with a heroic heart yet underwhelming physical presence goes through a top secret government project to turn him into a muscle-bound stud with super-human speed and strength.  This new weapon helps America with the war against the Nazis and a Nazi offshoot called HYDRA.  The movie turns out to be a fun thrill ride of an adventure with a tight script and great pacing.  And unlike Thor, instead of being a big commercial for the upcoming Avengers flick, it possesses its own identity in a creative two-hour package.  B+

The People Vs. George Lucas
Not rated but contains much adult language
Available on DVD

Star Wars fans have been very vocal through the years concerning their dislike for both the new trilogy as well as George Lucas’s tinkering with the original “holy” trilogy.  This documentary gives the fanboys (and girls) their voice while also creating a strong devil’s advocate for the devotees that disagree.  The one thing we can all agree on is there is a lot of passion surrounding these movies and that the original Star Wars Trilogy is one of the most influential pieces of filmmaking since the introduction of the art.  The doc itself is so geektastic that it’s hard not to enjoy.  As someone who really loves the films (even the flawed new ones), I found a serene pleasure in listening to the hardcore fans voice their opinions. And seeing fellow Houston Critic and friend Joe Leydon lend his thoughts on the matter was a unique surprise that caught me off guard.  This is a movie that any enthusiast of the world George Lucas created should add to their queue.  A-

Rated R for violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Mandarin with English dub or subtitles

After a Chinese general pays a severe price for his cruelty and ambition, he escapes to a Shaolin monastery for both protection and salvation.  With a changed heart he attempts to save the people from the terrors of the new leader while at the same time restoring peace in the land.  The problem with this film isn’t the story or the acting, but rather the overlong script, slow direction and atrocious editing.  It’s okay to cut things out when they don’t serve the story and too much here serves as more of a distraction than a benefit.  That being said, the fight choreography is decent enough, especially the scenes with Jackie Chan who plays the monastery’s cook.  C

Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy
Available on Blu-ray

Only a couple of Steven Spielberg’s big films have been released in Hi Def, so the addition of this new trilogy set is a very welcome event.  While I would have rather skipped the second film in this so-called trilogy (it’s the only Spielberg film I have ever panned), I loved the first and liked the third and I was especially pleased with the new six-part documentary about the world of dinosaurs Spielberg and Michael Crichton created.  Jurassic Park A; The Lost World D; Jurassic Park 3 B

Dazed and Confused: The Criterion Collection Edition
Rated R for pervasive, continuous teen drug and alcohol use and very strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

On occasion you see movies released with different editions a year or more apart, but rarely do you find two blu-ray editions of the same film released two months apart.  In August Universal released Dazed and Confused in a scaled-down but sufficient blu-ray package.  This week, Criterion is upping the game by putting their spin on the film on blu-ray as well.  This incredibly influential movie which introduced us to such A-listers as Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Renee Zellweger, Parker Posey, and Matthew McConaughey, was also filmed by Richard Linklater in Austin, TX, setting the scene for Austin’s vibrant film community.  So which version should you buy if you already haven’t?  If you just want to own the film, buy the cheaper Universal version.  If you want to study the film and feel the need to check out all of the great things Criterion adds to a project, by all means pick up this week’s release.  A

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *