New in Home Entertainment – November 29, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

November 29, 2011

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Rated R for bloody horror violence, language and brief nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Tucker and Dale are just two nice-as-can-be country boys who are excited to be staying in their new vacation home/cabin in the woods when a group of teenagers mistake them for serial killers.  Comically, the teens find innovative ways of accidentally killing themselves as they try to take out poor Tucker and Dale.  Sure its a one-joke movie, but its a really funny joke that is told really, really well.  Tyler Labine (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Alan Tudyk (Serenity) are each very talented character actors who provide strong enough performances to make what could have been a bad B-movie a respectable little indie comedy.  B+

Rushmore: The Criterion Collection
Rated R for language and brief nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

It is with great joy that Rushmore has finally made the blu-ray plunge in grand fashion with this new Criterion edition.  For the longest time, whenever I’ve pulled this title out to watch, I’ve had to suffer from lousy quality with a full black box around the picture and horrible sound.  Criterion’s treatment here fixes all of that with as beautiful of a picture and soundtrack as you can imagine.  Wes Anderson’s glorious coming of age tale starring Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray is as funny and poignant now as it was in 1998.  And since it was filmed in and around Houston, there is a special attraction to the film.  I wish they would have coughed up a few more special features than what appeared on the original DVD, but at least everything has been updated in the sight and sound department.  A

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D

Famed director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) was offered a unique chance to take a small crew into the Chauvet caves of Southern France in order to capture the oldest cave paintings ever discovered.  Discovered in 1994 in pristine condition, the paintings themselves are fascinating and a rare look at humanity’s oldest-known art.  I don’t discount the fact that this is important stuff.  I just wish it wasn’t so boring.  I wanted to like the movie, but I just didn’t find it compelling.  Maybe if Herzog had covered more material than just what was found in the cave, the movie might have been something I could recommend.  But while loads of folks really loved the movie, making it a relatively successful documentary while in theaters, I unfortunately found it to be nothing more than an overly long and tedious documentary that made me feel a tinge of guilt for not fully appreciating its apparent significance.  C+

Farscape: The Complete Series

Available on Blu-ray

Fans of this whacky SyFy Channel series will be glad to see its newest blu-ray release.  While I was never really into the show, I have to admit that the material is fun just because it seems so custom-tailored for sci-fi geeks.  This is the kind of show that your childhood friend who spoke more Klingon than Spanish was into.  The question that many will be asking is whether or not to upgrade.  The show itself was shot and aired in 4:3 until the last season, so you won’t be seeing additional widescreen here unless you manipulate the picture.  Also, because it was a SyFy on a budget, you won’t be seeing a pristine 1080p picture as the original print is in much lower resolution, so many will find it to not be worth upgrading if they already own all of the DVDs.  Then again, if you have been holding out, this will most likely be the definitive edition of the show and should make you happy if you are the targeted audience.  B

The Birth of a Nation
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Largely considered one of the most controversial films of all time, D.W. Griffith’s monumental 1915 film about the Civil War and violent racism in America has been newly mastered in HD from its original 35mm elements.  In other words, you will most likely never see a better looking print of this film.  But while it was included as # 44 in the American Film Institute’s greatest American films list, this is definitely not a movie for the masses.  This is also not an entertaining film, but rather an eye-opening vision of some of the ugliness America has endured.  A-

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