New in Home Entertainment – January 17, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

January 17, 2011

Courageous
Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD

Some would say that a good Christian film is an oxymoron, and I would say that while there is truth in that statement, that’s not always true.  Over the last few years we’ve seen some pretty decent examples of the genre including the Narnia series and To Save a Life.  Unfortunately, this new pic from the makers of the relatively successful films Fireproof and Facing the Giants is a bit of a dud.  Just like their previous films, the intention here is good.  The overall story about a group of cops who want to be better leaders of their families has the potential for a good family-friendly film.  After all, the filmmakers really want their viewers, especially men, to focus on their home lives and become Christians with integrity – and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  The problem is that while they mean well, the message is clouded by some pretty poor examples of acting, writing and directing.  Some of the scenes are bearable, but much of the film is cringe-inducing.  If this is a genre you truly love, you might value the message over the media and find a way to enjoy the film, but if you are the average movie-watching public, this movie could be a real turnoff.  The good news is that the production looks and sounds professional.  I just wish that the production company, Affirm Films, would spend some of their profits on making sure their next film doesn’t suffer from these obvious problems.  C

The Guard
Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, drug material and sexual content
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD

In this indie favorite, Brendan Gleeson (Braveheart) is an exceptional but unorthodox cop from Ireland who teams up with an FBI agent (Ocean 11’s Don Cheadle) in order to track down a ruthless drug-smuggling ring.  Trying to stay away from the traditional cop buddy film genre, writer/director John Michael McDonagh gives the film a bleak look while providing a wry sense of humor that borders on the abstract.  The movie turns out to be funny and gloomy at the same time without coming off as a traditional dark comedy.  The characters are very different from the norm which gives the talented cast much to chew on.  If you are expecting Lethal Weapon, you’ll most likely be sorely disappointed, but if you are in the mood for a strange little dramedy with nice twists and unexpected dialog, you might find yourself having a good time.  B+

Memphis
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix

In 2010 the Broadway musical Memphis surprised the world by winning the Tony for Best Musical.  This interracial love story set in 1950’s Memphis tells the story of a white DJ who was instrumental in introducing the white world to black music.  The story feels like a hybrid of Ragtime and Hairspray but never quite achieves the power of either.  Most of the music is good although there are a few stinkers in the songbook.  The performances are all excellent except for that of the lead, played by Chad Kimball.  I know he was nominated for a Tony for the role, but I found his performance to be one of the most irritating and overrated performances in recent memory.  Still, I like the fact that more and more musicals are being released in this format and the fact that the show is still alive and well on Broadway and on tour proves that it has legs and is still capable of entertaining large audiences.  B-

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