New in Home Entertainment – January 24, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

January 24, 2012

Real Steel
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action and brief language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When I was a kid I used to have the old Mattel game Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em which placed you against a friend in a robotic boxing match.  Now, decades later, comes the real thing with Hugh Jackman as a retired boxer trying to make it in the futuristic sport of robot fighting.  While the film is based on a 1956 short story by Richard Matheson, and not on the classic game, you get the sense that there were a lot of fans of the game on the production team.  The good news is that the fight sequences are pretty fantastic just as you would hope.  The bad news is that the writing is not nearly as strong as the special effects.  The script is full of bad exposition and cheesy dialog.  Jackman is a very good actor, but its hard to overcome a bad screenplay.  Still, I was hoping for an entertaining film filled with over-the-top robot fighting and that’s precisely what I got.  B-

Paranormal Activity 3

Rated R for some violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

The first two films in this now very popular franchise sent chills up my spine.  In fact, I found them to be absolutely terrifying.  With the success of the first two, a third was inevitable and this time around they chose a prequel.  Following the young sisters, Katie and Kristi, PA 3 sticks tight to the same trick, having the characters set up video cameras to capture the demon in action.  This time around the nuance has worn off though and while there are some creative scares and a lot of creepy material, the pic is not as effective at creating goosebumps.  B-

50/50
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Sometimes your favorite movies are the ones that you expect very little from and then bop you over the head.  This was definitely one of those movies for me.  I honestly blew this one off thinking that I saw it the first time when it was called Funny People.  I was dead wrong.  This highly personal story based on the real-life relationship between writer Will Reiser and actor Seth Rogen is a powerhouse of a script about a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who gets a dire cancer diagnosis and subsequently fights it to the best of his ability while preparing for the worst.  It’s rare to have a film like this that is as funny as it is moving but the amazing cast and the material they had to work with allow for a terrific movie that will leave you very entertained.  A

Belle De Jour: The Criterion Collection
Unrated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

About a decade ago Martin Scorsese supervised spearheaded the restoration and re-release of this classic 1967 French film by famed director  Luis Banuel and now its Criterion’s turn with this new high-definition digital restoration.  This story about a Parisian housewife, beautifully portrayed by Catherine Deneuve, who fights the boredom of her empty life by becoming a prostitute is a fascinating character study that will leave you haunted.  This new edition comes fully loaded with tons of extras about the film and its legacy.  B+

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