New in Home Entertainment – March 20, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

March 20, 2012

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

George Clooney is a father of two girls and husband to a woman lying in a coma in the hospital.  When he finds out that his wife was cheating on him before her accident, he struggles with his strained relationship and seeks to discover more about his wife’s secret.  Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt, Election) has always focused on cheating spouses in a way that shows the pain the other party goes through without putting the audience through the same torture.  While the situation itself might not be funny, he manages to put a comedic spin on the actions in order to lighten up the mood and not drag the viewer into depression.  This is a very real, very serious movie that will have you laughing constantly.  The Oscar-winning script here, like all of his other scripts, is genius.  The man has a wonderful talent for showing the tragedies of real life while always pointing out the positives as well.  This is an engrossing film that will more than likely leave you both entertained and touched.  A

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on the infamous John le Carre spy novel, Tinker Tailor focuses on a British Intelligence agent (Gary Oldman) who is asked to uncover the identity of a mole in the top ranks of the agency.  Swedish director Tomas Alfredson certainly has the ability for visual storytelling as is evidenced by his masterful vampire film Let the Right One In and even moments throughout this newest thriller.  The problem is that here the thriller doesn’t thrill.  I actually watched the film twice to see what I could be missing since the buzz was so hot.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure it out.  The story is very complex and yet so incredibly boring that by the end you might understand the whodunit aspects of the picture but you could hardly care.  I know there are some folks who really loved this movie, but I can’t possible understand why and I’m not willing to sit through a third time to try to better understand their rationale.  C-

My Week with Marilyn

Rated R for some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh both deservedly scored Oscar nods for their roles as Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier in this picture which follows the on and off-set struggles of the making of The Prince and the Showgirl.  While Meryl Streep went home with the trophy, Williams was my first choice for this year’s award.  Her turn as Monroe seemed to possess every subtlety of her iconic look and personality.  With acting this strong and a good story to boot, you get a sense of realism like you are almost watching a documentary.  A-

The Muppets
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

It’s been years since The Muppets have had a decent showing in pop culture but they have come on again strong in this latest outing.  In their newest tale, The Muppets biggest fan, Walter, heads to Los Angeles with his brother, played by Jason Segel, in order to see Muppet Studios.  When he discovers an evil oil baron’s plan to destroy the studio in order to drill for oil, he works with Kermit and the rest of The Muppets to put on a show to save their property.  The whole thing is just pure fun from start to finish.  It’s wonderfully written and cleverly acted with some terrific songs sprinkled throughout.  They even won an Oscar this year for their song Man or Muppet.  Whether adult or child, it’s hard to imagine someone not liking this very entertaining movie.  B+ 

The War Room: The Criterion Collection
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When I first saw that this 1993 drama about Bill Clinton’s run for office was getting the Criterion treatment, I was a bit surprised.  I never thought of it as great film making but rather just a well-made documentary.  That being said, there is something special about the style used by directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.  And looking back at this very recent history, it’s also incredibly powerful to see the now famous political personalities James Carville and George Stephanopoulos as they pull off a major upset to get Clinton elected.  If you do pick up this film, you must check out the special features that go even more in depth to the famous campaign and how it changed the way campaigns are run today.  B+