New in Home Entertainment – August 14, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

August 14, 2012

Rated PG
Available on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Edition

When Jaws was released in 1975 it took the world by storm.  This legendary horror film by director Steven Spielberg not only created the “summer blockbuster” but also managed to scare millions of people around the world from going in the water.  37 years later, Jaws is getting the blu-ray treatment and it still holds up.  The new restoration looks and sounds beautiful and there are hours of extra features to dig through after you’ve revisited.  The only thing missing from the new set is a commentary.  Personally, I would love to watch the film while listening to Spielberg, Dreyfuss and gang discuss all the great old stories about the trials they went through while in the process of making history.  But for now I’m just glad to take in one of my favorite movies in this format.  A+

The Hunger Games
Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – all involving teens
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

With the Hunger Games books being the supposed next best thing since the Twilight series, I was incredibly skeptical about how good the teen-crazed movie could be.  After all, unless you’re a teenage girl, it’s a safe assumption that you think the Twilight films have thus far blown chunks.  I firmly believe that it’s the low expectations of pop culture media that have driven the success of this film, both critically and at the box office.  After the lights came up I was so relieved that director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) delivered a high-quality action/drama.  There was actually good acting and the production values were solid.  It was like they knew the challenge would be to create a film that had huge potential to be bad and thus sidestepped most of those seemingly inevitable pitfalls.  My biggest concern is that this is R-rated subject matter and the story would have been much better served with that R.  Everything was so toned down that it became a bit distracting.  I understand the financial decision behind a PG-13 rating, but it certainly wasn’t the best way to serve the material.  B+

Dexter: The Sixth Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I was afraid this would happen.  They’ve run out of juice for our favorite serial killer-killing vigilante.  Up to now, we’ve seen some amazingly frightening stuff come from Michael C. Hall and gang, but this last season went laughably over-the-top.  The season starts out with some potential when two new killers begin a religious-based murder spree in Miami, but between the obvious plot twist that you can see through several episodes before it’s revealed to the apparent time-filler episode “Nebraska” that is more out of place and silly than frightening, the season just leaves you with a feeling of been there/done that.  I hope the producers find a way to freshen things up so Dexter can go out on a high note.  C

The Raid: Redemption – Unrated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Indonesian with English Subtitles

Under the ill-advised guidance of a police captain with ulterior motives, a SWAT team enters a building filled with thugs and criminals in order to capture the mob leader that runs the show.  It’s easy to understand how a film like this could grow into an international sensation.  The story isn’t the best, but the action is intense and well-choreographed for its entirety.  This super-violent martial arts showcase is one incredible fight scene after another until you are left out of breath at the end.  If you are a fan of this genre, you will love this film.  And if you don’t like reading subtitles on foreign films, don’t worry – there isn’t much to read and what there is to translate pretty much needs no translation.  A punch to the gut sounds the same in any language.  B

The Royal Tenenbaums: Criterion Edition
Rated R for some language, sexuality/nudity and drug content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In 2001, after having been blown away by his previous two films Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, I had the joy of seeing Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.  I say joy because that is exactly what this film is to me.  Yes its a tale of a despicable man and a highly dysfunctional family, but regardless, I love every minute of this comedy whether it be a scene of pain or pleasure.  Gene Hackman heads up this incredible cast including Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen and Luke Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover and all wonderfully narrated by Alec Baldwin.  This new Criterion treatment (Criterion released the film before on DVD back in 2002) has a director-approved newly restored digital transfer along with several nice surprises.  A