New in Home Entertainment – August 21, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

August 21, 2012

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Texas is full of colorful characters and this tale based on the true story out of Carthage, Texas is living proof.  Back in the 90’s, a local funeral director named Bernie (Jack Black) was a beloved member of the community who became close friends with the meanest lady in town (Shirley MacLaine) after her husband died.  About half the film uses actors and the other half is interviews with the actual townspeople of Carthage who tell their versions of the story.  While I’m sure folks outside of Texas might enjoy this film, I’m pretty sure that Texans will absolutely love it.  Had this movie been a Hollywood affair, I’m fairly certain it would have made fun of Texas; but under the control of Texas-based writer/director Richard Linklater (School of Rock) it shows the state and the people from it in the best possible light and manages to tell a story that you’ll be sharing with your friends for years to come.  A-

A Separation
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Persian with English Subtitles

Winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year was this amazing Iranian film about a husband and wife who are going through a divorce because she wants to leave Iran and take their daughter and he needs to stay in Iran to take care of his ailing father.  What at first looks like a divorce drama turns into a complicated scenario that leaves you fascinated at both the Iranian legal system and the moral choices the characters must make while facing the worst of dilemmas.  It’s hard not to be completely consumed by the story (which was also nominated for best screenplay).  This is truly one of the best films of 2011 and one you won’t soon forget.  A

The Dictator
Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

It’s been a good year for comedy so far and The Dictator has been one of the best.  Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Aladeen, a crazy Dictator from a third world country who is forced to become a homeless American foreigner after an attempted coup.  It is so over-the-top that you can’t help but like Cohen’s crazy creation and the message at the end gives the story a touch of gravity you don’t expect.  A-

Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Disney has really stuck to their guns when it comes to their commitment to release nature documentaries on Earth Day under their Disney Nature label.  This newest film is extremely interesting.  I’m not sure if they ever intended it to be a movie about nothing more than Chimps, but once they discovered a male leader adopting and caring for an orphan, a beautiful story evolved that became the selling point of the film.  Overall, the film has beautiful cinematography (as is expected) and the story of the two chimps works well, but the rest of the tale seems forced, as if they needed to fill Tim Allen’s narration with something else exciting and they didn’t know quite how to do it.  I found myself even more fascinated by the documentary on how they made the film.  That story alone is worth checking out the disc.  B

Rated G
Available on Blu-ray

This week Disney is adding several films to blu-ray including The Rescuers/Rescuers Down Under, The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp 2 and The Tigger movie.  All of these are very mediocre representations of Disney animation but one release is definitely worth mentioning.  Pocahontas wasn’t their biggest hit, but it sure is a great animated feature.  The animation itself is lovely and the music was strong enough to earn two Oscars (song and score).  To this day, the Farewell scene is one of my favorite pieces of movie music.  Now if only they didn’t have to taint the set by adding in the not-so-great Pocahontas 2.  The good news is that you don’t have to watch it.  B+