New in Home Entertainment – October 2, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

October 2, 2012

American Horror Story: The Complete First Season
Rated TV-MA
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I sat down to watch two, maybe three episodes of this new FX horror series on a rainy Saturday and thirteen hours later, upon finishing it, I couldn’t believe how engaged I was with this innovative mini-series about a family living in a house known for dozens of grizzly murders that took place over the last century.  This twisted and risqué drama took a lot of guts to bring to television (quite literally) and I admire the courage to produce such a quality creepfest.  While I wasn’t exactly scared, I was effectively goose-bumped throughout much of the show.  The script is a fantastic example of good writing, and I love that they completely changed the rules when it comes to ghosts.  But what really makes the show work is the amazing cast including Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton, along with the rest of the talented group.  Now I can’t wait to see where they take it in season two.  B+

Dark Shadows
Rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use language and smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Loosely based on the 1960’s campy soap opera by the same name, Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp and a slew of talented actors in a tale about a several-hundred-year-old vampire who returns to 1970s America to seek his revenge on a witch.  As you would expect from a Tim Burton film, the production design is top notch.  Unfortunately that’s the only decent attribute the project has going for it.  Its biggest problem is the film doesn’t know what it wants to be.  Is it a comedy?  Is it a horror flick?  Well it doesn’t scare and I can’t exactly see folks chuckling much.  What it is can be described as a beautiful mess.  And to make matters worse, the scenes trod by at a snails pace making the film feel three hours long even though it clocks in at 113 minutes.  Whether that’s the acting or the directing is debatable, but what is not is that this irrelevant film is not in the least enjoyable.  C-

People Like Us
Rated PG-13 for language, some drug use and brief sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When a distant son (Chris Pine) discovers that his recently deceased father had another child (Elizabeth Banks), he sets off on a journey to introduce himself awkwardly into his newfound sister’s life.  While this movie seems like more of an after-school special than a theatrically released film from Disney and DreamWorks, this well-written and extremely well-acted family drama turns out to be a nice little gem of a film that will make you think, put a smile on your face and a tear in your eye.  I’ll admit that it’s a very manipulative and the characters’ actions don’t make a lot of sense in moments, but it’s fun sometimes to come away with some unexpected joy after watching what you are certain will be a lame drama.  B

Cinderella: Diamond Edition
Rated G
Available on Blu-ray

Disney’s classic 1950’s fairly tale about a young girl who is transformed from rags to riches and back to rags is getting the hi-def treatment with this new blu-ray release.  If you’re like me, you kind of miss the hand-drawn animation we used to watch growing up.  This short but impactful movie really looks fantastic on the right television.  Make sure to check out the terrific Disney animated short Tangled Ever After which tells the story of Maximus and Pascal, the couples fun-loving horse and chameleon, as they attempt to chase down the rings they clumsily manage to lose during Rapunzel and Flynn’s wedding ceremony.  A-