New in Home Entertainment – September 30, 2014



New in Home Entertainment


September 30, 2014


Transformers: Age of Extinction
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
Certainly one of this summer’s most anticipated films was the latest entry from the Transformers saga. Many folks have blamed the lame plot for not meeting its box office expectation, but I beg to differ. All of the Transformers films have had bad plots and this one is no different. The story revolves around new baddies teaming with old to bring on the end of humans. Whatever. Where the film really failed is in the Godfatheresque running time. The special effects are once again phenomenal, as are the battle sequences. Also – there are dinosaur transformers! But no one can take 164 minutes of metal crashing into metal. It just get boring. Director Michael Bay needs to reassess his need for such lengthy material and get to the point where he can tell a story and entertain in two hours or less. Then he just might win the summer box office again. C


Rated R for language, including some suggestive references
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Writer/Director/Actor Jon Favreau (Swingers, Iron Man) goes back to his indie roots with this pic about an award winning chef who loses it all and decides to go it alone in a food truck with his young son to help. I absolutely love food movies and some of the imagery in this one had me salivating to the point where I was actually angry at my popcorn and junior mints for being such a disapointment. And when they pulled into Franklin Barbecue in Austin and grabbed several briskets for the truck, I was insanely jealous, especially considering I have never been able to score a bite. But for me the film is an absolute lazy let down at the end. It’s almost as if Favreau couldn’t figure out how to end it so he just went straight to the aftermath. B-


Ivory Tower
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive and partying images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This doc from CNN Films discusses one of this country’s biggest white elephants: is college worth the cost in this day and age? It’s a tough question that I think is kind of skimmed over here for the most part. The film does a very decent job at showing examples of alternative education and ways to achieve success without college. It also shows many experiments with higher education, how they failed and the lessons learned. I really wish it could have gone deeper and given us some suggestion on how to fix the deepening and maddening issue. Or maybe that’s the point – there isn’t a fix yet. B+


Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition
Not Rated but would be a strong R
Available on Blu-ray
This legendary anime film about a futuristic world where humans and robots are basically conjoined is getting a fantastic new release on blu-ray with tons of special features. While the story is a little far out there for me (I’m still not sure what its really about), and the nudity is just plain distracting, its fun to examine the influence this film has had on our pop culture over the last 25 years. B


Daniel Boone: The Complete Series
Available on DVD
Daniel Boone was a man, yes a big man! I can still hear the men’s chorus singing this song right before watching my namesake take on his wilderness adventures. Sure the show is dated, but it is still a fun trip down memory lane. While I’ve only made it through 180 of its 8150 total minutes, I still recall the joy I got as a little kid watching the show in syndication in my childhood. This is a great collectors set that I’m thankful they finally released! A

New in Home Entertainment – September 23, 2014



New in Home Entertainment


September 23, 2014


Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In this latest entry to the frat house comedy genre, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are thirty-something parents who are completely happy with their calm lives when Zac Efron and his fraternity purchase the house next door. While much of the bad behavior is expected and still very funny, what works best here are the many surprises. For what it is, the film is solidly written and only has the occasional eye-rolling moment. And while some of the best gags are featured in the trailer and commercials, many are not, mostly due to the very graphic nature of the jokes. Overall though, it turns out to be an impressively thoughtful raunch-com. B

Rated R for language and some bloody violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Writer/Director David Michod turns in another bleak but powerful picture about a man (Guy Pearce) in Australia whose car is stolen and who will do anything to get it back, including team up with the car thief’s brother (Robert Pattinson) to go after him. Upon revisiting the beginning, I realized that I missed the very vital intro that stated that the movie takes place 10 years after a societal collapse, so I just assumed that people crucified from telephone poles might be a normal sight in the remote outback. That being said, I was glued to the screen from start to finish watching this absolutely frightening world unfold onscreen. Pearce is dynamite as the loner and Pattinson almost makes up for the misery he put me through in Twilight. While its not a film for everyone, I was blown away by the picture and while not as strong as Michod’s first film, Animal Kingdom, it is equally as riveting. A-

Roman Polanski’s Macbeth: Criterion Edition
Rated R
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In between making Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, Roman Polanski directed this visionary interpretation of Shakespeare’s famous work. This tale of jealousy, murder and revenge is still a miserable story to watch, but very well done. The production is fantastic and the fight choreography at the end is fantastic and memorable. I’m still not a fan of the play Macbeth, but watching your favorite directors tackle it can be rewarding. B+

New in Home Entertainment – September 16, 2014



New in Home Entertainment


September 16, 2014


Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
Destined to revisit us every few years or so, Godzilla makes its newest reincarnation in this very serious and much more thoughtful monster movie about a uber-large prehistoric-like creature who while at first appears to be an enemy to humans, holds the power to protect them from an even more destructive force. I’m surprised that the film did so well at the box office considering how much time it focuses on the human story and how little is actually dedicated to the monster fights. Then again, in spite of being a tad boring and overly-full of exposition and dialogue, the fights are pretty impressive throughout and the whole experience is mostly fun. I still much prefer the box office bomb Pacific Rim if I had to compare the two. B


Think Like a Man Too
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
I know I saw the first Think Like a Man, but frankly I can’t remember anything about it. This new one, however, is one I wish I could also forget. The guys and girls head to Vegas for a wedding that turns into disaster during their respective bachelor parties. Stealing every cliche that you can imagine, the pic comes off as a lousy example of genre comedy. None of the jokes work. Not even in the least. The actors are trying so hard to be funny that the whole concept eludes them. You get the sense that the project was pitched as “The Black Hangover” but forgets that not only was that particular movie smart and funny, but the two following attempts to recreate the magic failed miserably. It’s like putting money on the table only to regret it, except instead of wishing you hadn’t wasted money, you wish you hadn’t wasted so much valuable time. D


Willow Creek
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Writer/Director Bobcat Goldthwait continues on his hot streak of critically acclaimed genre pictures with this found footage story of a young couple who go to Northern California in search of Big Foot. There are some truly horrifying moments in this film that seem to last forever, making you sit trembling waiting to see what will happen next. Sure there’s a little too much of the couple aiming the camera at themselves in weird moments when no one really would, but the two actors, relative newcomers Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johhnson, both of whom have starred in other Goldthwait projects, turn in riveting performances that are quite convincing. We don’t get many films that are both smart and scary, and if you love horror, you must check this one out. A-


Spartacus: The Complete Series
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Starz hit Spartacus is finally getting its definitive collection in this huge box set containing every episode of the well-received sword and sandals epic series as well as tons of special features. Sure its a bit silly and has way too much sex and violence, but it is very entertaining if you are in the right mood. And with all of the beautiful and buff people, it also serves as a great inspiration to get off the couch and get your butt to the gym. B-

New in Home Entertainment – September 9, 2014



New in Home Entertainment


September 9, 2014


Citizen Koch
Available on DVD
Focusing on the deplorable Citizens United legislation, this doc attempts to incriminate the infamous Koch Brothers and their Super PAC Americans for Prosperity for starting a chain reaction that has deeply damaged America. While I agree with most of the points the film makes, I wish the doc had better structure and an answer to the dilemma. It does a great job riling up the crowd and stirring up anger, but it does a poor job of focusing that anger at a specific goal that might fix this mess. So if you want to simply get angry, watch this film. If you want to know what to do with that anger, you’ll have to find another resource. B-


The World Wars
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
There are only so many ways you can tell the same story, but The History Channel has to develop new programing, so here comes this slick production that ties together the leaders of WWII and what shaped them during WWI. Many are accusing the pseudo-doc for being full of errors. Since I’m not a fact-checking historian, I can only assume there is some validity to these criticisms. Where I can comment is that it is long and dry and in need of pacing help and cuts throughout. Frankly, for much of it I was quite bored. C+


The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fifth Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
It seems like every network and their werewolf has a vampire series but only a couple have proven themselves worthy of a watch. With True Blood turning in an amazingly bad final season, the only bloodsucker drama worth checking out is this CW series. Sure its a bit cheesy and cliched, but the story is entertaining, the actors are super sexy (Nina Dobrev just might be the most beautiful actress on television right now), and there is a sense of humor that pervades without too much eye-rolling required. Also available this week is the ninth season of CW’s other fantasy show Supernatural. B