New in Home Entertainment – October 21, 2014

mad men

New in Home Entertainment

 

October 21, 2014

 

Mad Men: The Final Season Part 1
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
I still don’t know why Mad Men doesn’t just claim that this as two separate seasons or maybe release the entire final season together rather than giving us this shortened 7 episode package, but regardless, this second to last edition of the hit AMC show hits like a whopper and is full of great surprises. As advertising moves through the progressive part of the 60’s, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his crew of marketeers throw themselves right in with it without trying to get swallowed. The old guard is dying off and the new is pushing forward. It’s a fun-filled set of episodes and every bit as good as any of the other seasons we’ve seen previously. The groovy thing is that just like the era they are living in, the show is constantly changing. A-

 

The Last Sentence
Unrated
Available on DVD
In Swedish with English Subtitles
This 2014 black and white Swedish export tells the tale of a WWII-era Swedish journalist who takes on Hitler’s Germany in his newspaper while fighting his own demons at home. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, the movie is nice to look at and at times engaging, but it does move along much too slowly throughout. I wish the focus could have been more on Sweden’s struggle with Germany rather than on his personal issues as I feel the filmmakers selected the wrong A-story for this narrative. But for a different sort of WWII film that gives an interesting point of view, Jan Troell’s saga is an intriguing watch. B-

 

Mobilize
Unrated
Available on DVD
Blissful ignorance could be a good excuse not to watch this documentary about cell phones and the radiation they omit causing cancers from head to toe (or at least waist). While its not a very well-made film (it feels like a movie made by people who don’t know how to make movies), the information is scary and potentially life changing. I say potentially, because try living without a cell phone now that you are almost physically connected to one. Are the cellular companies hiding something? Most likely. Would it change anything if exposed? Not sure. C+

 

La Dolce Vita: Criterion Collection
Unrated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This nearly three hour Fellini masterpiece that follows a journalist in his fruitless quest for “the sweet life” through the streets of Rome is one of the most celebrated Italian films of all time and is getting the extreme Criterion treatment here with a new 4K restoration on blu-ray and a host of new features. It goes without saying that the film has never looked or sounded better and is an extreme pleasure for the senses. A

 

Universal Classic Monsters
Available on DVD
This thirty film collection comprises all of Universal’s classic monster movies from 1931-1956 in one very large box set. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man and The Phantom of the Opera are all represented here in all of their fantastic campiness. While there isn’t a lot to be scared of here, it is a fine collection of where we got our modern day monster films from and what used to scare our grandparents. I really loved that they threw in most of the Abbott and Costello monster parodies in the collection. B+

 

Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection
Available on Blu-ray
If the nice folks at Universal hadn’t sent me this collection already, I can tell you what would be at the top of my Christmas list this year. This collection holds 8 movies on blu-ray from the master as well as a 58-page book and tons of special features. What I like most about it is that it has such a wide range of his films including some of his earliest from before he was who he is, such as Duel, The Sugarland Express and 1941. Also included are Jaws, ET, Always, Jurassic Park (and I’ll conveniently try to forget about The Lost World. Seven of eight aren’t bad. This is a must have for those of us who idolize the director. I think its also great for any budding filmmaker to experience how the greatest got his start and what he constantly did to reinvent himself. A+

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