New in Home Entertainment – February 3, 2015

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New in Home Entertainment

February 3, 2015

Dear White People
Rated R for language, sexual content and drug usage
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
When I was in junior high I went to go see Spike Lee’s School Daze and to this day I still remember how uncomfortable I was in that theater. Part of the reason was the culture shock and part was I was sitting next to my mom in a mostly black theater. After seeing an interview with writer/director Justin Simien on the Colbert Report concerning what I incorrectly thought was a similar film, I immediately reflected back on that discomfort and chose not to see or review the film while it was in theaters. This being a light week for DVD releases, I decided to check it out in the privacy of my own home and I’m glad I did. The film follows a group of black and white students at an Ivy league school dealing with modern race relations where white students think racism is over and black students think it is changed but just as present as in the days of their grandparents. The film, while slanted away from my thinking, is thoughtful and thought provoking. Making fun of films by filmmakers such as Tyler Perry, the movie attempts to be, in my opinion, a black film as much for whites as it is for blacks. That’s a difficult task, especially considering that it will most likely be interpreted very differently by both. Making the movie even more interesting is that it explores stereotypes of whites and blacks while both exploiting the stereotypes and tearing them down at the same time. Overall, it is a well-written, well-directed script with an extremely talented cast that left me in a much more comfortable (although still challenged) state than Spike’s film from 1988. Then again, things might have been different if I had also watched this one with my mom in that same theater (which is now a gun range of course). A-

Dracula Untold
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of warfare vampire attacks, disturbing images, and some sensuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Luke Evans (The Hobbit) plays the man who would become Dracula and what lead to his infamy and curse. One of my fondest memories of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola was the history of Dracula. The stylized recreation has stuck in my mind for more than 20 years now. So I was excited to see a full-length feature based on this myth. Unfortunately, the project was tackled by filmmakers with poor vision who were unable to do the story justice. There are many faults to this such as miscasting, overuse and misuse of effects and too flashy of a production. More than any of its other faults, though, is creating a PG-13 universe. A vampire film with so little blood is simply lame. I guess they wanted to bring teenagers into the fold but what a waste here. C-

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