New on DVD

New on DVD

The Proposal
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, nudity, and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds costar in this smash hit rom com about an overpowering Canadian boss (Bullock) that forces her assistant (Reynolds) to marry her in order for her to be able to stay in America.  To prove to immigration that the relationship is one based on love and not citizenship, she must travel with him to Alaska to spend a weekend with his family.  While extremely contrived, the movie does provide some good laughs and occasional decent chemistry between the two leads.  There’s not much authenticity to be found as much of the film is extremely over the top, but the characters are likable enough that most of the time you don’t care.  Still, it’s not the kind of romantic comedy I prefer and while I think that Reynolds is one of the most talented actors working today, I also think that the Bullock is so over utilized in this genre that it hurts.  As for the extras, I’m thankful they chose the ending they did and not the dreadful alternate ending on the special features.  C+

Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

A high school student creates a story of his dead parents, linking them to a terrorist plot that they had nothing to do with, just to see what fellow student reactions would be.  This complex and twisted tale by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) shows a mix of Muslim and Christian cultures in a very different and original way.  By becoming lost around the story, I found myself becoming attached to the boy, his French teacher, and his uncle which brought the film together in a very special way for me.  While I didn’t really care much for the multimedia dynamic Egoyan tries to introduce here, I found the main narrative very moving.  A-

American Violet
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, drug references and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Set a few years ago in Melody, TX, American Violet follows the true-life events of a town shaken up by a District Attorney that attempted to keep the black citizens down by raiding their projects and making them plead guilty to felony charges to get out of prison.  This would help the DA get more federal dollars for drug prosecutions as well as keep the black people in the town from voting him out of office since much of the community would be felons, even if they were innocent.  With a stellar cast including Charles Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Will Patton, Tim Blake Nelson, and Nicole Beharie, the acting is top notch for an indie.  More importantly though is that the movie is a shock to the system and shows how ugly America can be and how much it still needs to be fixed.  B+

The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Edition
Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

It’s hard to believe it’s been 70 years.  OK.  I know I can’t say that since I’m only half that age, but looking at this newly remastered edition, it really is hard to believe that the film looks so fresh.  Maybe it’s because the movie is one of the most cherished of all time, so the print has been babied, but this new edition, even more so than the last edition released, looks and sounds exquisite.  The new set includes several new features, among them a new sing-along track, new documentaries, and if you get the Blu-ray box set, you’ll get more extras than any movie I’ve ever seen before.  A+

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Rated R for pervasive vulgar language and crude sexual humor and for some violent images
Available on Blu-ray

Making its Blu-ray debut is the Oscar-nominated South Park musical that proved to the world that animated films weren’t just for kids anymore.  When Cartman, Stan, Kenny and Kyle are caught going to see the latest Terrence and Phillip movie, their parents launch a war against Canada in order to prevent that kind of smut from hitting America.  While crude and vulgar, the movie is also a brilliant political and social satire and contains some darn good tunes as well.  To help us better remember the impact of the movie, as well as hear lots of cynical diatribe, there is a brand new commentary by filmmakers Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  A