New on DVD

New on DVD

Red Riding Trilogy
Not Rated but contains strong violence, sexual content and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This set of three crime dramas based on the novels written by David Peace focuses on three sets of heinous crimes committed by serial killers and the corrupt police department running the investigations.  Each one takes place in a different year.  In 1974, a young reporter, played by the future Spiderman Andrew Garfield, attempts to put the pieces together when a string of young girls show up dead with swan wings sown to their backs.  In 1980, In America’s Paddy Considine is a detective in the same town trying to solve the notorious Yorkshire Ripper murders.  And in 1983, David Morrissey is a senior detective that attempts to solve the 1974 murders when a young girl is kidnapped with the original killer’s M.O. in spite of the killer supposedly being locked away.  While you can possibly watch the first film without having to see the others – I’m not sure why you would.  This trilogy was made to be watched in its 308 minute entirety.  And it is so rewarding when you do.  By the the end of 1983 I could hardly catch my breath I was so overwhelmed.  Yes its dark and gritty and pretty darn hopeless, but taken all in together I would have to say this is one of my favorite films of the year so far.  A

Harry Brown
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use and sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Michael Caine is Harry Brown, a retired Royal Marine living on a pension in a part of town being run down by dangerous kids.  When his best friend is killed by a gang of thugs and let go by the police, he goes after them, Death Wish style, to not only get revenge, but to make the streets safer for people like him to live.  This is a very upsetting, uncomfortable film with one heck of an actor at the lead.  Regardless of decisions of the writer and director, it’s hard not to find yourself cheering for this underdog vigilante and you want everything to happen to these kids that’s coming to them.  At Michael Caine’s age, it’s hard to get leading roles – especially for action films.  To see him knock one out of the park like this in his late 70’s is pretty fantastic.  B+

Anchorman: The “Rich Mahogany” Edition
Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language and comic violence
Available on Blu-ray

If you are a big fan of the mustache-toting San Diegan from the 70s, then you might like this very, very complete Will Ferrell blu-ray set.  While I couldn’t find anything new on it, the collection of old from several sources is huge.  Most notably is a special movie that must have been filmed on the side called “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy” which follows the further adventures of Ron and gang with an entirely new plot.  Just like in the movie, many of the jokes don’t hit, but many of them do and it’s hard not to find yourself laughing throughout.  Also included in the set is Ron’s 32 page diary and a set of 12 trading cards.  B

The Evil Dead: Limited Edition
Not Rated
Available on Blu-ray

Many of the the most famous directors in Hollywood started out with low budget horror films but one of the most famous cases is Spiderman director Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead.  Following the chronicles of Sam Ash, played by the iconic Bruce Campbell, Evil Dead sounds a whole lot scarier than it really is.  In fact, many consider it to be quite the comedy.  This new blu-ray received the royal treatment with an all-new commentary by Raimi and Campbell as well as tons of other great special features.  A-

9th Company
Rated R for sequences of strong bloody warfare, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Russian with English subtitles

When this film about the Russian/Afghan war was released a few years back it was the top grossing film in Russian history.  That doesn’t mean it’s good though.  It starts off with promise as you think you might get a Russian Full Metal Jacket, and the director sure does know his Kubrick, but once the half-way point hits, it almost becomes laughable.  And if you like to research your films to check out the trueness of their “true stories” this one will shock you.  Almost all of the final battle was not only silly, but completely fabricated.  Granted, the set pieces were impressive but if you are only satisfied with quality war films, you will find this one not able to offer much.  If you do check it out though, make sure you turn on the English language dub which makes all of the characters go from thick Russian to Gomer Pyle.  D

Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection
Available on DVD

I was bummed when HBO’s show about “New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk parody duo” ended at two seasons, but hey – at least I had two seasons.  Each episode of the hysterical comedy followed Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie as they tried to make it with their two-man band in New York with one rabid fan and the world’s worst manager.  But these are no ordinary musicians.  They sing and dance in every genre possible with some of the most creative music, lyrics and directing you’ve ever seen or heard.  In their own words they “rap about reality – like me and grandma drinking a cup of tea – there ain’t no party like my nana’s tea party – hey – ho.”  While I’m sure this won’t be the last set you’ll see released, since a blu-ray is yet to see the light of day, this “Born To Folk” edition contains both seasons and their One Night Stand live concert and is enough to put a big cheesy grin on your face that will last quite a while.  A