New in Home Entertainment December 7, 2010

New in Home Entertainment

December 7, 2010

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Every minute of this Christopher Nolan film starring Leonardo DiCaprio is confusing, and yet it’s so interesting to watch that it’s hard to take your eyes off of it.  The story, which revolves around a group of corporate espionage agents that try to place an idea inside of someone’s dreams, is as weird as it is ingenious.  The actors buy into it completely, giving the ideas put forward enough credibility to work.  DVD/Blu-ray is the perfect venue for a film like this since you will probably need to see it multiple times to fully understand it – if that is possible.  If you do have the blu-ray, check out Extraction Mode where the filmmakers and actors help guide you through the concepts and how the film was made.  A-

Shrek Forever After
Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Shrek returns a final time in what turns out to be a very adult tale about going through a mid-life crisis.  When Shrek tires of the routine life he has been sentenced to, he longs to spend just one day as he did not too long ago.  But when Rumplestiltskin betrays him in a return-to-the-past contract, the one day turns into an alternate reality that Shrek must find a way out of.   The story is fairly decent, but lacking here is the brilliant creativity of the first two films.  It almost feels like the filmmakers lost their touch, but then again, very few of the original filmmakers worked on this new version.  Also available is Shrek: The Whole Story which contains all four films (the first two providing incredibly large shoes to fill) and loads of new special features.  Shrek Forever After C+; Shrek: The Whole Story B+

Cronos: The Criterion Collection
Rated R for horror violence and for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
English and Spanish with English subtitles

Since discovering Guillermo del Toro years ago I have been trying to get my hands on his first film Cronos, but it has been unavailable until now.  This very strange vampire tale revolves around an older antique shop owner that discovers a device that acts as a fountain of youth, but with extreme consequences.  The movie is fairly frightening, yet just like del Toro’s other works, the monster is not the villain, but rather the human trying to kill the monster.  It’s a fascinating first work from a gifted but twisted mind.  The featurette Welcome to Bleak House is a must-see guided tour of del Toro’s personal museum that would be the envy of any fantasy geek.  A-

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some sensuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I will freely admit that I am not the targeted demographic for these films – but I am still curious enough about the popularity of the series that I like to at least watch them.  While the teenage soap opera vampire story is just as lame as the first two, the production is a vast improvement.  This new pic, directed by David Slade (30 Days of Night), has pretty decent production values and a good score by Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings) but the dialogue is still downright terrible.  Some of the scenes are written like a South Park episode making fun of Twilight.  It doesn’t help that there are only a handful of good actors and the rest of the cast is simply chosen because they are pretty.  But when compared to the pathetic first film and the slightly better second film, this new one definitely stands out as the best so far.  C

Knight and Day
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

While the title is quite bad and so is some of the make-up, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are a whole lot of fun to watch in this espionage thriller about an unwilling bystander that ends up on the ride of her life when a spy is forced to take her on his journey.  A lot of folks have claimed they are done with Tom Cruise, and this film’s box office is indicative of that, but if you are willing to give him a second chance, I can promise this film won’t let you down.  Not only is it a decent spy thriller, but it is just as funny as it is action-packed.  Watching it in hi def does make you wish the make-up artist could have decided whether to make Diaz 25 or 40.  B+