New in Home Entertainment – February 1, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

February 1, 2011

Let Me In
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

No matter how good a film is, trying to talk most Americans into watching a Swedish vampire film is like pulling teeth.  So I completely understand why they wanted to make an American version of Let the Right One In, placing the little vampire girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her new friend (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in Albuquerque rather than Scandinavia.  So although the original is vastly superior, this new version is still quite good.  The relationship is just as tender, maybe even a bit better acted.  The film is just as scary, just as beautiful and just as haunting.  But because the original is so shocking and sticks with you long after you’ve seen it, I still consider it to be the better of the two.  That being said, I will predict that if you haven’t seen Let the Right One In, Let Me In will be an equally powerful film for you and an experience you won’t easily forget.  A-

Enter the Void
Unrated, but worthy of NC-17 or worse
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

If you were gutsy enough to sit through writer/director Gaspar Noe’s 2002 shocker Irreversible, you will probably understand what you are in for in his new drug-induced drama Enter the Void.  The film shows the Point of View of a young white drug dealer in Tokyo who is killed by the police and spends the length of the film floating around time and space, seeing how his life and death has affected those around him.  To say that this is one of the most spectacularly photographed films you’ve ever seen is an understatement.  The visuals are breathtaking, but the subject matter is so intense and uncomfortable that the film becomes incredibly challenging to watch.  This is a film for daring cinephiles and certainly not for the average date movie.  A-

Never Let Me Go
Rated R for some sexuality and nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Children at an English boarding school come to grips with their relationships with one another as well as the fact that they are only alive in order to provide organs, leaving them with no prospects for the future.  While the theme is similar to the box-office dud The Island, it takes half of the film for you to realize that this is sci-fi, but without the special effects usually added to the genre.  The performances by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightly are extremely moving but the film is exhaustingly depressing.  The film survives on emotional response and deep thought, which will leave many audiences worn out.  Still, you have to appreciate what the filmmakers have accomplished in this alternate universe tear-jerker.  B

Rated R for language and some violent images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When a man (Sam Rockwell) is wrongly convicted of first degree murder, his sister (Hilary Swank) puts her life on hold and goes to college and law school in the hope of someday getting him out of prison.  From the first time I saw the trailer for this film, I pictured it as a kind of movie-of-the-week.  Boy was I wrong.  This is a very strong film filled with memorable performances and a great story.  Perhaps the reason it didn’t get much attention in theaters was because this is a very typical role for Swank, who badly needs out of these types of true stories.  But on the other hand, she is so good at them that I can’t fault her for still making them.  Rockwell turns in perhaps his best work yet, making this film that much more sobering.  A-

Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland
Available on Blu-ray

Disney can be so aggravatingly greedy sometimes that I feel it needs mentioning.  Most films are released on Blu-ray and DVD these days, and when a DVD-only release hits the shelf, its usually because the producers don’t expect the profits to be as strong if they do multiple platforms.  But not Disney.  In order to try to capitalize on the release of the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland release last March, Disney re-released the original animated Alice on DVD only.  Now, less than a year later, they are releasing the Blu-ray, hoping you’ll buy it again.  Will you?  Probably.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Disney is pretty disgusting for doing this.  The new blu-ray exclusive features are nice, but feeling hoodwinked by the Mouse House isn’t.  Alice Blu-ray A; Disney F