New in Home Entertainment – January 11, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

January 11, 2011

Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary Edition
Rated PG-13
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When Dances with Wolves was released twenty years ago it took the world by storm and pretty much swept the Oscars, beating out some major films such as Goodfellas and Godfather 3.  If you are like me, you have been chomping at the bit to see this beautiful western in your stunning hi def home theater.  I’m happy to say that you won’t be disappointed by this long-awaited release.  The picture and sound are simply amazing, as is expected, fully showcasing the work of Oscar-winning director Kevin Costner, cinematographer Dean Semler and Composer John Barry.  Disc two contains some of the original special features, but I highly recommend checking out the new retrospective as well as the featurette “A Day in the Life on the Western Frontier.”  One thing that might throw off some fans and new viewers is that this is the Extended Edition with almost an hour extra running time.  In my mind it is a superior version of an already perfect film, but for some the four-hour length might be too much to handle.  A+

Big Love: Season Four
Available on DVD

Still going strong is this HBO drama about a polygamist family in Utah.  This season threw all kinds of irons in the fire as Bill, along with his three wives and now nine children, attempt to stay anonymous in spite of pressures from his drama-inducing outer family.  But regardless of the pressures coming from the compound, he not only opens a new Mormon-friendly casino, but makes a run for the Utah State Senate as well.  While it’s certainly not HBO’s most popular show, it is definitely one of their brightest stars with excellent writing, superb acting, and boundary-pushing storytelling.  This was a season that held surprises and shocks in each episode and has me impatiently waiting for season five to start up on January 16.  A-

The Hessen Conspiracy
Not Rated
Available on DVD

It appears that the producers had more in store for this straight-to-DVD release than the end result.  After all, a $20 million dollar budget usually gets you a lot more than this low-budget-looking crapfest.  Supposedly based on a true story, The Hessen Conspiracy, originally titled The Hessen Affair, follows a small group of American officers after the end of WWII that discover the German crown jewels and attempt to take them back to the states.  Poorly acted, terribly written, and horrendously directed, this movie fails at almost every turn.  The only saving grace is look of the film, which I can only assume was where the money was spent.  The sets, costumes, and photography provide a nice view of this film noir gone wrong.  D