New in Home Entertainment – April 26, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

April 26, 2011

Blow Out: The Criterion Collection
Rated R
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This 1981 film by Brian De Palma didn’t turn any heads back in the day, but it is currently looked to as a major achievement by film scholars and students alike.  The story follows John Travolta as B-movie sound man who is out recording wind one night when a car carrying Nancy Allen and the soon-to-be president crashes into a river.  He manages to save Allen, but her lover dies and Travolta thinks he has proof that he was murdered.  If you want to truly appreciate this title, you may want to watch some of the special features first, even though they might act as spoilers.  I would definitely check out the interview of De Palma by filmmaker Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) and the interview with Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown.  It’s not a great film by any standards, but these features will help you understand its significance.  B

The Universe Blu-ray Mega Collection
Available on Blu-ray

It’s funny how The History Channel has taken on a bigger role than Discovery when it comes to well-produced science programming.  This new set contains all five seasons of the show which should provide you with almost everything you would ever want to know about the greater cosmos around you.  Watch this once and it’s very possible to transform yourself into the next Cliff Clavin at any party.  Filmed in HD and containing tons of great footage from NASA as well as decent CGI effects, The Universe presents an all-encompassing and slightly whacky look at our universe that you’ll enjoy during your “I need to feel smarter” phases.  While the information becomes a tad redundant due to trying to stretch 30 minutes worth of content into an hour, it still works as a good educational experience.  B

Available on DVD and Blu-ray

The SyFy channel has never been known for bringing forth high-quality original films but lately they’ve released some pretty bearable bad movies like Mega Python vs. Gatoroid and Sharktopus.  Unfortunately, there is an art to making bad movies watchable and the creators of Dinoshark couldn’t find the secret recipe.  Watching this 150 million year old shark take out tourists in Puerto Vallarta was a cruel experience for the viewer.  You expect the acting to stink, but when the wannabe thespians are worse than porn stars and the effects look like they were done on a teenager’s iMac, you almost wish for the shark to put you out of your misery.  F