New in Home Entertainment – April 5, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

April 5, 2011

Black Swan
Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing images, language and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

It is safe to now use the phrase “Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman” thanks to this surprise hit about a ballerina who must transform herself into the Black Swan, both physically and mentally, in order to perform the leading role in Swan Lake.  While Portman’s performance was certainly noteworthy, this film wins on several levels including the powerful and stylish directing of Darren Aronofsky, the haunting cinematography of Matthew Libatique and the beautiful score by Clint Mansell.  It also doesn’t hurt to have actors such as Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey  involved.  For those who perceive this to be a ballet film or chick flick, you will be quite shocked at the macabre nature of the movie.  A

The Mikado: Criterion Collection
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In 1939, The Mikado was the first screen adaptation from legendary light opera team Gilbert and Sullivan.  Over 70 years later, the classic British satire based in Japan is getting the Criterion treatment, including a newly remastered digital transfer, deleted scenes and many other great features.  Also being released this week from Criterion is the 1999 feature Topsy-Turvy which stars Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner as Gilbert and Sullivan as they give their first production of The Mikado in 1885.  B+

Little Fockers
Rated PG-13 for mature sexual humor throughout, language and some drug content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

The Focker gang are back in the franchise that follows the battle between Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) as they come to  blows over anything that will separate Greg from Jack’s daughter.  The second film had some major problems as all it did was rehash the jokes from the first film, but this third installment attempts to at least break some new ground, although the gags are largely cliched and unoriginal.  I did like the addition of Jessica Alba as the drug rep attempting to place herself as the other women, but I wish Harvey Keitel would have had a larger role as the contractor putting the screws to Greg as he builds his new house.  While not as good as the original, number 3 is a vast improvement over Meet the Fockers.  C

TRON: Legacy
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D

Decades have pased since Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared into the computer world he created and now Flynn’s son (Garrett Hedlund) finds himself stuck in the same world; and the only person who can help him escape is his father.  I remember going to see TRON almost 30 years ago, but the only thing I really recalled from it was the production design, not the plot.  So revisiting the world, I was more than a little lost.  Unfortunately, the writers felt they needed to create a story that relies on the knowledge of the first film for full enjoyment, and Disney chose not to re-release the original TRON on home video until this week.  My advice – watch the original (no matter how cheesy it is) and then check out Legacy.  Legacy is not a bad film – it just needs to give its audience a helping hand to get them through the maze of confusion.  C+

Fair Game
Rated PG-13 for some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star is this political drama based on the true story of Valerie Plame, the CIA operative who was outed by members of the Bush administration when her husband Joe Wilson began pushing the wrong buttons.  I don’t see this film getting a lot of positive press from Fox News, but if your politics run neutral to left, you’ll find this to be an exceptional movie that will have you glued to your seat for almost two hours.  The performances are riveting and the story maintains much credibility considering the real-life guilty parties went to jail for their crimes.  A-