New in Home Entertainment – January 3, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

January 3, 2012

Rated PG-13 for disturbing content and some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Director Stephen Soderbergh (Traffic) loves to assemble big casts of A-list actors and place them masterfully into ensemble films.  Here he tells the story of a fictitious pandemic starting from the very first victim until its tragic end.  Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Lawrence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet all combine forces to provide an idea of what could very well happen if a deadly contagious disease traveled the world today.  It’s a grim tale well told and aside from the ending which was a bit too tidy, it’s a very solid film.  Not only will it entertain you but it also provides a nice “what if” scenario that is extremely believable.  B+

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Rated R for violence and terror
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

While this indie horror film about a young girl haunted by miniature monsters is sold as a Guillermo Del Toro film, don’t be fooled.  Del Toro wrote the screenplay but the film was directed by first time feature director Troy Nixey and the lack of experience shows.  The premise of the film isn’t bad, and the creatures are fairly creepy, but the movie is poorly directed and lacks any scares aside from the big one seen in the trailer.  Perhaps if Del Toro would have taken on a larger role this film might have been a nice twisted macabre masterpiece, but instead it is a forgettable dud.  C-

Mildred Pierce: The Collector’s Edition
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

HBO once again proves that they are the king of miniseries with this terrific adaption of the novel by James M. Cain about a divorced single mom (Kate Winslet) in Depression-era Los Angeles who struggles to maintain even a strained relationship with her daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).  Directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) the story is very different from the 1945 Joan Crawford classic and with its 344 minute running time it becomes more of an epic than a drama.  The performances from Winslet and Guy Pearce are most definitely worthy of their Emmy wins and the overall production is a remarkable feet for HBO to have accomplished.  A-