New in Home Entertainment – February 7, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

February 7, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements
Available on Blu-ray and DVD

When tackling the fourth book in the Twilight series by
Stephanie Meyer, the decision was made to split it into two movies.  In this fourth of four very bad but successful films, Edward and Bella get married and on their honeymoon discover she is pregnant.  Here’s the problem: what exists in a two hour form here could have and should have been the first act of one movie, not the first half of two.  This is the slowest and one of the most painful movies I have ever sat through.  So long, so boring and so badly done.  The writing is awful, the acting is hideous and the self importance is incredibly annoying.  Personally, I find it disturbing that a film like this is the event film for today’s teens.  We had Star Wars, Raiders and ET.  There are few who could blame us for falling in love with movies during that time.  Other generations have had similar experiences in their days.  When a film like this has people sleeping in tents outside the theater and generates $700 million world-wide, it makes me feel like the Native American shedding a tear in the old Keep America Beautiful commercial.  F

Lady and the Tramp
Rated G
Available on Blu-ray and DVD

It may not be the best example of Disney’s classic animated pictures, but it certainly is one of the cutest.  Following the tale of a pretty young female cocker spaniel who falls in love with a homeless mutt, Lady and the Tramp is an entertaining film filled with loads of nostalgia and possibly one of the most iconic scenes in animation history (as many times as I tried that spaghetti thing on a date, it never worked out in my favor).  This new hi-def edition looks amazing and gives the film a shiny new feel.  Also, for those interested, there is some great new content not found on the 2006 DVD release.  B+

Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

For those who have not gone to any of the live events done at theaters nation wide, this title may change your mind.  Released in limited showings a few months back at your neighborhood cineplex, now this breathtaking performance of the once-in-a-lifetime event is hitting home. What it’s not is a filmed version of the infamous musical.  What it is is the ultimate performance of the music with a cast and orchestra of over 200 at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the 25th anniversary of the legendary show.  The cast here is an absolute dream and the encore is the icing on the cake as Andrew Lloyd Webber is joined by famous past phantoms on stage revisiting the show’s highlights.  I’ll admit that Sarah Brightman’s encore is worth missing, but everything else on this disc is spectacular.  A

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

Rated R for strong curde and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence
Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD

Time has changed Harold and Kumar in this third and very tired sequel to the hit stoner franchise.  Harold and Kumar are no longer close buddies since Harold entered the business and family world, but fate brings them together on a winter’s night to find a Christmas tree to replace the one burned down by a magical joint.  If you have a 3D television you have a chance of enjoying this new installment.  There are some funny moments that don’t involve the use of 3D gimmickry, but most of the jokes require the new technology and suffer without it.  But unfortunately, not even Neil Patrick Harris himself could save this film from being snuffed out by lame drug jokes that were probably hilarious as they were being written while stoned.  C

In Time
Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and partial nudity, and brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In the future humans are genetically altered to not age past 25 years, but they are also destined to die once their time runs out.  Time is a commodity and the rich can live forever while the poor are constantly counting the minutes.  As you would expect there are a lot of bad cliches throughout this sci-flick starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, but one has to appreciate the originality.  Writer and director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) invents an interesting premise here but the comparison to today’s class structure gets bogged down in its own preachiness.  B-

Project Nim

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, drug content, thematic elements and disturbing images
Available on DVD

Oscar winning documentarian James Marsh (Man on Wire) tells another riveting tale here about an experiment gone wrong when a baby chimp is allowed to live like a human child before being sentenced to live his life as captive animal.  If it weren’t for the fact that it is a real story, you would think you were watching the first half of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  In fact, the two films watched back-to-back makes for an excellent double feature.  Not only is this a great story, but it is told in a riveting fashion and frankly, it should have been nominated for an Academy Award this year for best documentary.  A-