New in Home Entertainment – May 22, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

May 22, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty
Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on Mary Norton’s famous children’s book “The Borrowers,” the award-winning Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, tells the story of a sick young boy who befriends a four-inch-tall girl who hides behind his walls.  I was a little bit worried about how much I’d enjoy Studio Ghibli’s new toon when I noticed that the Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) wasn’t directing and the incredible composer he typically works with, Joe Hisaishi, wasn’t providing the music.  After all, there are many, including myself, that consider these two to be the Japanese versions of Spielberg and Williams.  But fears aside, this new pic is another great example of masterful storytelling with fantastic hand-drawn animation you would expect from this group.  My two-year-old son was bored to tears but I can concede the fact that this might be a better picture for little girls and/or lovers of this art form.  A-

Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

With the success of found-footage films such as Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch, it makes sense that studios would attempt more than just horror films.  Chronicle is an extremely clever little film that does just that with the super hero genre.  When 3 friends wander near something that has crashed into Earth from space, they start to develop super powers.  While I loved the actual story and the acting by the talented cast, I was disappointed that they had to use the “found footage” as a gimmick.  I wonder what the film would have looked like if they had just ignored this and simply made a film about 3 friends who developed powers.  If they had done this I think we would be watching a very good film without all the cheese.  B

The Woman in Black

Rated PG-13 for thematic material and violence/disturbing images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Susan Hill’s classic ghost novel about a lawyer who discovers the vengeful ghost of an evil woman has haunted readers and audiences for years.  This newest adaptation stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first post-Harry Potter role as the young lawyer.  Relying on thrills and chills rather than graphic violence, the film provides a fairly scary experience that you won’t mind if your teenager watches with their friends on a summer night.  The performances are a little melodramatic and the entire picture is filmed with a sense of dread (which I think gets in the way of it being a classic horror film), but even with its faults, I still got a ton of goosebumps on my neck throughout.  B-