New in Home Entertainment – June 12, 2012

New in Home Entertainment

June 12, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In this latest adventure of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, as told by the visual virtuoso director Guy Ritchie, Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are back and this time out they join forces to do battle with an old nemesis played by Mad Men’s Jared Harris.  Just as in the first one, the movie and production are wonderfully shot and very nicely directed.  The problem here is that the script is far less of a mystery and much more of an action adventure film.  At least their last outing wasn’t just eye candy but gave you something to chew on as well.  This film is the least mysterious mystery movie I’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately this makes for sort of a dull picture that does nothing but serve up mindless entertainment, which is one thing a film like this shouldn’t do.  C

Harold and Maude: The Criterion Collection

Rated PG (but would nowadays be a strong PG-13)
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This quirky masterpiece by Hal Ashby just might be the strangest romantic comedy ever made.  After all, the thought of a death-obsessed young man falling in love with an eccentric senior citizen doesn’t exactly sound like a film recipe made in heaven.  And yet it ends up being an hysterical yet dark comedy that becomes impossible to take your eyes off of.  And with the music of Cat Stevens in the back ground the film comes off as light and airy.  This new Criterion set is packed with great features including a new digital restoration, new audio commentary, new interview with Cat Stevens and more.  A

In Darkness
Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality, nudity and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Polish with English Subtitles

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, In Darkness tells the true story of a Polish Catholic man who saves a group of Jews from being slaughtered during the holocaust by hiding them in the sewers that he and a friend use for smuggling.  The story itself is nothing new as it steals from many of the other various films of this genre.  Fortunately, little facts from the true story pop up making the tale watchable.  As you would expect, the film is dark (largely takes place in a sewer) and uncomfortable.  As you wouldn’t expect, it is very sexual.  The movie plays on physical relationships almost as much as it does on fear, suffering and redemption.  B-

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

Nick Cage is back as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, a man whose deal with the devil forced him to become a hellblazing bounty hunter.  Now in Eastern Europe, Johnny teams up with a rebel monk in order to protect a boy from the devil.  I remember enjoying these comics as a kid and while the characters are right, the story and the writing just isn’t.  Just like Cage’s last 3D hellish adventure, Drive Angry, the 3D is gimmicky but humorous.  If you don’t have a 3D set then you will miss out on some of what the filmmakers included in order to make the film bearable.  As it is, this new Ghost Rider turns in a mediocre super hero film that could have been much better under different direction and scribe.  C

Falling Skies: The Complete First Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Steven Spielberg has had his fingers in a lot of television pies this last year but perhaps the best of all of them is this TNT original series about an Alien invasion.  Beginning after the invasion has already begun, what survivors are left on Earth are now gathering for support and retaliation.  Noah Wyle leads the cast of Earthlings and the show has a very nice groove to it.  Capturing the spirit of shows like The Walking Dead and the short-lived-but-excellent Jericho, Skies grabs a hold of you and forces you to be interested in their lives and their futures.  A-