New in Home Entertainment – June 25, 2013

New in Home Entertainment

June 25, 2013

Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Korean director Chan-wook Park is world-famous for his stylistic yet violent movies such as Oldboy, Lady Vengeance and Thirst.  His first truly Hollywood film stars Mia Wasikowska as young girl whose father dies in a tragic car accident and whose uncle (Matthew Goode) she has never heard of suddenly appears for the funeral.  Her strangely ambivalent mother (Nicole Kidman) not only welcomes the guest, but practically replaces her deceased husband with him as well.  Then the movie gets twisted.  “Sometimes you have do something bad, to stop yourself from doing something worse” is a quote that fits the film perfectly.  Of course the “worse” spoken of here is inevitable as you would suspect.  This film is worth watching just for the superb performances and brilliant directing.  That being said, the film’s content will turn a lot of folks off.  This is not an easy film to watch, and if you don’t find it disturbing, you yourself are probably disturbed.  At my house, I loved it and my wife hated it.  The most important thing is that we kept talking about it.  This is a crazy and eclectic piece of cinema that is a great introduction for most Americans to this uber-talented filmmaker.  A-

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, dangerous stunts, a drug-related incident and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are childhood friends who have a love for magic so deep that they grow up to headline a big Vegas stage act.  After years of boredom doing the same show over and over again, they fall prey to a new Chris Angel/David Blaine-like magician played by Jim Carey who wins the hearts of Vegas magic fans by performing crazy stunts.  From the moment you see Carrell and Buscemi grown up – this is a miserable watch.  The actors are so focused on acting like bored actors that they come off as bored actors.  The film not only fails to achieve a decent sense of comedy, but rather transforms itself into a state of depression.  It’s not until too late and too little that Alan Arkin pops up to save the day and gives the film what little comedic energy it possesses.  Of course then the third act hits and provides one of the stupidest endings imaginable.  It’s safe to say I’m not a fan.  D

A Place at the Table
Rated PG for thematic elements and brief mild language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This very heartfelt documentary explores America’s extreme problem with the growing rate of hunger, especially that of hunger suffered by children.  The problem is explored not as a means to bring its audience down but rather to make aware and hopefully inspire.  You definitely get the idea that this is a solvable crisis, but that a paradigm shift needs to occur in both government and in the way we raise our own children.  Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars all lend their talents to help make this a truly impactful documentary worth watching.  A-

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series
Available on DVD

For many white kids across America, including me, their chief exposure to black culture came from watching this seminal animated series, created, produced and hosted by Bill Cosby, about a group of kids from urban Philadelphia who learn life lessons while having fun hanging out.  For those unfamiliar with the show, it might now seem like a badly stereotyped cartoon in somewhat bad taste, but for many, Fat Albert is a wonderful piece of nostalgia and this new DVD box set delivers the most complete collection of the classic show ever assembled.  B+