New in Home Entertainment – February 11, 2014

New in Home Entertainment

February 11, 2014

All is Lost
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Not many actors can carry a film by themselves.  This year even Sandra Bullock got a hand from George Clooney.  In All is Lost, Robert Redford is the sole actor playing a man lost at sea when his yacht is destroyed.  A challenging film from start to finish, All is Lost is a great example of the struggle to survive against insurmountable odds, but as a narrative it lacks.  If I’m going to watch a movie about being lost at sea I would much prefer to take in Life of Pi or Kon Tiki.  Redford is amazing, and probably should have received an Oscar nom, but I have no interest in watching the film again and cannot give it a strong recommendation.  B-

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and innuendo
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Napoleon Dynamite director Jerusha Hess loves silly, simple and clean comedies and this year’s Austenland gives us another very similar outing.  Here extreme Jane Austen fan Keri Russell travels to a resort in England named, sensibly, Austenland where she hopes to bring her favorite novels to life.  The plot is preposterous and the writing isn’t too great, but the film goes all in and the end effect is at least charming.  I especially loved American Pie’s Jennifer Coolidge as the brainless yet boisterous millionaire hoping for her own special memories.  B-

Spinning Plates
Available on DVD

This foodie documentary follows three restaurants in different stages of success and struggle, all trying to do what they love to do most – feed people good food.  I was attracted to the film when I heard that Chicago’s Alinea, possibly the best restaurant in America, was going to be a chief area of focus.  But then I was equally pulled in with the stories of the family diner in Iowa and the failing Mexican restaurant in Arizona.  This terrific little film is a must watch if you’re like me and love learning about food as much or more than you like eating it.  A-

Mother of George
Rated R for sexuality, some language and a disturbing image
Available on DVD

Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead’s Michonne) proves she has some major acting chops in this fascinating story about an African woman living in New York City who is put under immense cultural pressure when she is unable to give her new husband a child.  Winner of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Cinematography Award, the film is simply gorgeous to look at although some of the musical choices were awkward in spite of their significance.  It’s a tough drama but certainly worth the watch.  B+

The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition
Rated G
Available on Blu-ray

Certainly one of my all-time favorite Disney films is finally getting the Blu-ray treatment as well as a nice amount of new bonus features.  Following the adventures of Mowgli, a young Indian boy raised and protected by animals, The Jungle Book has some of the best animation and music amongst all of their classic films.  New in this edition is a sing-along Bear-E-Oke as well as a view of an ending that almost came to be.  A