New in Home Entertainment – February 25, 2014

New in Home Entertainment

February 25, 2014

Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

Just in time for the Oscars is what I will now predict to be the biggest Oscar-winning film for 2013.  While it might not win the big prize (my ballot will be predicting 12 Years a Slave for that trophy), it is safe to say that it will win for director and many of the other technical awards.  For roughly an hour and a half you are alongside Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as they try to stay alive in space after their shuttle is destroyed by an exploded Russian satellite.  Thrilling doesn’t begin to describe it.  I was literally on the edge of my seat for the entire picture, chewing my nails to the nub.  The biggest critique you will probably hear about this film is that it plays better on a big screen, especially a big screen  with 3D.  While this might be true, its still great on a small screen, and there is a 3D version for those of you with the right sets.  Unlike most movies released today, I will say this is definitely one to splurge for the 3D copy if you have the right theater setup.  A+

Thor: The Dark World
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

Being that the first outing for the Norse god was quite bad, my hopes weren’t too high for this sequel, but thankfully the film turned out to be a vast improvement.  Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor took over the reigns from Kenneth Branagh and the result is a good enough super hero movie that will keep fans happy until the upcoming Captain America sequel.  Just don’t ask me to describe the plot.  It is absolutely nuts and secondary to the action, special effects and interesting character interactions.  It would have been nice to have a serviceable story, but at least most will be kept distracted enough to be entertained.  B-

Rated R for some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I hardly ever love Alexander Payne movies much the first time I see them, but knowing this I always sit through them a couple of more viewings to see if they will grow on me and they always have.  After watching this black and white comedy about a delusional older man (Bruce Dern) who is accompanied by his son (Will Forte) on a road trip to Nebraska when he thinks he has won a million dollars from a Publishers Clearinghouse-like operation I felt thoroughly entertained but not overly impressed.  Then I watched it again, and again.  Just like with Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants, I found myself really taken by the film.  It is a wonderful comedy with amazing performances and a heart-warming story of familial love.  I don’t really understand why it needed to be in black and white, but its not distracting in the least.  A-

Narco Cultura
Rated R for grisly graphic images of disturbing violent content, drug material , language and brief nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Very similar to the violent rap that penetrated the mainstream culture in the 90s, there is a subculture of Mexican music that has found a new popularity amongst Mexicans and Latinos both south and north of the border.  Glamorizing the lives of violent cartel members, the music sounds like positive tunes to those who don’t speak Spanish, but those who do understand are told stories of drugs, bazookas and beheadings to a friendly  rhythm.  This documentary chronicles this music and its relationship to the horrible violence seen in Mexico and has you scratching your head at why it has had such little effect on American violence.  It follows both a singer in the musical movement who worships the cartel leaders as well as a member of the CSI unit in Juarez who struggles to rid his country of the senseless violence.  In 2012, Juarez saw over 2000 homicides while across the border in El Paso the number was 14.  While these rates seem to be going down, the music heralds the very criminals at the source of the epidemic and has found its way into pop culture.  While there were many scary movies in 2013, this was by far the most horrifying to me.  A