New in Home Entertainment – March 4, 2014

New in Home Entertainment

March 4, 2014

12 Years a Slave
Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

12 years follows the life of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from the north who is kidnapped and sold to an oppressive slave owner (Michael Fassbender) in Louisiana.  This newly discovered true story is remarkable and possibly the most accurate portrayal of slavery in the United States.  While incredibly harsh and at times difficult to watch, the film ends being overwhelmingly rewarding.  You start to cheer on Solomon and his companions, hoping that things might turn out okay, even though the odds are horribly against them.  And talk about great performances.  The cast here is tremendously talented, stirring up the kinds of emotions that bring its audience past such notions as white guilt or black pride and into the world of empathy and love for fellow humans.  Worthy of every award it has won, including this year’s Oscar for best picture and Lupita Nyong’o for best supporting actress, 12 Years a Slave is an modern classic that will be impactful for decades to come.  A+

The Grandmaster
Rated PG-13 for violence, some smoking, brief drug use and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Ip Man, Bruce Lee’s legendary martial arts instructor, has been a major subject of asian cinema over the last few years.  Once again his story is being told, only this time with iconic director Wong Kar-wei (In the Mood for Love), big stars like Tony Leung (Lust, Caution) and Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha), and action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping (Kill Bill).  The production is very good and deserving of the two Oscar noms for cinematography and costume design, but the story is difficult to follow and frankly quite annoying.  I really wanted to like the movie but I was just too distracted by the lousy writing and narcissistic excess.  I’m sure there is something lost in translation here, but I love martial arts films and I couldn’t enjoy this one at all.  C