New in Home Entertainment – November 4, 2014


New in Home Entertainment


November 4, 2014


Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
I expected the worst when seeing this new Disney spinoff starring Angelina Jolie as the popular Sleeping Beauty villain. To me the idea felt more like a gimmick then a story I wanted to see. Once again, I love being wrong. Turning Maleficent into a hero turned out to be a fantastic idea for Disney and Jolie is perfect in the starring role. Sure the king comes off as a tad too evil and young Aurora as almost a simpleton, but the story is interesting and the special effects and overall pacing add to the enjoyment. I especially loved the lush score from James Newton Howard. B+

Planes: Fire and Rescue
Rated PG for action and some peril
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
Another Disney film that I had the lowest of expectations for is the newest pic from the Planes franchise. Unfortunately, the film met them. I’ll admit that this is a better project than their initial outing, which just seemed like the same old race picture we’ve gotten too much of. But even though the setting is different and the story is somewhat novel, the jokes are still stale and the whole project seems like more of a money grab than the typical Disney storytelling we know and love. C-

Hercules: Extended Cut
Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D
This Hercules for the next generation stars Dwayne Johnson as the legendary hero who is more of a smart salesman than a supernatural demigod. Selling his services to whoever can pay for them, he and his crew must fight their way out of cruel trap. The plot is interesting at least and has its fun moments throughout. Johnson is at his charismatic best and even his henchmen (and woman) are entertaining. Unfortunately the script is weak and the dialog is laborious when it shouldn’t be. Had the adventure been better written, this could have been a much better film than what is seen here. C

A Most Wanted Man
Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In one of the final projects we’ll get to see from him, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German secret service agent who tries to thwart an attack from a potential Islamist threat that has just entered Hamburg. Based on the John Le Carre novel, the film is intricate in plot and extremely well written. It’s also incredibly relevant and even eye-opening. Hoffman’s performance is brilliant and the rest of the talented cast follow suit just fine. It never pretends to be a Bond film, but rather it’s more of a thinking man’s spy thriller. A-

The Dog
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This fantastic new documentary from Drafthouse Films follows the life of John Wojtowicz, the real-life inspiration for Al Pacino’s character in Dog Day Afternoon. When you hear the phrase “it takes all kinds” this guy now comes to mind for me. While I would never want to meet him, he certainly is an interesting and peculiar little dude who comes off here as more of a freak show than the anti-hero Pacino portrayed in the 1975 Sidney Lumet classic. And while I was deeply disturbed by most of this guy’s life, I also couldn’t stop watching it. Almost like a perverted and criminal version of Honey Boo Boo. A-