New in Home Entertainment – April 21, 2015


New in Home Entertainment

April 20, 2015

Escape from New York
Rated R
Available on Blu-ray
Unbeknownst to my mother, Escape from New York was the first Rated R film I ever saw. Back when VHS was a new technology, my friend invited me over to watch this ultra-cheesy B movie about a rogue criminal named Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) who is tasked with rescuing the President of the United States after his plane crashes in New York City, which is now a maximum security prison. Now, almost 35 years after its theatrical release, Escape has a new 2k restoration and the violent cheese nearly melts off of the screen. Sure it’s not a great movie. The acting is bad (even with a stellar cast) and the story is littered with cliches and plot holes. But it is still a fun movie to watch regardless. You get over the nostalgia quickly and move on to a movie whose influence is still seen today. B+

Sullivan’s Travels: The Criterion Collection
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
I love it when I discover old classics that I should have watched and just never knew I needed to. Sullivan’s Travels is such a film. Preston Sturges’s 1941 classic stars Joel McCrea as a big Hollywood director whose desire to make the social drama “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” drives him to want to live on the streets with the poor of society, just to really feel their struggle. Of course he does it in his own wealthy way, making the comedy really come to life. This new digital restoration gives the 74-year-old film a beautifully crisp look and the tale is as relevant now as it was back in the day. In fact, it might be even more relevant as we haven’t really learned from our history and are still reenacting it today. A+

Antarctica: A Year on Ice
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Documentarian Anthony Powell spends a year filming in Antarctica in order to show what it’s like for the souls that brave it out down near the South Pole. I can’t say I’ve ever had a desire to visit the southernmost continent, but that being said, I found this documentary to be both interesting in subject and stunning to look at. Using interviews along with tons of indoor and outdoor photography, you get a real sense of what you would expect if you were to ever make the decision to join the handful of people who live there. What the film doesn’t do is explain why you would want to make such a decision. Personally, I got the sense that to make such a commitment requires not a sense of adventure, but rather a slight absence of mental health. B