New in Home Entertainment – June 9, 2015


New in Home Entertainment

June 9, 2015

The Duff
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), according to this story, is the member of a group of friends who is thought to be included merely because he/she makes everyone else seem more attractive. In this teen comedy, Mae Whitman discovers that she might be her friends DUFF and she strikes out to do something about it. You would fully expect a film like this to be a simple and stupid comedy not worthy of being watched or appreciated by anyone over the age of 18, but instead we get smart and complicated storytelling that brings back both a nostalgia for our teen comedies along with a dose of sophistication that is entirely unexpected. It never tries to be more than what it is, but it totally over-delivers on its outward promise, like a good DUFF should. B+

Project Almanac
Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This found footage teen drama follows a young man who discovers a time machine in his father’s lab and upon tweaking it, finds a way to send he and his friends back to change their destinies. I fully expected to hate this film, but honestly it is a thought-provoking story and while the science is insane, the decisions made by the teens are realistic given their circumstances. Too many times I found myself thinking that they should have been more creative in terms of their time travel, but then I remembered that the movie is made about teens making silly teen decisions, making it weird that the film has an unusual realism at its base given the overall premise. B-

1776: Director’s Cut
Not Rated (Original was Rated G)
Available on Blu-ray
Not a lot of folks know about this 1972 movie musical, but this classic musical based on the 1969 Broadway hit is a wonderful little movie and very worthy of Sony’s special treatment here. In this new blu-ray edition of this musical about our founding fathers and the writing of the Declaration of Independence, Sony decided to fully remaster the film in 4K and clean up the soundtrack to the point that the film has never looked or sounded as good as it does here. And while some critics think the film a little silly (and it might be), it is still full of fantastic songs performed by amazing actors. It is a highly enjoyable pic from the most unusual of historic sources. A

Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
While it is popular with a small, underground section of sci-fi fans, I’m surprised that this little TNT series hasn’t gotten the same recognition as that of shows like The Walking Dead. In season four, Noah Wyle is back as the leader of a group of humans still at war with an aggressive alien race and trying to not only merely survive, but fight back as well. The writing is creative and ultimately the show works merely because they keep breaking new ground in their storytelling. That and the special effects are much better than they should be for a cable series. Also hitting blu-ray and DVD this week is TNT’s new show The Last Ship which has turned out to be quite the big hit for the station. B