New in Home Entertainment – August 25, 2015

walking dead

New in Home Entertainment

August 25, 2015

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season
Rated TV-MA
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
There’s a reason why The Walking Dead is still one of the most watched and most talked-about shows on television: it’s really, really good. The only thing that has truly frightened me about The Walking Dead was my fear of how the show would degrade without creator Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) at the reigns, but the quality has only increased with the drama and story keeping everyone glued to their sets. Even the one-hour talk show hosted by Chris Hardwick (The Talking Dead) is getting better ratings than most shows on cable, and rightly so. It’s safe to say the show is phenomenon. This latest season finds the crew of survivors finally living in what appears to be a nice little town. Unlike some of their earlier similar scenarios, they just might be in a welcome spot. But now they have to deal with their own personal psychological damage as well as the fact that the new town is weak and ripe for a takeover if they aren’t made stronger. Overall its a very binge-worthy season of television and I can’t wait to see the next chapter in October. A-

Disney Short Films Collection
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Walt Disney has always been know for its short films, many of which have gone on to great acclaim. In recent years, there has been steep competition, including that from its sister studio Pixar, but Disney takes the art form seriously and keeps coming up with new and interesting stories featuring innovative animation styles and nuances. This latest collection features 12 of Disney’s latest masterpieces. While I’m not the biggest fan of “Frozen Fever,” mostly due to Frozen brain freeze, the Oscar-winning shorts “Feast” and “Paperman” are beautifully unique and 2006’s Oscar-nominated “The Little Matchgirl” is a true testament to Disney’s ability to emotionally attach its audience in only a mere few minutes. Overall this is a wonderful collection of rich and imaginative storytelling. A-

Welcome to New York
Rated R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, a rape and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Loosely reenacting the recent events of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn controversy, Gerard Depardieu plays Mr Devereaux, a powerful French economist and political figure who rapes a cleaning lady in his hotel and then tries to use his influence and money to escape his charges. The movie definitely has authenticity written all over it. You get the sense that while the filmmakers seem a little overly careful in not using real names and titles, they most surely paint a picture of what the scenario might have been like. This reality though is not pleasant to watch and my discomfort and disgust had me exhausted and feeling pretty sick. I had to take a long, hot shower afterward just to recover. Now if only there was a decent shower for the mind. This film is going to be hard to scrub out. C+

New in Home Entertainment – August 11, 2015


New in Home Entertainment

August 11, 2015

Hot Pursuit
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Reese Witherspoon plays a by-the-book cop who is tasked with escorting a drug-dealer’s wife (Sofia Vergara) from San Antonio to Dallas where she will be testifying against the leader of a drug cartel. The film starts out cute enough, as you watch Witherspoon’s transformation from little girl to obsessive police officer, but the whole thing becomes stupid quick as the characters make way too many nonsensical decisions in a completely inauthentic manner. The biggest problem with this is that the filmmakers pace the film like this stuff is supposed to get laughter – and none of it is even mildly funny. It surprises me that with such a great duo that such a lousy movie could come of it, but the project was misconceived at every turn. I try very hard to avoid the really bad movies when they come out as they hurt my soul, and this one is so horrible I feel like I’ve met my quota for the year. F

Rated R for violent content, pervasive language, some sexuality, and drug and alcohol use – all involving teens
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
On the one year anniversary of her death, a girl who committed suicide after being cyber-bullied addresses her so-called friends online. While not terribly scary and full of stupid characters making stupid decisions, Unfriended is at least novel. The majority of the film is seen from the point of view of a computer screen as the group of friends use various social media platforms to communicate. Ultimately, its a great idea that could have used a bit more creativity to follow through with its promise. C

A Little Chaos
Rated R for some sexuality and brief nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In this romance directed by famed character actor Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet plays a talented landscape designer who is hired to build an outdoor ballroom on the grounds of Versailles. While working there she falls in love with the king’s landscape artist. The movie is interesting and extremely beautiful to look at, as you’d expect from such a project. The acting also is perfect for such a tale. Unfortunately, the script could have used some work as it feels very forced with anything involving the romance and its controversy. Until it happens, you don’t even feel a tinge of attraction between the leads, but from those around them you’d think they were having a scandalous affair when they’ve barely had a discussion of work. While annoying, it is easily overlooked and the finished product is quite lovely. B

I Am Chris Farley
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
From the Spike Network comes this loving memoir of the famed SNL actor who died a tragic death at the at the age of 33. Told from the family and friends who knew him best, the film dives mostly into what everyone loved about him rather than what drove him to his final hours. Some critics have dismissed this as being too one-sided but I rather like my memories of the comedy legend as they are and this film does nothing but lock them into place. B+

New in Home Entertainment – August 4, 2014

Addult Beginners

New in Home Entertainment

August 4, 2015

Adult Beginners
Rated R for language and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
When a young hipster (Nick Kroll) falls into severe business troubles, he moves back home with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale) to re-find himself. Without a job or purpose, he takes on the role of nanny with his three-year-old nephew. There’s something about this little indie comedy that is somewhat likable. The characters aren’t particularly interesting but they are well-presented by capable actors. The story isn’t anything special but it is relatable. The comedy isn’t pervasive but there are moments where you get a good laugh. Overall its a harmless enough distraction and I can think of worse ways to spend ninety minutes. B-
Into the Grizzly Maze
Rated R for animal attack/disturbing images, violence, terror, brief sexuality and language
Available on DVD
James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Billy Bob Thornton lead this fairly all-star cast as individuals, all with different motives, who attempt to hunt down a monstrosity of a grizzly bear who is terrorizing the community. It’s fairly obvious from the stale performances that everyone involved was there for a paycheck, but at least the filmmakers keep the movie short and full of fun bear-induced violence. I was actually impressed at the final battle sequence which looked semi-believable. In fact the ending is almost worth having to put up with the rest of the movie. C+