New in Home Entertainment – December 22, 2015

war room

New in Home Entertainment

December 22, 2015

War Room
Rated PG for thematic elements throughout
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
From the makers of the smash faith-based films Fireproof and Courageous comes their biggest film yet, War Room, which focuses on a 30-something couple who are having troubles with their marriage and careers when a wise old woman enters their lives to teach them the power of prayer. Overall, the film still has the same big problem as the other films mentioned: it’s a Christian film built for Christians to watch. I can’t see anyone outside of the faith that would get anything out of the message. In addition, there is so much cheese here that it gets distracting. Whether its the 50-something actress playing a senior citizen like she studied under Tyler Perry, or the weird jump rope contest at the end of the film, there are some quirks that keep this film from being a really great movie. That being said, the script here is much more focused than their other scripts and the acting isn’t as lousy as what we’ve seen in the past. But all of this doesn’t matter. The audience aimed for here went to see the movie in droves (it made $68 million at the box office) and I’m sure that the blu-rays will end up in tons of stockings this year as well, in spite of what any “critic” has to say about it. B-

Rated PG for fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
One of this year’s biggest disappointments at the box office was Pan from director Joe Wright. This prequel to the Peter Pan story features Peter and Captain Hook teaming up to fight the ominous Blackbeard, played here by Hugh Jackman. As you’d expect the production is fantastic and there are some really incredible set pieces, but the script is a bit too unconventional and there are some rather bizarre idiosyncrasies that distract from what could have been a really good film. I especially had problems with the inclusion of modern songs, sung or chanted by the cast throughout the film. It’s an artsy touch that should have been rethought. But even with its peculiarities, I still found the film enjoyable and can tell you that it’s worth the rental. B-

Wolf Totem
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and violence involving animals and for brief sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D combo
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear) is a master at telling stories with animals and here he presents a famous Chinese novel about a group of nomadic Mongolians, industrialized Chinese and a pack of wolves who all struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world. What drove me to want to watch the film though wasn’t the subject or the director, but rather the fantastic score which is one of the last pieces of music composed and conducted by the late James Horner. The film is surely beautiful to look at and while Annaud lays it on way too thick with the Earth day message, there is real artistry at play here and there are some incredibly majestic moments to be taken in when the sights and sounds come together. B