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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

by Ethan Alter November 22, 2011 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When Abrams met Spielberg...

Super 8
J.J. Abrams teamed up with his idol Steven Spielberg for this monster movie/coming-of-age story that follows a pre-teen crew of amateur Super 8 filmmakers who are in the process of filming a zombie epic when a creature from another world literally crashes their shoot. As long as the focus stays on these kids and their love affair with movies -- and, in the case of leads Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, each other -- Super 8 is charming fun. Sadly, Abrams botches the creature feature storyline and builds to a grand Spielbergian finish that falls well short of the bearded maestro's best efforts. But make sure to watch the closing credits, which feature the full version of the kids' Super 8 zombie masterpiece. It's better than the movie that precedes it.
Extras: Commentary from Abrams, a deconstruction of the film's big train crash plus eight additional featurettes and a batch of deleted scenes.

Conan the Barbarian
Footloose and The Thing weren't the only '80s franchises that Hollywood attempted to reboot this year. In August, the brawny pulp hero that rocketed former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to fame back in 1982 returned to the big screen in the form of Stargate Atlantis fan favorite Jason Momoa. But his new incarnation didn't exactly wow modern audiences, who stayed away despite the promise of lots of gory ultra-violence as well as the 3D-enhanced sights of Momoa's rippling muscles and co-star Rachel Nichols heaving cleavage. Too bad. We know that we'd still love to see a Momoa/Schwarzenegger throwdown one day.
Extras: Two commentary tracks and additional featurettes covering the character's long history and the life story of his creator, Robert E. Howard.

Three Amigos: 25th Anniversary Edition
If you grew up in the '80s, you've seen Three Amigos. Multiple times, most likely. Now's the time to introduce this generational touchstone to your own offspring in its pristine, unedited and now high-def converted form. The Dream Team of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short play a trio of fading silent screen stars who take their action movie heroics south of the border and unexpectedly have to fight real banditos in order to save the occupants of a small Mexican town. It's supremely silly stuff, but executed with a wink, a smile and a killer Mariachi theme song.
Extras: Interviews with the cast and deleted scenes.

Also on DVD:
British rising star Dominic Cooper won strong reviews for his dual role as Saddam Hussein's son Uday and his double Latif in the tense drama, The Devil's Double. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jessica Alba and the rest of the cast of Spy Kids: All the Time in the World were largely panned for their appearances in Robert Rodriguez's ineffective attempt at a franchise reboot. We feel especially bad for Joel McHale, who had this movie and Community's midseason "break" happen in the span of four short months. The Marvel Knights Collection offers six of the company's motion comics releases, from Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men to Robert Rodi's Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. Finally, Criterion upgrades two more of its indispensible catalogue titles to Blu-ray: Sidney Lumet's masterful drama 12 Angry Men and Wes Anderson's second (and still his best) offbeat comedy Rushmore.

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