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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

by Ethan Alter February 28, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hangin' With Mr. Scorsese.

Hugo
2011's most-nominated film arrives on DVD two days after the Academy Awards ceremony, where it went home with five statues, all of them in the technical categories. All we have to say is: Oscars, schmoscars -- Martin Scorsese's sumptuous adaptation of the best-selling children's novel will be watched and enjoyed for decades to come. Set in a storybook version of Paris circa the 1930s, the film follows the exploits of titular orphan (Asa Butterfield), who unexpectedly meets and befriends pioneering silent filmmaker George Méliès (Sir Ben Kingsley). While the movie's 3D-enhanced razzle-dazzle may not be as impressive on the small screen as it was in theaters, Hugo's emotional journey and Scorsese's passion for early cinema is still larger than life.
Extras: No commentary track from Scorsese unfortunately, but there are five making-of featurettes, including one devoted to the life and work of Méliès.

Click here to read our original review.

Justice League: Doom
Based on Mark Waid's excellent "Tower of Babel" story arc from the pre-New 52 JLA comic, Doom finds some of the Justice League's most formidable villains (among them Bane, Cheetah and Metallo) uniting to take out their colorfully-clad nemeses. Here's the twist: the bad guys are using battle plans formulated by none other than... Batman. As in the comic book version, the highlight of Doom is watching the JLA get their clocks cleaned by the Dark Knight's inventive, unpredictable and thoroughly effective strategies. (Less interesting is the Legion of Doom's subsequent plot for world domination.) While not quite as good as The New Frontier (still the best of these DC animated movies) Doom offers plenty of action and the return of such fan favorite vocal performances as Kevin Conroy's Batman, Tim Daly's Superman and Carl Lumbly's Martian Manhunter.
Extras: An advanced look at the next DC Animated film, Superman vs. The Elite, a tribute to writer Dwayne McDuffie, who died last year, a commentary track with the creative team, two bonus episodes from the late, great Justice League animated series and two featurettes, one about Batman's role in the JLA and the other exploring the growing diversity of DC's superhero stable with heroes like Cyborg.

Johnny English Reborn
Because someone out there apparently demanded it, Rowan Atkinson revived his 007 knock-off Johnny English for a second go-around of juvenile humor and listless farce. It's hard to tell whether the movie's utter lack of laughs is intentional or if the filmmakers (and Atkinson) simply botched every single scene. Either way, Johnny English Reborn is tedious in the extreme. Note to Atkinson: If you absolutely have to bring back one of your old characters, please make it Blackadder.
Extras: A commentary track with the director and screenwriter, four Blu-ray exclusive featurettes and a collection of deleted scenes and outtakes that are about as funny as the main feature, which is to say, not very.

Answers to Nothing
While legal reasons undoubtedly prevented the makers of this L.A.-set ensemble drama from calling their film Crash 2, Answers to Nothing is quite clearly a descendant of Paul Haggis's surprise (and hotly contested) Oscar winner. Here, the disappearance of a young girl kicks off a web of multiple storylines -- all of which are interconnected, natch -- featuring such thinly-drawn characters as a philandering psychiatrist (Dane Cook... yes, you read that right), a devoted cop and single mom (Julie Benz), a rookie cop (Erik Palladino) and a self-hating black television writer (Kali Hawk). Much like Crash, Answers to Nothing meanders along on its way to a not-very-interesting destination.
Extras: Two music videos, deleted scenes (including an alternate ending that's not substantially different from the original finale) and a commentary track with the filmmaking team.

Also on DVD:
Quite possibly 2011's single worst movie (although I Don't Know How She Does It comes close), I Melt With You features a group of fortysomething actors (among them, Jeremy Piven, Thomas Jane and Rob Lowe) embarrassing themselves in a half-assed, wildly silly scenario involving a reunion of college buddies that goes horribly wrong. Chilean-born action star Marko Zaror reunites with his regular director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza (the team behind the goofy, but fun 2007 vigilante flick Mirageman) for Mandrill, about a bounty hunter looking to get revenge on the men that killed his parents. So it's like the male version of Colombiana then, huh? Finally, the Criterion Collection gets their mitts on 1994's Vanya on 42nd Street, a terrific and innovative filmed performance of Anton Chekhov's classic play, Uncle Vanya.

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