I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

by admin March 27, 2012 12:50 pm
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Eyebrows were raised when Stephen Daldry's 9/11-themed drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close snuck into the Best Picture race this past awards season despite the fact that 1) Almost nobody liked it and 2) Almost nobody went to see it. While we usually like rooting for the underdog, we've got to side with the majority on this one; despite a few emotionally affecting scenes, EI&DC is largely tedious and annoying, thanks mainly to its off-putting main character, precocious kid sleuth Oskar (Thomas Horn, doing his best with a lemon of a role), whose beloved father (Tom Hanks) perished in the attack on the Twin Towers. As he travels around New York attempting to solve the final puzzle his father left for him, Oskar encounters a number of other lost souls in need of healing, none of whom think to call the cops and report an unsupervised 11-year-old wandering between the five boroughs. (A climactic plot twist tries to explain this away in completely unconvincing terms.) If you're looking for the most evocative portrait of post-9/11 New York, Spike Lee's 25th Hour remains the movie to beat.
Extras: Two making-of featurettes, a short documentary about one 9/11 victim's story and another doc about Oscar nominee Max von Sydow directed by the veteran actor's son.
Click here to read our original review

In the Land of Blood and Honey
With this Bosnian-set love story that unfolds against the backdrop of the 1992-1995 war that shook the region, Angelina Jolie finds a way to merge her cinematic and humanitarian careers. Stepping behind the camera for the first time (she also wrote the screenplay), Jolie depicts the larger conflict through the unlikely relationship that develops between a beautiful Muslim painter (Zana Marjanovic) and a Serbian police officer (Goran Kostic). Romance is in the air when they first meet, but the sudden, violent outbreak of war tears them apart. The next time they see each other, they're in a prison camp where she's an inmate and he's one of the jailers. It's clear that Jolie feels passionately about the subject matter and wants the audience to understand the history and horrors of a conflict that wasn't fully understood on these shores, even at the time it was happening. But dramatically, the movie is something of a slog. One wonders if Jolie hadn't been better off making a documentary featuring interviews with actual survivors and soldiers instead of creating fictional characters that never feel real enough to care about.
Extras: A making-of featurette, deleted scenes and a Q&A with Jolie and one of the movie's stars.

Corman's World
B-movie king Roger Corman didn't get much respect in the prime his filmmaking career in the '50s and '60s, but in recent decades he's been the subject of a number of admiring profiles as his progeny (among them Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard) rose through the filmmaking ranks to become major Hollywood talents. Alex Stapleton's new documentary is another upbeat look back at the Corman's lengthy career, with testimonials from such past collaborators as Scorsese, Howard, John Sayles and Pam Grier as well as plenty of archival clips from such low-budget classics as the original Fast and the Furious and The Wild Angels. It's a comprehensive, if superficial tribute to the so-called King of the B's.
Extras: Longer interviews and personalized messages to Corman.

The Bodyguard
In light of recent events, The Bodyguard's Blu-ray bow carries a whiff of tragedy rather than triumph. Arguably the high point of Whitney Houston's career, this romantic drama about an actress/musician (Houston, natch) and her handsome bodyguard (Kevin Costner) became a box-office smash when it hit theaters twenty years ago, while the singer's cover version of "I Will Always Love You" became the "My Heart Will Go On" of its day. Interestingly, The Bodyguard proved to be the high-water mark for all concerned. Costner's white-hot career started to nose-dive the following year with back-to-back disappointments A Perfect World and Wyatt Earp, while director Mick Jackson's next two assignments were the D.O.A. Dana Carvey comedy Clean Slate and the cheesy disaster flick Volcano. As for Houston... well, we all know what happened to her.
Extras: A retrospective documentary and the "I Will Always Love You" music video, which used to air around-the-clock on MTV.

Also on DVD:
If you thought Meet the Spartans was bad, just wait 'til you get a load of Breaking Wind, a direct-to-DVD Twilight parody that's so lacking in wit, humor and competent filmmaking, calling it an overlong SNL skit would be an insult to overlong SNL skits. Somehow, the cast and crew willingly showed up to participate in a commentary track for the DVD, which either indicates that they have no shame or they were promised a free lunch. (Given that they'll likely be unemployable after people get a look at this movie, they should take advantage of free food while they can.) Breaking Wind is so bad, it even makes a piece of franchise refuse like Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked look like an Oscar-winning classic. While not one of David Cronenberg's best films, A Dangerous Method is still well worth seeking out for the performances by Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen as groundbreaking psychiatrists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud respectively and Keira Knightley as the female patient that comes between them. Finally, the Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca: 70th Anniversary Edition turns 70 this year and Warner Bros. is marking the occasion with a lavish Blu-ray box set that includes a 60-page photo book, collectible drink coasters, three feature-length documentaries about the film and, of course, a remastered version of the movie itself.

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