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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 11, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Evil Queen abides.

Snow White and the Huntsman
Try for a moment (if you can) to forget about the all the off-screen stuff that recently went down between the star of this fantasy blockbuster Kristen Stewart and her director Rupert Sanders. The movie they made together is still a pretty good contemporary version of the oft-told fairytale, boasting great productions values, a gritty Game of Thrones-like vibe (minus the rampant nudity and bloodshed present in that HBO series) and a terrific villain in the form of Charlize Theron's Evil Queen, continuing her recent string of great bad girl performances (after last year's superb Young Adult). As for the title characters, Stewart's Snow White is an eminently rootable heroine -- if a bit stiff in her big dramatic moments -- while Chris Hemsworth trades in Thor's hammer for the Huntsman's axe, but retains his action movie gravitas. One of the summer movie season's more pleasant surprises, Snow White and the Huntsman is worth seeing for reasons beyond being the movie that broke up Rob Pattinson and KStew.
Extras: A commentary track with Sanders, his visual effects supervisor and co-editor (Stewart, perhaps not surprisingly, is absent), four featurettes, a 360-degree tour of the central castle set and a second screen feature with picture-in-picture behind the scenes material and a virtual flip book.
Click here to read our original review

What to Expect When You're Expecting
Lola Versus
Girl in Progress
In addition to being a solid piece of blockbuster entertainment, Snow White and the Huntsman was also one of the summer's best female-driven features. It's certainly better than this trio of warm weather titles, where women take center stage only to be completely let down by the material. Let's start with one of 2012's worst movies, What to Expect When You're Expecting, a loose adaptation of the bestselling advice book for soon-to-be parents. Having assembled an ensemble of skilled comic performers -- including Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Rock -- the filmmakers than force these actors to play out a series of stale, unfunny sitcom-ready situations that leave viewers loathing virtually every character onscreen. If you're already trepidatious about procreating, this movie will send you directly to either the nunnery or the priesthood. Lola Versus, meanwhile, will just give viewers more reason to loath New York hipsters than they already do. Mumblecore icon-turned-indie movie goddess Greta Gerwig stars as a single woman on the cusp of thirty whose life goes into a tailspin in all the predictable ways (terribly hook-ups with strangers, emotional outbursts etc. etc.) following a devastating split with her fiancé. If you want a funnier, more resonant -- if still occasionally irritating -- look at what it's like to a single woman in contemporary New York, just wait for Girls to return to HBO in January. Finally, there's Girl in Progress, in which Eva Mendes plays the irresponsible single mother of a precocious teenager (Cierra Ramirez) whose desire to fast-forward through adolescence and into adulthood leads her to make a number of poor life decisions. The least off-putting of the three movies, Girl in Progress still wallows too much in easy sentiment and the young protagonist's plan to make herself the star of her own "coming of age" story is an absurd contrivance. At least Mendes does her best to bring some authenticity to the proceedings, believable portraying an adult who in many ways is more of a child than her actual kid.
Extras: What to Expect comes with a few deleted scenes and a pair of featurettes; Lola Versus includes an audio commentary with the writer/directors Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, as well as outtakes, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, two featurettes and footage from the world premiere; and Girl in Progress offers up a lone making-of featurette.
Click here to read our original reviews of What to Expect When You're Expecting and Lola Versus

Ghosts of the Abyss 3D
A week after James Cameron's Oscar-winning epic Titanic washed up on shelves in a new high-def edition, here comes the 3D-enhanced Blu-ray release of his 2003 documentary about exploring the wreck of the real-life ocean liner. Cameron and his pal and Titanic co-star Bill Paxton, head up this particular cinematic expedition, which takes viewers miles below the ocean's surface into the Titanic's waterlogged staterooms and passages. The director's sheer enthusiasm about the history of the ship as well as his second career as an underwater adventurer (a job that recently led him to climb into a tiny capsule and plunge seven miles down into the Challenger Deep) makes him a fun guide to follow over the course of this hour-long adventure. Originally produced for IMAX screens, the movie does lose a bit of its grandeur at home, but think of it as the ultimate bonus feature not included on the 4-disc Titanic set.
Extras: A 90-minute extended version of the film and a featurette with bonus making-of footage.

Airplane!
"Don't call me Shirley." "I speak jive." "And Leon is getting laaaaarger." Those are just some of the immortal quotes packed into the 90-minutes of hilarity that is Airplane!, the 1980 spoof of '70s disaster movies that inspired a generation of comic filmmakers. The high-def transfer isn't anything to write home about (it actually makes the movie look even cheaper than it did back in the day), but if you don't already own this undisputed classic, here's your chance to rectify that mistake.
Extras: All of the bonus features included here previously appeared on the "Don't Call Me Shirley" standard DVD edition, so don't upgrade in the hopes of new extras. Those goodies again are a commentary tack with the directors (known collectively as ZAZ and individually as David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker), a trivia track and the "Long Haul" version where viewers can branch out from the film and explore behind-the-scenes material like interviews and deleted scenes.

Also on DVD:
A delightfully weird homage to heady sci-fi movies of the '70s and '80s, the cult oddity Beyond the Black Rainbow is a midnight movie in the making. Originally released in its native Australia in 2009, The Loved Ones aims to be the bloodiest prom night-themed horror movie since... um, Prom Night and mostly succeeds. With the fourth Paranormal Activity due out next month, the previous three installments are packaged together in a handy Paranormal Activity Trilogy Gift Set for the convenience of those viewers who have somehow managed to miss the most popular horror franchise around at the moment. The evocative Lebanese film Where Do We Go Now? follows a group of women trying to prevent a religious war from breaking out in their isolated village. A seemingly ordinary kiddie soccer game becomes the sprawling story of five Los Angeles families wrestling with personal and social problems in Game of Life. 19 years and one wife ago, Tom Cruise starred in the blockbuster film adaptation of John Grisham's mega-bestseller The Firm, newly available on Blu-ray. Also hitting high def for the first time is the underrated caper film The Score, starring Edward Norton, Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, as well as the 1998 cult horror classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space, which gave a whole generation of kids yet another reason to be freaked out by clowns.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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