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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

by admin October 23, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Uncle Sam urges you to do your patriotic duty and see Magic Mike.

Magic Mike
Steven Soderbergh's a director with a proven track record, so we probably shouldn't have been as skeptical of Magic Mike -- the all-male stripper drama starring Channing Tatum that was based in part on the actor's own life -- as we were heading into the summer movie season. But the film's trailers (which played like Showgirls with dudes) and the presence of the wildly inconsistent Tatum and Matthew McConaughey had us concerned. Fortunately, it turned out that Soderbergh knew exactly what kind of film he was making: a typically layered and subtle character study wrapped inside a great time at the movies. Continuing his 21 Jump Street victory lap, Tatum displayed plenty of charisma (also: abs) as the titular male entertainer, who slowly comes to realize that stripping is distracting from his other business endeavors (like furniture-making) instead of making them easier to pursue. McConaughey, meanwhile, re-discovers his old movie star swagger as Mike's boss, a prime slab of beefcake named Dallas. But the real star here is Soderbergh, who keeps the crowd entertained with great dance sequences while making a number of interesting stylistic and narrative choices to tell what's a fairly familiar story. Far from being a campy disaster, Magic Mike turns out to be one of the director's most commercial -- and entertaining -- films.
Extras: Extended dance sequences for all you ladies (and guys) to enjoy in the privacy of your own home, a dance play mode that lets you skip all the talky stuff and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Click here to read our original review

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
If we were nervous about Magic Mike, this supernatural-laced alternate history was one of the big summer movies we were most looking forward to. Besides the irresistible hook promised by the title, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter also came dripping with plenty of geek cred: the filmmaking team included screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith adapting his own best-selling book, producer Tim Burton and director Timur Bekmambetov, the Russian director behind Wanted and the great cult flick Night Watch. So what went wrong? Well, for starters, the movie never really buys into its own premise, failing to bring a convincing set of rules and logic to its version of our 16th president's life before and during the Civil War. (Granted, we weren't expecting -- and didn't want -- absolute realism, but we did hope for some basic consistency.) And then the plotting is all over the place, lurching from scene-to-scene with the bare minimum of connective tissue. And then there's the problem of its tone, which vacillates uneasily between campy excess and grim-faced vigilante movie, as Lincoln takes his axe to a series of bloodsuckers in order to avenge his family and, later, the nation. It's a sign of what a missed opportunity the movie is that its title winds up being the most imaginative thing about it.
Extras: A commentary track with Grahame-Smith, five feaurettes and a special tie-in graphic novel.
Click here to read our original review

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Another summer disappointment -- this time of the indie variety -- this pre-apocalyptic comedy stars Steve Carell as yet another sad-sack who finds love with an unexpected partner, in this case manic pixie dream girl Keira Knightley. With only three weeks to go until an enormous asteroid pulverizes the planet, recently jilted hubby Dodge (Carell) hits the road to track down an old flame, bringing the daffy Penny (Knightley) along for the ride. Their journey brings them face-to-face with a variety of big-name guest stars popping up in small, thankless roles -- among them, Connie Britton, Gillian Jacobs, Rob Corddry and Patton Oswalt -- and ends at a destination so sickly sweet, it makes you wish that asteroid moved a little faster.
Extras: A commentary track with Scafaria, outtakes, a behind-the-scenes documentary and a featurette about building the perfect playlist for the end of the world.
Click here to read our original review

Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition
I, Robot: 3D Blu-ray Edition
Although it may have been a commercial flop at the time of its release in 1982, it's hard to think of another contemporary science fiction film -- beyond Star Wars, of course -- that has had such a lasting impact as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. If nothing else, the movie's stunning production design has had a clear influence on almost every futuristic dystopia to appear onscreen over the past thirty years. But even beyond those visuals, it's the movie's aura of mystery (no matter how much Scott has since tried to spoil that element in interviews) and provocative characterizations that keep bringing viewers back. You can also credit Blade Runner with launching the era of the "Director's Cut" as Scott's 1992 revise (which famously eliminated star Harrison Ford's narration and cut a happily-ever-after coda that borrowed footage from The Shining) single-handedly created a home entertainment market for alternate versions of beloved (and not-so-beloved) movies. On moratorium since its 25th anniversary edition a few years back, this new 30th anniversary edition features high-def transfers of the movie's theatrical cut, the director's cut, the so-called "final cut" from 2007 and the rarely-seen workprint version. Also scoring a re-release this week is Alex Proyas's I, Robot, which also owes more than a little something to Blade Runner. Freely adapted from Isaac Asimov's short-story anthology of the same name, the movie stars Will Smith as a detective tasked with investigating a murder that may have been perpetrated by a high-tech robot (performed by Alan Tudyk via the magic of motion capture). The ethical questions posed by the movie certainly feel as influenced by Blade Runner as they are by Asimov and you can't look at the movie's depiction of 2035 Chicago without flashing to Scott's version of 2019 Los Angeles. But I, Robot is much more of a straightforward action movie overall and, on that level, it's mostly entertaining. This re-release includes a new 3D transfer (as well as a high-def and standard versions in traditional 2D) that highlights its impressive special effects work.
Extras: Most of the bonus features on the Blade Runner disc have been repurposed from the 25th anniversary editing, including three commentary tracks, an introduction by Scott to each of the four versions of the film, vintage trailers and featurettes and extensive behind-the-scenes documentaries. What's new here is a Stills Gallery boasting more than 1,000 images (all rendered in high-def) and a book with additional photos and production art. I, Robot comes with an audio commentary, a making-of featurette and a still gallery that were also previously available on an earlier edition.

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