I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

by admin November 13, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet the real housewives of Drug Cartel County.

One of the most entertaining films of the 2012 summer season, Oliver Stone's adaptation of Don Winslow's crackling crime novel is operatically over-the-top, filled with performances that are pitched to the rafters, exaggerated burst of violence and dialogue so pulpy, it should come with a warning label. The in-your-faceness of Savages will undoubtedly be too much for some viewers to take, but if you, like me, prefer this version of Stone to the maker of such bland, personality-free features as Alexander, World Trade Center and that awful Wall Street sequel, you'll be guaranteed a good time. Besides the general fun of Stone's sturm un drang, Savages is also enlivened by a pair of great villains, Benicio Del Toro's drug enforcer and Salma Hayek's ruthless cartel queen, who start a war with a pair of California pot dealers (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson) by kidnapping their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively). It all builds to a finale that's either an epic cop-out or a pointed comment on the extreme naïveté of the movie's young idiot heroes. Either way, it's a suitably daffy climax to an enjoyably daffy movie.
Extras: A pair of commentary tracks, the first with Stone solo and the second featuring Winslow, the film's producing team, co-screenwriter, and production designer, a five-part making-of documentary; and deleted scenes.
Click here to read our original review

Pixar Short Films Collection, Vol. 2
After the crass corporate cash-in that was Cars 2, Pixar's devotees looked to Brave as the movie that would get the studio's groove back. And while the film may not rank amongst Pixar's very best efforts, it does at least succeed at being better than Cars 2. Among the elements that the movie has working in its favor is a terrific heroine (the Irish princess Merida -- well-voiced by Kelly Macdonald -- whose temper is as fiery as her red hair), a promising second-act twist (involving a human-to-bear transformation) and typically top-class computer animation. What's missing from Brave, though, are the memorable supporting characters and deeper, richer metaphors we've come to expect from the company behind such modern classics as Toy Story, Wall-E and Up. In their place is a straightforward and surface-level fairy tale that's solidly entertaining without being especially memorable. Frankly, some of the cartoon shorts included on the second volume of the omnibus Pixar Short Films Collection -- also out this week -- leave a more lasting impression than Brave, most notably the marvelously inventive Day & Night and the Toy Story-themed Small Fry, where Buzz stumbles a support group for forgotten fast food novelty toys. Unfortunately, the collection does make room for two more Mater-centric Cars shorts, but the wonderful thing about DVD is that you've got that handy "chapter skip" function.
Extras: Brave features a commentary track with director Mark Andrews (who replaced original helmer Brenda Chapman during production), extended scenes, two animated shorts -- one Brave related, while the other is the Oscar-nominated short that played before the movie in theaters, La Luna -- and eight behind-the-scenes featurettes. Pixar Short Films Collection, Vol. 2 offers early films from some of the big brains at Pixar, including Andrew Stanton and John Lasseter.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see our picks for Pixar's Best and Worst Heroines

Here's the good news about the new vampire-themed romantic comedy Vamps: it features Amy Heckerling long-awaited reunion with her Clueless leading lady Alicia Silverstone and pairs her off with likable rising star Krysten Ritter as a pair of love-starved bloodsuckers looking for the right (and preferably warm-blooded) guy. The bad news: Vamps is a pale shadow of Clueless, trying in vain (or should that be vein?) to match it's predecessor's clever use of invented slang and goofy spin on traditional rom-com scenarios. The chemistry between Silverstone and Ritter is there, but the script just doesn't meet them halfway. (The rest of the supporting cast, which includes Sigourney Weaver, Richard Lewis, Wallace Shawn and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens is even more poorly served by the material.) Heckerling may still have another Clueless in her, but Vamps isn't it.
Extras: Surprisingly, it's bonus features free.

Lawerence of Arabia
Even with the assists of state-of-the-art special effects, few modern-day movie spectacles can still measure up to David Lean's 1962 desert epic, Lawrence of Arabia. It's the kind of movie that deserves and demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Which, of course, makes the idea of owning it on DVD seem almost sacrilegious. But even when seen on your home television, Lawrence casts a hypnotic spell thanks to incredible charisma of its leading man, Peter O'Toole, the sweep of its story (which covers British soldier T.E. Lawrence's experiences in the Arabian desert, where he aligns himself with desert tribes waging an insurgent war against the Turkish Empire), and Lean's indelible eye for visual composition. For its Blu-ray debut, the film has been remastered in 4K resolution to give it extra pop in its high-def incarnation. Of course, you still haven't really seen Lawrence of Arabia until you've watched it projected on a movie screen, but this edition represents the best the film could possibly look on your TV.
Extras: A picture-in-graphics track packed with trivia and production information, a new interview with O'Toole, a conversation with Steven Spielberg, a new making-of documentary plus a vintage doc, archival newsreel footage from the movie's premiere in New York and additional behind-the-scenes featurettes.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding: 10th Anniversary Special Edition
One of the surprise success stories of the aughts, the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out of nowhere in the summer of 2002 to earn some $240 million, nabbing a place on the list of that year's biggest hits and becoming the highest-grossing indie movie of all time. Opening quietly in April, the film slowly, but surely climbed the box office chart thanks to audience word of mouth, reaching as high as the No. 2 slot in August, four months after its original release -- a feat that's almost unheard of now, when movies are in and out of theaters in about three weeks. Ten years on, it's easy to see the source of the film's appeal: it's a good-natured fairy tale about an ugly duckling (writer/director/star Nia Vardalos) who makes herself over into a swan thanks to her own gumption, her supportive, if eccentric Greek family and her hopelessly devoted Prince Charming (John Corbett). Yes, the movie's sense of humor is hopelessly square and the broad ethnic caricatures grate at times -- although less so here than in the ill-conceived, short-lived TV "sequel" My Big Fat Greek Life -- but Vardalos (who was never able to replicate this success again, either as a writer or an actress) and Corbett are a surprisingly appealing couple and they're surrounded by a likeable supporting cast. (In its own gentle way, the movie also has some pointed comments to make about empowerment and the need to defy blind adherence to tradition.) While $200 million might seem excessive for this bit of fluff, considering that 2002's other summer comedy offerings included Scooby-Doo, that Crocodile Hunter movie and The Adventures of Pluto Nash, perhaps it's no surprise that moviegoers chose to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding over and over again.
Extras: A 30-minute retrospective documentary featuring new interviews with Vardalos and Corbett, a batch of never-before-released deleted scenes and the decade-old commentary track that accompanied the movie's original DVD release.

Also on DVD:
Soundly ignored when it was released a week after The Dark Knight Rises, the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaugh/Jonah Hill alien invasion comedy The Watch makes an equally quiet DVD debut, thus allowing the general public to continue to pretend that the movie never existed. Ex-Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Amber Benson has a supporting role in Dust Up as a single mother rescued from a man-eating drug kingpin by a one-eyed vigilante. Sounds like one of the fever dreams from that "Restless" episode of Buffy. While we wait to see whether Johnny Knoxville can tempt his Jackass crew back for one more movie, Nitro Circus introduces viewers to a whole new crew of jackasses eager to capture their ridiculous behavior on camera. Julie Delpy shacks up with Chris Rock 2 Days in New York, the funny, if forgettable sequel to Delpy's 2 Days in Paris. We're just waiting for Delpy's reunion with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater in Before Midnight, to be honest. The documentary The Queen of Versailles takes viewers inside the lavish mansion and lush lifestyle of Florida billionaires David and Jackie Siegel... just as their wealth takes a nosedive along with the economy. With Lincoln in theaters and Jaws and E.T. receiving new Blu-ray editions, another Steven Spielberg picture gets the high-def treatment, his 1987 war movie Empire of the Sun, starring a young Christian Bale as a pint-sized POW. Debuting to mixed reviews at the time, the film has gained in stature over the years, although it still isn't top-shelf Spielberg (neither is Lincoln, for that matter). Last but not least, those most excellent time-travelling dudes Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan travel through time once more in the Blu-ray edition of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which comes with three featurettes plus the original trailer. Here's hoping Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey isn't far behind.

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