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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

by admin November 27, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Men in Black are back... and nobody cares.

Men in Black 3
Ten years after the second Men in Black feature effectively killed off the franchise -- due both to the cost of paying Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones's exorbitant salaries, plus the fact that it sucked -- Sony managed to get the two stars plus director Barry Sonnenfeld back together for another expensive and largely pointless third installment. To placate Jones's obvious disinterest in being part of this series, the filmmakers came up with a time-travel scenario that allowed Josh Brolin to assume his role for the bulk of the movie as Agent K's younger self, who teams up with Smith's Agent J in '60s-era America to stop a wily alien (Jermaine Clement, wasted in an awful role) from rewriting history. Brolin's impression of a young Jones is uncanny (right up there with his underrated impersonation of George W. Bush, the only decent element of Oliver Stone's W.) and Michael Stuhlbarg provides some nice comic relief as another extraterrestrial who can see multiple timelines at once, but even they can't overcome the crushing tedium that envelopes the movie from practically the first scene. MIB3's box-office success suggests that a fourth film could still be in the offing, but we'd be much happier if Sony spent that money on something else instead... like, say, a sequel to Looper and/or Premium Rush.
Extras: Three featurettes, a gag reel, a Pitbull music video, in-depth deconstructions of four scenes, five progression reels highlighting how the special effects were developed and refined and a game where viewers use their DVD remote to spot and capture aliens.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see our advice for the cast's younger selves
(Note: This title will be available on Friday, November 30)

ParaNorman
Proof that you shouldn't always judge a movie by the trailers, the stop-motion animated kiddie horror picture ParaNorman is a darker, more serious movie than the film's advertisements hinted at. Made very much in the spirit of early '80s genre movies like Explorers and, especially, The Monster Squad, the film follows its spiky-haired protagonist Norman as he wrestles with being an outcast in both his family and his small town. Why is he so isolated? Because he can literally see dead people, a paranormal power those around him refuse to believe. But they change their tune when the community is besieged by zombie Pilgrims from the 17th century and the ghost of a dead girl-turned-witch. Although the movie does possess a sense of humor, it's most admirable quality is the seriousness with which it takes Norman's plight, as well as the moral and ethical questions posed by his town's murky history, questions that should spark some interesting conversations between kids and adults. ParaNorman proves that you're never too young to star taking horror movies seriously.
Extras: A commentary track with the film's directors, seven featurettes, an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the film's use of stop-motion and preliminary animatics.
Click here to read our original review

Lawless
A Prohibition-era action drama about a trio of bootlegging brothers plying their trade in the foothills of Appalachia, Lawless is a bloody-minded B-movie dressed up in prestige picture clothing. Tom Hardy contributes an appropriately larger-than-life performance as the leader of the Bondurant clan -- a real-life family famous throughout Franklin County, VA in the '30s for their liquor and flouting of the law -- whose strength and seeming invulnerability make him seem more superman than man. (He's well-matched by Guy Pearce's nattily-dressed heavy, who could give Hardy's Bane a run for his money in the villain department.) Unfortunately, the movie's main character is Hardy's younger brother, Jack (the actual grandfather of the movie's writer, Matt Bondurant), played by an extremely out-of-his-element Shia LaBeouf. In depicting Jack's transformation from an innocent to a full-fledged member in the family business, Lawless aims for the heft of The Godfather, but comes up short. (One gets the sense that a Godfather-sized cut existed at one point, perhaps one that made better use of supporting players like Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman, whose roles feel truncated in this version.) Nevertheless, it's still a solid crime yarn that entertains, even if it never quite lives up to its promise.
Extras: Director John Hillcoat and Matt Bondurant contribute a commentary track and two featurettes flesh out the real story behind this dramatic re-telling. There's also a batch of deleted scenes and a music video from Willie Nelson.
Click here to read our original review

The Apparition
Dumped into theaters in August, The Apparition is Warner Brothers' resoundingly unsuccessful attempt to replicate the blockbuster grosses of the Paranormal Activity franchise. Twilight supporting player Ashley Greene gets her first (and, very likely, only) star turn as one-half of a couple (her S.O. is played by Captain America sidekick Sebastian Stan) whose home becomes a hiding place for a mischievous poltergeist unleashed by a paranormal experiment-gone-wrong. Although we should probably be thankful that the movie avoids repeating the increasingly played-out found-footage aesthetic, director Todd Lincoln falls back on half-heartedly restaging even more tired horror conventions, from Psycho's shower scene to The Grudge's ghostly hand reaching out from behind the heroine's head. It's the kind of banal, boring horror movie that puts you to sleep instead of keeping you awake all night.
Extras: One making-of featurette and three mini-docs devoted to supposedly real-life paranormal activity.

Also on DVD:
Although its original leading man, Channing Tatum, has moved on to far greener pastures, the Step Up franchise soldiers on, continuing to provide dance enthusiasts and So You Think You Can Dance rejects with gainful employment. The fourth installment, Step Up Revolution, moves the action to Miami and pits a wealthy young girl and a bad boy dancer against her real estate mogul dad, whose intentions will rob the city's various dance crews of a place to strut their stuff. If the lack of adequate dance rehearsal space doesn't sound apocalyptic enough for you, look out for the WWE-backed action picture The Day, which stars Dominic Monaghan as one member in a quintet of near-future warriors who struggle to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic America. In the mood for a more uplifting movie? Heaven's Door, which stars Charisma Carpenter and Dean Cain as a married couple whose daughter discovers the doorway to heaven, is so sickly sweet, it'll send you to the dentist. Finally, the Jordin Sparks-led movie musical Sparkle is primarily notable for being 1.) A so-so remake of a much better 1976 movie and 2.) Whitney Houston's last film before her death. In other words, you're better of programming a double bill of the original film and The Bodyguard instead of sitting through this tedious, tuneless slog.

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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