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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to turn a slavery-themed Western into a bloody good time.

Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino applies his revenge movie template to the subject of slavery in Django Unchained, a wild, woolly trip through post-Civil War America. Jamie Foxx plays the titular slave, freed from bondage by Christoph Waltz's dentist-turned-bounty hunter and together the duo embarks on a long, winding road that eventually leads to a plantation where Django's still-enslaved bride (Kerry Washington) awaits. But before he can free his lady love, he's got to go through her master, Calvin Candie (a preening Leonardo DiCaprio) as well as his master, Stephen (a volcanic Samuel L. Jackson, who deserved the Supporting Actor Oscar far more than Waltz. In fact, considering the subject matter, it's unfortunate that the only two Oscars the movie won -- the other was for Tarantino's Original Screenplay -- went exclusively to white dudes). Distinguished by the writer/director's typically energizing dialogue and flair for bloodletting, not to mention his terrific casting sense, Django is a blast to watch, but also strangely formless and undisciplined, lacking the precision of Tarantino's finest work. (The absence of his longtime editor, Sally Menke, who died in 2010, might have something to do with that.) The last act in particular could easily be condensed by a good 20 minutes, a trim that would also save us from having to endure Tarantino's always awkward screen presence (made even more awkward by his attempt at an Australian accent). I liked Django more than I've liked any Tarantino feature since Kill Bill, Vol. 2, but it falls short of the Holy '90s Trinity of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.
Extras: Five behind-the-scenes featurettes, which seems a little light for a Tarantino flick. Maybe that recent Tarantino XX box set sapped all his energy for bonus features.
Click here to read our original review of Django Unchained
Click here to see what we think Quentin Tarantino's Justice League movie would look like

Save the Date
The casting of Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan as sisters should be more than enough incentive to watch this small-scale indie comedy, even if the actual feature never lives up to the talents of its leading ladies. As Brie prepares for her impending nuptials to a musician (the invaluable Martin Starr), Caplan breaks up with her boyfriend (Geoffrey Arend) after he makes the mistake of proposing too soon. The newly single gal almost immediately takes up with another guy (Mark Webber), who also runs afoul of her severe commitment issues. Too slight to linger in the memory, Save the Date is at least mostly enjoyable in the moment if for no other reason than as another opportunity to spend time in these charismatic actress's presences. Of course, you could also do that by just re-watching old episodes of Community and Party Down back-to-back.
Extras: A making-of featurette and a mini-comic.
Click here to read our original review

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
Not since The Last Exorcism II has there been a more awkwardly titled horror sequel than this Georgia-set continuation of/companion piece to the 2009 semi-hit, The Haunting in Connecticut. With the original cast long since departed, Ghosts of Georgia instead features the dynamic duo of Chad Michael Murray and Abigail Spencer as a husband and wife who move down south along with their daughter and Spencer's sister (Katee Sackhoff) and take up residence in a beautiful historic mansion that -- you guessed it! -- has some ghostly occupants. As low-budget horror fare goes, Ghosts of Georgia isn't entirely inept (it's actually an improvement on the previous Haunting in some ways), but it should have just been released as its own standalone movie rather than trying to function as a continuation of a film that really shouldn't be a franchise. Here's hoping we don't get The Haunting in Connecticut 3: Horrors of Hawaii.
Extras: A commentary track with the director and screenwriter, deleted scenes, a collection of outtakes and a making-of featurette.

Also on DVD:
After lions and chimpanzees, Disneynature decided to make a movie about... butterflies? Maybe that's why Wings of Life bypassed theaters for a DVD only release. Calling all anime fans! Mamoru Hosoda's critically acclaimed Summer Wars arrives on DVD today for your viewing pleasure. Less pleasurable is the Bollywood-backed animated musical Delhi Safari, a Lion King knock-off with an eco-friendly theme. Alex Cox's early '80s cult classic Repo Man gets the Criterion treatment, complete with a commentary track, new interviews and a roundtable discussion. Speaking of cult movies, Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Pictures Triple Feature, offers three '70s curios -- including The Mighty Peking Man, Detroit 9000 and Switchblade Sisters -- that Tarantino re-released theatrically in the '90s under his now mostly defunct "Rolling Thunder" label.

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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