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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

Releases for the Week of 05/04/10 - 05/09/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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Leap Year

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Anand Tucker

Starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Kaitlin Olson

Universal//Rated PG//Comedy//101 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Amy Adams plays Anna, an American single gal desperate to marry Jeremy (Scott), her boyfriend of four years. Business requires Jeremy's presence in Dublin, prompting Anna to follow so she can take advantage of an Irish tradition encouraging women to propose marriage on Feb. 29. Anna, racing the clock, panics when bad weather forces her plane to land in Wales. To reach Dublin in time, Anna hires innkeeper Declan (Goode) to drive her. He and Anna bicker incessantly before awakening to one another's appealing qualities. That's right, the plot is double-dipped in formulaic comedy, but both the film's cast and the quaint scenes of rural Ireland are lovely to behold. DVD or Blu-Ray features: deleted scenes, DD 2.0 Stereo - English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

Tooth Fairy

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Michael Lembeck

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal

Fox//Rated PG//Comedy//102 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

After knocking out an opponent's front teeth, minor league ice hockey player Derek Thompson (Johnson) is sentenced to be the tooth fairy for a period of 2 weeks. Sent to a cosmic tooth fairy training camp, Thompson earns his wings and pink tutu after completing a course overseen by his finicky new boss (Andrews). On the job, the tiara-crowned hockey player is obliged to reach clients with the help of shrinking gel, cat repellant and other tools of the trade supplied by a magically appearing helper (Crystal). Despite a cast and story showing promise, "Tooth Fairy" relies on tired jokes that do little to showcase Johnson's comedic abilities. Perhaps this disappointment explains the actor's decision to resume making action pics. DVD or Blu-Ray features: Fairyoke featuring Johnson and Merchant butchering Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings," short exercise video shot at the Tooth Fairy Training Center. DVD features: "Train to be a Tooth Fairy" interactive feature, Fairy-oke, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Triple Play Features same as above plus: "Tooth Fairy" feature film on both DVD and Blu-Ray discs, Digital Copy, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes with Optional Intros, Behind the Scenes: with Lem and Jake, Lem and Jake Talk About VFX: Before and After, 1st Assignment with Storyboards, Costume Design, How The Magic Was Brought To Life, Production Design, Portuguese or Mandarin subtitles.

 

Nine

(2009)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Rob Marshall

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Stacy Ferguson, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren

Weinstein Co//Rated PG-13//Musical//119 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Rob Marshall's latest musical stars seven Oscar winners performing precious few memorable numbers. The film's musical interludes occur in Guido (Day-Lewis) imagination. He's a Fellini-esque filmmaker seeking inspiration from the many women he uses and abuses. Though the film is shamelessly contrived to reveal Hollywood's beautiful leading ladies in Victoria's Secret-wear, it was smart enough to cast Sophia Loren and Judi Dench as Guido's mother and confidant respectively. DVD or Blu-Ray features: commentary with Marshall and Producer John DeLuca, featurettes: The Incomparable Daniel Day Lewis, The Women of Nine, Director Rob Marshall, Behind the Look, The Dancers, Choreography of "Be Italian," Making of "Cinema Italiano," Choreography of "Cinema Italiano," "Cinema Italiano" Music Videos: "Take It All," "Unusual Way," Blu-Ray Exclusives: Sophia Loren Remembers Cinecitta Studios featurette, Screen Actor's Guild Q & A Session, movieIQ sync featuring the "Nine" playlist, English language tracks, widescreen.

 

 

Dirt: Season Two

(2008)

* * (C)

Created by Matthew Carnahan

Starring Courteney Cox, Ian Hart, Jeffrey Nordling, Josh Stewart

Lionsgate//Not Rated//Comedy//286 minutes

Available on: DVD

Edgy during its first season, this series, centered around tabloid magazine editor Lucy Spiller (Cox), goes soft during season two. Having established Lucy's frequently unethical tactics to get her scoop, the show now insists on saddling her with a conscience. Lucy repeatedly forgives her go-to photographer Don Konkey (Ian Hart), when he fails to get the shot. With his schizophrenia now medicated, Konkey no longer talks to cats, but he does risk his career to help a Britney Spears-like character pick up the pieces of her fractured life. We'll never know whether Lucy's niceness was just a phase because "Dirt" was cancelled during the writer's strike. 2-Disc DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.

 

Elektra

(2005)

* * (C)

Directed by Rob Bowman

Starring Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Terence Stamp, Mark Miller, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bob Sapp, Natassia Malthe, Hiro Kanagawa, Will Yun Lee

Fox//Rated PG-13//Action//100 minutes

Director's Cut Available on: Blu-Ray

Garner reaches twin milestones -- becoming Ben Affleck's fiancee and starring as the superheroine of a comic book adaptation. Elektra (Garner), dispatched by the ninja collective to kill 'The widower' (Mark Miller) and Abby, his young daughter, uses her limited ability to foresee that the mission's outcome is in doubt. However, you needn't be a mind reader to see that Elektra's costume looks just as ghastly as the story turns out to be. Blu-Ray features: director commentary with Film Editor Kevin Stitt, Deleted Scenes w/Optional Commentary by Director Rob Bowman & Film Editor Kevin Stitt Making-of: Production and Post-Production, The Elektra in Greek Mythology featurette, Elektra: Incarnations mythology documentary, Alternate and Extended Scenes w/Optional director Commentary, Showdown at the Well: Multi Angle Dailies, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

According to Jim: Season Two

(2002)

* *1/2 (B-)

Created by Tracy Newman, Jonathan Stark

Starring Jim Belushi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Larry Joe Campbell

Lionsgate//Not Rated//Comedy//595 Minutes

Centering on the domestic life of middle-class married couple, Jim and Cheryl (Belushi and Thorne-Smith), the show's formula calls for their spat of the week to evolve into a humorous, pitched battle. Jim's sexist attitudes earn him an education in gender equality from his modern, feisty wife. Playing a charming, macho fool suits Belushi, while Thorne-Smith comes across as Florence Hendersen-lite. The show's old-fashioned construction gives the couple's three rarely seen young children, while the pair's sidekicks, Cheryl's sister Dana (Williams-Paisley) and her brother Andy (Campbell), are always on hand to further complicate their arguments. Following its well-received first season, 10 episodes were added to make a 28-episode season two. 4-Disc DVD features: "The Brother-in-Law" and "Deal with the Devlins," Commentaries by Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell, Season 2 According to Jim with Belushi, Acting Out Behind Camera cast interviews, English or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER

(2002)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Starring Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Joss Ackland, Peter Sarsgaard, George Anton, Tim Woodward, Lex Shrapnel, J.J. Field Paramount//Rated PG-13//Drama//137 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray

Harrison Ford's wooden portrayal of "K-19's" Soviet submarine captain, suffers from his mouth-full-of-marbles Russian accent and the actor's apparent distaste for portraying unlikable characters. Liam Neeson is Mikhail Polenin, a fair-minded Soviet captain whose concern for his crew prompts officials to replace him with party-hard-liner Aleksei Vostrikov (Ford). Set in 1961, "K-19" lends credence to the Soviet reputation for neglect and incompetence during the race for superpower status. Director Kathryn Bigelow creates and sustains high tension leading to a series of adrenaline rush disasters, but the action is difficult to see aboard the drab, under lit submarine. The crew's efforts to repair a nuclear missile's broken coolant system is a smudge of grays, with just enough getting through to keep us engaged. Both Ford and Neeson spring to life during this disaster scenario, but even their energy can't invigorate the film's pat ending. Blu-Ray features: director commentary with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, featurettes: Making-of, Makeup Techniques, Breaching the Hull, It's in the Details, Additional Music/Songs Geoff Zanelli, Theatrical Trailer HD, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

THE MUSE

(1999)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Albert Brooks

Starring Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone,Jeff Bridges, Andie McDowell

Universal//Rated PG-13//Comedy//97 minutes

Available on: DVD

The plethora of bad movies released lends credibility to this film's unflattering portrayal of screenwriters. Brooks appropriately casts himself as a washed up screenwriter, sacked after botching a script for a major studio. Envisioning the loss of his idyllic life, the writer resorts to visiting a professional muse (Sharon Stone) recommended by his writer friend (Jeff Bridges). Stone's Bronxy femme fatale is mainly annoying and poorly conceived. As Brook's wife, Andie McDowell is the unexpected beneficiary of the muse's ability when Stone arranges for the wife's cookie baking talent to become the toast of L.A.'s trendiest eateries. It's the story's one working joke as Brooks bemoans his hard luck over the loss of his inspiration. DVD features: featurette, Trailers, English language tracks, widescreen.

 

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

(1998)

* * * * (A)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, Ted Danson, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina, Adam Goldberg, Bryan Cranston, Harve Presnell, Jeremy Davies, Edward Burns

DreamWorks//Rated R//Drama//169 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray

Steven Spielberg's WWII film won five Oscars, including best director, and introduced Vin Diesel to mass audiences. Steel yourself for the Normandy beach battle realistically depicting severed body parts on an intimate level. The emotionally charged story finds a group of soldiers risking their lives to rescue a family's last surviving son. It's unforgettable movie-making. 2-Disc Blu-Ray features: introduction by Spielberg, featurettes: Looking into the past, Miller and his platoon, Boot camp, Making-of, Re-creating Omaha Beach, Music and sound, Parting thoughts Into the breach: Saving Private Ryan, Theatrical trailer HD, Re-release trailer HD, Shooting war - WWII combat photographers; hosted by Tom Hanks, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

ESCAPE FROM L.A.

(1996)

* (D)

Directed by John Carpenter

Starring Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, Cliff Robertson, Bruce Campbell

Paramount//Rated R//Sci-Fi//100 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray

In the year 2013, the U.S. has outlawed drinking, swearing, smoking and premarital sex. Made an island by earthquakes, Los Angeles serves as a prison for both criminals and moral offenders. After a remote unit for controlling the world's satellites is hijacked to L.A., the president orders escape artist Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to be injected with a deadly virus. In order to get the antidote, Plissken must retrieve the satellite control unit from L.A. and return it safely. The sequel to "Escape From New York" (made 15 years earlier), this film fails to duplicate the original's nailbiting sequences and delivers a laughable storyline. Blu-Ray features: Theatrical Trailer, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

DIRTY DANCING

(1987)

* * (C)

Directed by Emile Ardolino

Starring Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach

Lionsgate//Rated PG-13//Drama//105 minutes

Limited Special Edition Available on: DVD or Blu-Ray

Before Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey slipped under the radar, they starred in this rich girl meets poor boy melodrama. The dancing, choreographed by Kenny Ortega, establishes that Swayze can shake it. He plays a bad boy dance instructor who pairs with an unattainable girl (Grey) from a nice family. As corny now as it was in 1987, the film's dancing is still superb.

2-Disc DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen. DVD features: commentary with Eleanor, commentary with Kenny Ortega, Miranda Garrison, Jeff Jur, Hilary Rosenfeld and David Chapman, Deleted, Alternate and Extended Scenes, Outtakes, Multi-Angle Dance Sequence, featurettes: Kellerman's Reliving the Locations, The Phenomenon, Fan Reel, The Rhythm of the Dancing, Vintage, Dirty Dancing with Patrick, The Classic Story On Stage, Jennifer Grey Screen Test, Tributes: in Memoriam to: Patrick Swayze, Emile Ardolino, Jerry Orbach, Interviews: Jennifer Grey, Miranda Garrison, Kenny Ortega, Eleanor, Music videos: "Hungry Eyes," "She's Like the Wind," "I've Had the Time of My Life," Theatrical Trailer, Trivia Track, Original Screen Tests (Patrick & Jennifer), Interactive Photo Gallery, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-Ray contains all DVD Special Features listed above plus: Dancing to the Music" featurette, Never-Before-Seen Stills Gallery, Eleanor's Personal Shooting Script, Dirty Dancing: Live in Concert, HD Theatrical trailer.


 

Also Out This Week:

 

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: REVELATION

(2008)

Lionsgate//Not Rated//Animated//110 minutes

Available on: DVD

Wolverine and the X-Men have just eight days to discover a deadly secret that threatens to end the world. Comprised of five episodes, the story elements include, Angel's loss of his wings after attempting to save fellow mutants, dangerous memories that plague Scott, and from the future Xavier races against a fiery power known as Entity and a thief called Gambit, to get key information back to Wolverine. DVD features: commentary with Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson and Chris Yost, Trailer gallery, English or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

 

IRON MAN: ARMORED ADVENTURES - Season One

(2008)

Vivendi Entertainment//Not Rated//Animated//572 minutes

Available on: DVD

After Howard Stark's untimely death, the industrialist's teenage son Tony uses innovative technology to battle villains and collect five magical rings. While preparing to inherit Stark Industries on his 18th birthday, Tony squares off against the nefarious Living Laser and enigmatic Madame Masque. During these 26 episodes, stylized animation and dynamic cinematography set a benchmark other TV comic book adaptations can only aspire to. 4-Disc DVD features: Storyboards, Original sketches of characters, vehicles & more, English language tracks.