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Monday, July 12, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

Releases for the Week of 7/06 - 07/12/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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BROOKLYN'S FINEST

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Will Patton, Lili Taylor, Brian F. O'Byrne, Shannon Kane, Ellen Barkin

Anchor Bay//Rated R//Drama//132 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

In Brooklyn's Finest, the relatively small amount of power vested in three cops corrupts them absolutely. Gere, Cheadle and Hawke portray Brooklyn police officers using their authority to better their own situations. Three parallel stories follow each cop's quest to fulfill his desires by any means necessary. The cops' misdeeds prompt betrayal, thoughts of suicide and murder. During a final, climactic confrontation, the three lead characters find themselves caught up in a hail of gunfire. The film received a new ending after screenings at both the Sundance and Venice festivals criticized it for being too bleak. DVD and Blu-Ray features: director commentary, Chaos & Conflict: The Life Of A New York Cop, Boyz N The Real Hood, An Eye For Detail: Director Featurette, From The MTA To The WGA: Writer Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

 

FRONTLINE: THE VACCINE WAR

(2010)

* * * * (A)

Directed by Jon Palfreman

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//60 minutes

Available on: DVD

Parents increasingly struggle with the question: to immunize or not to immunize? Those choosing not to vaccinate their kids point out that most diseases vaccines prevent are no longer a threat in this country. Meanwhile, cases of autism and ADHD have skyrocketed. Frontline's "The Vaccine War," written and directed by Jon Palfreman, examines these concerns through the eyes of parents, those old enough to remember the devastating effects of childhood disease and experts opinions about potential outbreaks. Finally, the program seeks out studies correlating vaccines with mental dysfunction. Unraveling the quagmire isn't easy, but parents might be relieved to know that Frontline found no increase in the rates of ADHD or autism due to vaccinating. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.

 

EYEBORGS

(2009)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Richard Clabaugh

Starring Danny Trejo, Adrian Paul, Luke Eberl, Megan Blake, John Rushton

Image//Rating R//Sci-Fi//102 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

We can only imagine what writer-director Richard Clabaugh might have accomplished with a larger budget. His direct-to-video feature stretches $3.7 million a long way. In the near future, the public is kept safe by surveillance cameras on every street. These are supplemented by crime-observing robots of all sizes, known as eyeborgs. The plot, recalling 1984 and Terminator, asks whether we are wise to trade away individual rights and privacy for safety. Though Clabaugh could have used a script doctor to rework his dialog, his big twist is a doozy and his robots are ingeniously designed. The little ones appear benign as Wall-E, but there's more to them than meets the eye. DVD and Blu-Ray features: Making-of documentary, Deleted scenes, Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

WAREHOUSE 13: Season One

(2009)

* (D)

Created by Brent Mote, Jane Espenson, David Simkins

Directed by Jace Alexander

Starring CCH Pounder, Saul Rubinek, Joanne Kelly, Eddie McClintock, Genelle Williams, Simon Reynolds, Allison Scagliotti

Universal//Not Rated//Fantasy//540 minutes

Available on: DVD

Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer (McClintock) and Myka Bering (Kelly) are reassigned to Warehouse 13 after they prevent a magical object from killing the president. Warehouse 13 is a huge facility located in remote South Dakota, its contents curated by eccentric Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek). He sends the agents on missions to procure magical objects for safe keeping in Warehouse 13. As seen throughout the season, Artie is easily ordered about by his superior, Mrs. Frederic (Pounder) who knows he has secrets of his own to protect. Whether chasing a Samurai sword that makes its user invisible, or battling the sinister spirit lurking in Lewis Carroll's looking glass, everything about the show and its characters seems done on the run. Cheesy special effects and a season that was written as the show went along, are practical demonstrations of how to make fantasy dull -- something the SyFy Channel does expertly. 3-Disc DVD features: commentaries on selected episodes with cast and crew, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Saul Searching - The Cast and Crew ask Saul Rubinek searching questions, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe: behind the scenes featurette, Pilot Commentary with Series Star Saul Rubinek, Artie-Facts: the Cast's favorite artifacts and the fate of props, A Peek inside the Dark Vault, Sneak Peek, Warehouse 13 Season Two, English language tracks, French subtitles, widescreen.

EUREKA: Season 3.5

(2009)

* * (C)

Starring Joe Morton, Erica Cerra, Matt Frewer, Debrah Farentino, Colin Ferguson, Jordan Hinson, Ed Quinn, Salli Richardson, Neil Grayston

Universal//Not Rated//Fantasy//420 minutes

Available on: DVD

The small Oregon town of Eureka hosts a top secret science research center that employs virtually everyone residing there. Joe Morton, the top-billed, but least used cast member, holds the screen handsomely as a lead scientist. Other members struggle to share it partly due to characterizations remaining underdeveloped by season three's end. This SyFy Channel series depends upon tedious storylines but is bolstered by the fab special effects -- rendered on a tight budget -- thanks to a dedicated visual effects department. 2-Disc DVD features: cast and crew commentaries, Podcast Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, The Visual Effects, English language tracks, widescreen.

 

RIVERWORLD

(2010)

Directed by Stuart Gillard

Starring Tahmot Penikett, Mark Deklin, Peter Wingfield, Jeananne Goossen, Thea Gill, Alan Cumming, Bruce Ramsay, Laura Vandernoort

Vivendi//Not Rated//Fantasy//178 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld books were written in the 1970s. His premise proposes all humans are reincarnated on a giant alien planet crisscrossed by a great river. Penikett portrays Matt Elman, a television correspondent awakening on Riverworld after being killed along with his fiancee. Though unable to find his girl, Matt is visited by opposing caregivers wearing blue robes, strange blue face makeup and facial tattoos. Apparently, Matt's role on Riverworld is predestined, placing the planet's overseers at odds. Mark Twain befriends him, as does a female Japanese warrior from the 8th century, but Matt is jailed by a Spanish Conquistador and rescued by some of his old friends. Rather than appreciate their new lives, Riverworld's inhabitants seem to complain incessantly. The books are acclaimed for skillfully blending historical characters, but the 3-hour SyFy Channel original movie eliminates most of them and jams the substance of the story into its final 30 minutes. DVD and Blu-Ray features: Behind-the-scenes with Alan Cumming, English language tracks, widescreen.

 

CATCH AND RELEASE

(2007)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Susannah Grant

Starring Timothy Olyphant, Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis, Kevin Smith, Fiona Shaw, Sam Jaeger, Sonja Bennett, Yorgo Constantine

Sony//Rated PG-13//Comedy//112 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray

Gray Wheeler mourns the sudden death of her fiancee. As she uncovers mind-boggling secrets about his life, Gray (Garner) is plunged into depression. The dark cloud is lifted by her fiancee's nutty roommate (Smith) and an unexpected new romance. Olyphant appears as a vulnerable playboy while Juliette Lewis has a prickly role as the other woman. It's gratifying to catch Smith delivering funny lines, and brilliant to release fey Fiona Shaw into this ensemble. Blu-Ray Disc Features: Commentaries: Director with Kevin Smith or Director with Cinematographer, Deleted Scenes,

Making-of featurette, English or French language tracks, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish or Thai subtitles, widescreen.

 

Also Out This Week:

NOVA: MIND OVER MONEY

(2010)

Directed by Malcolm Clark

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//56 Minutes

Available on: DVD

DVD Features: English language tracks, widescreen.

In this "Nova" episode, writer-director Malcolm Clark interviews fiscal experts and those conducting scientific experiments tied to our evolving economic understanding following the recent global meltdown. This documentary seeks to uncover the behavior of panicked investors that caught financial wizards unaware.

 

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: INTO THE DEEP - AMERICA, WHALING AND THE WORLD

(2010)

Directed by Ric Burns

Narrated by Willem Dafoe

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//120 minutes

Available on: DVD

Actor Willem Dafoe narrates America's 400 year infatuation with the science and industry of whaling in a feature-length film touching upon economic and environmental issues. As written and directed by Ric Burns, the film views whaling through the lens of "Classic Americana," beginning in the early 17th century and through the Civil War-era. DVD features: deleted scenes, the history of Nantucket Island, bonus reenactment footage, English language tracks, widescreen.