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Monday, Nov. 15, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

For the week of 11/09/10 - 11/15/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brei Larson, Alison Pill, Audrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman

Universal//Rated PG-13//Comedy//113 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) exemplifies the post-teen slacker. He's an aimless, unemployed 22-year-old, playing bass in a garage band and dating 17-year-old Catholic schoolgirl, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). The film insinuates Scott's problems stem from stunted emotional growth. Scott's refusal to take responsibility reduces him to sharing his gay friend's (Kieran Culkin) double bed on nights when the second spot is unoccupied. Then Scott falls for magenta-haired punker, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and his life is changed by her seven evil exes. Each ex engages Scott in a metaphorical confrontation, a challenge governed by its own rules. The story, based on a Canadian manga series penned by Bryan Lee O'Malley, blends video games and manga. CGI is used to illustrate Scott's feelings. What began as a romance morphs into a fantasy adventure, then finally emerges as a coming-of-age tale—too late to ward off its intended teen audience. It's an irresistible cocktail, not unlike secretly teaching kids calculous while they learn to text. DVD features: Deleted scenes, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Bloopers, commentaries with cast and crew, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray: featurettes: Making of, You too can be sex bob-omb, Music featurette, music videos, Alternate footage, Visual effects, Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. the animation, Preproduction footage, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

LOVE RANCH

(2010)

*1/2 (C-)

Directed by Taylor Hackford

Starring Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Gina Gershon

E1 Entertainment//Rated R//Drama//117 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Based on real events, this story examines the marriage of Joe and Sally Conforte, owners of the Reno area brothel known as the Mustang Ranch. In 1976 one of Joe's bodyguards shot Oscar Bonavena, a 34-year-old boxer managed by 50-something Sally and rumored to be sleeping with her. Brothel scenes depict Sally insisting "my girls must be treated right." Renamed Grace and Charlie for the film and portrayed by Mirren and Pesci, the story mixes fact with conjecture while focusing on the frequently contentious threesome. DVD and Blu-ray features: features: director commentary, Introduction by director and Helen Mirren, Deleted scenes w/optional commentary, English language tracks, widescreen.

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Burr Steers

Starring Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Charlie Tahan, Ray Liotta, Kim Basinger

Universal//Rated PG-13//Drama, Fantasy//100 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Following a car accident in which his little brother Sam (Tahan) perishes, Charlie St. Cloud (Efron) throws away his Stanford sailing scholarship when he chooses to stay and be with Sam's ghost, an apparition appearing in a clearing near the lad's grave. Though Charlie's visits with Sam help him to deal with his grief, his life remains on hold. Then Charlie meets Tess (Crew), a pretty sailor who steals his heart, but the closer the two become, the more Sam fades away. Teen heartthrob Efron does what he can to create conflict, but the young actor fails to close the gap no matter how much he stares wistfully into the distance. DVD and Blu-ray features: Deleted scenes w/optional director commentary, On location with Zac Efron, Zac Efron - Leading Man, commentary with director, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

GROWN UPS

(2010)

*1/2 (C-)

Directed by Dennis Dugan

Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Joyce Van Patten, Steve Buscemi

Sony//Rated PG-13//Comedy//102 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

After their high school basketball coach dies, five former players (Sandler, James, Schneider, Rock and Spade), decide to have a reunion and finally meet one another's families. Four wives (Hayek, Bello, Rudolph and Patten) and a gaggle of kids accompany the men to their gathering at a cabin on the lake. The pals are surprised by their different lifestyles, mined here for whatever shock value they might hold. Pratfalls and crude jokes rule the roost, but it's humor devoid of the wit we'd expected from a cast littered with SNL alums. DVD features: Blooper Reel, Gag Reel, The Cast featurette, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Deleted scenes, Riff-o-rama, Dennis Dugan: hands on director featurette, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

RAMONA AND BEEZUS

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Elizabeth Allen

Starring Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin

Fox//Rated G//Family//103 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books are adapted into a sunny movie. High-spirited third grader, Ramona (King), worries her family will be forced to leave their Portland, Oregon home when her dad (Corbett) loses his job. To earn money, the accident-prone girl tries various moneymaking schemes that invariably embarrass her older sister Beezus (Gomez) and Ramona's Aunt Bea (Goodwin). Though Fox Studios had hoped to cast Miley Cyrus, the easy-going Gomez was more affordable, and these days, possesses the more wholesome image. DVD features: Show & Tell Film School: Tips and tricks on how kids can make their own movie, Deleted scenes, Gag reel, My Ramona with Beverly Cleary, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. 3-Disc Blu-ray features same plus: A Day in the Life of Joey King, Selena & Joey Audition Footage, Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School w/Director Elizabeth Allen, Journal With Book, film on DVD, Digital Copy.

NOVA: DOG DECODED

(2010)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Directed by Dan Child

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//56 minutes

Available on: DVD

The study of dogs reveals nearly as much about us as it does about our best friends. Dog-lovers have long claimed dogs understand us in ways no other animal does, claims largely ignored by biologists until recently. A new study indicates dogs do read human emotions, but the surprise is how they do it. By the same token, dog owners are capable of discerning the meanings of six different canine barks. Descended from wolves, dogs developed an array of abilities wolves lack. An Eastern European study reveals that human manipulation of the breed is responsible for changes indirectly arising when we selected for a less aggressive animal. DVD features: English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

NATURE: CUBA: THE ACCIDENTAL EDEN

(2010)

* * * (B)

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//56 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Though the American embargo against visiting Cuba has yet to be lifted, the rest of the world has recently discovered this paradise. An island nation the size of Florida, Cuba boasts less than 60 percent of Florida's population. Indigenous sea turtles, small but aggressive crocs, and the most beautiful snails on earth, are just some of the wondrous creatures that reside here. The country hosts many breeds of migrating birds, some of which summer in the US. Thanks to the deficit of pesticides used in farming, Cuba's reefs remain remarkably intact. However, as tourism increases and developers move in, what will become of its unique wildlife? Nova examines the national policies on which Cuba's fate hangs, and we all cross our fingers. DVD and Blu-ray features: English language tracks, widescreen.

DAMNED BY DAWN

(2009)

*1/2 (C-)

Directed by Brett Anstey

Starring Danny Alder, Taryn Eva, Dawn Klingberg, Bridget Neval, Renee Willner, Peter Stratford, Mark Taylor

Image//Rated R//Horror//84 Minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

This Aussie horror places a group of young adults at the isolated home of a dying old woman who warns that malevolent spirits hang about. Soon after the woman's death, those spirits attack the living. While the film labors to create a spooky atmosphere, the survivors discuss their predicament and do little, dissipating tension as we wait for something to happen. Nice special effects, given the film's low budget, but numerous dull passages leave the viewer yawning. DVD and Blu-ray features: cast commentary, crew commentary, Making-of featurette, trailer, English language tracks, widescreen.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: 25th Anniversary Complete Collection (1985-1992)

* * * * (A)

Created by Susan Harris

Starring Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, Estelle Getty

Buena Vista//Rated TV-PG//Comedy

Available on: DVD

When someone says "They don't make 'em like they used to," they're probably referring to "The Golden Girls." Twenty-five years later, the show's smartness resounds through lovable characters tackling life on life's terms with amazing resilience. Bea Arthur plays straight woman to Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White, all women sharing a Malibu home and just about everything else. It's one of a few TV greats. 21-Disc DVD features: Packaged in a replica of Sophia's wicker purse, A look back with The Golden Girls, Go For The Gold Trivia Challenge, Golden Moments, Each Golden Girl's funniest moments, Exclusive Insights And Commentaries With Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan And Betty White, Fashion Commentary featurette by Joan and Melissa Rivers.



Also Out This Week

HUNT TO KILL

(2010)

Directed by Keoni Waxman

Starring Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Gil Bellows, Gary Daniels, Marie Avgeropoulos, Emilie Ullerup

Anchor Bay//Rated R//Action//97 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

After a gang of thieves pull off a heist, they escape into the woods. Discovered by uber Border Patrol Agent Jim Rhodes (Austin), the thieves kidnap his teen daughter and force Rhodes to serve as their protector and guide to cross the border. Numerous snarling threats ensue, but there's little action to be found until the film's final minutes when survivalist Rhodes decides to show the robbers who's the boss. DVD and Blu-ray features: commentary with director Keoni Waxman and actor Michael Eklund, Behind the scenes featurette, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

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