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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

For the Weeks of 4/19 through 5/2/11 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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SHARPAY'S FABULOUS ADVENTURE

(2011)

* * (C)

Directed by Michael Lembeck

Starring Ashley Tisdale, Cameron Goodman, Austin Butler, Bradley Perry, Lauren Collins, Jessica Tuck, Jack Plotnick, Alec Mapa

Disney//Not Rated//Dramadey//92 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

There's nothing to dislike or like about this Disney-clean rendition of "Small-town-girl-makes-good-on-Broadway." Tisdale, 26, looks older than Sharpay, the 18-year-old owner of a "to-dye-for" pink wardrobe and a charming Yorki named Boi, all provided by her millionaire daddy. Once in the Big Apple, Sharpay meets Peyton, a cute film student played by pretty-boy Disney star, Butler. Peyton recruits Sharpay as the subject of his school-project documentary, filming her efforts to get land a role in Broadway's "A Girl's Best Friend" for her supersmart pooch Boi. Though Sharpay is clearly talented enough to take on the plays starring human role, she is stashed away by the show's star, Amber Lee (Goodman), who hires Sharpay as her personal assistant. While awaiting her turn in the foot lights, Sharpay performs a string of songs that stir Austin's romantic feelings. Though these tunes are interchangeable with every made-for-TV Disney tween film, a parallel love story between Boi and his cute cohort, a spaniel named Countess, endears. DVD or Blu-ray features: Bloopers, Austin Cam Behind-the-scenes with Austin Butler and Ashley Tisdale Has Fun Between Takes, Evolution of Sharpay featurette, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: The Big Chase (DVD only)

(2011)

* * * 1/2 (A-)

Created by Nick Park

Lionsgate//Not Rated//Family//45 minutes

Available on: DVD

The barnyard antics of Shaun the Sheep and his friends, revolve around duping a nearsighted, easily confused farmer, and besting a mean-spirited gang of piggies. The farmer's brainy dog, Bitzer, oversees his master's flock, frequently becoming their reluctant coconspirator. Shaun and his friends eat pizza, watch the farmer's tele and enjoy kicking a soccer ball, all beyond human view. Broken into approximately 6-minute episodes, the uninitiated should imagine the "Far Side" comic strip, dialog-free and starring sheep. DVD features: Making-Of Shaun Video, Timmy's Tune #1, English language tracks, widescreen.



THE KING'S SPEECH

(2010)

* * * * (A)

Directed by Tom Hooper

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Winston Churchill, Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Michael Gambon, Eve Best

Anchor Bay//Rated R//Drama//118 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

It's 1939 as Britain prepares to go to war with Germany. At home, Britain's monarchy is in turmoil. King Edward VIII (Pearce) considers abdicating the throne in favor of his younger brother Albert (Firth). However, Albert is terrified of being thrust into the limelight due to his lifelong struggle with stammering. After engaging numerous speech therapists, Albert's wife Elizabeth (Carter), finds Lionel Logue (Rush), a failed Australian actor whose terms and treatment differ from any her husband has tried. Set in claustrophobic interiors, Firth and Rush are wonderfully paired in this immensely satisfying historical drama. DVD or Blu-ray features: director commentary, 20-minute Making-Of featurette, archival footage of the actual King George VI, English language tracks, widescreen.

THE WAY BACK

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Peter Weir

Starring Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Mark Strong, Dragos Bucur, Alexandru Potocean, Gustaf Skarsgard, Sebastian Urzendowsky

Image//Rated PG-13//Drama//133 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

This fact-based account chronicles a harrowing, 4,000 mile trek to freedom. Polish national, Janusz (Sturgess), is accused of spying and sent to a Siberian Gulag where he recruits American engineer Mr. Smith (Harris), to join his escape attempt. Reckoning they'll need more support, the pair invite an artist, a priest, a Yugoslavian and an innocent to join them, but all are wary of Valka (Farrell), a depraved criminal, who insists on being included. Once on the road, the escapees make room for a homeless waif (Ronan) who brightens their mood. During the ensuing months, some will not survive the barren forests, mountains and deserts that must be crossed to reach safe haven in India. DVD or Blu-ray features: Behind-the-scenes featurette, Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

RABBIT HOLE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell

Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Miles Teller, Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh,

Lionsgate//Rated PG-13//Drama//92 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Following the death of their young son, Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) deal with their grief in different ways. Becca befriends the teen driver (Teller) who accidentally killed her son as Howie immerses himself in memories of happier days. Though nicely shaded and relieved by brief snippets of humor, overall, this dark tale is depressive. Kidman's subtle performance garnered her a Best Actress Oscar nom. DVD or Blu-ray features: Commentary with the Director, Writer, and Director of Photography, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

(2010)

* (D)

Directed by Rob Letterman

Starring Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, Amanda Peet, Chris O'Dowd, Billy Connolly

Fox//Rated PG//Comedy//85 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Actor Jack Black literally becomes big man on campus, when his character, Lemuel Gulliver, travels to the Bermuda Triangle and is swept onto the isle of Lilliput, a place populated by mouse-sized people. Gulliver's predicament arises because he accepts a story assignment from a comely travel editor (Peet) he hopes to impress. Gulliver greatly inflates his importance back home to Liliput's King (Connolly), but he tries to help a commoner (Segel), whom he identifies with, in seeking to win Princess Mary's (Blunt) heart. Eventually, Gulliver's schemes spin out of control, placing Lilliput's future in peril. The special effects should wow the kids in this handsome production that liberally sprinkles Jonathan Swift's classic with crotch and potty jokes. 2-Disc DVD features: Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Old Hank, Gulliver Meets Royals - Extended Version, Defense System, Royal Banquet - Extended Version Basketball, King & Queen Practice Basketball and King Makes Breakfast, Horation and Princess on a Date, Gulliver and Edward Duel in Gulliver's House, I Don't Know...with Lemuel Gulliver, Little and Large, Jack Black Thinks Big, Gulliver's Foosball Challenge, Theatrical Trailer, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital copy, Jack Black Thinks Big – Creating Foosball, basketball and Time Square in Lilliput, Down Time – Fun Foosball Gulliver Style, War Song Dance BD Live: Jack & Jason's Dance Class, Blu-ray Highlight: Little and Large.

SOMEWHERE

* * (C)

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Starring Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, Michelle Monaghan, Benicio Del Toro

Universal//Rated R//Drama//98 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola and cousin of Nicolas Cage, has surely known men who inspired her protagonist, famous actor Johnny Marco. Played by Stephen Dorff, he's a pill-popping womanizer who drives a Ferrari and lives at Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont hotel. Marco's debauched lifestyle is suddenly interrupted when Cleo (Fanning), the 11-year-old issue of his failed marriage, arrives unexpectedly. As father and daughter reconnect, Johnny begins to reassess his sordid lifestyle. The story moves slowly, with too many shots and scenes wearing out their welcome. DVD or Blu-ray features: Making-Of featurette, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.



SOUTH PARK: Season 14

(2010)

* * * 1/2 (A-)

Created by Trey Parker, Matt Stone

Starring Actors: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall, April Stewart

Comedy Central//Not Rated//Comedy//308 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

All 14, 30-minute episodes are included, though fans criticize Comedy Central's decision to censor the controversial episode known as 201, because it incited threats from homegrown terrorists. In various episodes, fourth graders, Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny dive into social networking, defend themselves against the annoying Jersey "muff cabbage" and reveal the secret identity of Mysterion -- in a 3-part saga. Ultra-witty writing challenges the viewer to consider all sides of each issue featured by creators Parker and Stone. 3-Disc DVD or 2-Disc Blu-ray set features: commentary tracks, 6 minutes of deleted scenes, Bonus episode "The Coon," from Season 13, English language tracks, widescreen.

INTO THE COLD: A JOURNEY OF THE SOUL

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Sebastian Copeland

Starring Sebastian Copeland, Keith Heger

Unrated//87 minutes

Available on: DVD

Into the Cold fails to grasp us in its icy grip, though the scenery is spectacular. The documentary finds a pair of adventurers hurrying to reach the North Pole before global warming makes the trip impossible. Rather than whipping up tension, the excessive personal reflections of Sebastian Copeland and Keith Heger, sap the momentum from their story of facing temperatures below -50F degrees. DVD features: "Green" packaging, Antarctica: The Global Warning - A Book Presentation. English language tracks, widescreen.

DAYLIGHT

(1996)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Rob Cohen

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Claire Bloom, Dan Hedaya, Viggo Mortensen, Stan Shaw, Jay O. Sanders, Amy Brenneman, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Barry Newman, Karen Young, Sage Stallone

Universal//PG-13//Action//115 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray

A truck transporting toxic waste explodes inside the Manhattan/Jersey commuter tunnel (located under the Hudson river), creating a fireball. Both ends of the tunnel are sealed, trapping a handful of survivors inside. Ex-emergency medical services employee (Sylvester Stallone), finds his way to those trapped, determined to save them. With his point of entry now blocked, he buys time by sealing a breach through which the river swiftly pours using explosives. The storyline features action sometimes as humorous as it is thrilling is enough to reestablish Stallone as a viable action hero, though one who could benefit from acting lessons. Blu-ray features: director commentary, Making-Of featurette, "Whenever There is Love" Music Video, Daylight Archives, Theatrical Trailers, Pocket Blu, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

HYENAS

(2010)

-Bomb- (F)

Directed by Eric Weston

Starring Costas Mandylor, Meshach Taylor, Christa Campbell, Stephen Taylor, Amanda Aardsma, Joshua Alba, Derrick Kosinski, Christina Murphy

Lionsgate//Rated R//Horror//92 minutes

Available on: DVD

After his family is brutally murdered, Gannon (Mandylor) returns to the scene of the crime to exact his revenge with the help of a local hunter. Together, they confront a pack of morphing humans that eat their prey alive, but it's the film that gets murdered by a silly script and goofy creatures that are so bad, they're just plain bad. DVD features: Trailer gallery, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

ALSO OUT 4/19 - 5/2



SNIPER: RELOADED

(2011)

Directed by Claudio Fah

Starring Billy Zane, Chad Michael Collins

Sony//Rated R//Action//91 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

While working with the UN Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Marine Sgt. Brandon Beckett (Collins), son of renowned sniper Thomas Beckett, receives orders to rescue a European farmer trapped in the middle of hostile rebel territory. When he and his men arrive at the farm, a mysterious sniper ambushes them, wounding Beckett and killing everyone else. Aided by his father's former protégé, sniper instructor Richard Miller (Zane), Beckett learns to think and act like a sniper in order to track down the assassin. DVD or Blu-ray features: English language tracks, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish or Thai subtitles, widescreen.

BORN TO RAISE HELL

(2011)

Directed by Lauro Chartrand

Starring Steven Seagal, Darren Shahlavi, Dan Badarau, Claudiu Bleont, Madalina Mariescu, D. Neil Mark, George Remes

Paramount//Rated R//Action//96 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Seagal plays an Interpol agent assigned to an Eastern European task force to bring down gun traffickers and dope runners in the Balkans. While investigating a Russian gun dealer, the team becomes trapped in a bloody street war between the Russians and a Gypsy gang, that leaves one task force member dead. As usual per a Seagal film, the agent sets out to get his revenge—at any cost. DVD or Blu-ray features: English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES, Vol. 1

(2011)

Disney//Not Rated//Animated//161 minutes

A compilation of the animated adventure series, the volume one follows superheroes: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk - through the first seven episodes of the series, as they pit their skills against some of the deadliest supervillains on earth. The next seven episodes are receiving a simultaneous release in Volume 2. DVD features: New Looks, New Heroes - supervising producer Joshua Fine and story editor Christopher Yost look at the evolving characters and storylines of season two, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

GLEE: ENCORE

(2011)

Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan

Starring Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale

Fox//Not Rated//Musical//77 minutes

Available on: DVD

The teen song and dance craze continues with the Fox Channel's popular "Glee: Encore." This full-length release features a set list of Season One's most sensational musical numbers, including Queen's "Somebody To Love," Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and Madonna's "Express Yourself!" DVD features: English language tracks, Spanish or French subtitles, widescreen.

SUMMER ELEVEN

(2010)

Directed by Joseph Kell

Starring Valerie Mahaffey, Adam Arkin, Sarah Butterworth, Sydney Fox, Steve Grayhm, Meaghan Hughes, Mark Humphrey, Eamonn Hunt, Lisa Langlois, Deborah Theaker, Alice Ziolkoski

Image//Rated PG//Family//93 minutes

Available on: DVD

Four 11-year-old girls share a final summer before entering middle school. Aspiring actress Vanessa (Ziolkoski) has auditioned for her first feature film, Lizzie (Hughes) tries to help her brother adjust to post-war life, Jess (Butterworth) struggles with her parents' separation and new-girl Peri, hides a deep secret. As the summer unfolds, plans go wrong, but the girls are there for one another through thick and thin. DVD features: English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME

(2010)

Directed by John Ruffin

Starring Terri J. Vaughn, Christian Keyes, Elise Neal, Terrell Carter, Shirley Murdock, Carl Payne, Clifton Powell, Angela Evans

Image//Not Rated//Comedy//88 minutes

Available on: DVD

A troubled young mother re-enters the lives of her children after abandoning them 20 years earlier. The reunion is emotionally charged in this gospel stage play produced exclusively for GMC. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.



CHAWZ

(2010)

Directed by Joseph Farrell, Shin Jung-won

Starring Eum Tai-Woong, Jang Hang-seon, Jung Yu-mi, Park Hyuk-Kwon, Yoon Jea-Moon

Magnolia//Rated R//Sci-Fi//122 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

A giant, vicious boar terrorizes a remote, peaceful village in this latest Korean monster movie released to home video. Perplexed by the violent murders, local authorities call in a veteran Seoul detective who quickly determines that the culprit isn't human. He imports seasoned hunters to find the beast, but it turns the tables on its assailants in a fantastically gory way. DVD or Blu-ray features: Deleted Scenes, Making-Of Chawz, Q&A Session Premiere Event, Blooper Reel, Poster Shots, International Trailer, Featurettes: Attack of a Man-eating Wild Boar, Five-man Pursuit, Horror vs. Comedy, English or Korean language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

3 IDIOTS

(2009)

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani

Starring Aamir Khan, Kareen Kapoor, Omi Vaidya, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Madhavan, Mona Singh

Fox//Rated PG-13//Comedy//164 minutes

Available on: DVD

From the moment Rancho arrives at India's most prestigious university, his outlandish schemes turn the campus upside down as Rancho and his two newfound friends make life miserable for the school's uptight dean. Their skirmishes become war when Rancho catches the eye of the dean's sexy daughter, and the dean sets his sights on flunking out the three idiots once and for all. The film won 16 awards from the Indian Film Academy. DVD features: Idiots in Ladakh, Aal Izz Well, 100% Idiots, Making-Of Miss Idiot, English or Hindi language tracks, Spanish or French subtitles, widescreen.

LOOKING FOR FIDEL

(2006)

Directed by Oliver Stone

Starring Fidel Castro

Cinema Libre//Not Rated//Documentary//63 minutes

Available on: DVD

In 2003, Oliver Stone sat down with then 77-year-old Fidel Castro to question the leader regarding his return to the repressive crackdowns that accompanied his rise to power in 1959. This interview, made possible by Stone's special relationship with the dictator, was commissioned by HBO to probe Castro's justification for executing three Cuban ferry hijackers and the arrests of more than 75 Cuban political dissidents who subsequently received life sentences. Castro's unwillingness to recognize his diminished importance on the world stage, or that Cuba may have outgrown him, leave a powerful impression. Castro may be a megalomaniac, but he's a watchable one. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.



MORTAL KOMBAT

(1995)

Directed by Paul Anderson

Starring Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, Bridgette Wilson, Lyndon Ashby

New Line//Rated PG-13//Action//101 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

A martial artist, an action film star and a soldier - comprise the three fighters chosen to save the world in various battles against a vile sorcerer, the ice-wielding Sub-Zero, a serpent-like Reptile, and the gigantic, four-armed mutant Goro. Adapted from a video game of the same name, the film gave practical experience to director Paul Anderson who would go on to adapt the "Resident Evil" game into a successful franchise. DVD or Blu-ray features: Mortal Kombat the video game trailer, Tie-in animated adventure Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, Jade Klassic Mortal Kombat character costume download, Theatrical trailer, Digital Copy (BR only), English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.



TERROR

(1963)

Directed by Roger Corman

Starring Jack Nicholson, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller, Sandra Knight, Jonathan Haze

Virgil Films//Not Rated//Horror//79 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Intrigued and entranced by a mysteriously elusive woman (Knight), an officer in Napoleon's army (Nicholson) follows her into the gloomy castle of Baron Von Leppe (Karloff). The officer becomes trapped in the castle while searching for the woman who keeps disappearing. Longtime Corman regular, Dick Miller, plays Stefan, the baron's trusty servant, and Dorothy Neumann is a witch who may be using Helene as a tool for revenge. The picturesque Big Sur coastline provides exterior settings, while Corman used leftover sets from his previous film, The Raven, for the interior scenes that he shot in just two days. As you might have guessed, the film is frequently incoherent, but will be appreciated by Corman and Nicholson completists. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, before-and-after film restoration demo, trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

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