This week’s releases include: a government agent continues to harbour an alien whose become a member of his family; a world of tiny people that teaches an oversized man a lesson; and a look at the struggle and triumph of a man who would lead a nation.

American Dad - Volume 6 on DVDAmerican Dad! – Volume 6 (DVD)
Trigger-happy CIA operative Stan Smith will stop at nothing to defend everything that makes the United States great – from strip bars to that most sacred of American institutions, crack cocaine. Whether he’s trading brains with a racehorse or rescuing Roger from bloodthirsty revolutionaries, Stan will do whatever it takes to secure the blessings of liberty in this over-the-top salute to “the greatest nation on Earth.”

This is actually season five of the animated comedy, which continues to entertain with its adult humour about drugs, violence and bodily functions (human and other). Roger’s closet of disguises is seemingly endless, while his relationship with the family is frequently turbulent. However, Klaus’ wit is always an episode highlight. This show is much smarter than creator Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy.

Special features include: commentary on selected episodes; uncensored audio and/or video on select episodes; deleted scenes; “The making of Rapture’s Delight”; Rapture’s Delight broadcast script; alternate commentaries on select episodes featuring The Interdisciplinary Collective for American Dad Studies; and “American Dad honors its four-legged friends”. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Gulliver's Travels on blu-rayGulliver’s Travels (Blu-ray)
To impress the pretty newspaper travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet), an underachieving mailroom clerk named Gulliver (Jack Black) takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda, a.k.a. the Triangle. When a shipwreck lands him on the fantastical island of Lilliput, he transforms into a giant in size and ego. Gulliver’s tall tales and heroic deeds win the hearts of the tiny Lilliputians, but when he loses it all and puts his newfound friends in peril, Gulliver must find a way to undo the damage.

Either this isn’t a comedy for adults, or this isn’t a comedy for me. It feels geared toward a much younger audience – pre-tweens perhaps – with its simplistic humour and plotlines. On the other hand, it would likely take that group slightly longer to realize Gulliver is Cyrano De Bergerac-ing a Prince song for his lovesick pal. The script feels like Black has been given carte blanche to run amok; from movie re-enactments (see Be Kind Rewind) to rock music renditions (see School of Rock) to romantic endeavours (see The Holiday). We’ve seen it all before and could have done without seeing it again. Jason Segal and Billy Connolly are charming, but even they couldn’t save this picture.

Special features include: eight deleted scenes; “I Don’t Know”, (A Gulliver’s Tales) exclusive Jack Black piece; “Little and Large”, shows how filmmakers made Gulliver so big; “Jack Black Thinks Big”, creating foosball, basketball and Time Square in Lilliput; “Down Time”, fun foosball Gulliver style; “Gulliver’s Foosball Challenge”; “War Song Dance”; a gag reel; Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jack Black and In Character Jason Segel; Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jason Segel; Life After Film School: Rob Letterman of Gulliver’s Travels; BD Live extras, including “Jack & Jason’s Dance Class” and “ Little and Large”; the theatrical trailer; and a digital copy of the film. (Fox Home Entertainment)

The King's Speech on DVDThe King’s Speech (DVD)
This is the story of the man who became King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (a.k.a. ‘Bertie’ to friends and family) must reluctantly assume the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter, he was considered unfit to be king. In an attempt to gain the respect of his advisors and people, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.

Firth delivers an impeccable, Oscar-winning performance. The emotions Bertie experiences jump from the screen the moment he appears. His conveyance of fear, frustration and fortitude are genuine and often expressed through only his eyes. Rush is brilliant, but in a much subtler way. His role is to coax and encourage Bertie, which appropriately leaves him – both the character and actor – just outside the spotlight. Director Tom Hooper is very adept at producing these period pieces, having previously directed John Adams and The Damned United. We are given a well-rounded view and understanding of Bertie’s relationships, both personal and professional.

Special features include: commentary with Hooper; “The King’s Speech: An inspirational story of an unlikely friendship”; Q&A with the director and cast; and speeches from the real King George VI. (Alliance Films)

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