This week’s releases include: a classic comic brought to the screen; an uncommon approach to capturing criminals; a second round with a morally corrupt car salesman; a husband forced to deal with several life-altering discoveries at once; a new generation of dancing penguin; an engaging murder mystery; an examination of despair; a fresh take on a classic; a seductive dream world; spotlights on two legendary actresses; an action adventure by land and air; an animated tale of magic and war; and an unredeemable character goes home.

The Adventures of Tintin - blu-rayThe Adventures of Tintin (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
Racing to uncover the secrets of a sunken ship that may hold a vast fortune – but also an ancient curse –Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy embark on an action-packed journey around the world.

A story that easily appeals to the young and young at heart, Tintin’s motion capture adventure takes audiences on an entertaining journey on the high seas. The voice actors are excellent and the narrative is captivating. Though set in the past, the thrill of the hunt is timeless. Finding map pieces, following clues and nearly dying numerous times makes for an enjoyable picture. The voice actors, including Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, do a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. Bell’s enthusiasm in particular is excellent.

Special features include: “Toasting Tintin:” parts one and two; “The Journey of Tintin”; “The World of Tintin”; “The Who’s Who of Tintin”; “Tintin: Conceptual Design”; “Tintin: In the Volume”; “Snowy: From Beginning to End”; “Animating Tintin”; “Tintin: The Score”; and “Collecting Tintin.” (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment)

Breakout Kings Season 1 - DVDBreakout Kings – Season One (DVD)
The series follows some unconventional partners working to catch convicts on the run. Driven by the fact that there are few things more dangerous than a prisoner who has just escaped and tired of following protocol, veteran U.S. Marshals Charlie DuChamp (Laz Alonso) and Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi) are taking an unorthodox approach to their work: using former fugitives to catch fugitives. If they agree to help, the fugitives’ sentences will be reduced for each escaped convict they bring in. However, if any of them should try to escape themselves their sentences will be doubled.

Special features not available. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Call me Fitz Season 2 - DVDCall Me Fitz – The Complete Second Season (DVD)
A bewitching new office manager and a cryptic prophecy are making life a living hell for used car salesman Richard Fitzpatrick (Jason Priestley). With only 73 days to live, can Fitz make amends before it’s too late, or has his bad luck only just begun?

Special features include: “Profanity as art”; “Fitz Family”; “Meet Del Foxley”; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and interviews. (Entertainment One)

The Descendants on Blu-rayThe Descendants (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
Based on the best-selling novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings and set in Hawaii, it’s a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney), an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki.  The event leads to a reconnection with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.

Despite his apparent fear of commitment, Clooney displays a knack for fatherhood. Showing off his natural, unkempt gray hair and looking a little older than we’re used to seeing in the paparazzi photos, he delivers a great performance as a man struggling with multiple crises but still managing to hold it all together. Alex is excellent as the eldest daughter, volunteering to be her father’s confidante when he has no one else. The multiple story lines blend well together; even the side story of Alex’s friend Sid adds something to the whole. It’s interesting how one confession can change a character’s entire outlook. Finally, the panorama images of Hawaii are breathtaking, adding another layer to this outstanding narrative.

Special features include: deleted scenes with introductions by director Alexander Payne; “Everybody Loves George”; “Working with Alexander”; “The Real Descendants”; “Hawaiian Style”; “Casting”; “Working with Water”; four music videos: “Will I Ever See You Again,” “Postcards from Paradise” and “Honolulu’s Whisper”; “Waiting for the Light”; “The World Parade – Hawaii” (silent film); “A Conversation with George Clooney and Alexander Payne”; and a digital copy of the film. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Happy Feet 2 on Blu-rayHappy Feet Two (Blu-ray)
Mumble, “The Master of Tap,” has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven – a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model. But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Erik learns of his father’s “guts and grit” as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures-from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals to put things right.

Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)

The Killing Season 1 on Blu-rayThe Killing – The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
The series ties together three distinct stories around a single murder including the detectives assigned to the case, the victim’s grieving family and the suspects. Set in Seattle, the story also explores local politics as it follows politicians connected to the case. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear there are no accidents; everyone has a secret, and while the characters think they’ve moved on, their past isn’t done with them.

This television series had a relatively quiet run on AMC, but it is a brilliant crime show that remains more interesting chasing clues for one case than some of the longer running shows can manage with two-to-three crimes to solve. The detectives are somewhat withdrawn, with various secrets and approaches to the job. Rather than be overwhelming, the number of characters is provocative. Their relationships, past and present, drive the narrative forward as more elements are revealed in each episode.

Special features include: commentary on the pilot with Veena Sud; deleted scenes; “An Autopsy of The Killing”; “Orpheus Descending” – extended season finale; commentary on “Orpheus Descending”; and gag reel. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Melancholia on DVDMelancholia (DVD)
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, the planet, Melancholia, is heading towards Earth.

An intriguing exploration of depression and anxiety, the film’s title takes on two representations – the enormous planet threatening to destroy the Earth and Justine’s struggle with the above-mentioned issue. The opening scenes may deter some viewers, but rest assured a traditional narrative does start after the slow motion section. This is probably director Lars Von Trier’s most accessible film and it’s outstanding. The actors are strangely secondary to the overall narrative, but they portray their characters perfectly.

Special features include: “About Melancholia”; visual effects; “The visual style”; “The Universe”; and “HDNET: A look at Melancholia.” (Entertainment One)

Neverland on Blu-rayNeverland (Blu-ray)
A young lad named Peter and his streetwise gang are mysteriously transported from turn-of-the-century London into an enchanting parallel world where time stands still and an adventure awaits. In Neverland, no one ever ages and lost souls have been plucked out of time. The lost boys are soon caught in a war with the man who will become Captain Hook and change the fate of this mystical land forever.

There have been numerous imaginings of Peter Pan, but this is one of the more enjoyable adaptations by far. The tale of how the Lost Boys arrived in Neverland, the stunning landscapes and the general cunning of many of the characters combine for a narrative that does well to maintain the audience’s attention for the almost three-hour runtime. Ifans is flawless as the ambitious and power hungry James Hook; while Bob Hoskins reprises his role as the quirky pirate sidekick Smee, which he plays with just the right mix of intimidating and funny. The pace is maintained through a regular flow of action or suspense, which take it right through to the end.

Special features include: commentary by writer/director Nick Willing; “The story behind the story: Cast interviews”; “Green screen to scene”; “Journey into Neverland: Art gallery”; and “Neverland: Access all areas.” (Entertainment One)

Neverlost on DVDNEVERlost (DVD)
After losing Kate, his high school sweetheart, in a horrific house fire, Josh Higgins’ life tumbles into a depressing mix of insomnia and poor choices. After taking a seemingly harmless sleeping pill, Josh is thrust from his current banal existence to one that he had lost years earlier. As the walls of his own psychosis slowly start to close in around him, Josh must race to save himself, Kate and the parallel life that he vows can never again become lost.

Special features not available. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

TCM Greatest Classic Films: Doris Day on DVDTCM Greatest Classic Films: Doris Day (DVD)
Calamity Jane: Day and Howard Keel fuss, feud and fall in love as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok in this entertainment mother lode. At first curvaceous Calamity is too durned busy fighting Indians and cracking a bullwhip to pay mind to such girly what-alls as dresses and perfume. And Wild Bill is too danged busy wooing a dainty chanteuse (Allyn McLerie) to give a hoot about a hotheaded tomboy. But things change in a rootin’, tootin’ big way when each becomes love’s target.
Special features include: premiere and awards newsreels.
Love Me or Leave Me: Roaring ’20s songstress Ruth Etting (Day) had everything – the looks, the wiles, the smoky jazz voice, the “it.” She also had Chicago racketeer Martin “The Gimp” Snyder (James Cagney) who, even as he propelled her career, mistreated or undermined her. Laced with Day’s vibrant performances of songs from the era, this 1955 Academy Award® Best Motion Picture winner is based on the tough-minded tale of Etting’s life with the man who boosted her career with strong-armed tactics and smothered her in an obsessive grip that she escaped only at great peril.
Special features include: three vintage shorts: “A Modern Cinderella,” “Roseland” and “A Salute to the Theatres.”
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies: Kate Mackay (Day) has four boys who someday may lend their names to hurricanes. Also, a monstrosity of a country fixer-upper that needs its lower fixed too. And a poison-pen, drama-critic hubby (David Niven) who sees plays under the worst possible circumstances – by being in the audience.
There are no special features.
Romance on the High Seas: Georgia Garrett (Day) pretends to be Elvira Kent’s (Janis Paige) friend in order to take Elvira’s place on an ocean cruise. Also on board is a detective whom Elvira’s husband hired to see if Elvira is cheating on him. Believing that Georgia is Elvira, the detective can’t help falling in love with her.
There are no special features. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)

TCM Greatest Classic Films: Katharine Hepburn on DVDTCM Greatest Classic Films: Katharine Hepburn (DVD)
Little Women: All tomboyishness and spunk, Jo (Hepburn) is the center of the Civil War-era tale of heart and hearth. Released during the depths of the Depression, the film buoyed Americans’ spirits.
Special features include: Scoring session music cues; Notes on the collaboration between Hepburn and director George Cukor; and awards.
Morning Glory: Hepburn won her first Academy Award® as Best Actress in this, her third film performance. She stars as Eva Lovelace, a girl from a New England country town who has but one burning ambition: to become a successful stage actress. Arriving in New York, she manages to make friends quickly and even lands a small part in a Broadway show. Her big chance comes when producer Louis Easton (Adolph Menjou) fires the star (Mary Duncan) and puts Eva on stage. Naturally, she’s a smash. Success also brings romance, and Eva becomes entangled in a love triangle with Easton and Writer Joseph Sheridan (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.).
There are no special features.
The Philadelphia Story: Here comes the bride (Hepburn)! And the ex-husband (Cary Grant). And a gossip-rag columnist on assignment (Jimmy Stewart). A faultfinding, bride-to-be socialite gets her comeuppance and an unexpected Mr. Right. Stewart won his only Best Actor Academy Award® as the wisecracking scribe.
Stage Door: Ginger Rogers and Ann Miller tap in time and rat-a-tat lines. Lucille Ball braves a date with an obnoxious lumber baron. Eve Arden can’t recall Hamlet, but one meets so many people in the big city. And Hepburn becomes Broadway’s biggest star in a play wherein she notes “the calla lilies are in bloom again.” A fast, witty story of aspiring actresses living at a theatrical boarding house. What matters most to an acting hopeful is an open door. With humour and heart, this movie suggests some things matter more.
Special features include: Musical short, “Ups and Downs”; and audio-only bonus: Radio production with Ginger Rogers and Rosalind Russell. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)

The Three Musketeers on Blu-rayThe Three Musketeers (Blu-ray and DVD combo pack)
They are known as Porthos, Athos, and Aramis (Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfadyen and Luke Evans) – three elite warriors who serve the King of France as his best Musketeers. After discovering an evil conspiracy led by deadly assassin Milady (Milla Jovovich) and the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) to overthrow the King, the Musketeers come across a young, aspiring hero – D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) – and take him under their wing. Together, the four embark on a dangerous mission to foil the plot that not only threatens the Crown, but the future of Europe itself.

The acting is entirely adequate, but this film just does not work. From the senseless storyline to the over-the-top gimmicks to the shallow relationships, it all falls flat. Directed by Resident Evil’s Paul W. S. Anderson, the historical element of the classic tale is lost and replaced with explosive action sequences and a ridiculous air battle. Moreover, the casting of Jovovich only reaffirms the Resident Evil similarities. This adaptation is lacking in substance, but it attempts (and fails) to make up for it with spectacle.

Special features include: commentary; deleted and extended scenes; featurettes; “Did you know?”; cast and crew; “Achieving the look”; and “17th century action.” (Alliance Films)

Wizards on Blu-rayWizards (Blu-ray)
Set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, this fantasy adventure follows the story of Avatar, the kindly, eccentric sorcerer-ruler of Montagar, a rainbow paradise inhabited by elves and fairies.  Avatar’s evil brother, Blackwolf, dominates Scortch, a bleak land of goblins and wraiths.  When the power-hungry Blackwolf attacks Montagar, Avatar, accompanied only by a spirited young woman and a courageous elf, must enter the darkness of Scortch to save his world.

Special features include: commentary by director Ralph Bakshi; “Ralph Bakshi: The Wizard of Animation”; a still gallery; TV spot and theatrical trailers; and a 24-page booklet. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Young Adult on Blu-rayYoung Adult (Blu-ray)
Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a former prom queen and current writer of young adult novels who returns to her hometown in order to win back her now-married high school sweetheart.

The reunion of writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman, who first made headlines with the breakout hit Juno, is not as high impact as their debut. Mavis is generally an unlikeable character, who may eventually draw your pity. Theron skilfully portrays the emotionally stunted woman, once again putting aside any concerns of vanity. But the inability to connect with her makes the film somewhat difficult to watch despite the fact that it’s well-made.

Special features include: commentary by director Jason Reitman, director of photography

Eric Steelberg and first assistant director/associate producer Jason A. Blumenfeld; deleted scenes; “Misery Loves Company: The Making of Young Adult”; “The Awful Truth: Deconstructing a Scene”; and “Q&A featuring Janet Maslin and Jason Reitman at the Jacob Burns Film Center.” (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s