This week’s releases include: an entertaining buddy cop comedy; a special anniversary edition; the latest reimagining of a classic tale; a Dr. Seuss staple remastered; a fairy tale given a new treatment; and the sequel to an otherworldly battle.

21 Jump Street on Blu-ray21 Jump Street (Blu-ray)
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unity, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier – and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.

The film reboot of 21 Jump Street is actually a very watchable movie. The TV series had its funny moments, but it also spent a lot of time dealing with serious issues, such as drugs, teen pregnancy and suicide. The 21 Jump Street movie decides to go in the opposite direction of the original to present a straight up comedy – and it’s probably the best decision they made. The one reason this film will work for fans of the original television series: it makes fun of itself. As Jenko establishes their strategy for gaining the attention of the popular kids, it becomes increasingly obvious that cool has changed over the years; the sexy muscle car has been replaced by an eco-friendly hybrid. Another treat and inside joke for fans of the original is cameos by the TV series’ original cast.

Special features include: director and cast commentary; “Cube-O-Rama,” featuring outtakes with Ice Cube; five behind-the-scenes featurette; 20 deleted scenes; and gag reel. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Deliverance on Blu-rayDeliverance: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
In the unfamiliar Appalachian backwoods, a weekend of male bonding for four inexperienced campers turns into a gut-wrenching fight for survival against the merciless forces of nature and the brutality of man. Their only escape is a terrifying canoe ride down the raging rapids of the Chattooga River. If their heartless pursuers don’t kill them, the treacherous waters just might.

This story of male bonding gone awry has been made infamous by several of the more sinister moments in the film involving various forms of humiliation. On the other hand, it also cemented Burt Reynolds’ reputation as a tough S.O.B. Despite the many accolades it’s received over the last 40 years, it’s not a very well made movie. Although its raw, grainy style does create a menacing atmosphere fitting of the picture. Unfortunately it takes some time to get to the cat and mouse chase, which stops being interesting quite early in the narrative.

Special features include: commentary by director John Booman; a four-part retrospective; “The Dangerous World of Deliverance” vintage featurette; “Deliverance: The Cast Remembers”; theatrical trailer; and 44-page book. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on DVDDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (DVD)
Dr. Henry Jekyll (Dougray Scott) is on the verge of a medical breakthrough. Experiments in his basement laboratory on a rare Amazonian flower lead to the discovery that the soul can be separated giving life to a man’s dark side. But when a series of brutal murders ravage the city, Jekyll suspects his alter ego may be responsible. He remembers nothing of his nights but awakens with violent flashes and bloody mementos of the mysterious Dr. Edward Hyde. Desperate to be put out of his misery, Jekyll enlists the help of attorney Claire Weaton (Krista Bridges) to bring his actions to justice.

This tale of an innate dark side has intrigued people for decades. The strange cross between science and psychology always created more questions than it provided answers. This version delves deeper into the psychological element, even while exploring the possibilities of the serum. Dissociative Identity Disorder (or multiple personality disorder) is presented as a legal defense, but the probability of it being the true source of Jekyll’s murderous tendencies is enhanced even as the characters attempt to experimentally eradicate Hyde. Scott is captivating in the dual role, differentiating his performance of each personality just enough to highlight the good guy/bad guy elements of each.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham on Blu-rayDr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
In the remastered TV classic Green Eggs and Ham, Sam-I-Am persistently tries to introduce a reluctant fellow to a most delectable dish. Their escapades take them across a zany landscape while assembling a cast of characters that only the imagination of Dr. Seuss can bring to life. The Sneetches teach us the being yourself is the best way to fit in, and The Zax reminds us that there is nothing to gain from being stubborn.

It is so much more appealing when studios remaster the classics rather than remake (and in most cases ruin) them. The original Dr. Seuss animations featured in this release still hold up because they are simply moving manifestations of his brilliant rhymes. Of course the main attraction is the last of the three cartoons to be shown. The Sneetches is a very entertaining tale that will have children and adults alike giggling as the creatures go to ridiculous lengths to be popular. The Zax is an incredibly short but amusing standstill between two incredibly obstinate men. Finally, the foodie adventure is all the fun you remember it to be – except for the annoying chorus that pipes in several sections.

Special features include: four interactive puzzles. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)

Mirror Mirror on DVDMirror Mirror (DVD)
After she spends all her money, an evil enchantress queen (Julia Roberts) schemes to marry a handsome, wealthy prince (Armie Hammer). There’s just one problem — he’s in love with a beautiful princess, Snow White (Lily Collins). Now, joined by seven rebellious dwarves, Snow White launches an epic battle of good vs. evil.

This is a light-hearted adaptation of the classic tale. The Queen is a caricature of the evil stepmother, always smiling even while insulting whoever has happened to cross her path. Snow is compelled by youthful rebellion, but never stops being sugary. The prince is handsome, but his mental faculties do not equal his physical prowess. The traditional narrative is only used as a foundation for a battle of good versus evil as there are many liberties taken with the characters and the story. The dialogue is humorous as it in some ways parodies the genre stereotypes, or plays up the comedic elements in a given scene. However, it often also takes it one step too far ruining what was actually a funny moment. The opening sequence is stunning, portrayed through a combination of puppets and animation. A feature-length film in this style would be welcome.

Special features include: “Looking Through the Mirror”; “Prince and Puppies”; and theatrical trailer. (Alliance Films)

Wrath of the Titans on Blu-rayWrath of the Titans (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington)—the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson)—is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius. Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston). After a betrayal from one of their own, Perseus enlists the help of the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son, Argenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen gob Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), and bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

Rather than provide much explanation of what had passed in the 10 years since the first film’s conclusion, the movie jumps right into the thick of things with Zeus’s betrayal and Perseus being called back into action. But it’s not difficult to piece together. The story is a little less episodic with a more even flow to the action and narrative. The returning high-profile actors give their characters a little more depth the second time around, while the monsters vary in the interest they hold for the audience. The section that revolves around Kronos is somewhat anti-climactic, but the scene featuring Zeus and Hades directly before it helps relieve some of the disappointment.

Special features include: deleted scenes; storyboard comparisons; and Maximum Movie Mode which lets you control your destiny and choose one of two unique experiences: “The Path of Men” or “The Path of Gods.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group)


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