Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:55 AM MDT
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for November 20, 2012
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for November 20, 2012
By Ryan Michael Painter
(KUTV) It’s a surprisingly light release day for DVD and Blu-ray. The biggest titles are “The Expendables 2” and the Quentin Tarantino box set “Tarantino XX.” Seeing as Lionsgate didn’t send me either release (and “The Expendables 2” wasn’t screened locally for critics for its theatrical release) I can only say that the eight films included in the Tarantino box set (“Pulp Fiction,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Reservoir Dogs,” both volumes of “Kill Bill,” “Jackie Brown” “Death Proof” and “True Romance”) are among his finest films (why they didn’t simply include all his films is a bit beyond me).
Today also sees the release of a pair of Disney sequels with “Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups” and the two-film collection “Cinderella II & III.” A&E fans can celebrate the DVD releases of the first seasons of “Shipping Wars” and “Storage Wars Texas.” Fans of HISTORY’s “Ancient Aliens” can pick up the series’ fourth season as well. Prefer a campy horror flick with a glorified cameo from Corey Feldman? “6 Degrees of Hell” is your film. I’ve also reached back to work in a review of the landmark documentary series “Paradise Lost” set (screeners were delayed by super storm Sandy)
Christmas: Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
Documentary: Ancient Aliens, The Paradise Lost Trilogy
Family: Cinderella II & III
Horror: 6 Degrees of Hell
Reality TV: Shipping Wars, Storage Wars Texas
Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Hope, Jingle, Charity and Noble are four mischievous puppies that steal a magic wish granting crystal, stowaway in Santa’s slay when Mrs. Claus travels to Pineville, the most Christmas-friendly town in the world. Upon arriving the puppies give the town the “Christmas flu,” a disease that saps the Christmas spirit from even the jolliest of individuals.
“The Santa Pups” is a Technicolor buffet of talking dogs, overacting, cheesy songs and bad ADR. Of course if you, or your children, are fans of the original “Santa Buddies,” “The Search for Santa Paws” or the “Air Bud” films you probably won’t notice or mind. If you’re looking for a Disney release to watch this Christmastime I’d suggest the “Prep & Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol or “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.”
Ancient Aliens: Season Four (DVD and Blu-ray) Four seasons in the “Ancient Aliens” series is essentially treading water. With the exception of that material relating to the NASA and their possible contact with alien societies, the program continues to mine the Mayans, Egyptians and other ancient civilizations for evidence that Earth has been visited and aided by alien beings. It sensationalizes everything and the constant appearances of the same talking heads (Girgio A. Tsoukalos, Philip Coppens, Erich von Daniken et al) don’t help to lend any sort of credibility to their claims. Still, even if it is all pseudoscience, it does tend to entertain. Was Puma Punku built by aliens? Did Leonardo Da Vinci collaborate with extraterrestrials? Is there a hidden city on the dark side of the moon? I don’t know. Why not?
The Paradise Lost Trilogy (DVD)
Were you to make a list of landmark documentaries “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and its two sequels “Revelations” and “Purgatory” would be in the top ten. The films are reminiscent of Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line” in that it shines a light on the wrongful conviction of a group of teens dubbed the West Memphis Three that were blamed for the murders of a trio of young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1994. The major difference being that Morris’ film saw its subject, Randall Dale Adams, freed within a year of its release. It took two additional films and more than 15 years before the West Memphis Three were set free.
My only major complaint about the trilogy is that they were all made as standalone films, meaning there is a lot of overlap between the three movies. In the past I was very critical of the second film, “Revelations,” because I remembered it being sensationalized. Having watched the film again I find it to be a fascinating, but misguided film filled with accusations built on circumstantial evidence; the same sort of evidence that convicted the West Memphis Three. The third film, while not nearly as important or as significant as the first, is necessary because it provides a certain amount of closure.
This four-disc set also includes deleted scenes, “lost” footage, interviews with the filmmakers, a time line as well as a panel discussion with the West Memphis Three. If you’re a fan of true crime documentaries this set is absolutely essential.
Cinderella II & III (DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo) This collection contains Disney’s two direct-to-video sequels to “Cinderella.” “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” was originally released in 2001 and is essentially a trilogy of stories tied together by the idea that the stories are written by Gus and Jaq, mice friends of Cinderella, with a little help from the Fairy Godmother. “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time” is a more traditional film with only one central narrative. Both films touch on the idea of that the upper class is no more important than the middle or lower classes. “A Twist in Time” also touches on the dangers of power (or magic wands) when it falls into the wrong hands. “Dreams Come True” is pretty much a disaster. “A Twist in Time” is a passable, but unnecessary. You’d need to be an actual Disney princess, or a parent of one, to justify adding this release to your collection.
6 Degrees of Hell (DVD and Blu-ray)
In a small Pennsylvania a decrepit hotel has been transformed into a popular haunted house. Filled with knickknacks bought at auction from gruesome crime scenes the hotel becomes a magnet to supernatural phenomenon and makes the townspeople the target of a demonic possession. Or something like that. “6 degrees of Hell” is an unintentionally campy B-movie that takes itself far too seriously. The acting is all over the place, the makeup and special effects are lacking and as a result the film fails to build any sort of suspense or offer any frights. Corey Feldman, who gets top billing, drops by for a couple cigarettes, but doesn’t really play a part in the film’s central story. “6 Degrees of Hell” has a few interesting ideas interspersed between the clichés. It will hold the attention of horror addicts, but is unlikely to appeal to anyone except the diehards.
Shipping Wars (DVD)
“Shipping Wars” is a fairly successful combination of the trucker aspect of “Ice Road Truckers,” the eclectic charm of “American Pickers” with the competitive bidding aspect of “Storage Wars.” It’s not particularly original, but if you’re a fan of the series that it liberally takes its ideas from you’ll find “Shipping Wars” to be equally addictive. I’m a little tired of the whole rookie vs the old timers aspect of these shows, but can’t blame the producers for continuing to bank on what they already know to be successful.
Storage Wars Texas: Season One (DVD)
If you’ve watched the original “Storage Wars” you already know what to expect from “Storage Wars Texas.” The only real difference between the two is locale and the cast. It features an odd assortment of characters with a wide range of experience when it comes to buying abandoned storage lockers in hopes of reselling the contents to turn a profit. The nice thing about “Storage Wars Texas” is that you’d never confuse it with its California counterpart because Texas culture differs so wildly from what you’d find in Southern California. It doesn’t hurt that in one of the early episodes the buyers stumble upon a locker filled with collectable toys. I could never make a living off of buying storage lockers; I’d start collecting everything and end up on “Hoarders.” It still might happen.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)