Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:55 AM MDT
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for November 27, 2012
By Ryan Michael Painter
(KUTV) DVD and Blu-ray Releases for November 27, 2012 This week sees a the release of the creepy stop-motion animated “ParaNorman,” Ashley Green in the haunted house story “The Apparition,” Director John Hillcoat’s prohibition drama “Lawless” and on Friday Will Smith’s “Men in Black III” lands in stores.
This week’s reviews also include the Blu-ray release of Gary Hustwit’s documentary “Objectified,” IFC’s DVD release of the inventive drama “Burning Man” and Major League Baseball’s “All-Time Bloopers.”
Action: Men in Black 3
Drama: Burning Man, Lawless
Horror: The Apparition
Sports: MLB All-Time Bloopers
Men in Black 3 (DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and 3D Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Available 11/30] After ten years of silence the “Men in Black” franchise returns with a time travel plot that sends Agent J (Will Smith) into the past to save a young Agent K (Josh Brolin, with Tommy Lee Jones reprising his role as the older Agent K) from being assassinated by Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). It’s a predictably wild ride with ample amounts of mayhem, but the story is far more sentimental than I expected. This sentimentality doesn’t get in the way, it simply adds a certain depth to the film and allows the audience to further connect with characters they’ve already been won over by. “Men in Black 3” is a solid sequel that should satisfy old fan as well as capture the attention of those that missed the phenomenon the first time. It seems like the perfect ending place, but considering its box office success I’m guessing this won’t be the last we see of Agent J.
Gary Hustwit’s documentary from 2009 examines the relationship that we have with various manufactured items (everything from garden tools to computers) and the people who design them. On the surface (sorry, I had to do it) this documentary might seem like an incredibly boring way to spend 75 minutes; it’s not. We’re a society that values design over functionality and Hustwit examines why through interviews with the world’s most progressive designers. If you’ve seen Hustwit’s “Hevetica” you already know that the director has a knack of turning the mundane into something extremely compelling.
Burning Man (DVD)
A womanizing chef with an explosive temper tries to repair his relationship with his son. “Burning Man” is told completely out of order. Viewers are left to their own devices to sift through the fragments of the story and piece them into something comprehensible. It’s an interesting approach that manipulates the way the audience receives information and offers up more than a few red herrings. The problem is that no matter how you present the information the Tom, the protagonist, is so insufferable and selfish that it is impossible to root for him. Were it not for the gorgeous cinematography and nice performances I’m not sure that I would have made it through the film. There’s also a scene towards the end of the narrative that is so ridiculous that it doesn’t remotely fit in with the tone of the rest of the film.
Lawless (DVD and Blu-ray)
Director John Hillcoat (“The Road,” “The Proposition”) and writer Nick Cave reteam for this violent drama set against the backdrop of prohibition. The Bondurant family runs a successful bootlegging business in Franklin County, Virginia, and the new deputy wants his share of the profits; a share that the Bondurants aren’t interested in giving up. Starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman “Lawless” is an engrossing film filled with brutal violence and a certain naivety courtesy of LaBeouf and Wasikowska’s characters. If you’ve liked Hillcoat’s previous films, which I have, you know exactly what you are getting into. Those unfamiliar with Hillcoat work might find the starkness of the cinematography and the bite of the violence a bit jarring at first, but the strength of the performance makes “Lawless” worth watching; even if you’re a bit squeamish.
ParaNorman (DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and 3D Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Norman is an atypical kid who enjoys horror films and frequently interacts with the dead, including his grandmother. This makes Norman the perfect (and only) candidate to save his town from an ancient curse. “ParaNorman” is a stop-motion-animation action film made by people who love horror film. It wants to appeal to the same people who enjoy “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride.” In many ways it is far better than “Hotel Transylvania,” which features a very generic storyline, but it is also less accessible for those that don’t have a working knowledge or appreciation for horror films.
The Apparition (DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Kelly (Ashley Green) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) move into a home that is haunted by a presence that was accidently released during an experiment performed by a group of college students years before. With “The Apparition” director/writer Todd Lincoln avoids originality, which in the horror genre is somewhat expected, but he also sidesteps tension, suspense or anything remotely scary in favor of attractive actors running around looking silly.
Major League Baseball All-Time Bloopers (DVD) Not too long ago MLB released a DVD containing a pair of antiquated blooper programs that were compiled ten or twenty years ago. It was an entertaining trip down memory lane, buts surely there were giggles and gaffaws to be had from more a more recent era? Apparently MLB agreed because “All-Time Bloopers” essentially takes the best of those classic bloopers and adds a slew of new material from the past decade. I would have preferred a set that was focused entirely on contemporary bloopers, but this collection is a step in the right direction.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)