Lisa Miller

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May 17, 2012
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Lisa's home video capsules

HAYWIRE

(2011)

CR: * * *1/2 (A-)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas

Relativity Media//Rated R//Action//93 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand

Gina Carano, the star of "Haywire," is a real-life mixed martial arts fighter. Unlike most waif-like actresses cast in similar roles, at 5'8" and 145 pounds, Carano looks like the real McCoy. When she defeats any number of male assailants, her brute strength and fighting ability is stunning. She portrays Mallory, an elite operative poised to leave a company filling government contracts, when she suddenly finds herself framed as a rogue agent murderer. Who is responsible and why is the puzzle that Mallory must solve in order to survive. To ready neophyte actress Carano for her role, director Steven Soderbergh delivered Carano into the hands of a Mossad operative who trained her in special ops procedures. Carano used her fighting expertise to choreograph her hand-to-hand combat scenes. Mallory is calm, confident, and keeps her own counsel. Those possibly plotting against Mallory are her boss and coworkers (played by Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender), her CIA contact (Michael Douglas) and a smooth-talking, State Department functionary (Antonio Banderas). Gina is the granddaughter of Reno Eldorado casino founder Don Carano. She attended both UNR and UNLV before deciding to become a mixed martial arts fighter. While it sounds as if someone else is speaking her lines, Carano explains that Soderbergh deepened her voice, post production, to make her sound more authoritative. He needn't have bothered since she kicks ass and takes names. DVD and Blu-ray features: Gina Carano in Training, The Men of Haywire.

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING

(2012)

* * (C)

Directed by Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley, Stephen Rea

Screen Gems//Rated R//Horror//88 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack

Beckinsale returns for her fourth bite at Selene, the intrepid vampire warrioress attempting to save her clan from the big bad lycans. This time, mankind has discovered the existence of both vampires and lycans, so the government sends a military contingent to eradicate both species, but they didn't count on Selene, or her hybrid daughter (Eisley), who holds the key to a vampire-future. Meanwhile, Selene must contend with double-large, double-strong werewolf engineered by the lycans. Not sure I'm "lycan" Kate's chances here, but I'll root for her. DVD features: Filmmakers' Commentary, English, French, Spanish or Thai language tracks, Korean subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Blooper Reel, "Heavy Prey" Music Video, 5 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes: Selene Rises, Resuming the Action, Awakening a Franchise, Building a Brutal New World, Casting the Future of Underworld, Building a Better Lycan. Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features same plus: film on both Blu-ray 3D and DVD 2D, Ultraviolet Digital Copy, Previsualization sequences.

THE VOW

(2012)

* * (C)

Directed by Michael Sucsy

Starring Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange

Sony//Rated PG-13//Drama//104 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray

This romantic drama opens with happy newlyweds Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum), shortly before their bliss is interrupted by an accident that leaves Paige with a severe head injury. As she recovers, Leo discovers that Paige no longer recalls the past 15 years, and has no memory of him. Still deeply in love, Leo sets out to win her heart once again, a task made more daunting by the radically different views and beliefs Paige held 15 years ago. Surely, such charming, attractive people must find their way back to true love -- but only after viewers cry a river of tears. DVD features: Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Director's Commentary. Blu-ray features same plus: 3 Making-of featurettes, Czech, English, French, Russian, Spanish or Turkish language tracks, Bulgarian, Estonian or Croatian subtitles.

NEW YEAR'S EVE

(2011)

* (D)

Directed by Garry Marshall

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ludacris, Katherine Heigl, Matthew Broderick, Jessica Biel, Common, Hilary Swank, Jon Bon Jovi

Warner Brothers//Rated PG-13//Comedy//118 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, digital download

Garry Marshall revives his moneymaking "Valentine's Day" formula to follow couples and singles preparing for New Year's Eve in the Big Apple. The Times Square event organizer is played by Swank, surprised by her attraction to the handsome cop (Common) assigned to assist her. Bon Jovi appears as a rock star required to work with his ex, played by Heigl. Kutcher portrays a grump who becomes stuck in an elevator with a pretty backup singer (Lea Michele); while Pfeiffer's cougar considers having an affair with a much younger man. These and other stories recall Marshall's similarly themed "Valentine's Day," which defied critics' disdain to generate a $160 million dollar profit. DVD features: Director commentary, Gag Reel. Blu-ray features same plus: UltraViolet Digital Copy, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Jon Bon Jovi & Lea Michele rock New Year's Eve, The magic of times square, New Year's Eve secrets of the stars Deleted scenes.

JOYFUL NOISE

(2012)

CR: * * (C)

Directed by Todd Graff

Starring Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Kris Kristofferson, Jeremy Jordan, Dexter Darden, Courtney B. Vance, Jesse L. Martin, Kirk Franklin, Angela Grovey, Andy Karl, DeQuina Moore, Paul Woolfolk

Warner//Rated PG-13//Comedy//118 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, digital download

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah square off as small town residents at odds over the Divinity Church Choir's strategy for winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. Vi Rose Hill (Latifah) is determined to stick with their traditional -- and losing -- style, while wealthy widow G.G. Sparrow (Parton) is equally certain the group must transition into gospel pop. The argument heats up when G.G.'s grandson Randy (Jordan), demonstrates an ear for directing the choir, but casts his eye on Olivia (Palmer), Vi Rose's talented daughter. A little bit "Glee" and a lot squeaky clean melodrama, this sentimental offering will be cropping up soon on "The Hallmark Channel." DVD features: Make some noise, Leading ladies. Blu-ray features same plus: Ultraviolet Digital Copy. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features film on both DVD and Blu-ray.

MIMIC/MIMIC 2/MIMIC 3

(1997//2001//2006)

* *1/2 (B-)

Lionsgate//Rated R//Sci-Fi//263 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray

All three "Mimic" films, are collected in this set. The first film, directed by Guillermo del Toro in 1997, earns a solid "B" and is presented here with the director's cut. Mira Sorvino and Jeremy Northram portray a pair of well-intentioned scientists who create a mutant cockroach as a means of wiping out a plague. Three years later they discover the bugs have become man-sized killers and people are on the menu. Largely set in New York City's subway tunnels where del Toro takes advantage of the innately creepy environment to create a real spine-tingler. Chapters two and three went direct-to-video, receiving their blu-ray debut on this set. In the sequel, Sorvino's assistant Remy (Alix Koromzay) is catapulted into the lead. The pretty red head is unaware that a giant cockroach intends to mate with her, so it kills any man showing an interest. Next it traps Remy in a public school where the huge bug proves to be an acrobat as it pursues her, destroying those unfortunate enough to get in its way. Lance Henrickson comes onboard for a threequel that reimagines the "Rear Window" premise. A young boy observes the giant cockroach on a murderous rampage, and attempts to protect himself and his family from the man-eating infestation. 3-Disc DVD or Blu-ray.

MEN IN BLACK

(1997)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones

Sony//Rated PG-13//Sci-Fi//98 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray

With "Men In Black III" hitting theaters May 25, Sony is re-releasing the first film on Blu-ray with new features. A convoluted actioner that stars Smith and Jones as secret government agents assigned to prevent aliens -- posing as humans -- from overrunning earth. The film's scathing one-liners and fab special effects ushered in the satiric sci-fi age. Blu-ray features: Sneak-peek at "Men In Black III," coupon for MIB III theatrical ticket, Ultraviolet digital copy, Visual and Audio Commentaries, Extended/Alternative Scenes, galleries, Trivia Game, Ask Frank The Pug, English, French, Spanish and Thai language tracks, Arabic, and Mandarin subtitles.

MEN IN BLACK II

(2002)

* * (C)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Tony Shalhoub

Sony//Rated PG//Sci-Fi, Comedy//88 minutes

Available on: Blu-ray

What makes this release notable is its first appearance on blu-ray. Jones appears as agent Kay, happily working for the post office until his memory, and crabbiness are restored by an alien pawnshop owner (Tony Shalhoub). Kay reteams with Jay (Smith) to resume his work -- shielding humans from the knowledge that extra terrestrials thrive here on Earth. Job number one is preventing alien Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) from blowing up the earth using a "universe-controlling-thingie." Even more bombastic than the first chapter, the filmmakers hope we won't notice that new ideas are in short supply. Blu-ray features: Note: Sneak-peek at "Men In Black III," coupon for MIB III theatrical ticket, Ultraviolet digital copy, Director Commentary, Alternate Ending, Blooper Reel, 5 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes, Creature Featurettes, Scene Deconstructions, Music Video.

Also Out:

CHUCK: Season 5

(2011)

Created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak

Starring Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, Mark Lawrence, Ryan McPartlin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky

Warner//Not Rated//Comedy//817 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray

Ever since accidentally downloading all the government's secrets to his brain, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) has walked a strange path. He works in a Burbank shopping mall, is guarded by CIA operatives Sarah Walker (Strahovski) and John Casey (Baldwin), and though he sometimes goes on missions that benefit from his knowledge, during the past five seasons Chuck has never been promoted to a full-fledged spy. In addition to the government's secrets, he is obliged to keep his accident and sometime spy-status a secret from family and friends. The show's blend of comedy and action set it apart from the pack, but made it difficult for "Chuck" to gather a large audience. Creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak knew the show was ending and do an admirable job of wrapping up the various storylines. 5-Disc DVD or 4-Disc Blu-ray features: A tribute to the fans, Chuck Versus the Final Episode: An emotional visit behind the scenes, The mind behind the music, Chuck: The Beginnings: The flash that launched a hit show, The journey from nerd to spy, Goodbye, Buy More: Time-lapse teardown of the set, Exclusive Buy More commercials, Extended version of series finale, Chuck: The Future: Cast and producers' predictions, Commentaries on final 2 episodes with Executive Producers and Actors, Declassified scenes, Gag reel.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 17, 2012 01:57PM Published May 17, 2012 01:56PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.