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Out on home video

SKYLINE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)



Directed by Colin and Greg Strause

Starring Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, David Zayas, Crystal Reed, Robin Gammell, J. Paul Boehmer, Tanya Newbould, Tony Black, Pam Levin



Universal//Rated PG-13//Sci-Fi//94 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

“Skyline” presents viewers with a vision of hard-working, yet self-indulgent adults who remain unmarried and childless into their late 20s and early 30s. Elaine (Scottie Thompson) and Jarrod (Eric Balfour), are a smitten young couple traveling to Los Angeles for friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday celebration. After a night spent drinking with Terry, his girlfriend Candice (Brittany Daniel) and secretary Denise (Crystal Reed), the revelers awaken in Terry’s posh high-rise apartment to an eerie blue light from outside. Looking into the light hypnotizes the viewer who is subsequently vacuumed into its source. The Strause Brother’s aliens are spiny, shape-shifting space ships, flying seekers, giant crushers, and tentacled beasts that hunt down those humans surviving the initial onslaught. Up and down, in and out of the high-rise the survivors go, joining other survivors, or succumbing to the invaders. The film illustrates a bleak vision that coincides with predictions of extraterrestrial visitors presented by preeminent scientist, Stephen Hawking. Comparisons to “Star Trek’s” alien Borg or to the plot line of “War of the Worlds,” may be inevitable, though this vision is reasonably fresh. “Skyline’s” flaw lies in its disposable humans, as the characters assume a low priority in the minds of the Strauses who own the special effects company that made such a movie possible on a mere $10 million dollar budget. DVD features: Commentary with Directors Greg and Colin Strause or Commentary with Co-writer/Producer Liam O’Donnell and Co-writer Joshua Cordes, deleted and extended scenes, alternate scenes, Pre-Visualization, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: D-Box Enabled.

THE WALKING DEAD: Season One

(2010)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Created by Frank Darabont

Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Emma Bell, Chandler Riggs

Anchor Bay//Not Rated//Horror//292 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

This inspired show, adapted from Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, was produced for AMC. The first season, comprised of six 1-hour episodes, features a scrappy, thoughtful band of survivors attempting to hang on to their humanity and sanity. Camping in the wilds surrounding Atlanta, a half-dozen hardy souls make supply runs to the city where they are pursued by throngs of zombies. The tense action is matched by the difficult relationships in this character-driven story written for an adult audience. 2-Disc DVD or Blu-ray features: Making-of featurette, Inside “The Walking Dead,” A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman, Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-up Tips, Convention Panel with Producers, Trailer, Extra Footage, Zombie School, Bicycle Girl, On Set with Robert Kirkman, Hanging with Steven Yeun, Inside Dale’s RV, On Set with Andrew Lincoln, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

JACKASS 3

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Starring Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, Jason Acuna

Paramount//Rated R//Comedy//94 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

In the third of Knoxville’s Jackass movies, the 39-year-old and his boys offer themselves up as the butts of more horrific stunts. One bungee jumps while inside an outhouse, another gets rammed in the package by a bull, another is bitten by an attack dog while yet another is hurled through the air and fired upon with bird shot. The strange and gross gags present another opportunity for middle-aged guys to show that beneath their mature exteriors, juveniles reside — no matter how big the budget and profits may grow. DVD features: Director’s Cut, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, MTV Making Of Special, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: both Unrated or 3D rated version. 2-Disc 3D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: 3D Rated or Unrated versions.

INSIDE JOB

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Charles Ferguson

Narrated by Matt Damon

Sony//Rating PG-13//Documentary//109 Minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Director Charles Ferguson interviews journalists, politicians, and financial insiders in an effort to obtain a clearer explanation for the economic meltdown that began in 2008. Narrated by Matt Damon, Ferguson’s documentary highlights the corrupt, yet legal practices, all but guaranteeing such a result, and the reasoning that led to bailouts with consequences yet to be determined. The film won an Oscar for Best Documentary. DVD features: commentary with director Charles Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs, Deleted scenes, Making of featurette, English language tracks, French or Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Over 60 minutes of additional deleted scenes, Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Spanish or Turkish subtitles.

MORNING GLORY

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Roger Michell

Starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Matt Malloy, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum

Paramount//Rated PG-13//Comedy//127 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

In presenting the difficulties that confront television news departments, “Morning Glory” overlooks some of its best opportunities. McAdams is cast as Becky, a young producer trying to jumpstart her career by reviving a network’s unpopular morning show. She’s saddled with fallen-from-grace anchorman, Mike Pomeroy (Ford), and his co-anchor — a former Miss Arizona — Colleen Peck (Keaton). Becky’s agenda becomes complicated when Mike and Colleen clash over the show’s format and topics. However, the three characters are defanged by a script short on both courage and smarts. Electing not to mention Internet competition is just one more indication that the writers haven’t thought this one through. DVD features: Commentary by director Roger Michell and writer Aline Brosh McKenna, Deleted scenes, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: deleted scenes in HD.

THE NEXT THREE DAYS

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Paul Haggis

Starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Lennie James, Olivia Wilde, Ty Simpkins, Helen Carey, Liam Neeson, Daniel Stern, Kevin Corrigan

Lionsgate//Rated PG-13//Thriller//133 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, Digital Download and VOD

John (Crowe) and Lara (Banks) Brennan are the happily married parents of a 6-year-old son (Simpkins), when Lara is suddenly arrested, and subsequently tried and convicted of killing an associate. Convinced she’s innocent and concerned Lara will take her own life, English professor John plans to break his wife out of prison. While laying the groundwork for his plan, John falls prey to unsavory types, but is saved by the expert guidance of a knowledgeable con turned author (Neeson). Remaking the French Film “Anything For Her,” “The Next Three Days” lacks the original’s subtlety and rapid pace, but a clever plot, and Crowe and Neeson’s thoughtful portrayals, are sufficient to hold our interest. DVD features: Filmmakers’ commentary, Deleted scenes, Extended scenes, featurettes: Making-of, The Men of The Next Three Days, True escapes for love, Cast moments, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: Film on both Blu-ray and DVD, Digital copy, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

HEREAFTER

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Starring Matt Damon, Cecile de France, Frankie McLaren, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, George McLaren, Thierry Neuvic, Marthe Keller, Derek Jacobi, Richard Kind

Warner//Rated PG-13//Drama//129 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack and VOD

Eastwood’s film opens with a breathtaking tsunami that nearly drowns a French TV reporter (de France) and changes the course of her life. The second story observes a pair of troubled Londoners, 11-year-old identical twins. In the third leg, a San Francisco-based psychic (Damon) no longer wishes to communicate with the dead. The film follows the reporter, the surviving twin, and the psychic as they attempt to move forward and reboot their lives. Slow passages stall the convergence of the stories, but this great cast is infinitely watchable. DVD features: 3 featurettes: Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster, Locations – Casting the Silent Characters, The Eastwood Experience, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

Blu-ray Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, The Eastwood Factor: 90 minute documentary in HD, featurettes with Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon: Is There Life After Death?, Clint on Casting, Delving into the Hereafter, Twin Bonding, French Speaking French, Why The White Light?.

THE SWITCH

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Josh Gordon, Will Speck

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Thomas Robinson

Miramax//Rated PG-13//Comedy//101 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Download and VOD

Although Wally (Bateman) harbors a crush on unmarried Kassie (Aniston), he’s supportive when she opts to use Roland’s (Wilson) sperm to artificially inseminate herself with a turkey baster. Wally, whose gotten blitzed in his depression over her decision, accidentally destroys the sperm then feels obliged to replace it with his own. Seven years later, Wally meets her adorable 6-year-old son, Sebastian (Robinson), and Wally recalls his substitution after noticing the boy exhibits pessimistic and hypochondriac behaviors that mirror his own. Twisting these circumstances into a romantic comedy is possible, thanks to strong performances, clever pratfalls and well-timed reveals. DVD features: behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, English language tracks, French or Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Alternate ending w/directors’ intro, additional deleted scenes w/directors’ intro, Bloopers.

THE FIGHTER

(2010)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Directed by David O. Russell

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

Paramount//Rated R//Drama//115 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Mark Wahlberg stars as real-life welterweight Micky Ward, raised in working-class Massachusetts. Interestingly, the character functions best as a touchstone to Christian Bale and Melissa Leo’s fascinating, supporting characters. Dicky Eklund (a gaunt, haunting Bale), found boxing success before becoming an addled crack user. Dicky now relies on his half-brother, Micky, to relive his glory days. Melissa Leo appears as Micky’s controlling mother, Alice, managing his career to suit her own ends while Amy Adams steps into the role of Micky’s new girlfriend. Family dynamics and gripping fight action, move the story at a brisk pace. DVD features: director commentary, Filming The Fighter, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on Blu-ray and DVD, Digital Copy, French or Spanish subtitles.

NOVA: EMERGENCY MINE RESCUE

(2010)

* * *1/2 (B)

Directed by Kate Dart, Tom Stubberfield, Nick Evans

PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//60 minutes

Available on: DVD

We saw the incredible rescue of 33 Chilean miners who survived 69 days trapped inside a collapsed mine, but the Herculean effort to effect their rescue is an equally amazing tale. This Nova episode looks at the various approaches tried simultaneously by separate teams of engineers and drillers. At first blush the redundancy appears to be a waste of resources, until two teams come up against insurmountable obstacles and the third is stymied by costly delays. Though we know the story ends well, we sweat their action. DVD features: English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

HELENA FROM THE WEDDING

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Joseph Infantolino

Starring Melanie Lynskey, Dagmara Dominczyk, Lee Tergesen, Dominic Fumusa, Paul Fitzgerald, Jessica Hecht, Gillian Jacobs, Corey Stoll

Film Movement//Not Rated//Drama//89 Minutes

Available on: DVD

Writer-director Joseph Infantolino examines the effect of unfortunate choices made by both married and unmarried adults in their 20s and 30s. Newlyweds Alex and Alice (Tergesen and Lynskey), invite their friends (played by Jacobs, Fumusa, Stoll, Hecht and Dominczyk) to celebrate New Year’s, but when one couple brings along unattached, 20-something Helena (Jacobs), two men make spectacles of themselves. Though nicely acted, the film has gotten a lukewarm reception. DVD features: Special Bonus Cast Interviews, English language tracks, widescreen.

HANNAH MONTANA FOREVER: FINAL SEASON

(2010)

Created by Richard Correll, Barry O’Brien, Michael Poryes

Starring Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles

Disney//Rated TV-G//Comedy//341 Minutes

Available on: DVD

Having made Miley Cyrus into a billion dollar industry, it was inevitable that

Disney’s fantasy sitcom featuring her as a high school student by day, and a pop star by night, would soon end. These 13 episodes find Miley approaching 18 as she decides to reveal herself as Hannah Montana. The series finale leaves the possibility of sequel films open. Guest stars include Sheryl Crow, Cody Linley and Dolly Parton. 2-Disc DVD features: An exclusive alternate ending, Cast goodbyes, From auditions to Wrap: the cast looks back, 29-page Tribute Book, Photo of Hannah Montana, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

HEMINGWAY’S THE GARDEN OF EDEN

(2008)

Directed by John Irvin

Starring Mean Suvari, Jack Huston, Caterina Murino, Matthew Modine, Richard Grant, Carmen Maura

Source Writer Ernest Hemingway

Lionsgate//Rated R//Drama//97 minutes

Available on: DVD

Penned between 1946 and 1961, Ernest Hemingway’s final novel was released on film in 2008 and received a limited theatrical US run in December 2010. Set in the 1920s, and scripted to closely follow Hemingway’s story, the tale takes place on the French Riviera. Writer David Bourne’s (Huston) beautiful wife Catherine (Suvari), introduces him to Marita (Murino), a sensuous Italian. Complex attractions between the three threaten to tear apart the couple’s marriage. Trading on the steamy reputation of Hemingway’s tome, the film is rated a disappointing 5 out of 10 by IMDB users. DVD features: Theatrical Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.


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