Out this week on home video
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Bruce Boxleitner, Olivia Wilde, Beau Garrett, Michael Sheen, James Frain, Serinda Swan, Yaya DaCosta, Owen Best
Disney//Rated PG//Fantasy//126 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D, digital download and on demand. Note: Also available in as 2-Pack the includes the original “TRON.”
Though a box-office dud when released in 1982, “Tron’s” cult following now includes gamers and fanboys. In chapter one, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared. No one knows he was digitized inside a computer, and has lived there ever since. In the sequel, Kevin’s son Sam is in his mid 20s when Dad’s best friend, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) reports he’s received a message from his Kevin’s old office, located in a closed game arcade. Sam enters the shuttered arcade, locates his father’s hidden computer room, and is swept inside the digital universe where he is forced to compete in gladiator-style contests. The light-cycle competition is entrancing, a brilliant sequence the film never again equals. Sam meets Clu, an ageless program made in his father’s youthful image, who seeks Kevin Flynn’s user disc so he can escape the digital universe and conquer the real world. Sam is helped to find his father by Quorra (Olivia Wilde), the last surviving member of a program nearly made extinct by Clu. Bridges is consistently fun to watch, though Hedlund’s generic Sam fails to engage. By the time Sam, his father and Quorra (pronounced Cora), make a fateful run across the grid, we’ve seen everything the film has to offer, at least twice. DVD features: First look at Tron: uprising, the Disney XD animated series, Visualizing Tron: how the filmmakers brought the astonishing word inside the Grid to Life, Cast members discuss their unique Tron experience, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed: what happens after the movie ends, Disney second screen: Tron Legacy – explore exclusive interactive content with your iPad or computer as you watch the movie, Music video – “Derezzed,” How the writers and filmmakers created this amazing story, Director Joseph Kosinski rallies a fanatical Comic-con crowd. 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack 3D features same plus: Digital copy, 3D version of film on both DVD and Blu-ray.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: Part 1
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans
Warner//Rated PG-13//Fantasy//146 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and digital download
Part one of the final “Harry Potter” book, is more visually obscure and contains lengthy nonaction passages. The film does offer another opportunity to visit J.K. Rowling’s magical universe, but there ought to be more that we haven’t already seen. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his underlings, gather in one of the school’s great halls while those on the side of right have gathered at Harry’s where they enact a plan to hide Harry from Voldemort’s death-eaters. The mission leaves Harry guilt ridden and determined to prevent harm from befalling others. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), along with his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), depart to seek the seven hidden horcruxes holding the fractured pieces of Voldemort’s soul. When they find such a horcrux in a necklace, Ron soon falls under its spell. Somber passages depict Harry and Hermione magically moving their tent from one isolated, arrestingly beautiful setting to the next, as they wait for Ron to reappear. The film’s dark palette makes many scenes difficult to view. Once again, Helena Bonham Carter appears as Bellatrix LeStrange, and once again she brings plenty of “Le strange-ness” to her role. Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint grapple with this nuanced screenplay, while special credit goes to Emma Watson, Brendan Gleeson, Rhys Ifans and Bill Nighy, who bring must-needed color, warmth and humor to their roles. The final film is due to be released this July. DVD features: Additional Scenes, Dobby’s Book, English or Spanish language tracks, letterbox widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy, Maximum movie mode, the 7 Harrys, On the green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James, Dan, Rupert and Emma’s running competition, An opening scene from the final film.
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS
* * (C)
Directed by John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Starring Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Antoni Corone, Brennan Brown, Michael Mandel, Annie Golden
Lionsgate//Rated R//Comedy//98 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray and digital download
Although it features a pair of popular actors, and is based on an extraordinary real-life tale, “Phillip Morris” bombed at the box office — deservedly so. Based on the book by Steve McVicker, we meet Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) as a youngster, see him become a cop, get married and sire two kids before a life-changing event prompts him to leave the force, abandon his family, move to Florida, take up a flamboyantly gay lifestyle, and become a con man. This portion of Russell’s biography is certainly unusual, but it becomes increasingly bizarre when he is arrested, tried, convicted and while in prison, meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Russell soon escapes, but he can’t stay away from Morris and so poses as his attorney. These outlandish events should be fascinating, but director John Requa compiles them as if depicting a fractured fairytale. From a comedic standpoint, Carrey’s silly portrayal makes it impossible to imagine anyone falling for Russell’s cons. We sense no inner conflict as Russell cares only for his own desires. McGregor’s melancholy turn is spot on, but he can’t counteract the dumbing down of what seems nothing like a remarkable true story. DVD or Blu-ray features: Filmmaker commentary, making-of featurette, Deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
* * * * (A)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybil Shepherd, Harvey Kitel, Peter Boyle
Sony//Rated R//Drama//113 minutes
35th Anniversary Edition, Available on: Blu-ray
Scorcese’s seamless diary of a disturbed individual’s desire to effect real change is powerful commentary and is as disturbing today as when first released in 1976. Robert De Niro is mesmerizing as restless Vietnam Vet, Travis. A graveyard cabby in New York City, Travis obsesses over the filth and ugliness of the city’s underbelly. He latches onto the idea of saving a 12-year-old prostitute (Jodie Foster) from her hardened pimp (Harvey Kitel). He hopes to confirm his self worth by gaining the love of a beautiful presidential campaign worker (Cybil Shepherd), but she rejects his misguided romantic overtures, propelling Travis into a psychotic episode. Peter Boyle’s veteran cabby, affectionately nicknamed “The Wizard,” dispenses sage advice to young hacks. Bernard Herman’s incredible score overlays the virtuoso performances while taking our breath away and relentlessly challenging our perspective. Interviews following the film reveal that the colors in the shoot-out scene were “desaturated” to stay within an “R” rating, and De Niro’s infamous “You talkin’ to me?” line was a bit of inspired improv. Blu-ray features: Original 1986 Commentary with Director Martin Scorsese and Writer Paul Schrader recorded by The Criterion Collection, Feature Length Commentary by Writer Paul Schrader, Feature Length Commentary by Professor Robert Kolker, Commentaries by writer Paul Schrader and professor Robert Kolker, discussing the film scene-by-scene, Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver, “Producing Taxi Driver,” a behind-the-scenes featurette, De Niro, Oliver Stone, Roger Corman and others pay tribute to Scorsese and the film in this video homage, Interactive Script to Screen, “God’s Lonely Man” documentary featuring screenwriter Paul Schrader and Professor Robert Kolker discussing the loneliness themes as seen in the film, Schrader also discusses what circumstances led to writing the screenplay, A contemporary, video visit to the film’s famous locations in New York City, comparing them to the same locations used in 1975, Video bonus: “Storyboard to Film Comparisons,” with Scorsese’s Intro, Taxi tales as told by real life New York city cab drivers, “Making Of” Documentary, Animated Photo Galleries that include photo montages featuring the film’s music score, location shots taken during filming and Martin Scorsese at work, MovieIQ+sync: the full MovieIQ experience on your computer or iPhone by linking to your Blu-ray Disc, trailers English language tracks, Cantonese, French, Korean or Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
NATURE: BROKEN TAIL – A Tiger’s Last Journey
* * *1/2 (A-)
PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//60 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
The 6,000 captive tigers in the U.S., now outnumber the remaining wild tigers of the entire world. Those 1,500 Bengal tigers living wild in India are challenged to eke out a living as their habitats are encroached upon by a burgeoning human population. Irish cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson spent nearly 600 days filming the cub Broken Tail in Ranthambore, one of India’s best protected tiger reserves. Named for his bent tail, the cameraman knew Broken Tail’s mother, and thus knew Broken Tail, from the day he was born. He was an exuberant cub. A cheeky prankster from the outset. One day, Broken Tail mysteriously abandoned his idyllic sanctuary to roam through farmland and scrub. Eventually, the young tiger was struck by a train and died, nearly 200 miles from home. Hearing of Broken Tail’s fate, Colin returned with and his soundman, Salim, to retrace Broken Tail’s reasons for undertaking his dangerous journey in this beautiful, instructive and clever documentary. DVD or Blu-ray features: Additional Scenes, English language tracks, close captioned, widescreen.
ROYAL ROMANCE: WILLIAM AND KATE
Starring Prince William, Kate Middleton
Inception Media Group//Not Rated//Documentary//52 minutes
Available on: DVD
With their wedding mere weeks away, public interest in Prince William and Kate Middleton is at its peak. This documentary, advertising itself as an “unauthorized tribute,” falls flat, failing to deliver its few rosebuds in an interesting way. William’s biography is laid out glowingly. He toils tirelessly for his mother’s charities and like his father, campaigns for conservation. There’s no reason he shouldn’t become Britain’s “Prince of Hearts.” The revelations are: William and Kate have already lived together as a couple, understandable given the Queen requirement that they complete a 5-year pre-engagement before marrying. An enterprising Middleton used the time to start her own popular line of children’s wear. Mining archival footage and photos, the films finds only reporters and commoners to interview. My oh my. Aren’t those Brits a tight-lipped gang. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.
* * 1/2 (B-)
Directed by Shana Feste
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester, Marshall Chapman
Sony//Rated PG-13//Drama//117 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
Paltrow portrays Kelly Canter, both acting and singing the role of an established country star whose fame, alcoholism and overly ambitious manager-husband (McGraw), back the performer into a corner. After Kelly’s early release from rehab, she embarks on a comeback tour, with an opening act by a pair of aspiring country stars. They are down-to-earth Beau and starchy-haired Chiles (Hedlund and Meester), performers initially at odds. However, the larger threat is Kelly’s failure to put down the bottle. Onstage performances and revelations fuel the foursome’s roller-coaster relationships. The film is something of a spectacle, but there’s no denying that its musical interludes are fun. DVD features: Original ending, deleted scenes, “Shake That Thing” extended performance with Gwyneth Paltrow, “Country Strong” music video featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, “A Little Bit Stronger” music video by Sara Evans, English or French language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Friends in high places: The cast of Country Strong, Putting the words in their mouths: The songwriters, The costumes MovieIQ + sync featuring the Country Strong playlist, English, Spanish or French language tracks,
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Michael Apted
Starring Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Laura Brent, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Gary Sweet, Arthur Angel
Voices of Liam Neeson, Simon Pegg
Fox//Rated PG//Fantasy//112 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
In the third film adaptation from the epic series by C.S. Lewis, the youngest Pevensie children take the lead. While gazing at a painting of a ship named The Dawn Treader, Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes) and their cousin Eustace (Poulter) are swept off to the magical kingdom of Narnia. Here they are reunited with their beloved talking lion, Aslan (Neeson), and they sail the ocean blue with King Caspian (Barnes) who is searching for Narnia’s seven lost lords. The children and royals are tempted by both gold and power, and are enchanted by their encounters with dragons, dwarfs, merfolk, monsters and assorted warriors. Though filmed in 3D, the nostalgic franchise recalls a more innocent time and reaches out to a young crowd. DVD features: Deleted Scenes, commentary by Director Michael Apted and Producer Mark Johnson, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. 2-Disc DVD features same plus: “The Untold Adventures of The Dawn Treader” Animated Short, King Caspian’s Guide to the Dawn Treader: Legends and Lore of the Great Ship, 5 Islands Explorations, Narnian Discoveries: Friends and Foes of Narnia (7 featurettes), 4 Fox Movie Channel Presents Behind The Scenes Featurettes, Sword Game. Blu-ray features same as above. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on Blu-ray and DVD, Digital Copy.
* * * * (A)
Directed by Brad Bird
Voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jason Lee, Elizabeth Pena, Holly Hunter, Brad Bird, Spencer Fox, Jean Sincere, Sarah Vowell
Disney//Rated PG//Animated Family//115 minutes
Available on: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Pixar’s most thrilling and comprehensive CGI feature has fun with a dysfunctional family of superheroes whose three children are just discovering their powers. The Parr family is forced into a superhero relocation program by unfounded lawsuits, then lured to a desert island by an evil villain (Jason Lee) where they are obliged to fight for their lives. Written and directed by Brad Bird, the “Iron Giant” creator, this film took home the 2004 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: Film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy, The Incredibles Revisited: Filmmaker Roundtable, Jack-Jack Attack Exploded, Boundin’ Short Film, Jack-Jack Attack Short Film, Interactive! “The New Nomanisan” Island Redevelopment, Plan A Guided Tour Of The Vacation Island Paradise, Paths To Pixar – Story Artist, Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.
Directed by Paul Weitz
Starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner, Jessica Alba, Teri Polo, Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand
Universal//Rated PG-13//Comedy//98 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Resorting to crude humor at every turn, the latest De Niro-Stiller match-up tops the list of this year’s least watchable films. Alba appears as a drug rep peddling an erectile dysfunction Rx. She is unaccountably attracted to male nurse Greg Focker (Stiller), whom she attempts to hire. For the fifth birthday of their twins, Greg and Pam Focker (Polo), along with the couple’s parents (De Niro, Danner, Hoffman and Streisand), gather at the estate of Greg’s wealthy friend Kevin (Wilson). There’s little plot beyond Kevin’s attempts to romance Pam away from Greg, and Jack Byrnes’s (De Niro) efforts to out mind-game his son-in-law. DVD features: Hilarious gag reel, Alternate opening & ending not seen in theaters, Deleted scenes, The making of a Godfocker, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Bob and Ben & Ben and Owen.