UPCOMING HOME VIDEO RELEASES (PT. 2)

The June releases are being a fucking pill. Here we are in late August, and not even half of June’s offerings have solidified their home video release dates. Damn you, Hunger Games. You had to pick the 5 month release window and now you scared all the other movies off. I hope you’re proud.

Movies in June that probably won’t make too big of a splash on video (or aren’t worth going in to too much detail): That’s My Boy is October 16, Madagascar 3 is also October 16, Rock of Ages is October 9, Madea’s Witness Protection is October 23.

Because July has roughly only two or three huge releases worth focusing on, Part 3 will include Ted and Magic Mike since there is zilch info concerning them at this point.

Snow White and the Huntsman

Blu-Ray Release Date: September 11 (Rental: October 9)

One bad casting decision can totally make a movie implode upon itself. Luckily, the casting of Kristen Stewart didn’t completely sink Snow White and the Huntsman, since it has some genuinely enjoyable things going on.

This movie ultimately succeeds due to its strong visual style and scenery-chewing performance by Charlize Theron. And, to my surprise, K-Stew is actually tolerable for most of the movie. Only when she has to give the corny, faux-inspirational speech does my acceptance sputter.

The big thing with this release is that it is an extended edition. Whether that means that an entire subplot is put back in, the rating has changed, or it’s approximately 52 seconds longer like most extended editions is still unclear. However I will be looking at the behind the scenes special features to catch a glimpse of the “special work relationship” between Stewart and the director. And/or how hard the producers try to sidestep that aspect.

MOVIE: +
SPECIAL FEATURES: +
DIGITAL COPY: +

Prometheus

Blu-Ray Release Date: October 11 (Rental: November 8)
On October 11th, prepare to experience the disagreement at home. One of 2012’s most anticipated and controversial films is sure to bring some far from unanimous opinions to the household.
There are two distinctive reactions people have had to this movie. First there is the camp that sees it as a thrilling sci-fi ride; a gorgeous-looking movie that asks big questions and takes viewers on an entertaining journey with standout performances. The other half practically loathes the movie for taking its story ambiguity to the point of being sloppy and full of holes, not to mention the general retarded-ness of a majority of the characters.
More so than some other movies this summer, I fully get both sides of the argument. I lean more towards the first half since I was pulled in for two hours, but the lack of logic is so blatant that very few people are likely to not have a “what?” moment somewhere in the movie.
The big news that’s spread in recent days is that the Blu-Ray is supposed to contain up to 40 minutes (?!?!?) of deleted scenes. If edited back into the movie, that’s more than enough to classify it as an extended edition or director’s cut. And judging by the names of each deleted scene, they could be what provides answers to the many questions the movie left us with.
Worth noting is that, like the (first) video release of Fox’s other big space epic, Avatar, Prometheus is landing on a Thursday.
MOVIE: + (NO GUARANTEES, THOUGH)
SPECIAL FEATURES: +
DIGITAL COPY: +


Brave
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 13 (Rental: December 11)
Pixar once ruled over everything the light touched when it came to producing quality animation in everything from reviews, grosses, and awards consideration. Then Cars 2 came along and threw it off a cliff after smugly proclaiming “long live the king”.  Now, rather than jump right back, it’s going to take a little time to recooperate before it reclaims its throne.
Brave is not a bad movie. In fact, it’s pretty good and I liked it for the most part. All the technical aspects you’d expect a Pixar movie to excel in are great. However, the story plays more like a light, whimsical, stereotypical Disney movie than something with a good deal of depth like most previous Pixar movies. It’s not a big complaint since that formula is tried and true, but there’s a chance that older audience members may not find as much to interest them.
There isn’t any info concerning special features at the moment, but animated Disney movies usually contain a bunch of interactive games for the kids and shit like that. Sometimes there’s a focus on the artwork or short featurette. Until further notice, there probably won’t be much to look forward to with this one’s special features. [Actually, the special features have been revealed to be extensive. So shut my mouth.]
Something I forgot to mention with The Avengers, Disney’s digital copy system occasionally irks me. If a movie had a 3D release in theaters (basically every single movie they release now), Disney will only include the digital copy in the 3D combo pack edition and leave the regular Blu-Ray edition as just a Blu-Ray and a DVD. As one of few studios that still supports the iTunes digital copy, being forced to pay more to get it, along with an extra disc for the 3D version you’ll likely never use, feels like a punishment.
MOVIE: +
SPECIAL FEATURES: +
DIGITAL COPY: + & –

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 23 (Rental: November 20)

No doubt the title featured here that the fewest people have seen, the reason I included this one is because it has great potential to find new life on video.

Yes, you wondered about it but likely didn’t shell out any money to go see it in theaters. But it’s probably not because you didn’t know what you were getting. There isn’t much ambiguity to a movie like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, although it does play things much more seriously than you may expect. Which, I found, made it more hilarious. Truthfully, this movie appeals to a very specific audience that can’t be properly categorized, but those that find they enjoy it will likely help spread the word on it and, with time, may conceivably help it reach cult classic status.

MOVIE: FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF
SPECIAL FEATURES: ?
DIGITAL COPY: +

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MOONRISE KINGDOM REVIEW

To allow you, my readers of any given article, in on my psyche for a brief moment, I sometimes feel bad about the fact that, because I am in a smaller city/medium-large town, I very rarely get the opportunity to review smaller, more independent movies when they are released in theaters. The reason for such being that they are almost never released in theaters here. I feel it sometimes makes me appear biased towards liking only the big-budget studio flicks and completely disregarding the indies. I do, in fact, like my fair share of smaller ventures. But if this bullshit is supposed to be what best represents a great independent movie, I’d choose the biggest, loudest blockbuster available any day of the week.

Moonrise Kingdom is about two misfit children, Sam Shakusky, the misunderstood orphan currently in a summer camp scout program, and Suzy Bishop, the outsider child of two lawyers, who decide to run away together on the vaguely east coast island they met on. Thus sparks a search party including everyone from Suzy’s parents, Sam’s scout leader, to the island police chief, and that creepy narrator guy who serves no purpose.

Not that he’s ever been a box-office bombshell like the others, but Moonrise Kingdom is prime evidence for the argument that Wes Anderson is becoming the next Tim Burton, George Lucas, or any other once great filmmaker turned supposed hack. This movie reeks of being the product of a director who has escaped from having to answer to anybody and now does whatever he wants or doesn’t want. Here, the want is to choose a premise and plug as many Anderson-isms as he can into it and the doesn’t want is to tell a compelling story with interesting characters.

For a story that’s inherently supposed to be warm and twee, Moonrise Kingdom is consistently cold and artificial. Anderson’s omnipresent style suffocates the movie with its unnatural focus on having everything be quirky and different above everything else, not to mention majorly contradicts it. He clearly knows what he wants to technically do with the film, seeing how there is some very cool camera work, unique soundtrack choices, and playful editing; typical Wes Anderson stuff. But it’s all similar to delivering extravagant trimmings with no real meat (story) as the centerpiece.

Barely anything that happens really matters or feels like it advances anything forward. Someone gets struck by lightning, a dog gets impaled by an arrow, that narrator dude I mentioned earlier pops up and gives mostly irrelevant information, and other wackiness happens. But there’s no internal impact on the story or characters from it or even a reason for these things to happen in the first place. Even reactions as an audience member, whether they were intended to be comedic or tragic, didn’t amount to more than a shrug.

None of the actors in this lineup are noteworthy. Even Murray and Schwartzman, Anderson’s Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter regulars are wasted. Everyone may well have been on ambien because there are only fleeting glimpses of emotion that shine through. The veteran actors are at least able to keep from embarrassing themselves with the overly subdued acting style but the two main kids don’t grasp Anderson’s dialogue stanzas like others before have and get absolutely skewered by it. Unfortunately, they are the main focus of the movie and have the most drawn out scenes. After about 40 minutes in, having to watch them do little more than mumble like robots becomes near excruciating.

Believe it or not, this review is coming from the keyboard of someone who, statistically, likes most Wes Anderson movies. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums are not only both very oddly funny but are also very investing and have their touching moments. The quirkiness comes naturally in order to serve the story (the most important thing). Moonrise Kingdom is only interested in piling the quirkiness on what’s ultimately a non-existent foundation.

Die-hard fans of Anderson may find what they’re looking for and excuse the absence of charm and investment but others who have already written it off as “hipster bullshit” probably won’t find any reason to think otherwise.

3/10