Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DVD Roundup

Rio (2011) - Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez
A domesticated macaw (Eisenberg) goes on a wild Brazilian adventure with a free spirited coed (Hathaway) in the search for his longtime owner. I like animated films in general but something about "Rio" just kind of bugged me, though I can't really put my thumb on the problem. Most of the reviews were either mildly positive or moderately negative and perhaps that's the biggest issue: there's no passion one way or the other for this film. It just seems to exist and that's the exact feeling I got from the trailers.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: Probably worth a rental if you have little ones but I personally won't take a shot on "Rio" until it pops up on HBO (if then).

Soul Surfer (2011) - AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt
The real-life tale of a young and talented surfer (Robb) who lost her arm in a shark attack and has worked to overcome her disability. This really is a great and inspiring story but unfortunately, "great and inspiring stories" often make for "cliche and painful" movies. The Christian overtones of "Soul Surfer" helped it bank a respectable amount of money ($43 million) in theaters but most reviews I read pegged it as fairly poorly acted with a mediocre narrative.

IHVR: If you can look past the over-acting, "Soul Surfer" probably holds some value as an uplifting film about perseverance. I, however, cannot look past over-acting so...

Exporting Raymond (2010) - Phil Rosenthal
This documentary follows Rosenthal, the man behind "Everybody Loves Raymond", as he attempts to help Russian television executives create a great Russian sitcom. I've got a friend who saw this and raves about it at every opportunity. I'm a big fan of documentaries and completely fascinated by the subject matter.

IHRV: I'll be hoping it pops up on Netflix Instant soon but if not, I plan to seek it out. Definitely worth a rental.

Blu Ray Pick of the Week
Sleepers (1995) - Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman
When two gangsters murder a lifelong prison guard in seemingly cold blood, the case opens up a horrific back story concerning the treatment the gunmen (and their friends) received while incarcerated in a juvenile facility. "Sleepers" is not a perfect film and it requires a bit of suspended reality to make it through. It is, nonetheless, a brilliantly acted and directed film, though incredibly hard to watch. It is, in my mind, a great film that has been overlooked.

IHVR: If you are capable of sitting through some extremely tough scenes, "Sleepers" is absolutely worth your time.

New to Blu
Conan the Barbarian (1982) - Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow
Conan the Destroyer (1984) - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wilt Chamberlain, Grace Jones
Never seen either of the "Conan" films but you can find those who swear by them. Not particularly interested but hey, to each his own.

Fistful of Dollars (1964) - Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte, Marianne Koch
For a Few Dollars More (1965) - Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte, Lee Van Cleef
The Sergio Leon-Eastwood compilations have been available on Blu Ray in the past in a box set, but this is the first time they've been out there separately. I'm ashamed to say I've not seen either of these films. I'll have to make time now that there's a Blu Ray option.

In the Name of the Rose (1986) - Sean Connery, Christian Slater, F Murray Abraham

Also New

Eastbound and Down: Season 2 (2010) - Danny McBride, Steve Little, Katy Mixon
Stake Land (2010) - Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis


  1. Did you see Soul Surfer? I'm also allergic to over acting, but it didn't make me break out in hives. There's a bit of a cheese factor, but nothing overwhelming. I'd say the biggest flaws were in the writing, not the acting.

  2. I haven't seen it. If it pops up on Netflix I'll give it a shot.


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