January 10, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'Dredd' / 'Frankenweenie' / 'Hit and Run' / 'House at the End of the Street' / 'Game Change'

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Olivia Thirlby in “Dredd.”

Lionsgate

"DREDD," starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. A vast improvement over Sylvester Stallone's 1995 take on the popular comic book character, this hugely entertaining update finds futuristic law enforcement officer Dredd (Urban) teaming with new recruit Anderson (Thirlby) to take down the gang responsible for peddling SLO-MO, a particular potent and deadly drug. Director Pete Travis ("Vantage Point") delivers an efficient, no-nonsense actioner that's every bit as brutal as its protagonist. Rated R. Running time: 1:35

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

"FRANKENWEENIE," animated with the voices of Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara. Veteran director Tim Burton first attracted attention from critics and viewers with a peculiar and amusing short film called "Frankenweenie," a whimsical and oddly poignant tale of a young boy attempting to resurrect his beloved dog, Sparky. Nearly three decades later, Burton returns to his roots, developing a hilarious feature-length animated comedy that recaptures and elaborates on the singular tone of the original. Special features include an animated short. Rated PG. Running time: 1:27

Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $49.99

"HIT AND RUN," starring Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell. How much do you like Dax Shepard? If the answer is "a whole lot," have we got the movie for you. Even non-fans of the "Parenthood" actor should find plenty to entertain them here, as he displays chemistry to spare with real-life partner Bell and their lives turn into one big car chase once Shepard reveals that he's part of the Witness Relocation Program -- a detail Bell understandably feels he could have mentioned sooner. Classic car enthusiasts are a clear target audience, but the engaging dialogue and excellent supporting cast (which includes Tom Arnold as a cop with anger issues and a near-unrecognizable Bradley Cooper as a dreadlocked former associate of Shepard's) elevate what could have been a one-note affair into a shaggily charming comedy. Rated R. Running time: 1:40

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98

"HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET," starring Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue. A glum teen (Lawrence) and her mom (Shue) relocated to a new home, one that happens to be situated directly next door to the site of a grisly murder. Investigating further, Lawrence becomes acquainted -- and eventually romantically entangled -- with one of the family members affected by said murder, a development not at all welcomed by mom. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:41

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

"GAME CHANGE," starring Julianne Moore and Ed Harris. Broadly played dramatization of the 2008 elections, particularly as regards Republican presidential hopeful John McCain (Harris) and his controversial choice for vice president, Sarah Palin, perfectly embodied here by Moore. Largely played for laughs, director Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents") struggles with establishing a tone, delivering a comedy of errors one minute and an emotional workplace drama the next. But the top-shelf cast and ever-intriguing source material ensure this HBO production is a thoroughly entertaining if uneven watch. Not rated; contains language. Running time: 1:58

Suggested retail price: $19.97; Blu-ray $24.99

NEW TO DVD

"ARCHER: SEASON THREE," animated with the voices of H. Jon Benjamin and Judy Greer. Hipsters rejoice: TV's funniest and most inappropriate secret agent (voiced by the inimitable Benjamin) balances his time between saving the world as we know it and dealing with such personal matters as the fact that his ex-fiance appears to have risen from the dead in the form of a cyborg. Alternately witty and proudly juvenile, "Archer" is every bit as funny as you've heard it is. Not rated; contains language, sexual content, crude humor and comic violence. Running time: 4:46

Suggested retail price: $29.98

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"CAPE FEAR," starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. One of classic cinema's more sordid offerings, 1962's "Cape Fear" is also one of its most thrilling, a nasty game of cat and mouse between upstanding lawyer Peck and former prison inmate Mitchum, who's out to exact revenge on the man who put him in jail. A far more menacing "oldie but goodie" than one tends to encounter, "Fear" is above all a showcase for the great Mitchum, whose particular brand of untoward charm was rarely put to better use. Not rated; contains violence. Running time: 1:46

Suggested retail price: $19.98

"DRIVING MISS DAISY," starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. The 1989 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, this ever-charming film chronicles the long and eventful relationship between Miss Daisy Werthan (Tandy, who won a much-deserved Oscar for the role) and her faithful chauffeur, Hoke Colburn (Freeman, who received a nomination himself), a not always harmonious but ultimately rewarding team-up that we watch bloom into a beautiful friendship. Rated PG for mild language. Running time: 1:39

Suggested retail price: $27.98

VIDEOPORT PICK

"COMPLIANCE," starring Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker. Meet "Compliance," the fascinating and excruciating tale of a psychological standoff between a fast-food employee (Walker, in a bold and difficult performance), her overworked manager (the equally impressive Dowd), and a mysterious caller identifying himself as a policeman, who accuses Walker of stealing and demands that Dowd take action via a series of increasingly unprofessional commands. How this all plays out will enrage even the hardiest of viewers, particularly upon learning that this is all based on actual events. Writer-director Craig Zobel works wonder with limited space and budget, using these constraints to his advantage and coming through with a masterpiece of tension and outrage. Rated R. Running time: 1:30

Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98

- Courtesy of Videoport

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