April 18, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'Django Unchained' / 'Dragon'

NEW ON THE SHELF

Christoph Waltz Jamie Foxx Django Unchained
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Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained."

The Associated Press

"DJANGO UNCHAINED," starring Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz. More comic book-style historical revenge from the wildly creative and ever incorrigible Quentin Tarantino.

This time, he allows slave Django (Foxx) the opportunity to wreak havoc on his tormentors, in particular the despicable plantation owner (played with evil glee by Leonardo DiCaprio) who has Django's wife (Kerry Washington) in his employ against her will. Assisting in this violent quest is a dentist-turned-bounty hunter (Waltz, deservedly adding a second supporting actor Oscar to his shelf) with more than a few surprises up his sleeve.

Proudly rooted in grindhouse, Tarantino nonetheless treats his characters with respect, and for all the lurid details, the filmmaker does not take his controversial subject matter lightly. Rated R. Running time: 2:45

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

"DRAGON," starring Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro. A normally unassuming man (Yen) gains some unexpected and unwanted notoriety when he happens to be in a grocery store during an attempted robbery -- and handily defends the business with his astounding and previously unknown martial arts skills. The display arouses the attention of detective Kaneshiro ("House of Flying Daggers"), who can't help but wonder what else Yen might be hiding.

You always get your money's worth with Yen (no pun intended), and a compelling plot interspersed with some dependably intense fight scenes makes for inspired kung-fu goodness. Rated R. Running time: 1:38

Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.99 

NEW TO DVD

"BAD KIDS GO TO HELL," starring Judd Nelson and Ben Browder. First launched as a comic book series, this proudly nasty labor of love puts a horror spin on "The Breakfast Club," even going so far as to give former Brat Packer Nelson a winking bit part.

Locking six entitled prep schoolers in the library of their supposedly haunted learning institution and sitting back as they're summarily disemboweled by unseen forces, this is all about "Bad Kids" getting their just desserts. And as such, it provides more than its share of satisfyingly cheap thrills.

Special features include a commentary from writer-directors Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick. Rated R. Running time: 1:31

Suggested retail price: $29.99 

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"A MONSTER IN PARIS," animated with the voices of Vanessa Paradis and Adam Goldberg. This gorgeously animated French import wowed critics and audiences alike in its native country in 2011, yet failed to catch on stateside.

That's a shame, given its hilarious voice acting and cutely offbeat tale of a pair of love-struck, bumbling doofuses who somehow manage to accidentally create a gigantic flea, which manages to develop a beautiful singing voice.

The film's nods to foreign folklore will likely fly over the heads of its target audience (and likely the target's audience's parents, for that matter). But one needn't have majored in French literature to enjoy this excellent if frequently hilarious production from director Bibo Bergeron ("Shark Tale"). Not rated. Running time: 1:27

Suggested retail price: $24.97

"REPO MAN," starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. For many, 1984's "Repo Man" was the film that introduced them to the very idea of cult cinema -- a genre-defying, rule-breaking comedy/sci-fi that applied a low-budget, grungy punk aesthetic (thanks to writer-director Alex Cox, who never topped his brilliant debut) to the idea of the summer blockbuster.

Sneering wayward teen Otto (Estevez, delivering far and away his best performance) is thrown into the suspect company of "Repo Man" Bud (Stanton). Surreal hijinks ensue. Aliens become involved.

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