June 20, 2013

DVD releases

New on the shelf: 'Jack the Giant Slayer' / 'The Last Exorcism Part II' / 'Movie 43' / 'Quartet' / '21 & Over'

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Nicholas Hoult in “Jack the Giant Slayer.”

New Line Cinema

"JACK THE GIANT SLAYER," starring Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson. Director Bryan Singer ("The Usual Suspects") adds all the carnage that the original fairytale "Jack and the Beanstalk" was sorely missing in this effective fantasy retelling, which pits naive young farm boy Jack (Hoult) against some seriously frightening giants. Aside from a few misguided stabs at bathroom humor, "Jack" provides some quite rousing fantasy entertainment, and its inexplicably underwhelming box-office performance stateside hopefully won't be held against it. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:54

Suggested retail price: $28.98; Blu-ray $35.99

"THE LAST EXORCISM PART II," starring Ashley Bell and Julia Garner. Ditching the found footage conceit that gave the original its immediate intensity, "Part II" favors a traditional approach that works surprisingly well. This one follows Nell (Bell, reprising her role) as she attempts to piece a relatively normal life together -- no easy task, one supposes, for someone who's recently given birth to a demon baby. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:28

Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99

"MOVIE 43," starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. Easily the worst reviewed movie of the year, "Movie 43" has the curiosity factor going for it if nothing else, with a wide array of A-listers gamely lining up to debase themselves in a cornucopia of scatological and perverse sketches. Best viewed as a modern "Kentucky Fried Movie" or "Amazon Women on the Moon," "Movie 43" isn't without cult potential viewed apart from the unanimous critical drubbing. Rated R. Running time: 1:34

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

"QUARTET," starring Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon. After 50 years of enchanting audiences and critics alike in front of the camera, actor Dustin Hoffman is finally giving directing the old college try at the age of 75. But that experience well informs this wonderful dramedy, wherein we are invited to a retirement home designed exclusively for musicians: A lively, cantankerous lot made all the more upon the arrival of Jean (Smith), an aging diva and the former fleeting spouse of Reginald (Tom Courtenay, "The Golden Compass"), for whom unresolved emotions come immediately rushing back. Special features include a commentary from Hoffman. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:38

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

"21 & OVER," starring Miles Tanner and Justin Chon. Last year we had "Project X," and this year it's "21 & Over,' a breezy enough hour and a half of young people drinking way too much and subsequently engaging in various sundry shenanigans, including but not limited to fighting with mascots and gluing stuffed animals to one another's genitals. Brought to you by the writers of the first two "Hangover" movies, "21 & Over" unsurprisingly plays much like a younger version of those films, and as such it has a certain giddy, profane appeal. Rated R. Running time: 1:33

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

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"THE HOWLING," starring Dee Wallace Stone and Patrick Macnee. The never adequately praised director Joe Dante ("Gremlins") shadowed B-movie kingpin Roger Corman for years before making his filmmaking debut with this 1981 horror favorite. An anchorwoman (Stone) is advised by her therapist to take a much-needed vacation at The Colony, a posh resort that would surely afford more effective refuge were it not for the fact that there are werewolves in attendance. Slyly sending up both psychiatric trends and horror tropes, Dante's first foray into filmdom is a low-budget wonder that has held up surprisingly well over the years. Special features include a commentary from Dante. Rated R. Running time: 1:31

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