November 14, 2012

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'Brave' / 'Savages' / 'The Watch' / 'Twilight's Last Gleaming'

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Skilled archer Merida defies convention in “Brave.”

Disney/Pixar

"BRAVE," animated with the voices of Kelly Macdonald and Billy Connolly. Pixar fans may be disappointed to learn that the studio's latest is more "Cars" than "Wall-E" in terms of quality, but that of course doesn't prevent it from being more entertaining than your average family flick. The plucky heroine to end all plucky heroines, Merida (Macdonald), in an attempt to avoid an unwanted marriage, manages to transform her mother (Emma Thompson), into a bear, at the height of hunting season no less. Not surprisingly, "Brave" is magnificently animated, and provides laughs and thrills in equal measure. Special features include an animated short. Rated PG. Running time: 1:40

Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99

"SAVAGES," starring Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson. Like him or hate him, you never know what director Oliver Stone is going to try his hand at next, and for "Savages," he's in pure down-and-dirty entertainment mode, delivering a twisty and twisted crime drama that's as nasty as it wants to be and then some. Pitting small-time pot dealers Kitsch and Johnson against cartel head Salma Hayek and her vile henchman Benicio Del Toro, the weed-vending brothers must put up or shut up when their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped by their less-than-scrupulous rivals. Adding to the violent confusion is John Travolta in a very funny supporting turn as a profoundly dirty fed. Rated R. Running time: 2:11

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

"THE WATCH," starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. No laugh is too ridiculous or lowbrow for this raucous farce, which finds four hapless suburban schlubs forming a neighborhood watch group to break up the monotony of their daily routine, but quickly finding themselves in over their heads when they discover that the Earth is being invaded by aliens and it's up to them to put a stop to it. Scatological and genitalia-based jokes abound, and while not all the zingers work, there are so many of them that you're bound to find something to make you crack up. Rated R. Running time: 1:42

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

"TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING," starring Burt Lancaster and Richard Widmark. Somewhat forgotten thriller from veteran director Robert Aldrich ("The Dirty Dozen") is one of those big-budget, two-hour-plus, all-star affairs that the '70s did so well. But unlike "The Towering Inferno" and "Airport," "Gleaming" justifies its running time with top-notch performances and nonstop suspense, following Air Force Col. Lawrence Dell (Lancaster), who's mad in more ways than one after escaping from a military prison with three other convicts and proceeds to take over a nuclear base, effectively holding the entire country hostage. Rated R. Running time: 2:26

Suggested retail price: $24.95; Blu-ray $29.95

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE," starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. Cult fave from 1989 pairs the too-rarely-seen Winter with seen-quite-often-enough-thank-you Reeves as dim-witted but determined high school dolts whose chances of passing history class increase dramatically when they gain access to a time machine. Timeless dumb humor for the D-student in all of us. Rated PG. Running time: 1:30

Suggested retail price: $19.99

"LAWRENCE OF ARABIA," starring Peter O'Toole and Alex Guinness. While no manner of hi-def technology will ever replicate the experience of seeing director David Lean's 1962 epic on the big screen where it belongs, this beautifully remastered special edition comes as close as possible, with a host of special features including deleted scenes, several making-of featurettes and much more. Rated PG. Running time: 3:36

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