Light on high profile theatrical releases and heavy on reissued catalog, this week’s new home video offerings reach to the past, bringing favorites of a time gone by to the present.
Our Movie of the Week is Disney’s Diamond Edition release of Cinderella, which is receiving high marks for a brilliant hi-definition transfer and a re-release that is among the finest of the year. CInderella may please princesses and families quite nicely, but there are a wide-range of other offerings in this week’s edition of Spins and Streams!
More than just another column about new home video releases, we will link to reviews, summarize the film, drop in some factual tidbits, and (naturally) offer you a chance to purchase the film (clicking the images and/or links and purchasing the film of interest helps keep the lights on!).
Consider it your weekly trip through the video store, both virtual and physical, scouring the shelves and combing the racks to find something you can enjoy at home, no matter what your personal preferences…
Cinderella is perhaps the definitive Princess movie in the Walt Disney library and even with its hand-drawn animation and aged vocal tracks and musical cues, Cinderella plays just as good now as it always has. Disney have done some remarkable work with their Blu-Ray Diamond Edition reissues, but with this release of CInderella, the film looks and feels flawless. Add in the special features and you have everything a fan of the film could ever hope for.
Truth be told, a fair amount of the Special Features on this release do come from a previous 2005 home video release, but Disney has included two new featurettes, exclusive to this release, and a short film centered on fashion designer Christian Louboutin and a glass slipper. The funny Tangled Ever After short film is added to the mix as well, along with music sequences, storyboards, and a rare alternate opening sequence. Disney has really outdone itself here. Animated/Family/Musical, G, 74 Mins, Dir: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske.
See what else arrives in stores and via streaming services…after the cut!
Tim Burton is focused on Frankenweenie and its imminent release in theaters and rightfully so. Frankenweenie as an animated short served as Burton’s first-ever film project and after nearly 30 years, he has reconfigured his film as a stop-motion full-length film. With Frankenweenie‘s arrival however, he can further distance himself from the poor reception received by his summer blockbuster-to-be-that-wasn’t, Dark Shadows. A theatrical re-imagining of the daily television serial which ran for more than 1,100 episodes in the early 1970s, Dark Shadows has Johnny Depp playing Barnabas Collins, a vampire who resurrects 196 years after being entombed, only to find the mansion he inhabits is no longer in his control. Depp is great, the film…well…
“Dark Shadows is visually striking, as are all of Tim Burton’s films, but being dazzled with the impressive set design can only go so far and Burton seems to be making a Tim Burton Movie, almost in spite of the script before him. Dark Shadows is witty but never funny and when the movie makes a pitch for intensity, it falls quite short. Opening with the always maddening “I am telling you what is happening while you are watching it” narration track, Dark Shadows seems lost and incredibly long. At 113 minutes, the Seth Grahame-Smith screenplay continues tossing in new developments deep into the film, including one character’s nonsensical transformation which occurs completely out of the blue and means absolutely nothing whatsoever. Continually you are left scratching your head, baffled at what we are supposed to be thinking or feeling.
I did like elements of the film. As referenced, Johnny Depp is terrific and Chloe Grace Moretz offers some fun and rebellious moments as a 1970′s teen daughter. Helena Bonham Carter has a few winning moments as the psychologist who is likely in need of one herself, and the film hits an engaging stride with Barnabas’ rebirth and acclimation with his long lost family. Overall, there is just too much inconsistency to ignore and whether Tim Burton gave up on the screenplay and chose to follow his own vision of a Tim Burton-Dark Shadowsor this film became a victim of too many chefs in the editing room kitchen, Dark Shadows is anamusing and aesthetically accomplished misfire.”Comedy/Horror, PG-13, 113 Mins, Dir: Tim Burton.
Completed in 2009, Joe Dante’s The Hole is a kid and teen-oriented horror film akin to Dante’s 1980s films The Gremlins and The ‘Burbs. Shot in actual 3D, for a budget of approximately $12 million, the film played festivals and saw theatrical releases everywhere around the world…except North America. Dante claims the film was lost in the shuffle of post-converted 3D films taking all the refurbished 3D screens in this latest 3D movement that has overwhelmed modern-day cinema. Whether you buy that or not is up to you, but I can tell you that The Hole is a good little film. Not a perfect movie by any stretch, but it sticks to what it wants to do and is a little unnerving to that target demographic.
“After sitting for three years, The Hole was shown on 5 screens – four in the state of Georgia and one in Los Angeles, and then dumped into the home video market four days later. I have no idea, with a production budget of just $12 million, why this film never got a shot, because it could have become a modest hit for all involved and perhaps restarted Joe Dante’s career. Likewise, any success at all would have only been good for the careers of its three young actors, though Gamble and Bennett seem to have projects at the ready.
If you happen upon The Hole via Netflix, Redbox, Video on Demand, or the traditional video store around the corner, you will find a fairly light, small little throwback horror film, which gives viewers a decent time. Well-intentioned with a simple desire to be entertaining, The Hole is far from perfect, but you can do far, far worse than this when it comes to 90 minutes of quick and easy entertainment.” Horror/Suspense, PG-13, 92 Mins, Dir: Joe Dante.
Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford steers a dramedy around an acclaimed performance by Jane Fonda, as an aging mother whose adult daughter (Catherine Keener) shocks her with a visit for the first time in 20 years, bringing along her two teenage children (Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff) for a weekend visit in Woodstock, New York. Fonda is unhinged as a carefree spirit, who lords over other kindred souls in her community. While the film failed to click with critics and audiences, the performances are said to be quite good and may keep the movie afloat. I will hope to report back soon, as a copy arrived in my mailbox over the weekend. Comedy, R, 92 mins, Dir: Bruce Beresford.
Based on a true story from one of the filmmakers’ lives, People Like Us shares the story of a son, returning home to attend the funeral of his father, only to discover that he has a sister, 30 years old, he never knew existed. With a winning turn from Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine (Star Trek) stars in the comedy/drama that divided critics – many praising is writing and performances, while others complaining just as loudly that the film liked honesty and played too mawkish to be taken seriously.Comedy/Drama, PG-13, 115 mins, Dir: Alex Kurtzman.
After playing the festival circuit and not finding any backers, Red Lights was picked up by Millennium Entertainment and given a small 2012 theatrical run, grossing about $50k domestically. A top-flight cast including Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olsen, and Cillian Murphy star in Rodrigo Cortes’ second film (Buried). Those that have seen Red Lights were less than impressed with this mystery/thriller about two paranormal investigators who debunk supernatural occurrences as trickery, only to have a retired, blind clairvoyant (yes, that’s DeNiro!!!) resurface and make things very difficult for the doctors as they do their work. Red Lights apparently packs a big twist that made most people groan. Suspense/Thriller, R, 119 mins, Dir: Rodrigo Cortes.
After turning heads and making people debate what actually was happening in her debut feature Another Earth, Brit Marling is the writer and co-star of Sound Of My Voice, where she plays a woman who serves as the focal point for a documentary film crew recording her life and growing legion of followers. Thinking they will expose her as a fraud, the crew become sucked into the woman’s world and uncover secrets and circumstances that may change their perceptions on the world forever. This was met with strong support by critics, who cited Marling’s uncompromised storytelling techniques once again. A divisive ending and ambiguous elements of the plot did leave some more aggravated than with Another Earth, but Sound Of My Voice seems to solidify Brit Marling as a force to keep eyes on in the future. Suspense/Thriller, R, 85 mins, Dir: Zal Batmanglij.
Box set season continues as we move closer and closer to the holidays. Curiously timed with the release of Sony’s Hotel Transylvaniai and more appropriately readied for Halloween, Universal Studios unearths 8 of its classic movie monsters, reconfiguring there films in a Blu-Ray set, continuing with their 100th Anniversary celebration. In DVD form, this set debuted in 2000, but on Blu-Ray these films are housed together for the very first time. All films come with special features included and the set features Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Classic Horror, all titles Unrated, Various running times, Various directors.
ADDITIONAL CATALOG AND NOTEWORTHY BLU-RAY/DVD RELEASES
NOTABLE NEW STREAMING TITLES VIA
To be updated, links not available at time of publication.