I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

by Ethan Alter March 13, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No kids allowed...

Young Adult
We've sung the praises of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's sophomore collaboration over and over again since its release last December, but now that the movie's on DVD, allow us to insist one more time that you make an effort to seek out this beautifully crafted, brilliantly acted, darkly comic jewel of a film. Charlize Theron is both breathtaking and breathtakingly cruel as an author of young adult fiction that returns to her podunk Midwestern town to reignite her romance with an old flame and winds up raising all sorts of hell in the process. Featuring a superb supporting turn by comic Patton Oswalt, a great soundtrack and a killer final scene, Young Adult deserves to enjoy a popular post-theatrical afterlife. We know we'd show up for a Rocky Horror-style Young Adult midnight screening complete with audience participation and cosplay.
Extras: A commentary track with Reitman, his cinematographer and first assistant director, deleted scenes, two featurettes and a Q&A with Reitman moderated by New York Times writer Janet Maslin.
Click here to read our original review

The Adventures of Tintin
Another movie that went overlooked in the December glut of releases, The Adventures of Tintin found director Steven Spielberg returning to the pure action cinema of his Raiders of the Lost Ark days with a 21st century twist -- namely motion capture. Working with the technical wizards at Peter Jackson's Weta Digital effects house, Spielberg uses the freedom of animation to choreograph a number of stunning set-pieces, from a seaplane navigating its way through a thunderstorm to a rousing chase through a Moroccan city. It's just a shame that script -- which amalgamates three of Hergé's original Tintin books (specifically The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham's Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws) -- isn't quite as light on its feet as Spielberg's direction. Still, count us among the folks eager to see Tintin's cinematic adventures continue, especially with the dynamic duo of Spielberg and Jackson at the helm.
Extras: A host of behind-the-scenes featurettes covering every aspect of the film's production, including the motion capture process, adapting the original books to the screen and the film's score.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to read our Q&A with Tintin's animation supervisor, Jamie Beard

The Descendants
My Week with Marilyn
Now that the Oscar race is over, all of 2011's prestige pictures are making a quick dash to DVD to take advantage of the lingering awards season heat. This week sees the debut of The Descendants and My Week with Marilyn, both of which seemed like early favorites in the acting categories for their respective stars -- George Clooney and Michelle Williams -- before momentum swung to The Artist and Meryl Streep. And both performances live up to the hype; Clooney is winning as the patriarch of a prominent Hawaiian family dealing with some serious personal problems (although Shailene Woodley is even better as his rebellious teenage daughter) while Williams takes on the seemingly impossible task of recreating Marilyn Monroe and almost completely vanishes into her skin. As complete movies, though, The Descendants is considerably better than Marilyn, which can't come up with a narrative or a set of supporting characters worthy of its lead actress. If nothing else though, the movie does continue to show just how far Williams has come since her days romancing that loser Dawson in Capeside.
Extras: The Descendants includes deleted scenes with introductions by co-writer/director Alexander Payne, three music videos, seven featurettes, an archival silent film shot on location in Hawaii and a conversation between Payne and Clooney. (What, no featurette devoted to co-writer Jim "Dean Pelton" Rash?! This DVD clearly does not win the endorsement of Greendale's alumni board.) Marilyn offers a commentary track with director Simon Curtis and featurette about the life and times of the real Marilyn.
Click here to read our original review of The Descendants
Click here to read our original review of My Week with Marilyn
Click here to read our Q&A with My Week with Marilyn director, Simon Curtis

No stranger to generating outrage, Lars von Trier really stuck his foot in his mouth when, following Melancholia's premiere at Cannes in May 2011, he made statements that seemed to imply he was a Nazi sympathizer. Don't hold the director's thoughtless comments against the movie, though. Melancholia is still a work of stunning visual beauty and features Kirsten Dunst acting her heart out as a depressed young woman who only finds happiness as the world is ending. While not quite as audacious and gonzo as von Trier's previous film, Antichrist, Melancholia is easily one of the director's most emotional and heartfelt works, one that aims itself solely at the heart rather than gag reflex.
Extras: Five making-of featurettes that studiously avoid mentioning the whole Cannes fracas.
Click here to read our original review

The Three Musketeers
File this one under "Better Than Expected." Although director Paul W.S. Anderson is usually a schlockmeister of the highest order, here he's concocted a goofy, lively, hilariously overblown twist on the old Musketeers story, one that involves enormous airships and Matrix-style slo-mo effects in addition to the usual mixture of swordplay and lusty romance. The story is largely a wash, but the cast is game (including Anderson's wife Milla Jovovich as a particularly limber Milady) and the movie never takes itself too seriously. And while it doesn't hold a candle to Richard Lester's two Musketeers outings from the '70s, this new version is far more fun than the listless '90s Disney-produced edition and may actually interest younger viewers in -- gasp! -- reading the book.
Extras: Extended and deleted scenes, a commentary track with Anderson and peeks at all the behind-the-scenes action.

Also on DVD:
A sequel to the 2006 animated hit (and Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature), Happy Feet Two fell considerably short of its predecessor in the acclaim and box office departments. Dancing cartoon penguins can generally be counted upon to entertain the kiddies though and the DVD comes with lots of child-friendly bonus features. With the American Pie gang getting back together for April's American Reunion, Universal is re-releasing their original misadventures (pie-related and otherwise) starting with 2009's really funny American Pie, 2001's less-funny American Pie 2 and 2003's just plain awful American Wedding. Love the low-budget Irish musical, Once? The documentary The Swell Season fills you in on what happened to the movie's stars (and real-life couple) since the movie's release. Hint: They didn't live happily ever after. The indie drama Stuck Between Stations follows a soldier (Sam Rosen) and his crush (Whitney's Zoe Lister-Jones) through his chaotic 24-hour home leave. Ralph Bakshi's 1977 post-apocalyptic animated adventure Wizards gets a 35th anniversary edition that includes a 24-page book of artwork from the cult flick, as well as a commentary track from Bakshi. Paging Martin Scorsese: two classic Italian films Bellissima, starring one of Italy's screen goddesses Anna Magnani, and La Terra Trema, directed by the celebrated filmmaker Luchino Visconti, arrive on DVD. (Who are we kidding? Scorsese probably owns film prints of both already.) Finally, speaking of Marty, the director's controversial classic The Last Temptation of Christ debuts on Blu-ray today in a handsome new disc from Criterion. 24 years later, it remains one of Scorsese's bravest and finest achievements.

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