Shoulda Seen It In a Theater
Dredd 3D - Lionsgate - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD
Release Date: Sep 21, 2012
Director: Pete Travis
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris,Langley Kirkwood. Full cast + crew
Dredd is the action franchise we need, but not the one we deserve. After all, barely anyone turned out to watch it when it hit theaters last September, and as a result it's all but guaranteed that we'll never get a sequel. And that's a damned shame considering this is the coolest action movie of 2012.
But it's also an understandable one. Lionsgate did a poor job of divorcing the movie from Judge Dredd, and so potential audiences assumed the foolishly titled Dredd 3D was just some quick studio remake of a laughable movie in the '90s. It wasn't. As the writer-producer told us at Fantastic Fest, it's actually an independently made British film that's a true, respectful adaptation of the beloved comic series. And that explains why this is a brutal, R-rated piece of sci-fi that's got a sharp sense of humor and a savagely entertaining flair for action.
If there's any one reason to pick this movie up as soon as possible, it's the hope that if it does well enough on home video, we might actually get to see a sequel. And I hope like hell we do. Everyone talked about Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, but for my money the best comic book performance of last year belongs to Karl Urban. The man takes three square inches of an exposed face and body language and turns in a perfect, couldn't-do-it-better character.
Special Features: "35 Years of Judge Dredd" (15 minutes), "The Visual Effects of Dredd" (15 minutes), and then a handful of smaller bits of fluffy marketing looking at props and trailers.
Frankenweenie - Disney - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD
Release Date: Oct 05, 2012
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, Atticus Shaffer. Full cast + crew
Frankenweenie is Tim Burton's best movie in years. Granted, the competition there hasn't exactly been stellar, but the point is this is much closer in quality to Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood than it is Dark Shadows or Alice in Wonderland. This is a marvelous, warm, simple film about a boy, his dog, and the adventurous love for science that brings them together. It's also a cute little monster movie that has fun playing around with classic genre icons, and it does it all with some truly gorgeous stop-motion animation.
Special Features: "Bringing Frankenweenie to Life" (23 minutes), "Touring Exhibit" (five minutes), the original live-action Frankenweenie short (30 minutes), "Captain Sparky vs. The Flying Saucers" (two minutes), and a music video.
The year 2012 wasn't the greatest overall for horror, but there were a few gems and thankfully one of them hits home today. No, not the Jennifer Lawrence-led House at the End of the Street. That movie is generic garbage that probably won't even impress the 15-year-old girls it's made for. If you really want to watch something that'll get under your skin, check out Sleep Tight instead. It's from the director of [REC] and it's a very finely tuned thriller about an apartment attendant obsessed with one of his tenants.
Or if you like your squirm-inducing movies with more of a real-world tie to them, check out Compliance. Most movies that claim to be based on a true story are all exaggeration. Compliance, however, which is about how disturbingly easy it is for people to abuse power, is the kind of movie you'll desperately wish didn't actually happen. Depending on your political views the same could be said about Game Change, the HBO movie about Sarah Palin's rise to public prominence. If you're a politico with a sense of humor it'll be worth watching for the performances alone.
The rest of the week's new releases aren't necessarily A-list titles, but there's definitely something for everyone here. If you want to watch some of the most beautiful cinematography around, fire up Samsara. If action crime comedies are your thing, check out Hit & Run (starring Dax Sheppard and Kristen Bell), Stolen (aka another random Nicolas Cage movie) or Guns, Girls and Gambling, which somehow convinced Gary Oldman to appear in a movie led by Christian Slater and Dane Cook. Fans of Asian action will want to see The Assassins, featuring Chow Yun-fat, and those who like a military bend to things can check out Seal Team Six, aka not Zero Dark Thirty.
For some reason I've been on a '90s thriller kick lately, so I'm happy to see movies like The Bone Collector and Fear getting new Blu-rays. Neither are classics of the genre, but they get the job done. And if you want to keep your '90s nostalgia kick going (and, really, who doesn't), you can also track down Driving Miss Daisy, One Fine Day or French Kiss.
If you'd like to reach a little further back in time for the next entries to your movie collection, you certainly can't go wrong with the original Cape Fear, Two-Lane Blacktop or The Jazz Singer. Then there's The Lost Films of Hershel Gordon Lewis, which will only be a priority for fans of sleazy exploitation movies from the '60s and '70s. And finally there's Terry Gilliam's The Brother's Grimm, a decent movie that's probably only getting a Blu-ray release now in the hopes that maybe some people will confuse it for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
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