Man of Steel - Warner Bros. - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe. Full cast + crew
It's understandable if the direction Man of Steel takes, and some of the things its title character does, pisses off some Superman purists. As far as origin stories go, this may be a fairly traditional superhero film, but what makes it stand out in a growing sea of superhero movies is that very direction. Zack Snyder and his team treat Superman more like the sci-fi story it really is. Yes, there are plenty of elements taken from decades of comic history, but this is essentially a story of what happens when mankind collides with an alien race. And that's cool and refreshing.
It also doesn't hurt that Man of Steel is perfectly cast and has a truly impressive sense of scale. This is a blockbuster movie, through and through. It's a huge film, but it also feels small and personal in all of the right places.
Special Features: Disc one contains a little over an hour of special features, the bulk of which focus on the history of Superman and his friends. The second disc contains a nearly three-hour-long video commentary that plays alongside the feature film, and it is the must-watch special here since it's not only informative, but highly entertaining.
I Declare War - Drafthouse Films - Blu-ray and DVD
Director: Jason Lapeyre, Robert Wilson
Cast: Gage Munroe, Siam Yu, Kolton Stewart, Mackenzie Munro
Unless one of them happens to be a relative, you probably don't recognize any of the names above. That's fine. It's just another reason to like I Declare War, one of the most entertaining independent films of the year. It's about a group of kids playing a game of war in the woods, only a few of them take the game very, very seriously. We see through their eyes as sticks are turned into machine guns, and water balloons into grenades. It's a bold, funny, unique film about imagination, puberty and the crazy things kids do when there aren't any adults around.
Special Features: Audio commentary with Lapeyre, Wilson and producer Lewin Webb; commentary with the directors and the entire cast; "Building a Battle" featurette; "The Ultimate I Declare War Capture the Flag Paintball Challenge;" trailer; a 16-page booklet.
Read our interview with the directors and star of I Declare War here.
Other Notable New Releases
Earlier this summer I predicted that Turbo might be the best animated film of the summer. I was wrong. Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure why I made that call in the first place. I suppose it was just wishful thinking to come across a new, original animated flick in a summer filled with sequels. And it's not that Turbo is bad, it's just rather flat. It's a fine movie your kids will probably enjoy, but there's not much crossover here that'll win many adult fans.
Now if you want to please adults and traumatize kids, turn to Blackfish, a scathing look at the unseen side of keeping killer whales in captivity. Its a must-see film regardless of how you currently feel about the issue. And afterward you may want something a little more lighthearted to watch, in which case you can try for Frances Ha (the new film from Noah Baumach) or Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green's latest). Personally, I'd recommend Prince Avalanche as the best film of the week, but considering how dry its humor is, it's easily not for everyone.
If you like creature features, do check out Grabbers, an Irish film about a small fishing town that's invaded by something from the sea. Things are looking grim, until a few of the locals realize that alcohol kills the creatures, and so the most logical solution to survive is for everyone to get very drunk.
If you like Oliver Stone's JFK then you no doubt already own at least one copy of it. If you love it (like I do), then you should know that Warner Bros. is putting out a new, big set to honor the 50-year anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. It contains the director's cut of the film, plus a trio of additional documentaries: JFK: To the Bring, JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later and John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums.
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