This week: One girl's trippy escape fantasy, all the Hobbits you can handle in high definition, Nicolas Cage feels bewitched and more.
Sucker Punch: Zack Snyder's so-called "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns" is a sugary, action-packed adventure about a young girl named Babydoll (Emily Browning) who is wrongly accused of killing her sister and institutionalized by her evil stepfather. Before she is to be lobotomized, Babydoll retreats into a bizarre fantasy in which the asylum is really a seedy brothel and she plans her escape with her fellow female prisoners, including Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Vanessa Hudgens (Blondie) and Jamie Chung (Amber). As for the rest of the cast, Carla Gugino stands out as Madam Vera Gorski/Dr. Vera Gorski as does Mad Men's Jon Hamm as the High Roller/Doctor. Although some might feel sucker punched by the movie's premise because most of it takes place in one character's head, many elements of the imaginative dreamlike sequences are unlike anything you have seen before on-screen.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain the theatrical PG-13 version as well as the extended R-rated version with 17 more minutes of footage as well as four animated prequel shorts and "Sucker Punch: Behind the Soundtrack;" the BD contains a two-hour-plus "Maximum Movie Mode" with director walk-ons, picture-in-picture commentary, storyboards and an interactive gallery.
Check out an exclusive clip
Verdict: Rent Me
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy—Extended Editions: Attention all you Hobbits, dwarves, elves and wizards: the Blu-ray debut of the extended editions of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings is the one Blu-ray to rule them all. The movies—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and the Best Picture Oscar winner The Return of the King—are each split over two Blu-rays with a picture so clear that you can swim in Frodo's blue eyes or point out when Orlando Bloom forgets to put in his elvish blue contacts as Legolas. The breathtaking vistas—mountains, rivers, fields and forests—filmed in New Zealand now look real enough in high definition to touch, as if you were looking through a window. What a "preciousssss" way to spend 726 minutes.
Best extras: Each of the three movies contains three DVDs—not BDs—stuffed full of the same comprehensive extras found on the DVD versions, including behind-the-scenes footage, documentaries on the adaptation process from J.R.R. Tolkien's novels, many detailed making-of documentaries, art galleries, interactive maps of Middle Earth and audio commentaries. Unlike the DVD versions, digital copies of the films are now included to download to portable devices.
Verdict: Buy Me
Season of the Witch: Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play knights who return from the Crusades to discover the devastating effects of the Black Plague. Two church elders accuse a young girl (Claire Foy) of being a witch and bringing about the misery, so Cage and Perlman are tasked with transporting the girl to a monastery so that the monks can lift the curse on her and save their lands. Cheap looking and played with Lord of the Rings seriousness even though it is unintentionally funny, this creaky fantasy adventure will test the patience of even the most unwavering Cage champion.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and making-of featurettes. The BD includes commentaries.
Verdict: Forget Me
The Warrior's Way: Jang Dong Gun stars as Yang, the world's most dangerous fighter, who flees to the American West when he refuses to kill the last member of an enemy clan—an infant. There he meets the town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) and Lynne (Kate Bosworth), each of whom have tragic pasts and the latter of whom always looks like she needs a healthy serving of carbs. The hunter soon becomes the hunted as Yang battles a renegade gang of outlaws and assassins from his own past in this absurd martial arts fantasy that goes too heavy on the CG effects. Everything looks synthetic—including Western sets that could have easily been shot outdoors to remove the studio sheen—and the actors all seem lost.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes montage.
Verdict: Forget Me
Also New This Week: Deep Ocean Experience 3D, Jumanji (BD), Barney's Version, Beastly, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Zathura (BD), The Nesting and Zombie Holocaust (BD)