New on DVD/Blu-ray: 'Oblivion' Twists the Familiar into Something Surprising, Three from the Disney Vault, and More

New on DVD/Blu-ray: 'Oblivion' Twists the Familiar into Something Surprising, Three from the Disney Vault, and More

Aug 05, 2013

Oblivion - Universal - Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom CruiseOlga KurylenkoMorgan FreemanAndrea RiseboroughNikolaj Coster-WaldauFull cast + crew

Oblivion got some flack when it hit theaters for being a sci-fi movie mashed together from the ideas of 20 other sci-fi movies. And it kind of is. But it's still a fairly interesting and ultimately pretty funky sci-fi movie that offers a new twist on alien-invasion stories.

As far as Tom Cruise vehicles go, it's not an instant classic for the actor, but it's still a cool, unique package overall. It's both unoriginal and original, sophisticated and dumb, and while it takes a little too long to come together, it comes out mostly on top in the end. 

Special Features: Commentary track with Kosinski and Cruise; "Promise of a New World" (48 minutes), a five-part making-of doc that looks at the film's awesome sets, stunt work, visual effects, and music; deleted scenes (four minutes); isolated M83 Score.

 

Disney's New Batch of Blus Straight from the Vault


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Disney drops another trio of titles from its vault this week, and every time it does this, I like to perform a little test on my young son-- because, really, why have kids if you can't perform experiments on them? I like to see if old animated films cast the same spell on him as they did on me when I was a kid, and this time I was pretty surprised by the results. Of the three, The Sword in the Stone held his attention pretty much from beginning to end. It's more story driven versus the duo of Robin Hood and Oliver & Company, both of which I would have thought to benefit from plenty of talking animals and a tad more action, but surprisingly neither of those particularly seemed to hook him.

As for how these three have aged from the adult perspective, both Robin Hood and The Sword in the Stone still hold up. Both have vintage sensibilities, visually and thematically, and they're still entertaining and charming. The same can't fully be said for Oliver & Company. It's cute enough, and it's nice to see Charles Dickens injected into kids' movies, but it just lacks that spark that makes it all click. If you're a Disney collector, obviously it's a must, but if you're just playing catch-up on old movies, Oliver & Company isn't exactly a priority.

 

Other Notable New Releases


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Mud comes from Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today, which is why it's not grand surprise that it's one of the best American films of 2013. It's an expertly executed story about the kind of summer that can change a boy's life forever. And yet it's not your typical coming-of-age drama. This is a sophisticated, discerning film about how the simple things in life are always more complicated than they seem. Highly, highly recommended.

Also out this week is The Place Beyond the Pines, the new drama from Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, which in a way makes for a very fitting double bill with Mud. It too is about those pivotal moments in life, and how they're often defined by traditional ideas of what it means to be a man or to be in love.

Moving away from scripted drama to the real thing, we've got the Peter Jackson-produced West of Memphis. There have been a number of films made about the trial of the West Memphis Three, and so if you've seen the Paradise Lost series, there's going to be a lot of overlap here. Still, their story is one worth telling over and over again, and since West of Memphis has the benefit of being able to look back on the aftermath of the famous trial, it's arguably the most concise snapshot of the event(s) yet.

Next up is My Amityville Horror, a unique documentary about Daniel Lutz, the real son of George Lutz, aka the dad from The Amityville Horror. It's about what it was like to grow up in the shadow of a real-life horror movie, and our own Mike Bracken thinks his perspective on the story is definitely worth checking out. And lastly we have the cult sci-fi film A Boy and His Dog, a truly out-there flick that's absolutely worth picking up by those who like their sci-fi weird and one of a kind.

Everything Else


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