Home Video Spotlight Mar 26- April 1: Lincoln, Parental Guidance and more


Home Video Spotlight Mar 26- April 1: Lincoln, Parental Guidance and more

Here’s a look at some of the titles new in stores this week.

lincoln bluLincoln (Disney Home Entertainment)

Steven Spielberg’s take on the last 4 months, and also the most turbulent 4 months, of Abraham’s Lincoln’s life and presidency comes to DVD and Blu-ray after winning Daniel Day-Lewis a well-deserved Oscar for his performance. Dealing with Lincoln’s efforts to get the 13 amendment endorsed by the House of Representatives while the end civil war also looms, and the impending peace could threaten the chance of the vote on the abolishment of slavery to go through.

Lincoln is a very script and monologue driven film that in many ways feels like a stage play as opposed to a feature film presentation. The cast is superb though, with Day-Lewis, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader and the impeccable Jared Harris emerging as the standouts in a star studded package. The location and set design is also stellar and really evokes the time period and setting that Lincoln himself lived in. In the end the performances lift the film and make the effort through the dry spells of the script well worth the effort. Lincoln on Blu-ray is a recommend.


parental bluParental Guidance (Fox Home Entertainment)

The latest from Billy Crystal and Bette Midler sees them playing babysitting Grandparents to the 3 children of their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) as she and her husband are out of town for his business. The children each have issues of their own as they live in an over protective environment that has resulted in a very high strung environment. The Grandparents get up to all sort of trouble with the kids resulting in bodily trauma, temper tantrums and a black eye.

Parental Guidance is a very low-aiming, flimsily scripted and tired premised excuse for a family film. Crystal is still stuck using the same schtick he has been pushing since 1991’s “City Slickers” and the rest of the adult cast seem content to phone it in. Of course the poor script should probably take part of the blame for giving them less than nothing to do. The saving grace of the film is the charming performances from the 3 children , but even that is not enough to save this film from the doldrums. Parental Guidance is a definite non-recommend.


lego star dvdLego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Lucas Star Wars Universe gets a skewering thanks to those loveable Lego’s in this brand new animated adventure. After debuting on the cartoon network the 22 minute stand-alone special comes to DVD for the first time in a special collector’s edition set with a mini Lego Darth Vader figure. The special starts after the destruction of the original death star but quickly goes array, including aspects of all of all six films. We get sibling rivalry between the two sith lords Darth’s Maul and Vader, a visit to the planet of Naboo where are heroes are washed away by the overly salivating Boss Nass and crew an even get Luke Skywalker impersonating his father all while the Emperor tries to assemble his ‘Death Star building kit’.

The writing is smart and just as funny for adults as it is children. The amount of cross movie interaction is hilarious and it’s actually quite impressive the writers were allowed to go as far as they did a familiar and protected franchise such as Star Wars. The animation is fun and as is traditional with all Lego productions everything from Strom Troopers getting blasted to ship crashing explodes into Lego blocks. And with a price point less than $10 dollars at most retailers, even the scant 22 minute run time becomes a non-issue. Lego Star Wars: The Empire strikes out is a definite recommend.

Bangkok-RevengeBD-2D-818x1024Bangkok Revenge (Well Go USA Entertainment)

The story of a wronged man looking for revenge at the end of his fists, also new this week is the premise behind Bangkok Revenge. Manit’s (John Foo) family was killed during a home invasion and he was the only one to survive, after taking a bullet to the head no less, and is taken in by a Muay Thai master who raises and teaches him. The bullet in his brain has rendered Manit unable to feel emotions such as anger and pain which help him as he goes after vengeance from the people responsible for killing his family and injuring him.

Foo does show some talent as a fighter but the film suffers from production issues and the decision to noticeably speed up all of the fight scenes. The script is barely existent and is full of 2D supporting characters spouting clichés. Our lead lacks the charisma of a Tony Jaa or Iko Uwais and speaks with a defined UK English accent which is never explained in the film, just flimsily explained away in a running gag that does not work. Bangkok Revenge is a non-recommend.


Till Next Time

Movie Junkie TO

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Men in Black 3 Review (Kirk Haviland)

Men In Black 3 (2012)

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Alice Eve and Emma Thompson.

Written by Etan Cohen

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Will Smith returns after a decade to the role that cemented him as a mega-star, that of Agent J in Men In Black. Having come out a year after Independence Day, it was Men in Black with its fun and charming story of a brash young agent in training and the stoic and stubborn partner training him so he could retire, that started Smith onto a string of hits that would make him the most bankable star in Hollywood.  Well, its 15 years later and Smith’s J is still as wise cracking as ever and K is still not retired after being brought out of retirement in the dismal Men In Black 2. What antics will they get up to this time?

Men in Black 3 starts with one of the most unique jailbreak sequences I’ve ever seen. Boris the Animal (Clement) is in maximum security in the most clandestine and impenetrable prison imaginable, built specifically for him, because of Boris’ unique capabilities. After the jailbreak we discover that “K” (Jones) has a unique history with Boris; K was responsible for putting  Boris away and preventing a full scale invasion of earth from his people, a vicious alien race that has become extinct because of K’s actions. Boris tracks down the one man who can help him, the son of the man who invents the now banned Time Jump device, and goes back in time and kills K. With the universe split into a different reality because of this and J (Smith) apparently the only one who remembers that K is supposed to still be alive, the long delayed invasion begins.  The new director of MIB, “O” (Thompson), figures out what J is saying is true and sends him back in time to fix the damage before it can start all over again. Once J returns to 1969, he tracks the clues to a spree of killings that the Boris of 1969 commits and uses those to track him down. He of course bumps into the 1969 K (Brolin), and a 1969 O (Eve), and they set forth to find Boris and save the day.

Men in Black 3 is 4/5th’s of the fun time at the theater you are hoping for. Unfortunately it’s the last 5th of the movie that gets completely preposterous and runs the film right off the rails.  The chemistry that launched the series between Smith and Jones is still there and works, but the chemistry between Smith and Brolin as the young K may even be better. Smith and Jones deliver exactly what you think they will; they know these characters inside and out and don’t hit a sour note until the script lets them down at the end. Brolin has a lot of fun with his K – it’s one of the reason’s to watch the film. The main reason though has to be fantastic work here by Clement. The former Flight of the Concords member is nearly unrecognizable with all the prostheses his Boris has to wear, but he chews scenery left and right. His Boris is as strong a villain as the original film’s Edgar, and way better than the villain in MIB 2, and quite possibly just as creepy. Thompson and Eve both seen to be enjoying  the hell out of being in a MIB film, yet most of the jokes given to Thompson fall very flat.

The story behind the production is that they started shooting before they finished the script; this unfortunately becomes very obvious towards the end of the film. Men in Black 3 is a much better film than the 2nd entry in the series, but lags well behind the fun of the original. I give MIB 3 a very mild recommend, because the end just ruins it so much for me. The first 4/5th’s of the film would get a decent recommend without the final 5th.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films and festivals in Toronto.

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