New on DVD: June 26th, 2012
If you missed the all-around indie smash ‘The Artist’ (PG-13) when it was in theatres (how could you, really?), then it’s time to pick it up on DVD. Winner of just about a bazillion awards over the winter—it cleaned up at the Oscars, the Globes, the BAFTAs, and other ceremonies—the silent (!) black-and-white film is a testament to the power of a great story, great camera-work, and great acting in an era defined by CGI and 3D. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent film star who finds himself nudged out of a Hollywood obsessed with the latest fad: “ talkies”. At the same time as his career is fading, a young starlet named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) finds her star rising, as her comedy and dancing skills make her a hit in the new talking pictures.
As George and Peppy go their separate paths through Hollywood, they keep finding their fates intertwined, sometimes to comic effect, and sometimes in tragedy. Michel Hazanavicius directs and Ludovic Bource composed the score that accompanies this mesmerizing film.
‘Mirror Mirror’ (PG), even with Tarsem Singh and all, was not the year’s fairest ‘Snow White’ adaptation of them all. That’s a shame, because with Singh at the helm, one would think it would be a ludicrously over-the-top fantasy film; instead, the movie skews too sugary-sweet in an attempt to snag the family demographic, and winds up just being too silly to be enjoyable. Lily Collins plays the princess looking for her prince, while Julia Roberts plays the vain queen obsessed with youth and beauty.
‘Feel the Wrath!’ declares the poster for ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (PG-13)–but the only wrath you’ll likely feel is for the loss of your two hours. Sam Worthington returns to his role as Perseus—albeit with more hair—and attempts to help his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) after jealous Hades (Ralph Fiennes) unleashes the Titans to wage war on the gods. The first film was cheesy but boasted enough action to make it watchable; a sequel just seems uncalled-for and the script drags on too much to make it worth a recommendation. Here’s my big question: with all of his talent, why does Neeson keep settling for such second-rate parts?
How does a comedian known for playing the sidekick prove that he’s more than just a funny face? By successfully adapting a cult hit 80s TV show into a bankable feature film. Jonah Hill does just that with ’21 Jump Street’ (R), and stars besides, playing a young police officer who goes undercover at a local high school to bust up a drug ring. His partner is played by Channing Tatum, branching out from his usual hunky romance hero role to play a comedy/action-oriented character. Fans of the original series—which was much more dramatic than comedic—should know that Hill’s version of ‘Jump Street’ is full of the sort of raunchy jokes that made him a star, but the shift from serious to goofy isn’t a bad thing—in fact, it makes the whole thing feel much fresher than a straight-up remake.