The Avengers (2012)

It’s not hyperbole to call The Avengers the greatest superhero movie of all time — better than Captain America: The First Avenger, better than The Dark Knight, and better than Spider-Man 2. And the best superhero movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD starting today.

The cardinal sin of most superhero movies is that producers change too much from the page and the screen, and then crowd the story with too many characters (especially villains) that all have to be introduced. So how does Avengers — a movie featuring six heroes, a villain, a host of supporting characters and an entire top-secret international organization — manage to not only avoiding becoming an overstuffed muddle, but pull it all off brilliantly?

One name: Joss Whedon.
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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

It’s not hard to figure out why Snow White and the Huntsman — released on DVD and Blu-ray today — disappointed at the box office earlier this year: It’s a disappointing movie, because it could have been so much more. Whatever it was, it was not the feminist reimagining of the fairy tale that the studio marketing promised.

You should realize your grrrl power movie is in trouble when the biggest change to the well-trod Brothers Grimm story is elevating the male huntsman from a bit player to a leading role. Snow White’s importance still stems from her beauty more than her ability to lug around a sword and her handy knowledge of the castle sewer system. True, she is not as passive as character in the Disney version (no housework for this riot grrrl!), but she still needs rescuing by a strong man — and she’s not exactly a compelling, sympathetic heroine one can easily root for, preferring a sneer to a smile.
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“Lost” Sucker Punch Rehearsal Footage

Regular readers of my blog know it’s no secret that I love Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch – probably more than most people in the country. I gave it a positive review when it was released in theaters, and even wrote a piece defending it from the rabid criticism the film generated.

Now, I’ve just come across the web page that features footage for one of the lost musical numbers from the movie. As you probably remember, in “Brothel Life,” the girls at Lennox House practiced dance steps for elaborate musical pieces. Sadly, these productions were cut from the theatrical release, and only one (set to “Love Is the Drug”) was restored on the Blu-ray release. In this brief clip, the film’s choreographer, Paul Baker, conducts a dress rehearsal with Jena Malone. Her character, Rocket, is dressed as a sexy nurse, and begins this snippet dancing inside a giant hypodermic needle! Too bad that didn’t make it into the movie.

Hopefully all of the girls’ individual production numbers will surface at some point! For now, let’s watch Rocket work it…

John Carter of DVDs

I expected Disney to dump the DVD of John Carter on the market quietly, like a Las Vegas gambler burying a body in the desert. But the Mouse House is giving the release top-tier treatment as a 4-Disc Combo Pack (3D BD + 2D BD + DVD + Digital Copy), as well as a 2-Disc Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD), a 3D DVD, and a 1-Disc version. Oh, and and On-Demand. All of this on June 5.

Including calling Andrew Stanton the Oscar-winning director of WALL-E (something the ads for the theatrical release never did) and cites star Taylor Kitsch’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS connection and Lynn Collins’ role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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The Descendants (2011)

The Descendants is director Alexander Payne’s (Sideways, Election) low-key, affable comedy-drama that unfolds at a leisurely pace as it follows a crisis in the family of low-key, affable Hawaiian real-estate attorney Matt King, played by the very high-profile, affable George Clooney. The movie is as likeable as a Hawaiian sunset, and leaves the viewer with the same warm feeling after watching it.
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Drive (2011)

Fridays always scream “movies” to me, and if nothing at the cinema tempts you enough to brave the talking audiences, crying babies and budget-busting concession stand, why not take a spin with Drive, which was released on Blu-ray/DVD this week (along with the horror prequel The Thing).

But be warned: Although Drive was originally marketed as an action flick, this is not a standard revenge movie, and there is not a lot of “action.” Instead of lots of squealing tires and gunplay, this is a movie filled to overflowing with quiet suspense. Long stretches (entire scenes, even) go by with silent characters watching a wristwatch or brooding, waiting for something to happen. The tension sometimes reaches near-intolerable levels in scenes that drip with an atmosphere of foreboding. But then the movie suddenly erupts into brief paroxysms of brutal, gory violence.
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The Thing (2011)

Considering the scary amount of hatred hurled at this movie for even daring to exist, it’s a testament to perseverance that The Thing was released on Blu-ray today. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: This movie is not John Carpenter’s version of The Thing. It is not in the same class as John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, which is an unassailable classic. And now for the shocking bit: This movie doesn’t want to be John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, and it doesn’t try to be John Carpenter’s version of The Thing. It really wants to be its own,,,er, thing – and it succeeds.
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