Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.
Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.
The Wizard of Oz (Blu-ray). I know you are probably saying to yourself that this was already released. You would be right. However, for those of us who are only interested in the film and not all the goodies in the box set or all the extras in the three-disk set, this is for us. It is a single-disk release at a considerably lower price point. I am actually quite excited to see this remastered film, I hear it is quite spectacular.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (also Blu-ray). Well, we all know why this is here. I am sure there are a few fans out there. I am not one of them. I only mention it just in case there is a fan who does not know this is now here.
The Princess and the Frog (also Blu-ray). This is a predictable story that follows the usual fairy tale conventions en route to its predictable conclusion. There are the songs, fun but not terribly memorable, comedic sidekicks, heartfelt moments, and some nice animation. It is a delightful film that will hold your attention all the way through. You probably won't leave humming the tunes, but you will remember what Disney has been so good at for decades. It is good to see. I bet this looks stunning in high definition.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? (also Blu-ray). Trashed by critics and ignored by moviegoers, the last hope to make some money is on home video. It will likely do well as people will give it more of a chance as a rental. As for me? I do not have a lot of interest in watching Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker as a bickering couple under witness protection.
Ninja Assassin (also Blu-ray). There are not many people out there who will tell you this is a good movie. By most accounts it isn't. Still, I really liked it. The ninja story is your standard tale of revenge and is the reason to see the film, along with the wild, CG-enhanced ninja action. There is plenty of CG blood and severed limbs to make this a brutal affair and enough corny dialogue to cheese it up. Sit back and enjoy.
Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season (also Blu-ray). This Bryan Cranston series is one I have been wanting to check out for some time but have not as of yet. I love the clips I see and I think Cranston looks great in the role. It centers on a high school chemistry teacher who, during a mid-life crisis, turns to crime. How can this not be awesome?
Astro Boy (also Blu-ray). This adaptation of the original anime series is actually pretty good. It has interesting characters, good animation, and is just a whole bunch of fun. The biggest problem is that it feels rushed. The story could have used more time to spread out a little bit. It is the story of a father whose love for his lost child leads him to create a powerful robotic version who becomes a hero for the city.
The Fourth Kind (also Blu-ray). This pseudo-documentary is pretty interesting. I never believed it to be real, but it is constructed in compelling fashion as it combines faked original footage and recreation footage with "new" interview footage. It is an interesting look into the world of alien abductions. I may be more of a skeptic than anything, I would like to believe.
Armored (also Blu-ray). Here is a movie that should have been fun. It is a heist film with plenty of recognizable faces and a director who has some talent. Unfortunately, the material feels like it was cut off at the knees. It winds up being a boring slog as you wait to see who ends up with the money. Easy one to take a pass on.