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This Week on DVD & Blu-ray (02-28-12)

February 28, 2012

Martin Scorsese’s wonderful Oscar-winning film “Hugo” is now available, a transportive and mesmerizing love letter to film and the power of human connection. Except for that release, the week looks pretty slim – unless you’ve been anticipating the spy comedy sequel “Johnny English Reborn”. Three mediocre to awful films have been floating around in the VOD/pre-release atmosphere for a while, “Answers to Nothing”, “Beneath the Darkness” and “I Melt with You”, featuring the latest from the likes of:  Dane Cook, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, and Thomas Jane – enter at your own risk. Criterion is releasing French director/screenwriter, Louis Malle’s final film, “Vanya on 42nd Street”, about a group of actors rehearsing and ruminating over a stage production of Anton Chekhov’s classic play. I saw it once, back when it came out in 1994, so it warrants a revisit, especially for stage actors.
The other release on my radar  is an animated superhero feature from DC/Warner Bros. called “Justice League: Doom”, which is the 13th release of the entertaining DC Universe Animated Series. On the surface, it looks like a typical smackdown between the Justice League (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter & Cyborg) against super villains like Bane, Metallo, Cheetah, Mirror Master, and the like – except that there’s actually more going on here. This feature should excite anyone familiar Mark Waid’s fine story, “JLA: Tower of Babel”, since it’s loosely based on that story, which has Batman presumably betraying the League, using each heroes weaknesses against them.
Obviously, there’s more to it – with the expected “world in peril” plot device thrown in for good measure – but the other reason to get excited about this is the talent on display here. For the most part, all the actors involved in both stellar television series (“Justice League” and Justice League Unlimited”) have returned to their characters, with the exception of Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion returns!) instead of John Stewart for Green Lantern. If anyone’s upset by that, do the math – it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the release of last summer’s “Green Lantern” movie.
So, why is this a big deal? Primarily because WB has failed in their attempt to bring any live-action superhero adaptation to the big-screen, outside of the Christopher Nolan Batman films. So, these animated features (available on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, iTunes, Zune, etc) have consistently been the best way to see these iconic characters in action. Also, this is the last feature that  acclaimed comic book creator/animation producer Dwayne McDuffie was involved in, before his sudden death last February at age 49. McDuffie wrote this feature, which was directed by Lauren Montgomery, who previously helmed other direct-to-video gems, such as “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League: The New Frontier”. Those are reasons enough to check this out – and personally, after watching so many films with such serious subject matter, it’s time to geek out!
Alright, enough of my fanboy ramblings! Previous reviews are highlighted below.
Enjoy the Rundown….
  • Answers to Nothing (DVD)
  • Beneath the Darkness (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Born 2 Race (DVD)
  • Enemies of the People (2-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
  • Here Come the Brides: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
  • Hugo(DVD/Blu-ray)
  • I Melt with You (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • InSight (DVD)
  • Johnny English Reborn (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Justice League: Doom (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Justice League: Doom (Special Edition) (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • King of Triads (DVD)
  • Law & Order: The Ninth Year (DVD)
  • Mandrill (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express (DVD)
  • Rabies (DVD)
  • Redakai: Conquer the Kairu “The Journey Begins” (DVD)
  • The Sky Turns (DVD)
  • The Spiders (Authorized Restored Edition) (DVD)
  • Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The Complete First Season (DVD)
  • Top Gear 17  (DVD/Blu-ray)
  • Vanya on 42nd Street (Criterion Collection) (DVD/Blu-ray)
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