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article imageReview: New on DVD for October 9 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 9, 2012 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a menace in the woods; a few classic thrillers; the debut season of a sci-fi series; a real-life courtroom comedy; the reimagining of an Edgar Allen Poe tale; an ‘80s music odyssey; and a prequel worthy of its predecessor.
Anchor Bay Entertainment
The Barrens (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
It’s known as the Jersey Devil, the winged beast spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself. Some say this creature still inhabits the dense pine forests of southern New Jersey, where Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer) takes his family for a rustic weekend camping trip. As the Vineyard family ventures further into the woods in search of the perfect campsite, Richard teeters on the edge of sanity. And it seems that the blood-crazed demon called The Jersey Devil may no longer be just a myth.
The woods are a classically dangerous place: children get lost, people disappear. But this movie blurs the line between the real threats and the imagined ones. Various versions of the Jersey Devil legend are relayed, but the only clear evidence is the mutilated animals – and if that was not a clear enough sign to turn back now, than nothing could have been. The practical monster is obvious early on, but there is also a lot of confusion built into the narrative regarding the existence of a secondary threat. Writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman had a lot of success taking over the Saw series, but has had limited solo success. The dual story lines are occasionally clever, but it's still lacking.
Special features include: commentary with writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman and director of photography Joseph White; and a deleted scene with optional commentary. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Barricade (Blu-ray)
After the death of his wife, a father (Eric McCormack) takes his two small children to a secluded cabin in the mountains to escape and seek solace. However, when a freak winter storm cuts off all communications to the outside world, horrific events begin to occur. Barricaded inside with little hope of survival, a father will do what it takes to protect his family from whatever sinister force is trying to cause them harm.
Special features not available. (Entertainment One)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Dead Ringer (Blu-ray)
Bette Davis plays sibling twins caught in a web of jealousy and murder when the twin sister of a callous wealthy woman murders her out of revenge and assumes her identity. Film co-stars Karl Malden and Peter Lawford.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Dial M for Murder (Blu-ray)
When American writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) visits the very married Margot Wendice (Grace Kelly) in London, he unknowingly sets off a chain of blackmail and murder. After sensing Margot's affections for Halliday, her husband, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), fears divorce and disinheritance, and plots her death. Knowing former school chum Captain Lesgate (Anthony Dawson) is involved in illegal activities, Tony blackmails him into conspiring to kill Margot. When she kills Lesgate in self-defense, Tony implicates her as being guilty of premeditated murder. Halliday must out-strategize Tony to save Margot's live.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Falling Skies: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Chronicling the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack, most of the world is left completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, survivors band together to begin the difficult task of fighting back against the aggressive aliens. Outside of Boston, history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) helps lead a small army named 2nd Massachusetts in the battle of their lives to preserve their families and what’s left of mankind.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Fox Home Entertainment
Find me Guilty (Blu-ray)
When police arrest twenty members of the Lucchese crime family, the authorities offer Jackie Dee DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) a bargain: a shortened prison term if he'll testify against his own. But the wisecracking DiNorscio has other ideas. Refusing to cooperate, he decides to defend himself at his own trial and proceeds to turn the courtroom upside-down in a hilarious fight that culminates in one of the most shocking verdicts in judicial history.
Special features include: “A Conversation with Sidney Lumet” and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Ice Station Zebra (Blu-ray)
The U.S. nuclear sub Tigerfish churns toward the North Pole. Its mission: rescue the imperiled members of weather outpost Ice Station Zebra. On board are Cmdr. Ferraday and his crew, several unexpected arrivals with secret orders - and enough suspicions, suspense and twists to make Ice Station Zebra an engrossing espionage thriller.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Fox Home Entertainment
Prometheus (Blu-ray)
Archeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a star map that they interpret as an invitation from humanity's forerunners, the “Engineers.” Determined to find out more about them, the couple boards the scientific vessel Prometheus, created and funded by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), CEO of Weyland Corporation. Lead by mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and monitored by Weyland’s android David (Michael Fassbender), the team of explorers find a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth and embark on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe where they fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Director Ridley Scott's Alien has long been held up as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. More than three decades later, he's accomplished a similar success with a prequel. It's a slow burn and lacks the quantity of intense action sequences of its counterpart, but it's mesmerizing. The extraterrestrial story is the initial draw, pulling people in with the excitement of discovery and an alternate origin story. The curiosity the first sequences in the ship produce is the hook. The aliens are both different and familiar when compared to Scott's other creations. Obviously not identical, fans will latch onto the similarities between the creatures. The alien-stomach scene is matched, if not surpassed, by an unconventional cesarean that will forever be etched in your memory. The talent of the ensemble cast is impressive, but not surprising. A mix of well-known faces and others less recognizable, as well as a well-known face made unrecognizable, compose the group of impromptu astronauts.
Special features include: commentary by director/producer Ridley Scott; commentary by writer Jon Spaihts and writer/executive producer Damon Lindelof; deleted and alternate scenes that include an alternate opening/ending; “The Peter Weyland Files”; “The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus”; “Enhancement Pods”; “Weyland Corp Archive”; pre-vis; screen tests; and “Prometheus - Weyland Corp Archive Second Screen App.” (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Raven (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) joins forces with Baltimore detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) to hunt down a mad serial killer who’s using Poe’s own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders. When it appears someone close to Poe may become the murderer's next victim, the stakes become even higher and the inventor of the detective story calls on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it's too late.
Poe's stories and poems ranged from the simply dark to the somewhat gruesome. But this film gives life and another dimension to his imaginings and his life. His writings were the work of fiction from a brilliant mind, which a psychopathic admirer makes horrifically physical. Cusack does a wonderful job portraying the storyteller, balancing the darker personality with a romantic in love. The narrative showcases the writer's struggle for recognition, respect and space in a publication because like so many talented artists he was only made famous after his mysterious death. In that sense, Poe's demise is given yet another explanation, though no one will ever really know what was the cause.
Special features include: commentary by director James McTeigue, and producers Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy and Aaron Ryder; deleted and extended scenes; “The Raven Guts: Bringing Death to Life”; “The Madness, Misery, and Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe”; “Behind the Beauty and Horror”; “The Raven Presents John Cusack & James McTeigue”; “Music for The Raven: The Team”; and theatrical trailer. (VVS Films)
Rock of Ages (Blu-ray)
A small town girl, Sherrie, and a city boy, Drew, meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and more.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
The Speak (DVD)
Shelly (Steven Nelson), his girlfriend Paige (Kristina Anapaul), Shelly’s brother Luis (Michael Klinger) and a small film crew set out to film the final episode of their paranormal web series. In an abandoned hotel widely regarded as one of the most haunted locations in the country, they enlist Native American medium Malia (Tina Cascianil) to perform an ancient ritual known as The Speak. Intended to make communication with spirits possible, it may have summoned something far more evil than anything Shelly and his team could have ever imagined.
Once again dipping into the first person point-of-view haunting category, this movie does an adequate job showcasing moving shadows and building a frightful atmosphere. The annoying part is that nobody else seems to notice the disturbances even though the cameraman is supposedly capturing all the action. It goes quickly downhill after the ritual is performed and the tear is opened between worlds. The paranormal attacks pale in comparison to the earlier build up and the story begins to make less sense. The ending is predictable even though it fits with the rest of picture, but it's unfortunate filmmakers squandered the initial interest.
There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Strangers on a Train (Blu-ray)
Tennis star Guy (Farley Granger) hates his unfaithful wife. Mysterious Bruno (Robert Walker) hates his father. How perfect for a playful proposal: I'll kill yours, you kill mine.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
More about the raven, rock of ages, prometheus, Falling Skies, Find Me Guilty
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