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article imageReview: New on DVD for May 21 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 23, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a throwback to old school action movies; a waste of an action; a fantastic movie with Hollywood veterans; a personal venture in storytelling; and the latest chapter in a supernatural saga.
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Comforting Skin (DVD)
An emotionally fragile woman’s lonely reality is shattered when her tattoo seemingly comes to life. Offering its undying attention and otherworldly sensual pleasures, the tattoo quickly seduces, drawing her into a dangerous and all-consuming bond that requires more than she may be able to give.
Koffie (Victoria Bidewell) must look to herself for salvation – but how do you end a relationship existing in your heart and mind, and played out on your skin?
There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Entertainment One
The Last Stand (Blu-ray)
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the sheriff of a sleepy small town and the one person that stands between an escaped drug cartel kingpin and freedom. Semi-retired after years in the LAPD narcotics division, Owens has had little excitement in his new post. But all that's about to change when drug boss Gabriel Cortez busts out of FBI custody and makes a 200-mph beeline for the border. But first he has to get by Owens and his inexperienced but loyal deputies.
Schwarzenegger isn't making exactly the sort of action movie he made in the '80s and '90s. The similarities include cheesy, testosterone driven lines related to honor and toughness, big guns and several fire fights. The difference is those same lines that immortalized action heroes now make them nostalgically laughable. In addition, Schwarzenegger's age is evident in his much slower movements. Even he acknowledges it in the film, exhaling "I'm too old for this." One thing can be said about the script: it didn't leave any gaping holes in the story even though there were opportunities to do so. One shouldn’t expect too much from this type of picture, but it remains fun the whole way through. Whether all the laughs are intentional is debatable, but that doesn't mean it isn't funny.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; making-of featurette; “Cornfield Chaos: Scene Breakdown”; “The Dinkum Firearm and Historic Weaponry Museum Tour”; and “Actor-Cam Anarchy: With Johnny Knoxville and Jaimie Alexander.” (Entertainment One)
Entertainment One
Parker (Blu-ray and DVD combo pack)
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief who lives by a personal code of ethics: Don't steal from people who can't afford it and don't hurt people who don't deserve it. But on his latest heist, his crew double crosses him, steals his stash, and leaves him for dead. Determined to make sure they regret it, Parker tracks them to Palm Beach, playground of the rich and famous, where the crew is planning their biggest heist ever. Donning the disguise of a rich Texan, Parker takes on an unlikely partner, Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), a savvy insider, who's short on cash, but big on looks, smarts and ambition. Together, they devise a plan to hijack the score, take everyone down and get away clean.
Statham is an action hero with an entertaining wit that keeps audiences coming back. His early work with Guy Ritchie highlighted his ability to deliver a line, while his physical abilities took centre stage in The Transporter. Unfortunately this film doesn't take distinct advantage of either of his strengths. After the initial betrayal, it takes a noticeably long time for Parker to enact his revenge and he doesn't say much along the way, taking the fun out of watching a Jason Statham movie. Lopez is a bore, typically just reading her lines without lending anything unique to them.
Special features include: commentary by director Taylor Hackford; a making-of featurette; “The Origin of Parker”; and “Broken Necks and Bleeding Knuckles.” (Entertainment One)
Entertainment One
Stand Up Guys (Blu-ray and DVD combo pack)
Val (Al Pacino) is released from prison after serving twenty-eight years for refusing to give up his close criminal associates. His best friend Doc (Christopher Walken) is there to pick him up, and the two soon re-team with another old pal, Hirsch (Alan Arkin). Their bond is as strong as ever, and the three reflect on freedom lost and gained, loyalties ebbed and flowed, and days of glory gone by. But one of the friends is keeping a dangerous secret – he's been put in an impossible quandary by a former mob boss, and his time to find an acceptable alternative is running out. As the sun rises on the guys' legendary reunion, their position becomes more and more desperate and they finally confront their past once and for all.
It turns out chivalry isn't dead; it was just temporarily retired. It's difficult to describe this trio beyond the words in the title – they're old school stand up guys. They don't rat; they don't hurt women; and they're loyal to a fault. And these actors are terrific together with no hint of old age slowing down their talents. The script is funny, thrilling and touching, though many may find the conclusion dissatisfying. There is a great car chase that is as entertaining from the street as it is from inside the car. Pacino and Walken are more than believable as guys who have been friends for decades and Arkin's reunion with the gang is the last piece of the puzzle to a film that deserves to be revisited.
Special features include: deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes featurette; a making-of featurette; interviews; “American Muscle”; “The Stand Up Guys Songs of Bon Jovi”; “The Stand Up Stunt Driving Scene”; and “Not Running Anymore” music video by Bon Jovi. (Entertainment One)
Mongrel Media
Stories We Tell (DVD)
Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets behind a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of a lively, fun-loving past and the shadows just beneath. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: a complex, messy, intense and deeply loving tangle of contradictions.
After years of immersing herself in fiction both in front and behind the camera, Polley takes a giant leap into documentary filmmaking. She then enhances the difficulty by exploring an unexpected revelation in her own life. She uses the voices of family and friends to tell the story of her experience. The result is an excellent real-life family drama that allows her to maintain some distance from the subject matter. The support of her loved ones within the project provides another layer to the picture that touches the viewer. Everyone is so casual during the interviews that it's very easy for the audience to relate to the speakers if not the situation. Polley continues to impress with her cinematic endeavors, adding another check to her list of filmic achievements.
There are no special features. (Mongrel Media)
HBO Home Entertainment
True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy)
This season finds Sookie triumphant over her climactic encounter with Marnie. However, her showdown with Debbie may have had fatal consequences for Tara. Meanwhile, the denizens of Bon Temps are approaching a new crisis with Russell Edgington, Bill and Eric are in deep with the Authority, and new threats from unexpected sources loom.
Interestingly, the big bad this season was some of the series regulars. It brought a different dynamic to the show, confusing viewers' feelings for their beloved characters. Faerie lore was given a lot more screen time, though Sookie's storyline was the least interesting of the year. Lafayette's struggle with his increasing power is often heartbreaking, though he remains amusing throughout. Tara's new role is generally fun, while Sam fights to hold on to those closer to him. Alcide's increased presence is welcome and his story arc is one of the more compelling of the season. Eric once again takes the role of male vampire lead with Bill becoming more annoying with each episode. There's gallons more blood this season, which may be a turn off for some but the stories have increasingly higher stakes and dive deeper into the supernatural.
Special features include: five commentaries with cast and crew; “Inside the Episodes”; “Authority Confessionals”; “True Blood Lines”; Episode Six: Autopsy; character bios; vampire histories; hints; FYIs; flashbacks; and flash forwards. (HBO Home Entertainment)
Mongrel Media
The Way (DVD)
Tom (Martin Sheen) is an American who travels to France after his son (Emilio Estevez) has an accident while walking The Way of St. James trail. While there, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honour his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact the experience will have on him.
Special features include: commentary by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez; “Camino Americana: Taking The Way on the Road”; “Pilgrimage: Behind the Camera”; “Father and Son: Uncovering the Characters”; and the theatrical trailer. (Mongrel Media)
Available for digital download:
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
The movie tells the story of the brother (Jeremy Renner) and sister (Gemma Arterton) team seeking to avenge their parents’ deaths. But after a lifetime of hunting witches, Hansel and Gretel now must face an evil greater than anything they’ve seen: a terrifying new threat so massive, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Available on DVD & Blu-ray June 11. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
More about stories we tell, Stand Up Guys, Parker, True blood, The Way
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