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article imageReview: New on DVD for August 20 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 20, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include an excellent family drama from a child’s perspective; a clever comedy about the apocalypse; an immature compilation of pop culture references; a couple of bloody horror flicks; and an environmental awakening.
Epic (Blu-ray)
Fox Home Entertainment
Transported to a magical world, a teenager (Amanda Seyfried) is recruited by a nature spirit, Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), to help the “Leafmen” save their existence – and ours – from evil warriors.
Special features include: Mub and Grub intro; “Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer”; “Bugs of Camouflage”; “The Epic Life at Two Inches Tall”; “Mysteries Moonhaven Revealed”; “Epic Coloring & Storybook builder app”; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Hatchet III (Blu-ray)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
A search and recovery team heads into the haunted swamp to pick up the pieces and Marybeth (Danielle Harris) learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) haunting and terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.
Special features not available. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
No One Lives (Blu-ray & DVD)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
A ruthless criminal gang takes a young couple hostage and goes to ground in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. When the captive girl is killed, the tables are unexpectedly turned. The gang finds itself outsmarted by an urbane and seasoned killer determined to ensure no one lives.
This is a gory picture in which no one is the good guy and total annihilation of the characters doesn't seem like a bad idea. Ryuhei Kitamura, director of The Midnight Meat Train, builds anticipation for every murder by making them creative and entertaining. Consequently, there is one scene in this film that will etch itself in the viewer's memory as one of the craziest things ever committed to screen.
Special features not available. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Peter Pan: Return to Never Land (Blu-ray & DVD)
Disney Pictures Home Entertainment
Wendy’s very practical and no-nonsense daughter, Jane, begins the adventure of a lifetime when the infamous Captain Hook whisks her away to the enchanted island of Never Land. It’s up to Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys to help Jane believe in faith, trust and pixie dust. With the first-ever Lost Girl at his side, Peter Pan may finally defeat Hook and his swashbuckling band of pirates.
Rather than an entirely original story, this tale reuses many elements from the original narrative and repurposes them for a new generation of believers. Wendy's daughter is younger than she was for her first trip to Never Land, but Jane was forced to grow up much faster because of the war. Still, the magic of the fantasy world eventually wins her over before too much damage is caused, reviving her imagination and rescuing the childhood she nearly abandoned. Possibly the best part for fans of the first film is finally seeing Peter and Wendy reunited; it's brief but conveys the perfect mix of love and loss.
Special features include: deleted scenes. (Disney Pictures Home Entertainment)
Rapture Palooza (Blu-ray)
Entertainment One
When the Apocalypse actually happens and a billion people are raptured up to heaven, Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and her boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley) are left behind in suburban Seattle. The young couple try their best to lead a normal life surrounded by talking locusts, blood rain showers, and pot smoking wraiths. But when the Antichrist (Craig Robinson) makes his home base in their neighbourhood, Lindsey finds herself the object of his affection. With the help of her family, friends, and a lawn-mowing zombie neighbour, the young couple set off to stop the Antichrist from taking her as his bride – and maybe save the world in the process.
The humorous apocalypse is a popular subject at the moment, likely emerging as a branch of the comedic zombie movies recently proliferating screens. Though this picture never made a big, end-of-days splash, it's actually a pretty funny and mostly original comedy. Robinson's over-the-top Antichrist truly acts as if he has no one to answer to, giving him free rein to insult, kill and have sex with whoever he wants; this is both hilarious and annoying. The highlight of the story, however, is the couple played by Kendrick and Daley. They have great chemistry, using sarcasm and their togetherness to weather all the deadly and irritating things God throws at them.
Special features include: commentary by Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Rob Huebel; deleted scenes; “It’s Good to Be the Beast”; gag reel; and “Easter Egg: Thomas Lennon’s Moviemaking Moments.” (Entertainment One)
Revenge: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
ABC Studios
Emily (Emily VanCamp) will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets of her father’s murder, but the web of deceit is larger than she ever imagined. Now, with her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the picture, even more will be revealed. Daniel (Joshua Bowman) and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) begin a torrid romance, while stunning events change the face of Amanda (Margarita Levieva) and Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) relationship. New faces mean more trouble for Emily and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), while a mysterious man from Emily’s past adds to her complications.
At the end of the first season, there was a sense the next would be even more complicated -- and it doesn't disappoint. Emily's targets do not alter as often as they did previously; she directs her efforts to uncovering new scandals, which require more time and investigation. Additionally, the plot to avenge her father is put on hold when she discovers new truths about her mother. Emily continues to use everyone around her, including those she's grown closer to and others she's already hurt in the past. Though the Graysons consistently prove to be more devious, once again showing a disturbing willingness to hurt each other in the interest of commerce. Additionally, The Initiative's role in the Grayson's lives takes on greater clarity, building intrigue and risk in the process.
Special features include: episode commentaries; deleted scenes; “Schooled in Revenge”; “The Sound of Revenge”; “Haute Hamptons: Dressing Miss Davenport”; and bloopers. (ABC Studios)
Revolution (DVD)
Universal Home Entertainment
The film follows filmmaker activist Rob Stewart as he embarks on a four-year adventure through 15 countries to find the key to empowering a sweeping conservation movement across Canada and the world. After travelling to some of Earth’s most beautiful and fragile ecosystems, learning from the top environmental scientists and participating in major anti-pollution protests and rallies across the globe, Rob leads us to the ultimate understanding – that the younger generation is our future.
The first five minutes of this film can teach audiences more than most of them learn in any given week. Stewart uses the knowledge he gained as a marine biologist and the connections he's made doing research to both supply viewers with an understanding of evolution and survival, and show them the consequences of our current use of resources. Combining fascinating facts with stunning images of these creatures in their natural habitats makes the underlying message much more powerful because the imminent, permanent loss of any of them is made unbearable. The one key missing ingredient of this commanding documentary is even a brief overview of alternative resources. Even though these have been outlined by many others, it’s important to not only say “stop doing this” but also “do this instead”; thus arming inspired activists with a well-rounded response to skeptics and targets alike.
Special features include: a making-of featurette; “How to Start a Revolution”; “Fight for Something”; and theatrical trailer. (Universal Home Entertainment)
Scary Movie 5 (Blu-ray)
Entertainment One
Home with their newly-formed family, happy parents Dan and Jody are haunted by sinister, paranormal activities — disrupting new mama Jody’s dancing aspirations in the “Swan Lake” ballet and threatening Dan’s rise as an ape researcher. Determined to expel the insidious force, they install security cameras and discover their family is being stalked by an evil dead demon.
Even though this franchise will never run out of fodder for their scripts, one has to wonder how long they will continue to reapply the same jokes to different movies. The concept lost its shiny newness after the first movie and the humour grows increasingly stale with each sequel. There are few moments in this picture that illicit a genuine chuckle, though there is a lot of eye rolling. It's always a variation of the same sex jokes, hit-in-the-something gags and bottom-of-the-barrel crass comedy. With a little more effort, some of the parodies might have been much better; instead they constantly take the easy road and toss in a tired and lame joke. This chapter's victims include: Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Black Swan, Evil Dead, Inception and Mama.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes. (Entertainment One)
Solomon Kane (Blu-ray & DVD)
Entertainment One
Captain Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a brutally efficient 16th century killing machine. Armed with his signature pistols, cutlass and rapier, he and his men unleash their bloodlust as they fight for England in war after war on all continents. As the story opens, Kane and his band of pillagers are carving a bloody path through hordes of defenders in an exotic city in northern Africa. But, when Kane decides to attack a mysterious nearby castle to plunder its rumored riches, his mission takes a fateful turn. One by one, Kane’s men are picked off by demonic creatures until he alone is left to face the Devil’s own Reaper — dispatched from the depths of Hell to lay claim to his hopelessly corrupt soul. Though Kane at last manages to escape, he knows that he now must redeem himself by renouncing violence and devoting himself wholly to a life of peace and purity.
This film appears to be relatively faithful to Robert E. Howard's original imagining of the evil-fighting Puritan. From the dark, cold eyes hidden beneath a large slouched hat and skill with a sword, they do not take many liberties with the character. The film begins with Kane's origin story, though it feels a bit rushed for such a life changing event. The remainder of the tale is sombre as Kane attempts to hide in a world that continuously demands his attention. Witches attack his party and demons hunt him to claim his soul, and he dispatches each with skill and no mercy. Purefoy is convincing as the unlikely, brooding hero, showing just enough passion and care to avoid appearing lifeless.
Special features include: commentary by writer/director Michael J. Bassett and James Purefoy; a making-of featurette; a deleted scene – “Cave Fight”; “Special FX: The Creation of the Fire Demon”; interviews with Bassett and Purefoy; and original concept art. (Entertainment One)
What Maisie Knew (DVD)
Mongrel Media
This is the touching story of Maisie (Onata Aprile), a captivating six-year-old girl searching for grace in the midst of her parents' (Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan) separation. Maisie navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a child's innocence and generosity of spirit, and eventually finds love in the most unlikely of places.
This is an exceptional portrait of a child from a dysfunctional family as seen through her innocent eyes. Maisie's parents use custody of her to hurt each other then neglect to meet their parental duties when it doesn't coincide with their work schedules. Luckily, they both married incredibly kind people who are more willing to dedicate time to Maisie than her biological parents. Everyone delivers fantastic, sincere performances, particularly six-year-old Aprile who is forced to be the mature one in many situations while lacking an understanding of why that's unfair or inappropriate. The neglect and borderline abuse carried out in this picture juxtaposed with the care of two virtual strangers is sad on a level that doesn't require melodramatic music or a big production -- it's effectively conveyed via a well-structured script that relies on subtlety.
Special features include: commentary by directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel; and deleted scenes. (Mongrel Media)
Digital Download
Star Trek: Into Darkness
The crew of the Enterprise face a shocking act of terror on Earth that sends them on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
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