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article imageReview: New on DVD for November 19 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 25, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include an alternative Christmas picture; the teaming of two of Hollywood’s leading actors; a comedy that is wholly unconcerned with being politically correct; and a few obvious and less obvious Disney sequels.
2 Guns (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
When an attempt to take down a drug cartel blows up in their faces, two undercover operatives, Bobby and Stig (Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg respectively), are forced to go on the run together, though neither knows that the other is a federal agent. Suddenly, everyone on both sides of the law wants them dead, and their only hope is to trust each other.
Both Washington and Wahlberg have commanded blockbusters for more than a decade, but this is the first time the action heroes have teamed up for a picture – and the results are thrilling. Bobby and Stig had a lot invested in this million-dollar plan, but in addition to misleading each other someone was deceiving them. A simple job turns into a mess of professional assassins, car chases and explosions. The inclusion of James Marsden and Bill Paxton as the film’s villains works remarkably well as one hones the role of criminal authoritarian and the other is an intimidating government agent. Washington and Wahlberg have incredible chemistry that allows for a good deal of humour thanks to a healthy dose of witty ribbing… that is sometimes paired with gunfire.
Special features include: commentary by director Baltasar Kormákur and producer Adam Siegel; deleted and extended scenes; “Undercover and into Action”; “The Good, the Bad and the Sexy”; “Finding the Vibe”; and “Living Dangerously.” (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
All is Bright (DVD)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti) and fast talker Rene (Paul Rudd) try to make a quick buck selling Christmas trees in NY. For Dennis it’s a chance to go straight and for happy go-lucky Rene it’s a chance to make some easy cash so he can marry Dennis’s ex-wife. Dennis isn’t the perfect father and Rene isn’t the best friend, but together they don’t make a very good team either.
Christmas is not the happiest – or even favourite – time of year for everyone. For those who like their holidays with a dash of cynicism, films like these answer the call. Dennis is not consistently a bad guy, but life is rubbing salt in his wounds at every turn so he often finds it a little difficult to be nice. His relationship with Rene is challenging at best, but with no other friends or options Dennis is forced to renew their partnership. Rene, conversely, is so concerned with the happiness of those around him he goes to great – and often unsupportable – lengths to ensure it. Sally Hawkins plays an alluring Russian housekeeper that befriends Dennis. Her frank approach to life and relationships encourages Dennis to embrace the changes in his life, leading to an unexpected conclusion. And Rudd’s French Canadian accent is very amusing.
There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
The Little Mermaid II & Ariel’s Beginning – 2 movie collection (Blu-ray and DVD)
Disney Pictures Home Entertainment
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Even though her parents tell her merpeople and Atlantica are just “old fish tales,” Ariel’s daughter, Melody, dreams of being part of that magical world. In this sequel to one of the most celebrated animated films of all time, all the good creatures on the land and under the sea must join forces to show Melody that both her worlds can live in perfect harmony.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning: Long before Ariel walked on land and into Prince Eric’s heart, she was one of seven beloved daughters of powerful King Triton. But times were troubled in the underwater kingdom – and music was banned. In this adventure, Ariel, her fun-loving sisters, and her loyal friends Sebastian and Flounder strive to bring music and friendship back to Atlantica.
For those wishing to spend more time with Disney’s red-headed princess, this double feature provides two wonderful story extensions to the much loved original. In the sequel, Ariel’s daughter and Ursula’s equally wicked sister take centre stage. Not as captivating as its predecessor, it still weaves an enjoyable tale of trickery and comeuppances. The prequel, on the other hand, has more in common with the first picture. Ariel is still the black sheep of her family, but to less fault of her own. King Triton’s heartache has far-reaching repercussions in his kingdom, forcing many to reluctantly break the ruler’s law. Various renditions of "Jump in the Line" captures the musical amusement of the original film, while Ariel’s relationships with Flounder and Sebastian are once again centre stage.
Special features include: “Storybook,” read to you by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel; deleted song, “Gonna Get my Wish”; classic animated short, “Merbabies”; “Splashdance: A Dancer’s Adventures Under the Sea”; two deleted scenes; four sing-along songs; and “Mermaid Discovery Vanity” game. (Disney Pictures Home Entertainment)
Planes (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Disney Pictures Home Entertainment
Dusty (Dane Cook) is a crop duster with sky-high dreams and an once-in-a-lifetime chance to take on the world's fastest flyers in the greatest air race ever. Dusty has a huge heart but two big problems: he's not exactly built for speed and he's afraid of heights. His courage is put to the ultimate test as the unlikely hero aims higher than he ever imagined. With a little help from his friends, Dusty finds the courage to be more than he was built for—and the inspiration to soar.
It’s not difficult to deduce that this film is from the creators of Cars; it basically puts wings and propellers on the anthropomorphic vehicles and moves them in the air for half the film. These new characters are culturally diverse with varying levels of life experience. But the narrative collects every possible storyline to compose the 90-minute movie: Dusty has a considerable obstacle to overcome; he’s betrayed by a friendly competitor; his mentor has a shocking secret; and everyone bands together around Dusty in his time of need. In addition they borrow from Cyrano de Bergerac, Days of Thunder and any other cliché tale of competition, which causes the film to feel somewhat episodic. Though not much would remain if one peeled away the excess, the core story and personalities are passable.
Special features include: deleted scenes; “Top 10 Flyers”; “Meet the Racers”; “Klay’s Flight Plan”; and “Franz’s Song.” (Disney Pictures Home Entertainment)
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5 (Blu-ray)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
You'll feel like you've plunged into the 24th century for some of the series' most thrilling moments, including Capt. Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) involuntary excursion to a foreign planet with a perceived enemy, and a lapse in memory that causes some uncharacteristic actions on the part of the Enterprise’s crew.
This season contains some very memorable episodes of the series. Beginning with the conclusion of the previously released two-episode story arc, “Redemption,” it is followed by "Darmok," a story of courage and sacrifice in which Picard learns to communicate with the formerly unintelligible Tamarians. In “Conundrum,” the Enterprise’s entire crew’s memory is erased and some intrinsic but unusual personality traits direct the group’s actions. "I, Borg" presents some interesting ethical issues, while "The Outcast" is an alien representation of intolerance for sexual differences. Younger citizens of the Enterprise are given more attention this season as well. In "Imaginary Friend," a child’s make-believe playmate becomes a real threat to the ship and its crew. Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) also makes a couple of appearance, even saving the crew in "The Game."
Special features include: four commentaries; additional and deleted scenes; “In Conversation: The Klingons”; “Archival Mission Log”; “REQUIEM: A Remembrance of Star Trek: The Next Generation”; episode promos; and bloopers. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Unification (Blu-ray)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
The epic two-part story is seamlessly unified into one feature length presentation. When the Federation calls for help in locating an ambassador suspected of defecting, Picard (Patrick Stewart) is troubled to learn that Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is the one who has vanished. Seeking information from Spock’s ailing father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), and unlikely help from the Klingons, Picard and his crew find the ambassador pursuing a personal mission on Romulus: a Vulcan/Romulan reunification. But though the Romulans claim to support the same goal, their motives are not what they seem.
This is an excellent melding of past and present with a number of other facets that enrich the two-part narrative from season five. Picard’s latest interaction with Sarek contrasts greatly from their earlier meeting, though a later development has a significant emotional effect on the captain. Nimoy seamlessly resumes his role, though Spock’s father’s state incites his more human qualities. A plan to contact Spock includes a comprehensive disguise that renders Picard and Data nearly unrecognizable as they attempt to blend in with the Romulans. The final moments of the episode are intense and at least somewhat unpredictable, though the deduction skills of Spock and Picard prevail.
Special features include: commentary by Jeri Taylor and, Mike and Denise Okuda; additional and deleted scenes; “From One Generation to the Next: The Making of ‘Unification’”; and episode promos. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
We’re the Millers (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Small-time pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) must become a big-time drug smuggler, and devises a foolproof plan. He convinces his neighbours – stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), loser Kenny (Will Poulter) and runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) – to create a fake family. With one huge RV, the “Millers” head south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.
Though none of the characters stumble through the narrative in a drug-addled state, it is definitely a trip. Rather than attempting to extend the Millers’ Mexican adventure, the script spreads their predicaments over the road on both sides of the border. In every situation, this movie asks, "What would be the most ridiculous thing that could happen right now?" It then picks the most outrageous and amusing choice, and builds it into the narrative. Thus the majority of the picture is made up of displays of inappropriate behaviour, from cursing at the most inopportune times to tag-teaming a teen's first lesson in kissing to shouting synonyms for penis during a family-friendly game of Pictionary. Everyone is well suited to their roles, matching the personalities perfectly. And Aniston’s physical efforts prior to shooting are more than noticeable.
Special features include: extended cut of the film; deleted scenes; “Millers Unleashed: Outtakes Overload”; “Extreme Aniston”; “The Miller Makeover”; and gag reel. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
More about 2 Guns, All is Bright, The Little Mermaid, Ariel's Beginning, Return to the Sea
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