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Review: New on DVD for October 13 (Includes first-hand account)

Air (Blu-ray)

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In the near future, breathable air is nonexistent. Virtually all of humanity has disappeared, and those chosen to re-establish society reside in a controlled state of suspended animation. Two engineers (Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou) tasked with guarding the last hope for mankind struggle to preserve their own sanity and lives while administering to the vital task at hand.

This low budget picture creates a claustrophobic environment reminiscent of Cube, minus the horrific death traps. Reedus is in the familiar role of a coarse but clever guy in an impossible situation. He spends his awake time checking the equipment and chronically masturbating. Meanwhile Hounsou’s character hallucinates about a woman that acts as his main support and resembles one of the elite sleepers for whom they care. However an accident leads to an act of betrayal that threatens not only their friendship, but the survival of the human race. The gradual progression of the narrative builds an intense atmosphere and every clue to the unexpected mystery raises the stakes.

Special features include: “An Account of Confinement: Creating Air”; and “The Custodians: Behind the Scenes with Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Aladdin (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)

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Disney Animated Studios

With the help of a hysterically funny, shape-shifting, 10,000-year-old Genie (Robin Williams), street-smart commoner Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and clever, confident Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) join forces against the evil sorcerer Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) to put an end to his plans to take over the kingdom.

More than 20 years after its original release, this animated feature still holds a special place in people’s hearts – and it’s also found its place amongst a new generation of viewers who enjoy the same magic that delighted their parents. The G-rated comedy has yet to get old, particularly the Genie’s clever wisecracking and big heart. On the same note, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) is as annoying as ever. In addition, the songs of the movie remain timeless and forever catchy as the lyrics come streaming back no matter how long ago your last viewing of the film… after all who wouldn’t love to be serenaded on a magic carpet while flying above a beautiful city.

Special features include: “The Genie Outtakes”; “Genie 101”; “Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me”; “Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic”; “Unboxing Aladdin”; and “Disney Song Selection.” (Disney Animated Studios)

American Horror Story: Freak Show: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

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Fox Home Entertainment

Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) is the proprietor of a troupe of human “curiosities” on a desperate journey of survival in the sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida in 1952. Her menagerie of performers includes a two-headed, telepathic twin (Sarah Paulson), a take-charge bearded lady (Kathy Bates), a vulnerable strongman (Michael Chiklis) and his sultry, three-breasted wife (Angela Bassett). But the strange emergence of a dark entity will savagely threaten the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike.

The show is described as a horror anthology series as each season is self-sufficient, though there is occasionally some crossover. In addition, every other season unfolds in the more distant past while the others occur more recently. Spread over 13 episodes, the tragic lives of these entertainers are turned even more wretched. However, it’s not structured in a way that’s meant to cause viewers to feel sorry for them because of their challenges, but rather because of those taking advantage of them. Also typical of the series, there are terrifying serial killers lurking in the shadows that add another cruel element to the story. And Twisty the Clown will haunt your nightmares as much as the conjoined twins fascinate.

Special features include: “Getting Freaky: A Peek Inside the Tent”; “Extra-Ordinary Artists”; “Two Heads Are Better Than One”; “Twisty: Behind the Mask of Terror”; “The Camp”; “Freaklore: The Spectre of Edward Mordrake”; and “The Premiere.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Anomaly (Blu-ray)

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Anchor Bay Entertainment

It is the near future, and ex-soldier and PTSD patient Ryan Reeve (Noel Clarke) has a very disturbing type of blackout amnesia: he regains consciousness days or weeks apart for exactly 9 minutes and 47 seconds, only to discover that he is now a lethal operative for a mysterious organization. But as he tries to piece together his past with each reboot, he realizes that the organization now wants him dead. Can Reeve stay two steps ahead of a sinister colleague (Ian Somerhalder) he does not recognize long enough to destroy a global conspiracy he can’t escape?

The former Doctor Who semi-companion is paving his way as an action star, taking another step with this sci-fi thriller that never really gets there. It’s initially intriguing as Ryan repeatedly wakes up in unusual situations and is often forced into life-or-death struggles even though he doesn’t understand why he’s fighting. As the truth becomes clearer, the expectations for the film grow higher. Unfortunately, it never seems to really achieve its potential. Instead it slowly squanders it by trying to build in an unnecessary romance and complicate the conclusion, while also trying to remain a solid action movie.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Bessie (Blu-ray & Digital copy)

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HBO Home Entertainment

The biopic offers an intimate look at the determined woman whose immense talent and love for music took her from anonymity in the rough-and-tumble world of vaudeville to the 1920s blues scene and international fame. Capturing Bessie Smith’s (Queen Latifah) professional highs and personal lows, the film paints a portrait of a tenacious spirit who, despite her own demons, became a celebrated legend. Throughout the years, Bessie Smith has served as an inspiration for such illustrious singers as Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Nina Simone, among others.

This film doesn’t attempt to be a comprehensive retelling of Bessie’s life; rather it focuses on the most influential years of her life. Determined to become famous, she takes steps to rise above being a low-level vaudeville act. Under the tutelage of Ma Rainey (Mo’Nique), Bessie learns to be a shrewd negotiator off stage and how to capture an audience on it. However equal if not more time is devoted to Bessie’s personal life. She was confident and uninhibited in her sexuality, having a long-term relationship with a female dancer while also having a number of affairs with various men. Latifah convincingly captures Bessie’s spirit and musical style, exhibiting a captivating strength and appeal.

Special features include: “Bessie: A Creative Journey.” (HBO Home Entertainment)

Children of the Night (Blu-ray)

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Artsploitation Films

A journalist (Sabrina Ramos) visits a secluded orphanage where children suffer from an unknown skin disease. She soon learns that they are in fact not children, but vampires aged from four to 120 years old who have been bitten at an early age and forever remain in that physical state. They are led and protected by a strange and deeply religious ex-nurse (Ana María Giunta) whose destiny in life is to find these ‘lost souls’ and raise them in her sanctuary. Through religious teachings, nocturnal rituals and the occasional visit to local towns for fresh human blood, she keeps them safe — that is until a cultish band of men from a nearby village plot to destroy the refuge. Now the children, headed by the 90-year-old grandson of Count Dracula (Lauro Veron), must defend their way of life.

Originally titled “Limbo,” this is a strange story that decides to take the humorous approach to an otherwise morbid tale of child monsters. The journalist identifies with the children’s plight having been diagnosed with hemophilia at a young age. Her sympathy is tested when she discovers the truth about their disease, though it all remains very comical as the preteens act on the urges of their much older inner spirits. The events that lead to the final standoff between the pint-sized vampires and their hunters is pretty careless and an obvious requirement of the plot, but it definitely could have been made a little more realistic.

Special features include: commentary by director Ivan Noel; making-of featurette; and trailer. (Artsploitation Films)

The Code: Series 1 (DVD)

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Acorn

Deep in the Australian outback, two joyriding teenagers are involved in a deadly crash, setting off an escalating chain of events that could unravel some of the government’s darkest secrets. When their teacher, Alex (Lucy Lawless), finds smart phone footage of the accident, she sends it to Internet journalist Ned Banks (Dan Spielman). As a result, he and his brother, Jesse (Ashley Zukerman), a brilliant but unstable hacker, become targets in a high-stakes national conspiracy. To emerge with their freedom — and their lives — they’ll have to fortify their already volatile relationship in the face of those who want to do them harm.

Incorporating conspiracy theories of the highest order combined with ruthless arms dealers, government agents and skilled hackers, this six-episode series takes the inability to trust anyone to heart. Even though it’s Ned’s investigation, Jesse takes the brunt of the punishment for their inquisitiveness. Still, the level of treachery and physical harm inflicted throughout the narrative seems excessive for a story that doesn’t involve national security or traditional organized crime. The most compelling aspect of the series is the complex and co-dependent relationship between Ned and Jesse. The former often feels burdened by the need to care for his only relative, while the latter is repressed by his brother’s compassion.

Special features include: behind-the-scenes featurette. (Acorn)

Dexter: The Complete Series (DVD)

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Paramount Home Media Distribution

He’s smart, he’s good looking, and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), everyone’s favorite serial killer. As a Miami forensics expert, he spends his days solving crimes and nights committing them. But Dexter lives by a strict code of honour that is both his saving grace and lifelong burden. Torn between his deadly compulsion and his desire for true happiness, Dexter is a man in profound conflict with the world and himself.

When the series premiered in 2006, it arrived to rave reviews as it brought a unique perspective to the forensics investigation genre. After all, who better to cover up his tracks as a serial killer than someone who knows exactly what to look for at a crime scene? But it was made more complex by his unexpected personal relationships, which eventually included fatherhood, and the rules he followed regarding his victims. As time goes on Dexter becomes more uncertain about the double-life he’s built, particularly in the moments when they are at risk of discovery or dissolution. The actors’ commitment to the series and their characters endured for up to eight seasons – possibly a little longer than it could really be sustained – but it did deliver a satisfactory conclusion for everyone when the time finally came.

Special features include: commentary; “Dexter’s Tool Kit”; “Exploring Dexter: An Inside Look”; “The Code of Harry”; “Inside the Writer’s Room”; “Dexter: A Sitdown with Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow”; and “Dexter: The End Begins.” (Paramount Home Media Distribution)

Earthfall (DVD)

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Anchor Bay Entertainment

The gravity of a rogue planet screaming past Jupiter has flung the Earth from its orbit. Hurled through space, the Earth has become a rogue planet itself, causing enormous devastation. The only way the survivors can have a chance is if the Sun can regain its grip on the Earth; and even if it does, the face of the planet will be forever changed.

Disaster caused by some interstellar event is a pretty common in the genre, but this is probably one of the silliest catastrophes and solutions proposed on film. The sudden rotation of the Earth results in drastic changes in weather patterns that range from deep cold spells to storms of fire, which ravage the same city within hours of each other. Typical of these narratives, a husband, wife and daughter risk the deadly storms to be reunited. The government’s plan to fix the problem is obvious from the very moment they describe the issue, which makes everything between then and the movie’s conclusion pretty pointless.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

The Gallows (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)

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Warner Home Video

In 1993, an accident results in the death of an actor during a high school play. Twenty years later, a theatre group at the same school resurrects the production to mark the tragedy. In an attempt to sabotage the play, three students break into the school at night, only to discover that the horrors of the past don’t always stay buried as their own cameras capture a series of chilling and inexplicable incidents that lead to a shocking climax.

Cursed stage productions are generally fertile ground for vengeful serial killers and spirits, particularly since plays are already accompanied by so many superstitions. It’s also a mystery why a school would agree to put on a show with such a tragic history, but that’s as much a plot device as the original death. Things go wrong fairly quickly after their B&E with a loss of electricity, inexplicably locked doors and dead telephones. All the footage in the school is captured via a handheld camcorder and the teens’ cell phones using the camera’s light, emergency reds and a night vision app. The effectiveness of the film style varies as the first-person point-of-view isn’t always the most advantageous. There are scenes drawn directly from the original version of the movie, though one may argue the first ending was better. In addition, the filmmakers talk about the strange things that happened on set and were occasionally captured on camera.

Special features include: original version of the film; making-of featurette; deleted scenes; and gag reel. (Warner Home Video)

Gravy (Blu-ray)

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Scream Factory

It’s Halloween night. A trio of costumed misfits (Jimmi Simpson, Michael Weston and Lily Cole) with very special dietary requirements invades a Mexican cantina and forces the staff to engage in a late night of gluttony. The only caveat is what’s on the menu… and who will survive until morning.

As far as dark comedies go, this one is a bloody riot. Cannibals in costumes close the cantina early to serve up their own special menu. But first they play some party games. The clown enjoys movie trivia and wants their hostages to impress him with their knowledge. Meanwhile his brother, dressed as Robin Hood, tests his skills with a bow and arrow. While the cook is in the kitchen chopping up the hapless employees for delectable yet appalling dishes, the remaining prisoners attempt to plan their escape by any means necessary. Eventually everything unravels, decorating the restaurant in red and decreasing the number of survivors one-by-one. The range and talent of the actors involved ensure the movie is more than just another low-budget gore fest.

Special features include: commentary by James Roday, Sutton Foster and Jimmi Simpson; “What Is Gravy?”; EPK; and trailer. (Scream Factory)

Happyish: Season One (DVD)

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Showtime Entertainment

At 44, Thom Payne (Steve Coogan) finds his world in disarray. At home he suspects his erectile dysfunction pills are interfering with is antidepressants. And at work he now answers to a 25-year-old with a digital age vocabulary.

The role of Thom was originally written for Philip Seymour Hoffman, but only the pilot was completed before his passing. Perhaps if one had seen him in the role (as many TV critics had), Coogan may appear subpar. However, approaching the series from a fresh perspective allows Coogan to appear perfectly suited for the role of an overwhelmed ad exec. Rather than the flashy depiction in Mad Men, Thom’s life is a chaotic heap of pills, fantasies and annoying newcomers trying to tell him how to do his job. It’s very bitter and cynical, but delivered in a way to which people can relate. It becomes a little too serious at the end of the season as Thom faces mortality, but remains mostly entertaining through the finale.

There are no special features. (Showtime Entertainment)

Hidden (DVD)

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Warner Home Video

Three-hundred-and-one days have passed since Ray (Alexander Skarsgård), Clare (Andrea Riseborough) and their daughter, Zoe (Emily Ayn Lind) found refuge underground. With nothing to distract them from their own fear, they hold onto hope for a normal family life above the surface someday. What looms above the cement prison they call home? The one thing they know for certain is that there is something terrifying and strange that threatens their fragile existence and it is coming for them.

Most of this movie occurs in a dark underground bunker that consists of a bedroom and living space. It’s unclear what pushed the family into hiding, but they are unquestionably still afraid of something that lurks around the surface. While everything points to post-apocalypse or zombie outbreak, that explanation is almost too simplistic. Zoe is definitely daddy’s little girl as he dotes on her the best he can given the situation, portraying a convincing bond between Skarsgård and Lind. Finally when they can no longer keep the outside world at bay, the truth behind their isolation is slowly revealed in flashbacks. All the mystery and looming dangers generate a compelling atmosphere that is made even more intriguing by the unexpected explanation.

There are no special features. (Warner Home Video)

June (DVD)

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Anchor Bay Canada

A coming-of-rage story about discovering your true self and overcoming your inner demons to find love in a chaotic world. A nine-year-old orphan named June (Kennedy Brice) has become the vessel of a supernatural being called Aer. June struggles holding Aer back from lashing out when other kids tease and bully her, while Aer leaves a trail of damaged and destroyed foster homes in her wake. June quickly bonds with her new adoptive parents Lily and Dave (Victoria Pratt and Casper Van Dien), but she must discover her true identity to overcome this inner demon in order to save herself, her new family, and to find love and acceptance in a chaotic world.

Even though this movie is meant to serve as a metaphor for a child stuck in the system, it’s also made clear from the opening scenes that June is truly possessed. If one doesn’t pay attention to the opening monologue or continued voiceover, the supposed reveal at the end of the movie may appear as a surprise. The demonstrations of Aer’s power are generally harmless, but they’re still disturbing expressions of the demon’s strength and displeasure. Two of the special features attempt to perpetuate the reality of this story by providing a history of the demon, which isn’t really any more believable, and a collection of interviews with June’s former foster parents, which actually adds an additional side to the narrative.

Special features include: making-of featurette; “The History of Aer”; “Cast”; “Make-Up”; “Music”; “Producing”; and “Social Services Files.” (Anchor Bay Canada)

Navy Seals vs. Zombies (Blu-ray)

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Anchor Bay Entertainment

When the U.S. Government loses all contact with the Vice President during a campaign stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a battle-hardened SEAL team just back from Afghanistan is sent in. But they’ll soon discover that this is no ordinary tactical rescue: the city is under siege by hordes of fast-moving, flesh-eating undead.

In most zombie movies, the government and its authoritative arms tend to disintegrate under the threat of the undead. But many have often wondered why the more elite branches of the military would not be able to regain some manner of control over the situation. In this case, the SEAL team tries to regain a laboratory that could have the cure to the virus. As a result, they use their sharpened combat skills to dispatch the creatures quickly and protect the assets as ordered. It’s somewhat entertaining to watch a capable squad of killers against an equally efficient horde of the undead, but it doesn’t really manage to add anything to the genre.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Nightingale (Blu-ray)

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HBO Home Entertainment

Peter Snowden (David Oyelowo), the sole character of the film, is a war veteran struggling with the aftermath of a desperate act. Yearning to rekindle the relationship of a friend whom he served with, Peter goes on a psychological journey to regain control of his life and free himself from the burden of his demons.

It’s not often films bring their viewers this close to mental illness. This incredibly intimate portrait is derived from a combination of observing Peter and viewing his video confessions meant for an unknown audience. Oyelowo genuinely depicts the disillusioned and delusional man who is emotionally spiralling. Though he does leave the house on occasion for work and shopping, the viewer doesn’t see him beyond its boundaries. This restricted perspective of his life and interactions with the world creates an intense atmosphere that is slowly becoming further constricted. Even though it’s less than 90 minutes, the film leaves a strong, demonstrative impression in its wake.

There are no special features. (HBO Home Entertainment)

Old 37 (DVD)

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Anchor Bay Canada

Twisted brothers (Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley) work together to exact revenge on some careless teen drivers by posing as paramedics who intercept 911 calls in a retired old ambulance.

The premise of this story is relatively interesting and the two actors cast as the serial killers are basically horror elite, but it never really comes together. The looming backstory of an abusive father and the desire for retribution muddies up the works a bit. Still the duo instil an expected level of fear in audiences as they mutilate their victims shortly after assuring them they are there to help. Filmmakers also make the mistake of making the kids mostly unlikeable, which results in the murderers being the more attractive characters in the story. The concept of already being vulnerable after an accident and then being deceived by your saviours is an intriguing; unfortunately it’s just not explored very well here.

Special features include: commentary by writer/director Paul Travers and composer Darius Holbert; interviews with cast and crew; and storyboards. (Anchor Bay Canada)

Party Down: The Complete Series (DVD)

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Anchor Bay Entertainment

Hollywood catering company ‘Party Down’ consists of a group of struggling actors and dysfunctional dreamers (Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen and Lizzy Caplan) waiting for their big breaks while stuck serving hors d’oeuvres.

When a 30-minute sitcom has this much talent attached, it’s inevitably going to be funny — and generally short-lived. Unfortunately this series never really achieved the notice it deserved and was cancelled after only two seasons. Nonetheless, the 20 episodes that were produced are very entertaining as the catering employees juggle their personal issues, acting gigs and the demands of their clients. They work any type of event from after-parties to weddings to orgies to their own high school reunions. And as ordinary as some of these affairs seem, there are always bound to be some surprises. In addition, the numerous guest stars, including Kristen Bell, Jennifer Coolidge, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong, Thomas Lennon, J.K. Simmons and Jimmi Simpson, brought their skills to the table and often raised the show to new heights of comedy.

Special features include: commentaries by executive producers John Enbom and Dan Etheridge and actor Adam Scott; behind-the-scenes featurette; “What is Party Down?”; outtakes; gag reel; and promo. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special (Blu-ray)

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Shout Factory

Pee-wee (Paul Reubens) gets into the spirit of the season with lots of singing, dancing and other holiday fun with his Playhouse pals and more than a dozen celebrity guest stars as you’ve never seen them before. Everything is going great for Pee-wee… until his Christmas wish list becomes so long that there won’t be enough presents for all the other kids in the world. When Santa Claus pleads for help, Pee-wee reluctantly learns a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

A holiday special can be a good indication of how popular a TV series is at a given point in time based on the celebrities who appear as special guests. Based on cameos in Reubens’ variety show for kids, it was definitely at its peak in 1988 and feeling a bit nostalgic. Special guests included Frankie Avalon, Charo, The Del Rubio Triplets, Annette Funicello, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, Little Richard, Joan Rivers, Dinah Shore and Oprah Winfrey. There’s also a great, ongoing gag about receiving fruitcake as a Christmas present. The featurette contains some fun insights about bringing this range of celebrities together, including Little Richard’s request for direction.

Special features include: commentary; and featurette. (Shout Factory)

The Return of Count Yorga (Blu-ray)

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Scream Factory

Revived by the well-known supernatural properties of the Santa Ana winds, Count Yorga (Robert Quarry) takes to the streets with an unquenchable thirst. In search of new blood, Yorga moves next door to an orphanage. But when he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman, the Count’s thoughts turn to love.

Even though this is a sequel to Count Yorga’s first adventure, it’s absolutely unnecessary to have seen it to understand the events in this film. Having reawakened, the Count quickly gathers his loyal followers to do his bidding. He charms the locals, but it eventually becomes impossible to ignore the mounting dead bodies… particularly those that are not staying dead. The climax is an almost comical chase through the Count’s castle filled with wrong turns, dead ends and vampires around every corner. The film is pretty standard fair for a ‘70s monster movie, which actually makes it fairly unmemorable.

Special features include: commentary by film historian Steve Haberman and actor Rudy De Luca; photo gallery; radio and TV spots; theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)

Tomorrowland (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)

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Disney Home Entertainment

Former boy genius Frank (George Clooney), optimistic, science-minded teen Casey (Britt Robertson), mysterious Athena (Raffey Cassidy) and the brilliant David Nix (Hugh Laurie) travel to a world of pure imagination. Tomorrowland transports them on an inspiring and magical journey of wonder and adventure to a place where if you can dream it, you can do it.

The parallel world into which Casey ventures is spectacular, illustrating the picture is definitely not wanting in the imagination department. And Brad Bird‘s history with engaging, whimsical stories makes him the ideal choice to direct this fanciful adventure. From transportation to architecture to fashion, everything about this civilisation represents incredible advancements in every facet of life. While the depictions of the technology and stunning city are immaculate, the same is not true of the film’s narrative. The opening is more complicated than would seem necessary as Frank and Casey squabble about where they should begin the story. This results in a lot of unfinished thoughts and sequences, time jumping and general disorder; and even though it’s amusing, it’s not a stellar start to the fantastic tale. Clooney doesn’t officially enter the narrative until nearly the midpoint, leaving Robertson to carry the picture while everyone in the audience wonders when the leading man will appear. Nonetheless she’s charmingly pure of heart without being naïve or inept. Conversely Clooney is comically curmudgeonly at first, but his heart grows two sizes before the end.

Special features include: deleted scenes with filmmaker intro; “Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey Through Tomorrowland with Brad Bird”; “Casting Tomorrowland”; “A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session”; “The World of Tomorrow Science Hour – Hosted By Futurologist David Nix”; “Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra”; “Brad Bird Production Diaries”; and “Blast from the Past Commercial.” (Disney Home Entertainment)

Vikings: The Complete Third Season (DVD)

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Momentum Pictures

The family saga of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), Rollo (Clive Standen), Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) continues as loyalties are questioned and bonds of blood are tested. Now king of his people, Ragnar remains a restless wanderer, leading his band of Norse warriors on epic adventures from the shores of Essex to the mythical city of Paris. But stunning betrayals and hidden dangers will test Ragnar’s courage and strength like never before.

Ragnar’s restlessness is front-and-centre this season as he wrestles with being king and the responsibility that accompanies that title. Meanwhile Lagertha continues to insist on recognition of her own, which is often tentative at best. Floki continues to protest their alliance with the Christians, though his resentment has startling and permanent consequences. Their raids against armies and cities remain one of the show’s strengths as the imagery of Viking warriors in battle is still impressive. The battle of Paris has some interesting and unexpected developments that are sure to fans of the series before finally breaking until next season.

Special features include: deleted scenes; “A Look at Season 3”; teasers; and trailer. (Momentum Pictures)

We Are Still Here (Blu-ray)

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Anchor Bay Canada

After the death of their college age son, Anne and Paul Sacchetti (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) relocate to the snow swept New England hamlet of Aylesbury, a sleepy village where all is most certainly not as it seems. When strange sounds and eerie feelings convince Anne that her son’s spirit is still with them, they invite an eccentric, New Age couple (Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie) to help them get to the bottom of the mystery. They discover that not only are the house’s first residents, the vengeful Dagmar family, still there — but so is an ancient power. A primal darkness slumbers under the old home, waking up every thirty years and demanding the fresh blood of a new family.

It’s pretty obvious early on that something is amiss in the house and amongst the townspeople. Shortly after the Sacchettis arrive, they’re called upon by a man and his wife who divulge the strangest story for a new acquaintance. The New Agers add an extra facet to the story as people who not only accept the existence of the supernatural, but also believe they can communicate with it. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but pays off in the impressive appearance of the ghosts and ill-conceived confrontation at the film’s conclusion. It’s definitely bloodier than the average haunted house tale, but it’s integrated into the narrative so as not to appear as gore for gore’s sake.

Special features include: commentary by writer/director Ted Geoghegan and producer Travis Stevens; behind-the-scenes featurette; teaser; and trailer. (Anchor Bay Canada)

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Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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