The New Release Rack: 'Snow White' – Warrior Woman
Plus Women 'Expecting,' 'Girl in Progress,' 'Elles,' 'Goats,' and more
"Lola Versus" (Fox) stars indie sweetheart Greta Gerwig as a twenty-something New Yorker trying to bounce back after she's dumped by her fiancé (Joel Kinnaman) three weeks before her wedding. Blu-ray and DVD, with supplements. Videodrone has a review and a clip from the outtakes here.
"Snow White and the Huntsman" (Universal) is the "other" 2012 feature film interpretation of the classic fairy tale. The earlier "Mirror Mirror" played the story as a tongue-in-cheek fantasy. This one transforms it into a medieval adventure with Kristen Stewart as a warrior woman Snow White and Charlize Theron as a wicked witch of an evil queen. It's the first feature by TV director Rupert Sanders and MSN film critic Glenn Kenny writes that "he brings an imaginative sumptuousness to the faux-medieval settings and the weird, wicked beauty secrets of evil queen/stepmother Ravenna, played with magnificent bravura by the magnificent Charlize Theron, whose idea of a restorative ablution is the creamiest milk bath ever portrayed on-screen."
It also has Chris Hemsworth (Thor himself) as the heroic Huntsman and a cast of feisty dwarves (played by, among others, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost, with a little CGI help) who ally themselves with the persecuted princess and, according to Kenny, they "help shift the picture into high gear, as does a shift from a dark forest to an enchanted wood that packs some of the movie's most magical visuals. After which the film goes in an unexpectedly "Braveheart"-meets-Joan of Arc direction, and does so well enough to be rousing and moving and worthy of a place alongside some of the classics of its two genres."
Blu-ray and DVD both offer the original theatrical version and an extended edition that runs about four minutes longer, with commentary by director Rupert Sanders, visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and co-editor Neil Smith and the 20-minute featurette "A New Legend is Born." Exclusive to the Blu-ray is a collection of three additional featurettes, an interactive 360° Set Tour, a picture-in-picture track (fairly sparse), and the "Second Screen Experience," which requires a tablet or computer with a special app and an internet connection, plus bonus digital copy (download via iTunes) and Ultraviolet copy for instant streaming.
Also available on digital download and On Demand.
"What To Expect When You're Expecting" (Lionsgate) is the latest film to turn a self-help bestseller into a feel-good ensemble comedy. This one stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Brooklyn Decker, and Anna Kendrick as friends facing maternity (and ostensibly the issues outlined in the Heidi Murkoff book of the same name) together, with the ostensible support of the respective men in their lives (Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford, Ben Falcone, Rodrigo Santoro, and Dennis Quaid).
"Everything that happens in the multiple story lines is entirely predictable; the only question is when," confirms MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "Once you've seen enough of these kinds of films, you accept the predictability and unrelenting ideological determinism as something like inevitable genre conventions and hence not the sort of things to get hung about."
Blu-ray and DVD, with the featurettes "The Dudes Unscrewed" and "What to Expect and the Pregnancy Bible" and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also includes a digital copy (via iTunes) and an Ultraviolet copy for download and instant streaming. Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
"Girl in Progress" (Lionsgate) stars Eva Mendes as a single mom with a rebellious daughter (Cierra Ramirez) who is wise beyond her years, or at least she thinks so. "Considering how few films even try to talk about the world of mothers and daughters -- and how even fewer among that small number do it well -- it's tempting to overlook some of the more glaring missteps in director Patricia Riggen's "Girl in Progress"," admits MSN film critic James Rocchi, but he affirms that "the overall tone and thrust of her complicated relationship with her mom comes through." DVD only, with the featurette "The Making of Girl in Progress." Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
"Goats" (Image) stars David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Justin Kirk, and Ty Burrell as the eccentric adults in the life of confused adolescent Graham Phillips. MSN film critic James Rocchi warns that: ""Goats" wants to stand out from the pack, but the simple fact is that it's just another indie film: featuring large stars in small-but-showy parts where the overacting makes up for the underpayment, based on a too-introspective novel, featuring a handsome young actor who serves as the stand-in for the writer." Christopher Neil directs the comedy. Blu-ray and DVD, with featurettes and deleted scenes.
"For Greater Glory" (Arc Entertainment) dramatizes the real-life story of the Cristero War in Mexico, with Andy Garcia as a retired military man who takes charge of band of rebels. "Even at 143 minutes, For Greater Glory cannot satisfyingly fill out the stories of a half-dozen secondary characters," writes New York Times film critic Stephen Holden. "The jamming together of so much history and melodrama makes for a handsome movie that is only rarely gripping." Blu-ray and DVD, with a featurette.
"Where Do We Go Now?" (Sony), a battle-of-the-sexes social satire with political dimension from Lebanon, posits a bold question, according to Time film critic May Pols: "Could women stop war through the sedation of sex and drugs and a plot to bury every weapon in their community? [Director Nadine] Labaki has said she knows "Where Do We Go Now?" is a fantasy. But it's a good one, and this lovely film seems pertinent far beyond the landscape of the Middle East." Blu-ray and DVD, with filmmaker commentary, featurettes, and an onstage Q&A with director Nadine Labaki, producer Anne-Dominique Tussaint, and composer Khaled Mouzannar.
"Elles" (Kino), the French drama of a sophisticated journalist who delves into the lives to two student prostitutes in Paris, "has a surprisingly deep performance in a disappointingly shallow movie," according to Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. "The performance, acute and brave, is by Juliette Binoche." Blu-ray and DVD, with stills and trailers.
"Hospitalité" (Film Movement) is a comedy about a stranger who ingratiates himself in a quiet family in downtown Tokyo and proceeds to turns their lives upside down with his unpredictable behavior. DVD only, with a bonus short film "Miyuki," an American short about a Japanese immigrant in New York City. Reviews here.
"This Is Sodom" (Sisu) might look like another movie spoof, but this Biblical farce is actually the biggest homegrown hit in Israel of the last few decades, and it won two Israeli Academy Awards. Hebrew with English subtitles. DVD only, with featurettes. Reviews here.
- "Beyond the Black Rainbow" (Magnet), a hallucinatory low-budget thriller about a gifted woman held captive in a secret medical facility, "is no more (or less) than a brilliantly executed lark, but it's not often that we're reminded with such potency that movies are most delightful as sensory experiences," according to Village Voice film critic Mark Holcomb. Blu-ray and DVD, with a featurette.
- "October Baby" (Fox) is a faith-based drama about a young woman who discovers she was adopted after surviving a failed abortion. Cue journey to discover her unknown past. Blu-ray and DVD. Reviews here.
- "Rosewood Lane" (Universal), from Victor Salva ("Jeepers Creepers"), stars Rose McGowan as a radio talk show psychiatrist who takes on a psychopath. Blu-ray and DVD. Reviews here.
- "The Loved Ones" (Paramount) is a twist on the high school prom horror film from Australia. DVD only, plus interviews and an UltraViolet copy of the film. Also available at Redbox. Reviews here.
- "Cleanskin" (eOne) stars Sean Bean as a British government who goes off the grid to stop a terrorist plot. Blu-ray and DVD, also available at Redbox. Reviews here.
- "Game of Life" (Breaking Glass) winds the stories of five otherwise unconnected families around a children's cocker team. DVD only. Reviews here.
- The indie drama "Letting Go" (Osiris) arrives on DVD after making the festival rounds. Reviews here.
- In "My Trip to Al-Qaeda" (Docurama), Oscar-winning director combines documentary and theater in a film adaptation of the one-man play by Lawrence Wright. DVD only.