New to DVD and Blu-ray: ‘Dark Shadows,’ ‘People Like Us,’ and Barney and the Gang
New on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming this week, Depp and Burton repeat offend, while one of the year's best films sneaks out after a limited run in theaters. …
Is this the point when we serve Johnny Depp and Tim Burton with a restraining order? Lazily bringing a long-forgotten '60s TV show to the big screen, 'Dark Shadows' would be bad enough if it were solely ruined by that kind of money-making tedium and passionless weakness. Instead, 'Dark Shadows' is undone by drearily and shabbily mis-executing every step in the story it even ostensibly wants to tell, while actors like Chloe Grace-Moretz, Eva Green and Johnny Miller are wasted in dawdling, weak scenes and Depp's romance with Bella Heathcote all happens off-screen. Tedious, sleepwalking and unfunny, 'Dark Shadows' arrives at home so you too can make your living room resemble a five-hour flight you don't want to be on, trapped in the middle seat between joshing besties Depp and Burton until you long to scream.
Before 'Looper' blew everyone's minds, there was another great film this year with a time travel plot that plays out very differently, as a husband and wife join a cult... undercover, so that they might make a documentary to expose it's charismatic, secretive leader Maggie (Brit Marling, who co-wrote) as a fraud... even as her insane explanation that she's actually here from the future to help prepare her followers for a great crisis soon to come makes more and more insane logic and sense. Paranoid, tricky and surprisingly well-crafted with big ideas and a small-but-potently-used budget, as well as presented on DVD and Blu-ray with extras worth checking out only after the film, 'Sound of My Voice' is one of the more hauntingly mind-wracking dramas of the year.
Directed by Luc Besson, (who also gave us 'The Professional' and 'La Femme Nikita') 'The Lady' is a different kind of film, one with less fantastic insane action and more of a real sense of purpose, one with similar high stakes but the ugly taste of truth. Michelle Yeoh stars as real-life political leader and activist Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political career in Burma meant house arrest and the threat of death -- even as she earned a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to help ensure free and fair elections in Burma. Fraught with tension -- and all the more impressive for its sense of realism and tension wrung from history -- there's also great performances in 'The Lady' from Yeoh and David Thewlis as her husband and partner.
You know, even after seven seasons, I just have to admit that I ONLY WANT TO KNOW WHO THE MOTHER IS. But even while Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan spin their wheels, they at least look great doing it. This set includes all of the hi-jinks you've come to love (or at least tolerate), as well as plenty of making-of matter like brief documentaries, deleted scenes, a "gag reel" and more. If you're buying 'How I Met Your Mother' season 7, though, you should just admit you're going through every frame for yellow umbrellas like it's the Zapruder film.
An unexpected -- and unexpectedly good -- drama marks the directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman (who co-wrote with Robert Orci of 'Transformers' and 'Star Trek'), as hype-hustler businessman Chris Pine learns that his late father had a daughter he never knew about, and a grandson as well... With Elizabeth Banks earthy and strong as the long-lost sister (who doesn't know), it's a finely-tuned film about family and second chances. There's commentary from the crew and cast (including, selectively, Michelle Pfeiffer) and plenty of making-of stuff like deleted scenes and bloopers, 'People Like Us' is a great example of the kind of film that gets missed in theaters and deserves a second chance at home.