New to DVD and Blu-ray: 'Men in Black 3,' Family Friendly Scares and 'Lawless'James Rocchi |
New on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming this week, summertime action, a horror-comedy for kids, some bootlegging with bruising action, and creepy scares. ...
With Tommy Lee Jones reportedly dragging his heels to even do the film and not much (if any) of the script done before filming, it's remarkable how well 'Men in Black 3' turned out, all things considered. Director Barry Levinson re-teams with Jones and Will Smith as the black suit-clad detective/problem-solvers tasked with keeping the fact Aliens are among us under wraps. The one smart way to get around Jones' lack of enthusiasm? Send Smith's agent back in time to when Jones' agent was the younger, funnier and warmer Josh Brolin. Sonnenfeld's camerawork is as zippy as ever, and the comedy chemistry between Brolin and Smith makes, and saves, the film: 'Men in Black 3' is nothing new, but it's also pretty much good.
From the stop-motion magicians at Laika (who also gave us 'Coraline'), 'ParaNorman' is one of the year's better kid flicks, as smalltown teen Norman (Kodi-Smit McPhee) tries to make it through life despite seeing ghosts of the friendly, talkative dead all around him. When the angry spirits of the witches put to the stake in the town centuries ago become restless, though, Norman and his crew of misfits may be the only people who can save their town. The Blu-ray is loaded with making-of material on the film, including seven featurettes, commentary and more behind-the-scenes footage, but it's the film itself -- which is fortunately as well-intentioned and well-thought out as it is well-animated -- you'll want to watch first.
With an all-star cast (including Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jessica Chastain), and a based-on-a-true-story pitch, this Prohibition-era drama works well enough, even if it never quite fires on all cylinders as bootlegging brothers Hardy, LaBeouf and Jason Clarke have to play hardball when a new corrupt lawman (Guy Pearce) comes to town and disrupts the flow of bribes, booze and business-as-usual. Hardy and Chastain are great, but the whole thing feels a little rushed, with characters introduced and then disappearing and a perfunctory finale -- still, the action and some of the acting make for a diverting watch.
"Found footage" films have become a bit of a cliché -- so when word came that Barry Levinson, legendary director of 'Diner' and 'Rain Man,' was working on one, it came as both an intriguing possibility and a chancy proposition. Asked to make a documentary about the pollution of Chesapeake Bay, Levinson looked at the material... and decided to speed up the bad news just a little to make an effective creature feature that'll have you freaked out for weeks. With a cast of unknowns stitching together the story of what happened a few years ago on the sunny Fourth of July an entire seaside town was seemingly wiped out, 'The Bay' is the work of an old pro demonstrating more than a little new-school attitude to make for a freaky, fun horror flick that's half 'Jaws' and half 'Fast Food Nation,' playing with plenty of gory grisly kicks.