If it's crap ... We'll tell you
ALPHA AND OMEGA (Blu-Ray/DVD)
I can't say I wasn't warned, but this off-brand CG animated film that came out this year to, well, no acclaim, is even worse than I would have thought. What you got here is two wolf tribes (that often look more like pigs or some other unidentifiable mammal) who have raised tensions due to a caribou shortage on one side of the river that divides their territories. Justin Long wolf is in love with Cheerleader from "Heroes" wolf, but it's no good because they're of two different castes (is this a wolf thing?) and she has to go hook up with the big macho son of the other tribe's leader (Dennis Hopper in, sadly, his last performance). As fate (and scripting) would have it, the two are captured by anonymous humans who drop them off in far away Idaho, in hopes of the two repopulating the parks there. No such luck for Long, as two ducks help the wolves out by guiding them on how to get back home. And along the way, yada, yada, yada. Unimaginative, unfunny, and worst of all, poorly animated (even by Toy Story 1 standards, this would seem dated), there's absolutely nothing to recommend about this lame production.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Alpha & Omega (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
DANCES WITH WOLVES (Blu-Ray)
If we can all cease and desist with the "Avatar" jokes for two seconds, I know I'd appreciate it, because even though I'm far from the biggest Kevin Costner fan in the world, his 1990 western deserved the seven (!) Academy Awards it went home with. Basically, it's Costner as a Union soldier during the Civil War who ends up manning a distant post by himself, and while attempting to make-nice with the local hostile Indian tribe, ended up going native, as it were. Hell, Costner directed it himself, proving that the guy does have SOME talent, to be sure, it's just not always in front of the camera, although he's much less cloying here than in many of his other leading roles. There's an entire extra disc of bonus features, including a few new things other than the stuff ported over from previous DVD releases, and even the biggest cynic is gonna admit that Dean Semler's Oscar-winning cinematography is STUNNING on HD.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Dances with Wolves (20th Anniversary Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]
PIRANHA (Blu-Ray and DVD)
There doesn't seem to be a sure-fire way to make an intentionally b-movie work, as Robert Rodriguez seems to be incapable of learning, but this sillier and bloodier 2010 remake of the classic 1978 comedy-horror "Piranha" gets a bit closer than most. French director Alexandre Aja takes it on and into the third dimension (theatrically, anyway) and for once, I gotta say that it's not the same watching it without. I mean, it's not like the 3D was GOOD, mind you, but it pleasantly contributed to the fun/stupid levels that the movie was trying to achieve (and if you got one of those fancy-shmancy 3D tv's, you can get it that way...personally, I gotta eat so no new TV for me). It's all about hyper-accelerated pre-historic Piranha eating the hell outta a whole lake full of partying kids. And it doesn't skimp on the eating either. Boobs, beer, and blood, it fufills the three b's of a Good-Bad movie in spades, even if those piranhas look like they got their start appearing in a SyFy channel original movie. You know, considering the context, it might have been disappointing if they didn't look that crappy. My only real complaint is that the cameo by Richard Dreyfuss, playing his character from "Jaws" is ridiculously short; shouldn't this guy have been the protagonist instead of the pouty teenaged Steven R. McQueen?
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Piranha [Blu-ray]
RAGING BULL (Blu-Ray/DVD)
Easily the best of the all spiffied up HD re-releases yet put out in 2011, this 1980 definitive boxing film to many is not only Martin Scorsese's best film, but Robert DeNiro's as well. At the very least, his drastic weight gain and then loss to play the character during two different periods of time became the high bar set for actors who go all out for a role. But that's only the icing on the cake of De Niro's frighteningly angry performance playing real-life boxer Jake LaMotta. This was also Joe Pesci's first big break-out role, playing LaMotta's brother/manager, and it earned him four different Best Supporting Actor awards. You gotta take my word for it that "Raging Bull" is essential; you can't really call yourself in any seriousness a big fan of cinema if you haven't taken the time out to go watch it. No better time than now as this new 30th Anniversary Edition looks and sounds as if it was just made yesterday.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Raging Bull (Two-Disc 30th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo)