News Column

new on dvd [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

November 3, 2013

YellowBrix

This week's new DVD releases include tales of monsters and the walking dead.

"Monsters University," Grade B-minus: A look back at how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) become scaring buddies.

This prequel approach is sweet, colorful and generally funny, but it lacks the emotional tug of the original film. It was far more fun, touching and interesting to watch Mike and Sully trying to keep baby Boo from harm than it is to watch them find their place on campus.

Robert L. Baird's script focuses on Mike's efforts to be accepted. While there are touching moments, it just doesn't have that tug of emotion that stays with a viewer long after the last monster has left the building.

The film explodes with monsters. "Monsters, Inc." had a limited number of creatures because that's all the computers could handle. Now, the campus is loaded with hundreds of creatures, all very different. Even the backgrounds have a richer and deeper tone.

This movie's loaded with enough action and animated fun that it will keep young viewers amused. Disappointing is the fact that after so many years, the story doesn't live up to the technology.

"R.I.P.D.," Grade D-minus: Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds play cops dispatched to protect the living from those who refuse to move peacefully into the afterlife.

"R.I.P.D." is DOA. This is nothing more than a cheap, lifeless knockoff of "Men In Black." There are the recently dead, instead of aliens. And a cantankerous Bridges, instead of Tommy Lee Jones.

Director Robert Schwentke obviously knew he had little to work with in the script by numerous writers who tried to adapt the Dark Horse comedy. He loads the movie with odd camera tricks, such as shooting scenes from weird angles and having the camera make odd treks, to finally get to the scene.

If only the story had been as different as some of his camera work, the film would have shown some signs of life.

Also new on DVD:

"Money in the Bank Anthology": The Miz hosts this two disc compilation that features every ladder match in WWE history.

"Home Alone: The Holiday Heist": Finn gets left alone in the family's new home in Maine.

"Masters of Money": BBC documentary that explores economists whose theories continue to influence policy.

"Bounty Killer": It's been 20 years since the corporations took over the world's governments and the Council of Nine issues death warrants for all white collar criminals.

"Margarita": Cash-strapped yuppies set off a chain of events when they fire their teenaged daughter's lesbian Mexican nanny.

"Coming Home for Christmas": A sister is determined to reunite her family for Christmas at their old family home.

"Secret World of Santa Claus": Includes "Elves in Toyland" and "A Present for Santa."

"Line of Duty Series 1": BBC thriller starring Lennie James ("The Walking Dead").

"Agatha Christie's Poirot Series 9": Four feature-length mysteries starring David Suchet.

"American Experience: War of the Worlds": Film director and cinema historian Peter Bogdanovich, Orsen Welles' daughter Chris Welles Feder, and other authors and experts talk about the radio show that scared the country.

"Family Tree: The Complete First Season": Christopher Guest series about how our families define us.

"Free Samples": Jess Weixler plays a bitter 20-something about to get a sweet job.

"Damages: The Complete Series": The 15-disc set includes every episode of the drama starring Glenn Close.

"Little Brother, Big Trouble - A Christmas Adventure": A reindeer goes on a mission to save his family and Christmas.

"The Beauty and the Devil": Rene Clair's 1950 retelling of the Faust legend.

"The Show Queen": Patrick Stewart is featured in this production based on the writings of Hans Christian Andersen.

"The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection": Among the 54 celebrities roasted are Frank Sinatra, Wilt Chamberlin and Ronald Reagan.

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