Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jan. 29 Blu-ray/DVD releases

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

Frank Miller's 1986 graphic novel, about Batman coming out of retirement to take one last stab at cementing a legacy of stomping out crime, gets the second of its two-part animated film adaptation. The second volume is even more fascinating and fast-paced than the first, released in September. A jingoistic Superman comes into play, tangling with the Caped Crusader in a politically-tinged power play that involves Ronald Reagan. Moving and unabashedly mature, this is perhaps the finest Batman tale yet told. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo boasts a look at the adaptation, a digital comic and a featurette on the Superman-Batman clash.

Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray 

It's hard to beat the value proposition offered by the 2007 Die Hard Blu-ray compilation, but this one takes an honest stab at it by piling on a disc full of new extras. The new set, like the one from more than five years ago, includes the first four movies in the series. The new slate of extras is imprssive, paying tribute to the series' pop culture influences, its impact on the action genre, the choreography of the fight sequences and the makeup of Bruce Willis's unflappable hero cop, John McClane. Whether or not the bonuses are worth shelling out $40 for the new set rather than $30 for the old one is debatable.

Hotel Transylvania 

I was disappointed that this one didn't snag a best animated film Oscar nomination, because it was my second favorite movie in the category last year, after Wreck it Ralph. An exuberant and stupendously hammy Adam Sandler voices Dracula, an overprotective dad who has sheltered his annoyed daughter (Selena Gomez) while running his business, a sanctuary for creatures of the night that protects them from dreaded people. A romance inevitably unfolds, with Drac's daughter spurning the monster lifestyle to fall in love with a human visitor. Creative visual effects, clever writing and a dynamite voice cast that includes Steve Buscemi, CeeLo Green, Kevin James and Andy Samberg ratchets up the excitement level. The 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo oozes with extras, including the short Goodnight Mr. Foot, three deletd scenes, filmmaker commentary and a slew of entertaining background featurettes.

Screeners were provided by the studios for review.


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