DVD Review: Brave, Savages, Lawrence of Arabia and more…

By November 15, 2012
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It’s the week between Skyfall and Breaking Dawn 2 (aka Twilight 5) so there’s not much that’s new on the Blu-ray shelves. Except for these ones:

 

Brave — Pixar borrows a page from Disney’s princess playbook and delivers a Scottish-themed adventure movie that’s quaint, sweet, old-fashioned, and charming. Unfortunately it’s also a bit generic, predictable, and simplistic as well. Worth seeing for the heroine’s manic red made all by itself, Brave may be slightly “lesser” Pixar, but it’s a big step up from the likes of Cars 2, if you’re asking me. Oh, it’s about a girl who accidentally turns her mom into a bear. As usual, Disney/Pixar has gone all out for this release; the extras could keep you busy for twice the length of the movie.

 

Pixar Shorts Collection Vol. 2 — Now here’s a release that an animation buff will want to check out. 12 (more) Pixar shorts, from mini films starring well-known characters to some of the more mature shorts that have played in front of certain features. Titles include Presto, Partly Cloudy, Dug’s Special Mission, La Luna, Day & Night, and at least two with that stupid Mater truck. Obviously this makes for a damn fine companion piece to Volume 1.

 

Savages — Oliver Stone has a story to tell about two world-class weed dealers who share a girlfriend and get in serious trouble with other (Mexican aka evil) drug dealers. Pretty people saying stupid things delivered in a garish and unpleasant package. Oh, but John Travolta is sort of fun as a crooked DEA agent. Also, if you make it all the way through you’ll be treated to one seriously insulting ending. Enjoy.

 

Lawrence of Arabia — One of those movies that people like to pretend they’ve seen, but often have not. Now it’s on Blu-ray. which means you’ll never see it looking prettier. And yes, it’s a long film, but you will like it. Trust me.

 

The Watch — Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and the guy with the wacky puffy hair from that awful sitcom star in a comedy about some neighborhood watch goofballs who stumble across some aliens or some such nonsense. I’ll see it eventually. It’s not going anywhere.

 

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure — Now HERE is a goofball concept comedy that works! Still holds up pretty damn well today too, which is always a sign of a strong comedy. Now on blu-ray! San Dimas high school football rules!

 

Empire of the Sun — One of Steven Spielberg’s (rare) rarely-discussed films, this is actually a fantastic movie about WWII as seen through the eyes of a kid. That kid being Christian Bale, incidentally. Now on blu-ray, and I’m excited to give this movie a second visit. Also included is a pair of documentaries; one on the movie and the other on Warner Bros. wartime films. I need to get this thing today.

Nifty blu-ray triple feature discs: A Kubrick set that includes The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey; a handy package that has Ocean’s Eleven and its pair of sequels; and a super-set that offers the 1978 Superman, it’s sequel (the Richard Donner version), and the still-controversial Superman Returns.

Next week! Cinderella, more of those plainly non-expendable Expendables, and a Criterion Collection release of one of the most hated films of all time.

Note: this column will get a lot more kinetic in the coming weeks, what with the holiday season approaching. This really is the “off” season for big DVD releases. Dammit.

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Scott Weinberg
Writer. Movie critic. Producer. Semi-actor. Wise-ass. Film advocate. Horror geek. Cat fan. Twitter junkie. Follow me at @scotteweinberg.