Tuesday, January 1 2013, 05:07 PM MST
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 1, 2013
By Ryan M. Painter
(KUTV) 2013 gets off to a slow, but fantastic start with the release of Rian Johnson’s sci-fi masterpiece “Looper” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Also in the mix is David Cronenberg’s dark epic “Cosmopolis” with Robert Pattinson, the latest seasons from TV’s “Justified” and “Being Human” and the zombie nazisplotation flick “War of the Dead.”
Action: Looper, War of the Dead
Television: Being Human, Justified
Looper (DVD and Blu-ray)
It’s hard to make a smart and original time travel film, but that’s exactly what Rian Johnson has done with “Looper.” In the future if the mob wants you killed they simply send you 30 years back in time to be murdered by a hitman like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). For his service Joe is well paid, but the catch is that at some point his future self will be sent back in time and he’ll have to “close the loop.” by assassinating him. Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) isn’t interested in playing by the rules and will do anything to keep himself alive.
“Looper” is not only a fantastic sci-fi film, it’s one of the best films of 2012. The cast, which also includes Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels and child actor Pierce Gagnon, is tremendous. Johnson, who wrote and directed the film, does a wonderful job of making the film’s twists and turns easy to follow without watering down the content or slowing down the action. “Looper” is simply an excellent film
War of the Dead (DVD and Blu-ray)
Set during World War II a platoon of American and Finnish soldiers attack a bunker held by the Germans only to discover that these Nazis don’t stay dead. “War of the Dead” isn’t the first film to feature Nazi zombies and it won’t be the last. The film takes itself incredibly seriously, which is a nice contrast to the fun chaos of “Dead Snow,” the campier “Shock Waves” or the delirious space-Nazi film “Iron Sky.” Sadly, despite the tone, I don’t think the film is really trying to offer up any sort of deeper meaning. It just wants to do its zombie killing with a straight face. The approach worked well enough to keep me entertained and invested in the characters. With the exception of the final scene the special effect and make up are well done. It’s not perfect, but it is far better than the recently released “Ozombie.”
Cosmopolis (DVD and Blu-ray)
Director David Cronenberg’s latest film follows billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he travels through a dystopian city in his stretch limo to get a haircut. Along the way he encounters business associates, lovers and doctors. True to Cronenberg’s reputation “Cosmopolis” is an extremely dark journey into the not-so-distant future where a revolution is brewing within the ever-expanding lower classes while the rich arm themselves against the inevitable collapse of the social structure.
It’s an interesting film that hopes to engage audiences on an intellectual plane; a far cry from what most would expect from a film featuring Pattinson as the actor tries to distance himself from sparkling vampires. Sadly the results aren’t on par with Cronenberg’s recent output. It’s just not as engaging as it should be. The performances, while technically precise, feel like they are coming from automatons and not the actual actors. “Cosmopolis” is simply too cool for its own good.
Being Human: The Complete Second Season (DVD and Blu-ray)
“Being Human” centers around a trio of roommates that just happen to be a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. Together they’re trying to fit in with normal society, but it’s never as easy as any of them would like. “Being Human” takes its self fairly seriously, which is unusual for a Syfy television series. The plot tends to be dominated by the same sort of monster politics and soap opera drama that we’ve already seen in the “Underworld,” “Blade” and “Twilight” films. Of the three characters only Sally Malik (Meaghan Rath), the ghost, feels remotely original. Some will be drawn to the familiarity, but for me the series is too lightweight to be engaging.
Justified: The Complete Third Season (DVD and Blu-ray)
I always assumed that “Justified” was cut from the came cloth as “Deadwood” or “Hell on Wheels,” but this isn’t the case at all. Despite being built upon the tropes of the western genre, “Justified” is set in the modern world. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is a reckless, undisciplined man with a disregard for the letter of the law when it comes to tracking down criminals. We’ve seen plenty of corrupt cops, but Givens isn’t that sort of marshal. He’s not completely driven by self-interest. He earnestly wants to keep his community safe, even if that means taking some risks or breaking the rules. This makes him unpredictable and that gives the series just enough room to stray from the cliché-ridden world of cop dramas. If you’re looking for another weekly addiction you could do far worse than “Justified.”
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)