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New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases to Crave: Get Help for Cowboys & Aliens, Penguins and The Hangover II

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 12/06/11 at 10:16 AM CT

Another week, another boat load of new releases to pour over. If someone has made a list, be sure to check it twice because odds are in the coming weeks, something is bound to come out to please the film fan in your family.

1) One of the biggest surprises of the year, The Help, makes its debut. One of the few films this year to take the top spot at the box office three weeks running, The Help benefited from a well-rounded cast, a story that was a great mix of drama and humor and great word-of-mouth. Things may have been stretched, but I also think the depiction of the times was likewise a factor - a fictional account, but based on the realities of just what went on in the South during the 1960s. One of a handful of films I would watch even though it's obvious the target is a female audience.

2) Sequels rarely live up to the original and many people complained that The Hangover Part II was too much of a carbon copy of the original. That didn't stop it from being one of the highest grossing movies of the year. Despite some scathing critical reviews, I found this just as enjoyable as the first one. Plus that monkey is just adorable - a criminal to be sure, but adorable. You might feel deja vu, but think this trip is worth taking twice.

3) A movie that I feel was one of the biggest disappointments of the year is also coming out. I really thought that Cowboys & Aliens was going to be a fun mix of sci-fi and westerns, but I found it didn't do either genre justice and held little interest for me personally. There are some great looking scenes (and a great-looking Olivia Wilde) but it can't make up for the nearly emotionless leads (that would be Craig and Ford) and dull story.

4) For those looking for a bit of fun for the whole family, Jim Carrey is here to save the day with Mr. Popper's Penguins. This actually did a lot better at the box office than I would have expected, given its soft opening. But then again, The Smurfs also managed to do extremely well, so I just think families get desperate. Still, a movie with penguins can't be all bad - well, unless they happen to have Happy Feet.

5) I think a film that slipped under the radar a bit but looks like it would be solid rental would be The Debt. You have spies, a long-buried secret and a story that mixes a contemporary setting with flashes back to a Nazi hunt during the Cold War. It all sounds quite exciting and with names like Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds (as the older spies) and Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Marton Csokas (as their younger counterparts) - this should warrant at least a look.

On the Blu-Ray front things are led by Tora Tora Tora - a film that shows Pearl Harbor from both sides of the attack, and doesn't skimp on criticizing the many missteps the military took that could have led to a much different outcome. Military fans (like my dad) will be happy. Also, if you haven't had the chance to watch them yet, now would be a good time to immerse yourself in Stieg Larsson's world as the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition becomes available. I should have known they were going to do something like this - I'm kicking myself for getting the standard editions, but I hate double dipping, so I'll stick where I am for now. If you haven't seen the films yet, I highly recommend them, especially if you're interested in the upcoming American remake.

There are plenty of other films to explore this week, simply visit the FilmCrave New DVD Releases and FilmCrave New Blu-Ray Releases pages today.

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