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New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases to Crave: A Panda, Some Apes and a Frightening Vampire Await

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 12/13/11 at 01:18 PM CT

Hopefully you're in the mood for either something furry or something with fangs, because that's what you're going to get out of the new releases this week.

1) I have to say, one of the most surprising films of the year for me was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was actually a lot better then what I was expecting it to be. The story and action elements were done quite well and the special effects gave some humanity to our future simian overlords. It wasn't perfect, but compared to some of the other big-budget CGI fests that came out, it had a lot more heart.

2) As far as sequels go, Kung Fu Panda 2 didn't exactly light up the box office. Our rotund kung fu master was off from his original outing, but I still think I would choose this over, say, Cars 2. If this movie (along with Cars 2 and Happy Feet 2) are any indication, perhaps those seeking more sequels (Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon) will take their time crafting a good story rather than making more money.

3) As far as remakes go, I don't know how many people were clamoring for Fright Night - and just like The Thing and Conan, it wasn't quite a box office flop, but it proved that remaking fringe movies may not be the most sound strategy. Still, I would choose Colin Farrell baring his fangs over those Twilight suckers any day of the week. But really, can we just dial it back on these remakes already?

On the Blu-Ray front The Rocketeer leads things off with a 20th Anniversary high def upgrade. I admit, I was never a huge fan of this retro hero film, but then again, I watched it before I had an actual appreciation of film, so I might see things a bit differently today. If you prefer a good, twisted crime drama, you can't get much better than Heavenly Creatures. Directed by a pre-LOTR Peter Jackson, and starring a young Kate Winslet in her first film role, this shows what happens when you go a little too far with the bonds of friendship mixed with fantasy. Jackson showed earlier he could handle over-the-top gore, here is a much more nuanced touch and one that works well. Another film that earns quite a lot of praise, and one I admit I have yet to see, is City of God. The concept of brothers growing up in the same area and taking two separate paths has been done - but this is based on a true story and by all accounts the cinematography is stunning. It's one I'll have to put on my list.

There are plenty of other movies to explore, simply head to the FilmCrave New DVD Releases and FilmCrave New Blu-Ray Releases pages today.

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