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New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases to Crave: Fighting Robots, Cancer Comedy and More Paranormal Activity

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 01/24/12 at 10:03 AM CT

On a day the Oscar nominations were announced, it's funny that none of the new releases coming out this week will be featured. But then, boxing robots and terrifying entities are not usually recognized by the Academy.

1) In what I like to term Rocky meets Rock'em Sock'em Robots, Real Steel features Hugh Jackman as a promoter who has lost his touch but may just find it again when he discovers he has a son and they work together to resurrect a discarded robot and become top draw on the robot boxing circuit. I figured this was all about action and big metal guys beating the crap out of each other, but I think this film has the potential to actually have heart along with the robotic mayhem. Not Oscar caliber, but certainly entertaining.

2) Another film that deserves some love is the dramatic cancer comedy 50/50. A lot of people compare this to Funny People - mainly because both are about cancer and Seth Rogan plays a significant role in both. However, Joseph Gordon-Levitt to me would seem to play a lot better than Adam Sandler - Funny People really didn't move me, I'm hoping 50/50 does it right.

3) Something else the Academy ignores? Horror. And that goes double (nay triple, quadruple?) for sequels to popular yet derivative found-footage franchises. But I admit, I still like Paranormal Activity 3. It was a lot better than the second one and actually provided some interesting back story. Sure, just about everything they showed in the trailers never showed up in the film, the ending kind of took the "Paranormal" out of the activity and I have no idea where the fourth film goes from here... but despite all my complaints, man, it's just fun to watch a camera on a fan go back and forth just waiting for something to pop up. If you like this kind of horror at all, it deserves a watch.

4) If new-school horror isn't up your alley, don't worry, Criterion has you covered with the decidedly old-school Godzilla. You get two versions of everyone's favorite giant lizard: the 1954 Japanese original, and the 1956 Godzilla: King of the Monsters! American remake. Plus, you get a bevy of other special features including commentary (on both films) new interviews with original cast and effects crew, featurettes and even a better subtitle option (no comment on if the English dub is still hilariously wrong).

The Blu-Ray options this week are great if you happen to be a Woody Allen or Alfred Hitchcock fan. Allen, whose Midnight in Paris is up for a bunch of awards, including director, picture and screenplay, is also getting a couple of his films upgraded as well. Both Annie Hall and Manhattan have arrived on Blu-Ray. These are his most popular films, but I'm not afraid to admit I've never been a big Woody Allen fan. His style just never suited my tastes, but I know there are plenty of people out there who do like his style and for them, they now have the opportunity to see it in crystal clarity, neurosis and all. Hitchcock trumps Allen in that you can enjoy three of the director's classic works: Notorious, Spellbound and Rebecca are all being released. My only gripe is there are not the Criterion versions of the films, so while the films will look beautiful, don't expect a lot of extras. Out of the three, I find Notorious to be the most worthwhile, though all three should be viewed if you're any kind of Hitchcock fan. If you're a person who just wants the movies, this is a good pickup. Finally, I'll end on a lighter note with the release of Stripes - probably my second favorite war comedy following Dr. Strangelove. Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, John Larroquette, P.J. Soles, Sean Young and the great Warren Oates all contribute (amongst others) to making this ensemble work. In reality all these bozos would have seen a court martial or possibly been executed for treason but as this is a comedy, only wacky fun ensues when they inadvertently invade a foreign county.

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

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