New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages."
Updated: October 15, 2012 11:26AM
NEW THIS WEEK
“Rock Of Ages” ★★½
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking and language
Stars: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand
The best argument to come along in a long time that rock is indeed dead, Adam Shankman’s bland adaptation of the Broadway musical is way too long and remarkably tedious, considering that it’s all about the wild and crazy heyday of ’80s hair-metal. Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta give their all as the small-town girl and big-city boy who fall in love while dreaming of rock stardom on the sunset strip — but nothing makes much of an impression except Cruise as decadent superstar Stacee Jaxx. And the most memorable thing about his performance is his devil’s-head codpiece. Fortunately Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are on hand to supply much-needed comic relief. Extras include an extended version of the film with 13 additional minutes.
“I, Robot” ★★★
Rated: PG-13 for intense stylized action, and some brief partial nudity
Stars: Will Smith, Bridget Moynihan, Bruce Greenwood
Little more than the title remains of Isaac Asimov’s classic short-story anthology in this 2004 slam-bang summertime action thriller — an automatic affront to sci-fi purists. Setting that aside, it must be said that “I, Robot” is pretty darn impressive as far as action eye candy goes, so long as you don’t start pulling on loose plot threads. The reconfigured story of a rogue Chicago homicide cop (Smith) attempting to thwart a robot revolution in the year 2035 has at least three good things going for it: A typically satisfactory performance from executive producer/star Smith, a clever, plot-twisting screenplay by Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”) and the dark-tinged vision of director Alex Proyas. Extras include a new overlay of 3D.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) becomes involved in a police investigation when a serial killer begins replicating the horrific deaths in his stories. James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta”) directed the thriller.
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”
Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic makes its high-def, Blu-ray debut in this 30-year-anniversary edition. Extras include “The E.T. Journals,” a new documentary chronicling the day-by-day creation of the film featuring behind-the-scenes footage from cinematographer John Toll, a new interview with Spielberg, two deleted scenes from the 2002 version of the film and a collection of production designs.
“Care Bears: The Original Series Collection”
This six-disc set celebrates 30 years of niceness with 64 animated episodes and a full-length movie.
When a young boy (Nathan Gamble) writes a fan letter to Dracula, the old, weary, out-of-it vampire shows up on his doorstep looking for a way to become relevant again. Chad Van De Keere (TV’s “Planet Sheen”) directed the direct-to-video release. No MPAA rating.
“Denzel Washington Film Collection”
This eight-disc set features eight films by the two-time Academy Award winner: “The Mighty Quinn,” “Much Ado about Nothing,” “Courage under Fire,” “The Siege,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Out of Time,” “Man on Fire” and “Unstoppable.”
“Little Shop Of Horrors Director’s Cut”
Two high-def versions of director Frank Oz’s 1986 version of the hit Broadway musical are featured in this Blu-ray collection: the original theatrical release and a director’s cut featuring a newly restored 20-minute ending from Oz’s first cut. Extras include commentary by Oz, outtakes, deleted scenes and a commemorative 40-page book.
“Magical Mystery Tour”
The Beatles’ third film, conceived and directed by the group, received a lukewarm reception in 1967. This fully restored edition features unseen footage and new interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and other members of the cast. The Blu-ray version includes new versions of “Your Mother Should Know,” “Blue Jay Way” and “The Fool on the Hill, the BBC “Hello/Goodbye” broadcast of 1967 and footage of Traffic performing “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”
“Robert Mitchum Film Collection”
This 10-disc set includes 10 films by the star including “River of No Return,” “The Night of the Hunter,” “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison,” “The Enemy Below,” “Thunder Road,” “The Hunters,” “The Longest Day,” “Man in the Middle,” “What a Way to Go!” and “The Way West.”
“Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”
This 50th anniversary edition of director Robert Aldrich’s 1962 thriller making its Blu-ray debut, starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, includes a “Behind the Scenes with Baby Jane” vintage featurette, an excerpt from the Dec. 20, 1962 “Andy Williams Show,” documentaries on the careers of Crawford and Davis and a collectible book.
“Dark Shadows” ★★★½
Rated: PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Stars: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green
Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton’s thoroughly enjoyable “Dark Shadows” makes it seem swingin’ to be a vampire. Depp apparently worshipped Barnabas (from the ’60s Gothic horror romance soap opera) as a kid and that’s evident in this loving, occasionally hilarious, tongue-in-cheek adaptation. After surviving the curse of a jealous lover/very-wicked witch (who turned him into a neck-biter then buried him alive for 200 years), Barnabas returns to restore the fortunes of his very dysfunctional descendants, and milk cultural contrasts for all the comedy they’re worth — while Burton supplies all the necessary dark, shadowy mood.
“IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE” ★★★½
Rated: PG for thematic elements and brief language
Stars: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung
Undoubtedly one of the most achingly romantic, erotically charged movies ever made about a passionate affair that never quite takes place. Hong Kong stars Cheung and Leung (who won the Best Actor prize at Cannes) are featured as residents of a cramped Hong Kong rooming house circa 1962, who learn that their respective spouses have been having an affair. Instead of immediately seeking mutual revenge with each other, however, they fall slowly, langorously, torturously in love — and think about it at length and in excruciating, though sumptuously beautiful, detail. Not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of director Wong Kar Wai (“Happy Together,” “Days of Being Wild”) or if you’re just crazy about love in general, this ultra-stylish fever dream is definitely worth a look. This Criterion Collection release features a new high-definition restoration, deleted scenes and Wai’s own documentary on the making of the film.
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
PBS journalist Bill Moyers thinks things through with 16 super-smart folks from his 1988 “World of Ideas” series, rocker Neil Young heads for home in the concert documentary “Journeys” and 50 restored and remastered classic cartoons yuk it up in “Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 2.”