DVD/Blu-ray Releases — 5/24/2011

New options for your home viewing this week:


The best part of Gnomeo & Juliet (and, yes, in case you were wondering, that is the actual title of an actual movie) are the range of background characters, like squeaky sycophants, semaphore-speaking bunnies, and a statute of Shakespeare that insists the love between two children of feuding families will end in tears.  Of course it won’t, and I doubt Shakespeare would ever have imagined his most commonly mis-referenced work (No, it’s not a good thing to be “star-crossed” lovers) would be adapted to end with a high-tech lawnmower with laser-sights. It’s amusing stuff, but, in trying to be clever about its source material, the story of Gnomeo (voice of James McAvoy) and Juliet (voice of Emily Blunt) relies far too often on musical montage (with a solid sampling of the songs of Elton John) and hokey references to the playwright’s words without much imagination about how to be smartly flippant.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3-D.

The very limited power of having flashlight-hands is explored in I Am Number Four, a lifeless superhero movie that doesn’t gain any interest until its incomprehensible light show of a climactic fight in a high school.  Until then, there are a boring romance between alien John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) and a girl from his new high school (Dianna Agron), a non-threatening bully, the vaguely threatening group of enemy aliens, and lots and lots of questions.  John has superpowers that his mentor Henri (Timothy Olyphant) says he shouldn’t use unless he absolutely needs to, and, of course, John finds lots of unnecessary reasons to use them, like almost killing a group of teenagers who ambush him during a haunted hay ride.  Where he gets his powers, why he has them, and why the bad aliens are trying to kill him and those like him are just some of the things left blowing in the wind.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.


About Mark Dujsik

Film critic since 2001. Writer/editor/publisher of Mark Reviews Movies, and contributor for RogerEbert.com and Magill's Cinema Annual. Member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.
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