DVD/Blu-ray Releases — 3/6/2012

New options for your home viewing this week:

The Skin I Live In is a pulpy revenge story about science run amok.  It features Antonio Banderas (very strong in an intimidating and intellectually cool role) as Robert Ledgard, a scientist who has developed an artificial skin that can be grafted on to burn victims.  He seems incredibly noble at the start, fighting a system that questions his ethics and keeping a woman named Vera (Elena Anaya) in his house to watch her progress.  Then again, the door to her room is locked from the outside, and the good doctor stares a bit too long at her on the monitor that shows the camera in her room.  The real inspiration to writer/director Pedro Almodóvar’s film is the structure, which peels back layer after layer of the sickness of the scenario and the anti-hero until even the narrative itself seems too disgusted with him to keep him as the central figure.  My review is here.  Available on Blu-ray/DVD Combo.

Let us be grateful that director Asif Kapadia has decided to take advantage of the countless hours of the film’s subject doing what he loved and lived for instead of attempting a fictionalized account of his story.  Senna lives entirely in the moment, documenting the life of Ayrton Senna, widely considered to be one of the greatest Formula One racecar drivers to ever sit behind the wheel, and hints at his personal life.  There are no talking heads or staged scenes or still photographs to fill in the gaps; Kapadia has impressive access to archival footage, from the behind-the-scenes drama to the high speeds of the track, and as Senna’s ultimate fate draws closer, the film’s becomes a eulogy for its subject and his legacy.  My review is here.  Available on DVD.

The story of Immortals might be routine and the characters void of much personality, but this is an interpretation of Greek mythology that understands its heroes are less human beings than they are living, breathing statues of heroic and villainous deeds.  Also, director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar understands the power of spectacle, which the film has in abundance.  It’s the story of Theseus (Henry Cavill) as he attempts to stop a mad king (Mickey Rourke) from obtaining a mystical bow and bringing devastation to mankind.  The gods stand by watching until it becomes necessary (and dangerous) for them to get involved.  The selling point is the design, which is somehow ornate while still being minimalist, and it more than makes up for whatever might be lacking.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D.

Yes, the remake of Footloose is better than the original.  It forces us to confront the emotional justification for why a town would outlaw something as harmless as public dancing with its prologue.  Its biggest improvement is in the dance sequences, which director Craig Brewer captures in long shots and takes–allowing for extensive coverage–with camera moves that complement the choreography.  The story is the same as before: Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) arrives in the small town of Bomont and shakes up the status quo while starting a romance with the precaher’s (Dennis Quaid) daughter (Julianne Hough).  The conflict comes from a place of unbridled grief, the dances sequences are infectiously entertaining, and the film succeeds about as well as this material could.  My review is here.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

There’s no denying that Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are meant to be together.  It’s not destiny or the fact that they’re soul mates; it’s more existential than that.  Without each other, they wouldn’t exist as individuals.  It’s a co-dependent relationship for sure, and Like Crazy sees them in two states: When they’re together (All happy) and when they’re not (All gloomy).  Both states of being are obnoxious, and the movie is nearly as deluded as they are.  My review is here.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Adam Sandler plays identical twins Jack and Jill Sadelstein.  Al Pacino plays a version of himself that is obsessed with Jill.  At one point, Jack dresses as Jill to try to keep a date with Al Pacino.  It’s not funny in the slightest, and neither is any of Jack and Jill for that matter.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.

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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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