New on the Shelf: Hugh! Nicole! Chihuahuas!

Posted on 02 March 2009 by ShepRamsey

Hey friends, Shep here with the rundown of new DVD releases coming at you on Tuesday, March 3, including my pick, the DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Wonder Woman.

australia1First up, though, we’ve got the Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrman’s big, colorful epic Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and the whodathunkit-great-Oscar-host Hugh Jackman. It was a very early Best Picture favorite, due to its grand scale, period setting, and A-list pedigree…and then it was released. And no one seemed to like it. At 166 minutes, the film certainly seems like something of a chore, but if you’re into this sort of thing, it’s probably not too shabby. If nothing else, we can expect it to be quite the visual feast.beverly-hills-chihuahua

Also hitting the shelves is last fall’s other stirring epic Beverly Hills Chihuahua, the powerful tale of…oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I have no idea what it’s about or if that even matters (probably not). It’s one of those movie that you’ll know by hearing the title whether it’s something you’re interested in or not. So to fill space, here’s a list of the people who consciously decided to be part of it: Jamie Lee Curtis, Drew Barrymore, Edward James Olmos, Andy Garcia, and Cheech Marin. intheelectricmist

Also available is French director Bertrand Tavernier’s In the Electric Mist, starring Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, and Peter Sarsgaard. Set in rural Louisiana, Jones plays a police detective hunting for a serial killer, and the big Hollywood types and crime kingpins who may or may not be involved. It’s an interesting film that includes some surreal bits with Confederate soldiers, but it’s a little hard to watch it and not think No Country for Old Men 2: Cajun Style. I think Tavernier’s timing was a little off (not to mention the casting, which not only includes Jones, but also No Country‘ s Kelly Macdonald) and maybe that’s why this movie never got a theatrical release, because it’s certainly not bad. Check it out!watchmenmotioncomic1

And for those like me who can’t stand waiting three more days for Zack Snyder’s live-action Watchmen film, there’s Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic, which is every panel of the graphic novel set in motion with a voice-over actor reading all the dialogue. It’s essentially a great, big five-hour-long completely faithful Watchmen animated movie. Check back this Friday for my more in-depth review in this week’s installment of “Slide THIS In Your Machine.” (As well as reviews of Snyder’s film.)

That’s more or less everything, but at least there’s some good stuff to be had. Blu-Ray releases include everything mentioned above as well as last year’s French film, I’ve Loved You So Long.wonderwoman

And my pick of this week’s releases is Wonder Woman, the new animated film from the DC Universe.  Truth be told, I wasn’t 100% nuts about this one. It’s your typical origin story with a little something extra tacked on the latter half (set up in the former, of course). It’s a reasonably well-made film with some good voice acting by Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Virgina Madsen, and Alfred Molina. There are some nice touches of humor, including an odd drinking-in-a-bar-with-Wonder-Woman scene and plenty of battle-of-the-sexes discourse, but after awhile it starts to get a little boring and by-the-numbers. Nevertheless, it bodes well for any sequels they might want to do.

The real reason I recommend this one is because I love what DC Comics is doing with this series and I want to encourage more of it. Their DC Universe Animated Original Movie label has been putting out some really strong adult-aimed animated films taken from some of DC’s most beloved characters. They started with Superman: Doomsday, adapting the Death of Superman through Return of Superman story arcs from the nineties. They continued with an excellent adaptation of the Justice League origin story Justice League: The New Frontier, and then last summer released the more experimental (and best so far) Batman: Gotham Knight to coincide with the release of The Dark Knight. Now, Wonder Woman isn’t quite on the level of its predecessors, but it’s still a solid 75-minutes that should more than satisfy fans. I’m certainly looking forward to their fifth film, coming out this summer, Green Lantern: First Flight. Keep ‘em coming, guys!

Anyway, Wonder Woman, and all the other titles mentioned here, will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday, March 3!

Buy Wonder Woman on DVD HERE.                           

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