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DVD Reviews For 5/14: “I Can’t Help What I Do! I Can’t Help It.”
by Peter Sobczynski

Yeah, this is a pretty weak week for releases. Trust me, next week will be a little better--I promise


CELINE: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD (Sony Home Entertainment. $14.98): If you are expecting to see the always-restrained singer caterwauling her way through a selection of her hits, this is not the DVD for you. This is actually a behind-the-scenes documentary following her around as she goes around the world on her recent Taking Chances tour. If you want the caterwauling, this week also see the release of the CD/DVD hybrid “Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert” (Sony Home Entertainment. $19.98), which should be more up your alley. If, on the other hand, you prefer your music with a minimum of histrionics, there is also the CD/DVD set "Carole King & James Taylor: Live At The Troubadour" (Hear Music. $19.98).

DARIA: THE COMPLETE SERIES (MTV/Paramount Home Video. $72.99): Still one of the finest TV shows that MTV ever produced, this “Beavis & Butthead” spin-off following the trials and tribulations of an acerbic teen girl smart enough to recognize the silliness of the world around her finally hits home video in a set that collects every episode from its five-season run and, unlike most other pop-culture relics from the Nineties, it hasn’t aged a day. Other TV-related DVDs appearing this week include “Deadliest Warrior: Season One” (Comedy Central. $26.98), “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Fifth Season” (Warner Home Video. $29.98), “My Wife and Kids: The Complete Second Season” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $29.98), “Raising the Bar: The Complete Second Season” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $29.98) and “thirtysomething: The Complete Third Season” (Shout! Factory. $59.97).

DAYBREAKERS (Lionsgate Home Entertainment. $29.95 ): In the not-too-distant future postulated by this post-apocalyptic horror film from the Sperig Brothers, the world is overrun by a disease that turns people into vampires, the supply of actual human blood is running dangerously low and human/vampire hematologist Ethan Hawke struggles to develop an artificial blood replacement before humanity is completely destroyed. Although it couldn’t seem more tired and obvious if it tried--you suppose the blood crisis is supposed to parallel our own oil crisis?--the film is actually a lot better than it sounds thanks to its slick visual style, exciting set pieces and nice performances from Hawke, Sam Neill (as Hawke’s literal bloodsucker of a boss) and Willem Dafoe as a crossbow-shooting defender of the last vestiges of mankind

EDGE OF DARKNESS (Warner Home Video. $28.98 ): In his first on-screen appearance since “Signs” in 2002 (not counting his cameo in “Paparazzi,” of course), Mel Gibson stars in this adaptation of the acclaimed BBC miniseries in which he plays a cop whose daughter is killed by a bullet that he assumes was meant for him--when he begins to investigate the case further, he discovers that she may have been a target of a massive conspiracy and proceeds to beat and shoot his way up the ladder to find out the real reasons behind her death. Although this film from Martin Campbell (who directed the original version before going on to make the likes of “Casino Royale”) is made with a certain amount of skill and Gibson does turn in a solid and blessedly low-key performance, there really isn’t much of anything (beyond the crazy-go-nuts finale) to separate it from all the other movies in which Gibson goes on a violent tear to avenge the deaths of his loved ones.

ICONS AMONG US: JAZZ IN THE PRESENT TENSE (Indiepix Films. $24.95): If you have to ask about this documentary about the current state of the contemporary jazz scene, featuring performances and interviews from the likes of Terrence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, you’ll never understand.

LEGION (Sony Home Entertainment. $28.98 ): Apparently unwilling to wait around for 2012 to get here, a pissed-off God sends armies of angels and demons off to destroy mankind and only a small group of people stuck in an isolated truck stop--including the cynical owner (Dennis Quaid), a rebellious angel who still has faith in man (Paul Bettany) and a pregnant waitress (Adrienne Padalicki) whose unborn child may be humanity’s salvation--stand in the way of the apocalypse. Although slow-going at first, this unabashed cheesefest does perk up once the bloodshed begins in earnest but after a while, it grows kind of tiresome and it spends more time in the final reel trying to set up a sequel (unlikely, considering its less-than-heavenly box-office performance) than in resolving the story that it is theoretically trying to tell.

MALICE IN WONDERLAND (Magnolia Home Entertainment. $26.98): Another week, another retelling of the Lewis Carroll classic to ride on the surprisingly durable coattails of the recent Tim Burton version. This one is a modern-day take on the story with Maggie Grace as an American law student in London who loses her memory after receiving a bump on the head and winds up going on a surreal tour of the local underworld in an attempt to regain her memory and return home. Since I haven’t seen this one, I don’t really have much to say about it but the fact that the tarts on display here are actual tarts, if you know what I mean, suggests that it might be worth checking out.

PULLING JOHN (Indiepix Films. $24.95): Those of you who have been waiting nearly a quarter-century for someone to follow in the footsteps of the immortal “Over the Top” with another film set in the world of competitive arm wrestling, your prayers are finally answered. Shot over a period of four years, this acclaimed documentary follows the paths of three champion wrestlers--undefeated world champion (25 years running) Brzenk and up-and comers Alexey Voevoda and Travis Bagnet--as the former contemplates retiring while still on top while the other two battle their way through the ranks in the hopes of getting a chance to try to take the champ down and establish their own legends.


THE EDGE (Fox Home Entertainment. $24.98)

HANG EM HIGH (MGM Home Entertainment. $24.95)

HIGH ANXIETY (Fox Home Entertainment. $24.99)

HISTORY OF THE WORLD--PART I (Fox Home Entertainment. $24.99 )

THE KARATE KID (Sony Home Entertainment. $24.95)

THE KARATE KID PART II (Sony Home Entertainment. $24.95 )

M (The Criterion Collection. $39.95)


MARKED FOR DEATH (Fox Home Entertainment. $24.99)

ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (Fox Home Entertainment. $24.98)

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originally posted: 05/14/10 07:36:29
last updated: 05/14/10 07:54:32
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