New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases 07/30/13

Please note: To order any of the following click on the poster.

When it comes to G.I Joe: Retaliation it helps if you’ve played with the toys.  Names such as Cobra, Zartan, and Storm Shadow are there but they’ll only mean something if you’re already familiar.  Those going in cold will have little clue, particularly as the movie presents these characters with the assumption you already know who they are.  Without that background knowledge, all of these heroes and villains come across as faceless cartoons in colorful, shiny crash helmets, continually beating each other up for reasons never entirely clear to the uninformed.  In short, G.I. Joe: Retaliation appears to have no clear narrative.  With its fetish for weaponry and a pulsating rock and roll soundtrack, the film has its targeted market locked in.  Pop references abound.  When Dwayne Johnson gives his men a pep talk he begins with, “… In the immortal words of Jay-Z,” and when the traitor Zartan becomes the POTUS he states, “They say this is a thankless job, but yesterday I hung out with Bono.” The action is continuous, but it never engages or appears in the slightest bit thrilling.  It’s just stuff happening, and you passively watch while figuring out who is fighting who and why.  Available in Blu-Ray, 3D and DVD.

For those with the new 4K Ultra HD TVs, a new special Blu-Ray 4K edition of the 2008 comedy Pineapple Express is now released.  The picture image is undeniably sharp, which is what new owners of a 4K screen are looking for, but the film?  It starts out well. A black and white sequence showing how the military reacted to some underground experiments on the effect of weed on a soldier is very funny. In fact, the following scenes that introduce us to smoker Seth Rogen and his blissfully blitzed out stoner dealer, James Franco, are all strong and show great promise of what we hope will follow.   You might even start to think that maybe Pineapple Express is the best Cheech and Chong film that Cheech and Chong never made.  But once the actual plot kicks in – Rogen witnesses a murder and for the rest of the movie he’s on the run trying to stay alive – the film takes a different and surprisingly violent turn. The more violent it becomes, the less funny.  The graphic and realistic close-up of blood and exploding flesh – the kind that would have made Sam Peckinpah proud – strips away any semblance of humor.  The image may look good in 4K but it’s still moron comedy.  Available in a special Blu-Ray 4K edition.

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