In Barrow, Alaska, winter brings 30 days of darkness along with the biting cold. (And I thought dark-by-5 pm sucked.) No sun, just bitterly cold blackness. Unsurprisingly, this attracts some particularly nasty, bloodthirsty vamps -- ones that aren't sexy and selective like Anne Rice's fanged ones. They decide to take advantage of their 24-hour, 30-day free-for-all and start killing off the town's residents who didn't head south. You've got Josh Hartnett and Melissa George as human vamp fighters ill-equipped for the challenge, the Renfield-like Stranger (Ben Foster), and a troupe of baddies led by the wonderful Danny Huston's Marlow. Both Erik and Ryan dug the film, saying things like: "Visually...the film looked absolutely incredible" and "there's still a solid, well-constructed vampire movie to enjoy here, and I did enjoy it."
After all of the funky mid-production goodies that came from the set, it's not surprising that there's a bunch of features on this release. You've got a commentary with Hartnett, George, and producer Rob Tapert, a bunch of featurettes about adapting the graphic novel, building the sound stage, camera techniques, gorey stuff, stunts, vampire design, night shoots, and casting. There's also Episode 1 of Blood +, and for the Blu-Ray editions, there's even a film/novel comparison gallery.
Check Out Ryan Stewart's Review | Buy the DVD
While I wasn't the biggest fan of this one (I missed seeing the subtle facial expressions of the excellent actors involved, and preferred the earlier Beowulf & Grendel), this is certainly the biggest release to hit shelves this year. Along with Neil Gaiman, Robert Zemeckis went back to performance-capture technology to bring the Old English epic to the screen. Ray Winstone roars as the powerful Beowulf, Crispin Glover screeches as the desperate Grendel, and Angelina Jolie seduces as Grendel's mother -- otherwise known as Jolie nude, with a tail. And we can't forget the Hopkins, Wright Penn, Malkovich, and Lohman. There are some pretty stunning visuals, and with this cast, you can't go completely wrong.
As for the DVD, you can pick up the director's cut, which offers a solid array of goodies besides Zemeckis' cut. There's bits on some of the actors and their performance-captured performances, designing the monster, the poem (and how Zemeckis actually hates it -- go figure), and deleted scenes with different stages of completion.
Check Out Scott's Take & James' Take | Buy the DVD
Other New DVD Releases (February 26)
The Darjeeling Limited (Check out my DVD review.)
The Last Emperor -- Criterion Collection
And, well, Peter Martin covers the rest of the bigger releases with his Indies on DVD.