CATEGORIES DVDsLooks like the Hollywood studios saved the majority of their 2009 films for DVD release in the first month of this year -- we count close to three dozen theatrical releases coming to home video this month, with 12 this week alone. We travel from the sands of Iraq ('The Hurt Locker') to New York City ('Fame') to Madea's world ('Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself') and to the 'Moon.' Oh, and don't forget yet another Michael Myers reincarnation in Rob Zombie's remake of 'Halloween II. ' 'The Hurt Locker'
What It's About: A favorite among the many film critic groups as the best film of the year, and up for Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes awards. 'The Hurt Locker' is a riveting, suspenseful portrait of an elite Army bomb squad as they battle insurgents and each other as they search for and disarm roadside bombs on the streets of Baghdad -- in order to make the city a safer place for Iraqis and Americans alike.
It's Kinda Like: 'The Small Back Room' in Iraq
What We Say: Director Kathryn Bigelow has put together a real tour-de-force edge-of-your seat thriller that isn't afraid to show the rigors and horrors of war as well as baring the psyches of the soldiers who play cat-and-mouse games with their lives. A truly great war film. Bigelow, by the way, will be giving ex-husband James ('Avatar') Cameron a run for the money as best director of the year.
What It's About: Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the completion of his three-year-long contract with Lunar Industries, mining Earth's primary source of energy on the dark side of the Moon. Alone with only the base's vigilant computer, Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), as his sole companion, Bell's isolation has taken its toll. As he prepares to return home, he blacks out on a routine drive, and awakens in the module, face-to-face with a younger version of himself. And that's just the beginning of strange events on the Moon.
It's Kinda Like: 'Solaris' meets 'Mission to Mars'
What We Say: 'Moon' harks back to the good old days of science fiction films when grand themes of individuality, identity and sanity were explored without the need for super-duper special effects; i.e., the literary exploration of what it means to be human using science fiction as the framework. One critic dubbed it 'the anti-Transformers."
What It's About: Contemporary remake of the 1980 fan-favorite that follows a group of dancers, singers, actors and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. It's all-singing, all-dancing, all-heartbreak and some success as students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame. .. the kind that comes only from talent, dedication, and hard work.
It's Kinda Like: The original 'Fame' spruced up for today's 'High School Musical' crowd
What We Say: This reimagining of the 30-year-old 'Fame' -- though it does have its moments -- surely won't live up to the original's song catch phrase "I'm gonna live forever." It's bland and formulaic and doesn't come anywhere near the catharsis of the first 'Fame.'
'Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself'
What It's About: When Madea, America's favorite pistol-packing grandma, catches 16-year-old Jennifer and her two younger brothers looting her home, she decides to take matters into her own hands and delivers the young delinquents to the only relative they have: their aunt April. Initially wanting nothing to do with the kids, April learns that she can change her old ways and become a better person for trying to put the kids on the straight and narrow.
It's Kinda Like: Every preceding Tyler Perry film, but not as funny
What We Say: Another in the ever growing Tyler Perry franchise of family comedy-dramas; this one aiming a little higher on the Richter Scale of melodrama. Unfortunately, the story line is a bit too predictable and pat -- and there's just not enough Madea to go around.
Other New January 12 DVD Releases:
'The Burning Plain'
'In the Loop'
Check out other new January 12 DVD releases at OnVideo.