CATEGORIES DVDsOh, it's a wild time on DVD this week. We have a mortal woman torn between her love for a vampire and her friendship with a lycan in 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'; we have a princess and a frog jamming though the streets of New Orleans and the bayous of Louisiana in, what else, Disney's animated 'The Princess and the Frog'; a blind screenwriter tells the tale of his lost love in 'Broken Embraces'; there's a heist gone bad involving six security guards in 'Armored'; and a pair of straight-laced New Yorkers find themselves stuck in the wilds of Wyoming, asked themselves, 'Did You Hear About the Morgans?' 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'
What It's About: The first sequel (and second in a series of four books) in the 'Twilight' saga follows star-crossed lovers in a kind of post-modern Romeo and Juliet; but here, the lovers are a mortal woman (Bella) and her pale vampire boyfriend (Edward). Throw in Bella's best friend, a lycan (wolfman) who has more than a puppy love for her, and you have an intriguing supernatural romance.
It's Kinda Like: Menage a 'Twilight'
What We Say: Author Stephenie Meyer's best-selling series is getting the royal treatment on-screen, with intelligent casting and directing. The first in the series, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, grossed $191 million. This one, directed by Chris Weitz (who launched the 'American Pie' franchise with his brother Paul) took in almost $300 million. It's a first-rate melodrama for tweens, teens and young female adults. The DVD comes out Saturday, March 20, at 12:01 AM, so be prepared for a midnight release party at your local vid outlet.
'The Princess and the Frog'
What It's About: This hand-drawn animated adventure (no CGI here) harks back to the great Disney classics -- 'Peter Pan,' 'Lady and the Tramp' and 'Beauty and the Beast' -- with straight-ahead adventure tales and lovable characters. Here, we have the old frog prince tale, but in reverse -- when Tiana, the first African-American Disney princess, kisses the frog, he doesn't turn human, she turns into an amphibian, and the pair scamper through the magical bayous of 1920s Louisiana.
It's Kinda Like: The good old days of animation
What We Say: Like vinyl records, here's a technology that's lived past its death notices. There's much to say for an analog product such as hand-drawn animation: There's a warmth and depth that just makes you glow with joy. Add in an intelligent story line, a bunch of wonderful songs and a jazz-infused score by Randy Newman, and 'The Princess and the Frog' will make a good addition to the kiddie shelf in you entertainment room -- and a film that you can enjoy with your children..
What It's About: A blind screenwriter -- who has changed his name and forsaken his past as a director -- recounts the story of his romance with the leading lady of his last film before he lost his eyesight. The woman (Penelope Cruz) is the wife of the film's producer, and the affair triggers a Hitchcockian labyrinth of tragedy that destroys their lives.
It's Kinda Like: Luis Bunuel in the 21st century
What We Say: Director Pedro Almodovar has made one of his most accessible films yet. It's a stylish neo-noir mystery that, despite bouncing back and forth in time via flashbacks, rewards the attentive viewer with a well-rounded story that will stick in your head long after the film concludes. Cruz's work keeps getting better, and Lluís Homar, as the screenwriter/director, is a screen presence to be reckoned with. In Spanish with English subtitles.
What It's About: Two crews of guards in an armored transport security firm decide to stage a fake heist and rob their two trucks of $42 million in cold cash. They create a foolproof plan but, like all foolproof plans, the unexpected throws them for a loop -- a witness gets killed -- and the plan quickly unravels, leading to a lot of anguish and bloodshed.
It's Kinda Like: 'Reservoir Dogs' in a Hummer
What We Say: The six guards -- headed up by Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and Laurence Fishburne -- start out as likable characters, but quickly turn nasty as their ill-gotten gain becomes threatened when one of the crew -- upset over the murder -- gets cold feet and wants to abort the action. Who do we root for: The bad-bad guys or the good-bad guys? By the time the film winds down -- with its extreme violence, explosions and noise -- who cares.
'Did You Hear About the Morgans?'
What It's About: An estranged married couple (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) witness a murder and are placed in a witness-protection program in a small Wyoming town until the killer can be caught. There, under the tutelage of a pair of diehard, all-American, gun-toting Marshalls (Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen), the pair learn to love the outdoors and laid-back country life ... until the killer comes calling.
It's Kinda Like: 'Witness' for Yuppies
What We Say: This oh-so-predictable outing uses every city vs. country cliche in the book to poke fun at its New York City leads. Right from the start, we know that the pair will learn to love rodeos, horses, shotguns and bingo, and most likely will reconcile somewhere in the third act -- after they fend off the killer. There are some cute moments, but Grant (who acts the same in virtually every movie he makes) and Parker sleepwalk through their parts.
Other New March 16 DVD Releases:
'The Fourth Kind'
'Twilight In Forks: The Saga of the Real Town.'
Check out other new March 16 DVD releases at OnVideo.