"THE HURT LOCKER"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Studio: Summit Entertainment

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
A U.S. Army bomb disposal unit stationed in Iraq struggles with the challenges of the last month and a half of their duties, facing dangers from road-side bombs, personality conflicts and the psychological effects of war. After their unit commander is killed in the line of duty, a new commander comes in, bucking the system and sometimes ignoring safety protocol. However, he finds himself emotionally conflicted when he becomes too close to a local kid.

WHAT I LIKED
It’s hard for someone like me to talk too much about “The Hurt Locker.” It’s a good film, don’t get me wrong. However, like many of the films up for awards this season, like “Inglourious Basterds” and “Up in the Air,” I never considered it to be fantastic.

What I appreciate most about this film is the fact that for the most part, it removes politics from the story. So many films about our current military deployments have been steeped in messages and polarizing politics. These films also tend to look down on the American soldier while trying to deliver the message. Director Kathryn Bigelow removes all that and just tells the story of the harrowing day-to-day dangers of these brave men and women.

Like most of Bigelow’s films, “The Hurt Locker” is a movie for men. It’s got suspense, explosions and plenty of tense moments. It’s not delicate by any means, and it gives an intense look into the lives of the American soldiers in Iraq.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I enjoyed this film in the theater when I first saw it, but for some reason, watching it again on home video made me antsy. It wasn’t because of the suspense, but rather because I knew how things were going to pan out. “The Hurt Locker” is best experienced for the first time because it’s a movie whose suspense works best in ignorance.

Also, after hearing the hype and even being in a group that voted this movie the best of the year (the Online Film Critics Society), I have to say that it was only a good movie... not a great one.

DVD FEATURES
For as many accolades as this movie is receiving, “The Hurt Locker” DVD comes with pretty slim special features. There’s an audio commentary with director Bigelow and writer Mark Boal. Aside from this and an image gallery, there’s only a 15-minute EPK featurette on the bonus menu.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of war drama.



"IN THE LOOP"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Studio: IFC

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After a mid-level minister in the British government tells an interviewer that the U.S. becoming involved in a war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable,” the British government goes into spin mode. Meanwhile, the underlings in the U.S. administration are making the case for and against war. The major players are off in the wings while the extended staff bickers and swears at each other, showing a satirical view of how wars in the Western world are planned and developed.

WHAT I LIKED
I may not agree politically with the filmmakers behind “In the Loop,” but dammit if they don’t tell one funny-ass story. I know that’s a rather crass and immature way to say this, but it goes perfectly with the flavor of this film.

“In the Loop” has some of the most colorful language you’ll find in any piece of cinema, rivaling movies like Kevin Smith’s “Clerks.” And this is a hilarious thing. Not only will you learn about some of the inner-workings of British government, you’ll also learn quite a bit about how to swear like a Brit.

The situational and interpersonal comedy in this movie is top notch. The characters bumble around each other like so many balls on a billiard table, and it is staggering that they manage to keep composure. I’m not sure how accurate this movie is to the reality of U.S. or U.K. government underlings, but I fear it’s closer to the truth than anyone would like to admit.

Take politics out of your viewing, and you’ll find this film to be a laugh riot.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
From the political angle, “In the Loop” definitely comes with a very partisan mindset, and as a product of the UK Film Council, it tends to make the Americans look like complete morons. Of course, this is the go-to position of any filmmaker outside of the U.S. So it goes.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD comes with a rather in-depth behind-the-scenes featurette along with deleted scenes, the trailer and TV spots.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Political junkies who want to learn how to swear like a Brit.



"THE FINAL DESTINATION 3-D"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated R
    Studio: New Line Cinema

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In this fourth installment of the popular horror franchise, another group of random teenagers narrowly escape a gruesome death. With plane crashes, highway accidents and roller coasters already covered, this time the kids get out of a stock car audience before a fiery crash kills more than fifty people. However, shortly after their escape, death creeps up on them one-by-one to take them away.

WHAT I LIKED
The first three “Final Destination” movies were guilty pleasures for myself. In fact, the third film was my favorite simply for the fact that the franchise had become self-aware at that point and started to have some real fun with the camp and gore.

This movie does deliver on the gore and violence, although the special effects people might need a refresher on a biology course. After all, when your foot gets ground to a pulp in mechanical gears, you don’t actually start bleeding from your mouth. In fact, the worst scene of the film comes from real-life incidents, in which one character’s guts are sucked out of their sphincter through a swimming pool drain. “The Final Destination” definitely delivers in the butt-clenching shiver department.

The movie is also available in both 3D and 2D, and the DVD comes with two pairs of 3D glasses. There’s a lot of gimmicks in this film, even more than the 3D flicks of the 80s like “Friday the 13th Part 3,” so it’s a little fun in that sense. But when you boil down the rest of the movie, the real reason to watch this is for the over-the-top gore and violence.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I know this is the fourth film in a series, but is it too much to ask to have a story with likeable and relateable characters. The movie just throws some warm bodies together with very little background or empathy, so as much fun as it is to watch them die, there’s no sense of dread in the hopes that anyone survives.

Having been through the story three times before, it’s hard not to repeat itself, and the movie falls into this trap. It doesn’t just rip off other movies in the genre, but it rips off the first film, specifically one of the best on-screen deaths in that film, eighty-sixing Amada Detmer’s character. Sadly, this makes the film the weakest of the bunch.

And as cool as it is to get at-home 3D, the red-green anaglyph process is so far behind the technology of in-theater 3D that it isn’t fun to watch any more.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD comes with both 3D and 2D versions of the film, with a Digital Copy of the 2D version. There are some additional scenes added to the mix, which reveal a little more gore and one long-winded monologue.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Gorehounds and 3D fanatics.




    

Click here to read more DVD reviews!

Click here to read more movie reviews!

Click here to watch films by 7M Pictures!