Media | A2Q Archives | A2Q #49: The "Hands Free" Edition | July 29, 2008: Welcome to this week's home video release highlights, a column tragically focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world. Region locks are the home video industry's way of saying they still don't understand the Internet.

Roundup by VsRobot | Posted July 29, 2008

Out This Week

Dark City
Visually splendid -- and not just because Jennifer Connelly co-stars -- Dark City is a science-fiction mind-bender set in a dystopian alternate world that borrows aesthetics both from the past and from our imagined future. Noir by way of Metropolis, Dark City is a rare treat: A thinking fan's movie that works equally well as pure spectacle.

Another dystopia, this time set in a future where a rapidly propagating, 100% lethal virus has been contained by quarantining the entire country of Scotland -- with some people still trapped inside. This harsh plan works for thirty years, until the virus reappears in London and the corrupt government sends Rhona Mitra into the quarantined zone to find out how the survivors there managed to outlive the virus. Survivors whose very existence has been kept secret by the mustache-twirling villains in the UK government.

Once inside the hot zone, Rhona finds that Scotland has degenerated into anarchy in the absence of government. She and her team are immediately set-upon my Mad Max look-a-likes who want to, uh, eat them. Opposing the Max faction is a Renaissance Fair faction who inhabit Scotland's ancient castles and dress in suits of armor. Naturally, both factions want to kill Mitra, and lots of gory, '80s-popcorn-flick-style action ensues. Not as fun as you might hope based on this description, but decent enough, with some quality set-pieces. Plus, Rhona Mitra does an excellent job as action heroine, which is good news for Underworld fans seeing as she stars in the next chapter of that series.

Never Back Down
Take the "troubled teen is good at one thing but the authority figures don't approve but he/she proves them wrong in the end" formula, but instead or rapping or dancing or driving make the skill fighting. The kids like that UFC stuff these days, right?

Lost Boys 2: The Tribe
Two '80s classics get direct-to-video sequels this week. (The other is a War Games sequel which isn't available on Blu-ray). While I doubt either movie is any good, let's hope that they are taking more care with the just-announced Tron sequel.

WHO AM I KIDDING? Did you guys see that trailer? TR2N looks amazing. The light-cycle animations are faithful to the original but take advantage of the current state of CG graphics. Jeff Bridges, unlike the Coreys of The Lost Boys, isn't a "Surreal Life" cast member trying to regain past glories -- he doesn't need to do TR2N to make his mortgage payments. After The Dark Knight, I was feeling very melancholy that there wasn't anything of equal stature in the near future to pin my hopes and dreams on -- but now there is TR2N, and life is worth living again.

Shine a Light
I don't cover most documentaries or concert films, but this one was directed by Martin Scorsese, so it arrives on home video with a little bit more impact than most.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanomo
...the answer to the question "When was the only time most of America's youth cared about (or even thought about) Guantanomo Bay?"

Now that Blu-ray has reached the point where the vast majority of notable new releases are released on both Blu-ray disc and standard DVD day-and-date with each other, it doesn't make sense to keep the two formats separated in the column. I certainly won't ignore any notable releases that aren't on Blu-ray, but I'm not going to cover the movies that are on Blu-ray twice. This portion of the column, with the multi-title image, will mainly be a wrap-up section for catalog titles or Blu-ray releases I don't have anything to say about in the main part of the column.


Cover art courtesy of Amazon. I've been up for hours, and hours, and hours, and the night never ends here. Follow me on Twitter. You can also e-mail me at vsrobot [dot] blog [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!