He…is…Beowulf! Robert Zemeckis’ latest CGI hero leads the charge among this week’s new releases – get those pause buttons ready for Angelina’s nude scene, fellas! – but we’ve also got the latest from Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited), a new adventure starring DC’s favorite superheroes (Justice League – The New Frontier), and vampires in the snow (30 Days of Night).
No other title new to DVD this week comes close to achieving Beowulf-scale buzz; the Robert Zemeckis CGI-fest, about the titular epic hero and his battle with a demon and her hideous offspring, is a home video enthusiast’s dream. Sweeping landscapes and surprisingly excellent camera work enhance the centerpiece of this techno-forward project: namely, its near-lifelike motion captured performances by the likes of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and, yes, a nude Angelina Jolie. Pick up the unrated director’s cut, and if you’re so equipped, watch it in HD-DVD.
Wes Anderson fans will feel instantly familiar with his latest film, about three estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody) on a soul-searching train trek across India; as with The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, and, let’s face it, each one of Anderson’s films, The Darjeeling Limited is imbued with a quirky sensibility, meticulous art design, a hipster-ready soundtrack, and a Wilson brother.
David Boreanaz as The Green Lantern? Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash? A bizarre, but star-studded voice cast brings to life everyone’s favorite DC superheroes in this new animated movie, based on the comics miniseries. Featuring Golden Age characters like Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), Superman (Kyle MacLachlan), Batman (Jeremy Sisto), and Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer), The New Frontier DVD boasts a bevy of special features, including a ten-minute preview of the next DC/Warner Bros. animated film, Batman: Gotham Knight.
Based on the popular graphic novel of the same name, 30 Days of Night has something for everyone: vampires, a clever set up, and Josh Hartnett! OK, maybe the gory thrills aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but critics say it’s a decent, if erratic, pic for fans of the bloodsucker genre. Region 2 buyers get a bonus graphic novel, but stateside fans will have to settle for eight featurettes and a commentary track.
Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman turns his attention to Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard), who becomes witness to shifting politics and religion as his muse (Natalie Portman) is held prisoner by the Spanish Inquisition. Recent Oscar winner Javier Bardem rounds out the cast as Brother Lorenzo, a conflicted priest whose life is irrevocably intertwined with Goya’s, but even a handful of Oscar winners and real thespians couldn’t save this period pic from suffering the collective sigh of disappointment among critics.