If you, like many others, opted out of The Golden Compass while it was in theaters, never fear; your chance to watch it at home has arrived. Then again, instead of picking up that or the underwhelming wedding rom-com 27 Dresses, you could go for the wondrous, Oscar-nominated Diving Bell and the Butterfly. More new releases inside.
Set in a fantastical alterna-universe with talking bears and animal BFFs, The Golden Compass seemed so promising in its epic story of a young girl battling a sinister organization. And though it’s fun to label New Line’s costly adaptation of Philip Pullman’s series a major disappointment, it nearly doubled its $180 million budget in foreign sales — yet, who knows if any sequels will be made? Now’s your chance to catch the Brit fantasy adventure on DVD.
Go for the two-disc edition for writer/director Chris Weitz’s commentary track (is the Magesterium a stand-in for the Catholic Church?) and a whopping eleven featurettes.
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Whose bright idea was it to turn every single woman’s most hated saying into a romantic comedy? James Marsden — who almost never gets the girl — is a reporter who wants to write about the world’s busiest matron of honor (Katherine Heigl). Heigl, whose career lows include starring opposite Gerard Depardieu in My Father, the Hero and appearing in the lowest-grossing movie in recent memory (Zzyxx Road, which earned $30 at the box office. Yes, $30.) should have been able to turn her Knocked Up and Grey’s Anatomy successes into something more.
Four featurettes and deleted scenes come with the release.
Fun fact: 27 Dresses features tons of actually great songs from the likes of Justice, Regina Spektor, Feist, Bloc Party, and Amy Winehouse.
Not so fun fact: None of the above appear on the soundtrack, which is all instrumental.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Now here’s a must-see film. Katherine Heigl thinks being single is tough? Try being totally paralyzed, save for one eyeball, and blinking out your memoirs. Such is the real-life story of magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, whose autobiography became the basis of artist Julian Schnabel’s incredibly haunting film of the same name.
An otherwise standard behind-the-scenes video is especially fascinating with Diving Bell, thanks to the inventive ways Schnabel chose to film from Bauby’s first-person perspective (for example, watching doctors sew Bauby’s eyelid shut — from the inside!). If you’re one to appreciate imaginative filmmaking and cinematography, the bonus menu should be fairly fascinating.
Unlike teen dancing flicks Step Up and You Got Served (and more like the excellent Stomp the Yard), this urban tale blends eye-popping choreography with some semblance of plot. Set in Toronto’s gritty immigrant ghetto (Who knew Canada had ghettos — or street dancing!) How She Move centers on a female step dancer (the ripped, American newbie Rutina Wesley) who joins a crew to pay for college.
Character and rehearsal featurettes are the most spectacular offerings on this release. What, no dance-along tutorial? Put in High School Musical 2 instead.
Oh, Dolph Lundgren; what hath time wrought? The heir-apparent to the Steven Seagal-Chuck Norris subgenre of low-budget cheesy action is back again with another direct-to-video film — which we wouldn’t normally cover here, but Lundgren is the man: a 6’5″ blonde Swedish blackbelt with a master’s degree in chemical engineering who chose a life of cheapo chopsocky stardom making flicks with titles like Hidden Agenda, Direct Action, and now, Diamond Dogs.
You can watch a making-of featurette (hey, it’s more than last week’s One Missed Call offered), but let’s get back to Lundgren. Diamond Dogs, besides sharing its name with David Bowie’s 1974 glam concept album, is Lundgren’s 18th straight direct-to-DVD movie. He hasn’t been in a theatrical release since 1996’s Silent Trigger. We may never see him on the big screen again.