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RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Oz the Great and Powerful and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Plus, the serious side of Dwayne Johnson, a bizarre indie from Quentin Dupieux, and a Bruce Lee classic.

by | June 11, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got another trip to Oz, a revisionist take on an old fairy tale, a crime thriller with a message, and a strange journey to find a lost dog. Then, we’ve got some notable reissues, including a 40th anniversary Blu-ray of a Bruce Lee classic and a handful of animated Disney films. See below for the full list.



Oz the Great and Powerful

59%

Only in this great age of reboots and prequels would one dare to make a film about the events that preceded those of another film that first debuted more than 70 years ago. With Oz the Great and Powerful, Disney and Sam Raimi did just that, telling the story of one Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a carnival con man who is spirited away to the magical land of Oz by a rogue tornado. Upon arrival, Oscar is heralded as a great wizard of prophecy and, with the help of some unlikely allies, sets about ridding Oz of evil, eventually earning his place at the throne where, some years later, a little girl from Kansas would visit. Critics felt Oz the Great and Powerful packed just enough eye-popping visuals and clever nods to the original to keep things interesting; it was always unlikely it would live up to the grandeur of the 1939 film and its source material, but at 60%, it’ll probably serve as sufficient family entertainment for an evening.



Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

15%

Since fairy tales just aren’t edgy enough these days, some folks have set out to make them a bit more palatable to the cool kids; last year Snow White had her day as a warrior, and next week we’ll be talking about a giant-slaying Jack. Today, though, we’ve got an alternate take on the two innocent babes who once found themselves at the mercy of a cannibalistic witch in the woods. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters finds the titular brother and sister duo (Jeremey Renner and Gemma Arterton) all grown up and established as famous vigilantes. Little do they know that a powerful witch named Muriel (Famke Janssen) who knows secrets about their past is targeting them for a powerful ritual that will grant her great power. H&G: Witch Hunters is probably exactly what its director, Tommy Wirkola, wanted it to be — it’s violent and over-the-top — but that wasn’t enough for critics, who found it far too schizophrenic in tone to be effective.



Snitch

56%

Dwayne Johnson can do brawny action, and he can do broad comedy; can he find similar success in a more thoughtful, subdued thriller? In Snitch, Johnson plays John Matthews, a construction company owner whose son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is set up to take the fall on a drug charge. Knowing his son may not survive the minimum 10-year prison term, John strikes a deal with a US attorney (Susan Sarandon) to go undercover and help bust a dangerous dealer in exchange for a reduced sentence. Snitch sits just shy of Fresh at 58%, but Dwayne Johnson isn’t what kept it from getting there; for the most part, critics bought his performance. Where the film fails is in its lackluster storytelling and its inability to balance its too-earnest message with the more typical elements of an action film. Still, 58% isn’t a terrible score, so it might be worth checking out.



Wrong

67%

Director Quentin Dupieux’s last film was about an abandoned car tire that comes to life and blows things up via telekinesis to attract the attention of a beautiful woman, so when we say that his latest effort, Wrong, is more “normal,” we’re being liberal with our diction. Jack Plotnik plays Dolph Springer, an everyman with a bad case of denial… about everything. He’s been fired from his job, but he shows up for work every day anyway, sitting in the only office in the building where it rains (or is it even really raining?). When his beloved dog disappears, Dolph set out to find him, meanwhile making attempts to contact him telepathically, and he makes a handful of unusual friends along the way. Dupieux seems to revel in the absurd, and while Wrong‘s plot takes a lot of strange detours, most critics found the film a clever abstraction. If you don’t mind spending some time on a meandering journey with people who also don’t seem to mind that it’s meandering, or a bit weird, then Wrong might be for you. Below, you can check out an exclusive clip featuring the cast and crew talking about the film:

Also available this week:

  • Dead Man’s Burden (76%), starring Clare Bowen in a slow-burning western thriller about a frontier woman and her husband dealing with the sudden reappearance of her brother, whom she presumed dead.
  • As usual, the Criterion Collection has another solid release: Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Wild Strawberries (94%), about an old professor who contemplates his life in flashbacks and surreal fantasy sequences en route to accept an honorary degree.
  • A newly remastered 40th Anniversary Edition of the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon (95%), which includes much of the content from the previous Blu-ray release, plus some brand new extras.
  • As they’ve done before, Disney is releasing Blu-ray double packs of some of its “lesser” animated films and their direct-to-DVD sequels, including Lilo and Stitch (86%), The Emperor’s New Groove (85%), and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (49%).

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