DVD reviews: 'Jack the Giant Slayer,' 'Stoker' and '21 & Over'
“Jack the Giant Slayer” (2013, PG-13, 114 min., $28.98). It was only a matter of time before this British fairy tale, from the early 1800s, made it back to the movies. Director Bryan Singer is the guiding force for “Jack the Giant Slayer,” an average film that's hurt by plodding storytelling and cartoonish CGI. Adapted from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” it follows a young man named Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who comes across some magic beans that are responsible for a gigantic beanstalk that delivers bad things to his medieval land. Jack is sent up the beanstalk with a handful of brave souls from the royal army, and what they find is a land of man-eating giants that were only thought to be part of a legend told to children before bed. What follows is a battle to save Earth from a collection of giants looking to take over. Singer and his screenwriters put a few twists on the original story, but the basic plot of the tale is the same. Hoult is joined by Eleanor Tomlinson, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci in a cast that stands as one of the picture's few positives. Much like the film, the special features are disappointing. Blu-ray buyers will find a decent interactive extra that allows a giant-slaying experience, but that's about it. Deleted scenes and a gag reel can be found on standard DVD and Blu-ray. 1.5 Stars.
“Stoker” (2013, R, 99 min., $22.98). Filmmaker Park Chan-Wook is best known as the guy behind the 2003 cult classic “Oldboy,” and it was big news when the South Korean director started working on his first English-language film, “Stoker.” The Hitchcockian thriller employs Chan-Wook's elaborate eye in telling a chilling family story that will have viewers guessing. Upon the death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska) finally meets her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), a mysterious fellow who seems smoother than most. He announces he'll stay with India and her mom (Nicole Kidman), a selfish alcoholic, until they get back on their feet. The more they get to know Charlie, though, the more they realize that something is different about him. Working off a script from Wentworth Miller, Chan-Wook delivers a fine thriller that takes advantage of some incredible cinematography, memorable performances and a well-written piece of writing. Blu-ray buyers will find some excellent extras on board, including an exclusive look inside Chan-Wook's working style. Additional featurettes explore the music, actors and settings in the film. There aren't many special features on standard DVD. 3 Stars.
“21 & Over” (2013, R, 93 min., $29.98). The writers behind the successful “Hangover” franchise got together to pen this comedy about a strait-laced college student who decides to finally have a little bit of fun. When two friends take him out for his 21st birthday, it becomes a night that none of them will ever forget.
“Movie 43” (2013, R, 94 min., $29.98). A large collection of directors — Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, Brett Ratner to name a few — and actors — Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Emma Stone, Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman for starters — worked to make this original, yet underachieving comedy that flopped in theaters.
“Let My People Go!” (2013, NR, 86 min., $29.99). A big winner on the festival circuit, director Mikael Buch's French comedy follows the goings on of mailman in Finland with his boyfriend. All is going well until the mailman is exiled back to his homeland of France because of a lovers quarrel.
“The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse” (2013, R, 88 min., $19.98). There seems to be a zombie-centered film coming out each week, and filmmaker Justin Paul Ritter's animated film has the latest honors. Based on an underground comic series, this one follows a zombie focused on saving the world.
“Justin Bieber: Always Believing” (2013, NR, 70 min., $7.98). Fans of pop star Justin Bieber will want to pick up this unauthorized documentary that envelops the performer's career. Featuring insights from celebrities such as Usher, Drake, Sean Kingston and Nicki Minaj, this is a comprehensive look at Bieber's growth from YouTube star to icon.
TV ON DVD
“Rectify: The Complete First Season” (Aden Young and Abigail Spencer, two discs, six episodes, $29.98)
“Workaholics: Season Three” (Blake Anderson and Adam Devine, three discs, 20 episodes, $19.99)
“Web Therapy: The Complete Second Season” (Lisa Kudrow and Meryl Streep, two discs, 12 episodes, $19.98)
“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” (Dana Delaney and Jeri Ryan, three discs, 13 episodes, $39.99)