DVD reviews: 'Iron Man 3,' 'Room 237' and 'Redemption'
“Iron Man 3” (2013, PG-13, 130 min., $29.99). New director, no problem. “Iron Man 3” kept in step with its predecessors, owning the box office this summer behind the direction of Pittsburgh native Shane Black. The film did very well, and most of that goes to Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Tony Stark. The third film in the franchise is a dramatic improvement over the second, but it still falls short of the initial 2008 picture. There's not much to be had here in character or plot development, but that's to be expected in popcorn pics like this. What's disappointing about “Iron Man 3” is that it doesn't take any real chances along the superhero genre. Thankfully, Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley add some pop to the usual fair. The plot follows Stark, as he takes on a new villain named The Mandarin. His new nemesis takes everything from Stark, so the billionaire genius has to build himself up again, in an effort to save the day. Fans of the film would be wise to pick up the Blu-ray version of the film for the special effects alone. Another bonus is a sizable collection of special features that include a couple good featurettes, deleted scenes, commentary and a gag reel. 2 Stars.
“Room 237” (2012, NR, 102 min., $27.98). Fans of the Stanley Kubrick's 1980 psychological horror picture “The Shining,” or any of the filmmaker's other features, will get a kick out of “Room 237,” an interesting documentary from Rodney Ascher. Different folks take different meanings from movies, and that's never been more clear than it is with Ascher's study of “The Shining,” a flick that's been described as ambiguous. Fans of Kubrick's movie are interviewed here, and they give their takes, ranging from “The Shining” connecting to the genocide of the American Indian to the Holocaust to the Apollo 11 moon landing. Through movie clips, these experts identify ties to these events, and, while most of them are ludicrous, there are a couple that have some momentum. The documentary is a fun watch, especially for those that have watched “The Shining” a few times. For those that haven't seen “The Shining,” “Room 237” won't hold the same kind of impact. Standard DVD and Blu-ray packages carry the same special features, and they include 11 deleted scenes, a panel discussion on the movie and its meanings, a music featurette and commentary. 3 Stars.
“Redemption” (2013, R, 100 min., $19.98). Jason Statham is known as an action star, but he also has the potential to play characters with lots of layers. In “Redemption,” a picture written and directed by Steven Knight, the British actor tries to do both. Statham shows lots of range here, but the movie isn't good. “Redemption” has an identity crisis — between action flick and drama — and it's bogged down with cliches and characters we've seen too many times. It's unfortunate because Statham is on his game. The film follows a former Royal Marine named Joey (Statham) who's living on the streets after his time served in Afghanistan. One night, Joey falls into an open apartment, and he finds out the owner won't be back for a few months. He assumes the man's identity, and tries to clean up his life. Unfortunately, he falls into a job in the London underground as an enforcer. He uses his connections to find out who killed a homeless friend, and faces a tough decision on revenge. A decent making-of featurette is the only offering. The extra is available on standard DVD and Blu-ray. 1.5 Stars.
“V/H/S/2” (2013, R, 1996, $26.98). A followup to the successful 2012 hit “V/H/S,” “V/H/S/2” follows the same horror guidelines. Directors of movies such as “Hobo With a Shotgun,” “The Blair Witch Project” and “The Raid” take their turns at delivering chilling chapters to a film that takes the framed narrative to the next terrifying level.
“The Kings of Summer” (2013, R, 95 min., $30.99). A fresh-faced cast — Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias — takes its place in a coming-of-age comedy about a group of teen friends who decide to build a house in the woods and live off the land. The experience gives each of the friends a better understanding of the importance of family.
“Fill the Void” (2012, PG, 90 min., $30.99). A film festival favorite written and directed by Rama Burshtein, this picture explore the dynamics of a Jewish family in the midst of a tragedy. A young woman's prepared marriage is thrown off when her sister dies in childbirth. Now, instead of marrying a promising groom, she faces the prospect of taking her late sister's husband.
“Unfinished Song” (2012, PG-13, 93 min., $24.98). Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave team up to star in a film written and directed by Andrew Williams. The picture follows a grumpy old man (Stamp) who's introduced to a local singing group by his wife (Redgrave). Initially, the man resists, but eventually, he finds a deep love for music that he never knew he had.
“In the House” (2012, R, 105 min., $24.98). Popular French filmmaker Francois Ozon churns out another beauty with this picture about a teacher who becomes infatuated with a story one of his students has turned in. The further the teacher gets into the story, the more chance there's going to be trouble. Kristin Scott Thomas and Fabrice Luchini have starring roles.
“Blood of Redemption” (2013, NR, 85 min., $19.98). Dolph Lundgren, Billy Zane and Vinnie Jones jump into the action-packed “Blood of Redemption,” a movie about a man who's set up for the murder of his father. Once he's released from jail, Quinn (Zane) takes to the streets with his loyal henchman Axel (Lundren), and they're looking for some revenge.
“Barabbas” (2012, NR, 200 min., $19.97). Picking up where the Bible left off, this spirited picture tracks the movements of Barabbas — played by Billy Zane — who was sentenced to die along with Jesus, before being released by Roman emperor Pontius Pilate. Barabbas looks for redemption in a life that was spared at the cost of Jesus Christ's death.
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