DVD reviews: 'The Conjuring,' 'The Internship' and 'Only God Forgives'
“The Conjuring” (2013, R, 112 min., $28.98). One of the more successful films of the year, “The Conjuring” also stands as one of 2013's scariest. Directed by James Wan, the supernatural horror film tells us the tale of the Perron family, a clan of seven living in a secluded farmhouse in Rhode Island in the early ‘70s. Roger, Carolyn and their five daughters have just moved into the fixer-upper when the terror begins — unexplained bruises, slammed doors, visions and all that stuff that happens when houses are haunted by angry spirits. The incidents scare Roger and Carolyn enough to seek help, and they call on Ed and Lorraine Warren, experienced paranormal investigators. On the first trip to the Perron house, the Warrens see the dangers. Though, this terror is unlike any they've ever seen, the Warrens give the Perrons their best effort. While “The Conjuring” wanes in the final act, it's worth a look. The frights are fabulous and the tension is incredibly thick. Having a great cast — Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and Ron Livingston — also helps. Blu-ray buyers will find a few more featurettes than those picking up the standard DVD package. Yes, those extra featurettes are worth a look. 2.5 Stars
“The Internship” (2013, PG-13, 119 min., $29.98). Referring to “The Internship” as one of the worst films of 2013 is no stretch. It's a two-hour Google commercial with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson playing the same two guys they always play. The film starts with a ridiculous concept — two watch salesmen (Wilson and Vaughn) are let go when their company closes, and they try to become interns at Google. The Internet giant overlooks the fact that these two 40-somethings know little about technology, and their given a shot. From that point, “The Internship” moves into a fish-out-of-water tale. Soon enough, though, Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are proving their worth, and most of you know how this one ends. Filmmaker Shawn Levy has made a lot of bad movies, but this is one of his worst. Besides a couple of funny parts from Will Ferrell and Rob Riggle, there's nothing to see in this formulaic feature film. Special features are OK, and include a making-of featurette available on standard DVD and Blu-ray packages. Also available are commentary with Levy and an unrated version of the film. Deleted scenes are exclusive to Blu-ray packages. 1.5 Stars.
“Only God Forgives” (2013, R, 90 min., $29.98). Anyone who's seen anything from Nicolas Winding Refn knows that the filmmaker has great visual style and uses heavy amounts of violence in his pictures. “Only God Forgives” is in line his other pics, and it shows his fans that the Danish director isn't focused on selling out. Even with the commercial success of “Drive,” what was supposed to be Winding Refn's 2011 breakout hit, the filmmaker follows with another polarizing picture. The plot of “Only God Forgives” is a simple one, and it follows a quiet American (Ryan Gosling) running a gym in Bangkok. When the man's brother is killed, his difficult mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) shows up looking for vengeance. While revenge is on the man's mind, a swift act is not his best bet. A ruthless policeman (Vithaya Pansringarm) is mixed up in the murder, and that makes payback difficult. Like Winding Refn's other films, “Only God Forgives” will stick with viewers for a few days, and that amounts to deep contemplation. That's a good thing. Commentary and an interview with Winding Refn kick off the extras. Featurettes on the film's music and a look behind the scenes also are available. 3 Stars.
“The Waiting Room” (2012, NR, 81 min., $29.95). One of the more critically acclaimed documentaries from 2012, “The Waiting Room” goes behind the scenes of a public hospital in the United States that's struggling to take care of the community.
“Shepard & Dark” (2012, NR, 92 min., $29.95). Friendship is the focus of this interesting documentary that marks the directorial debut of Treva Wurmfeld. The picture tackles the relationship between Sam Shepard, a legendary playwright and actor, and Johnny Dark, a writer and archivist who made his living behind a deli counter.
“I Give It A Year” (2013, R, 97 min., $26.98). A worthwhile cast — Simon Baker, Rose Byrne, Minnie Driver, Anna Faris and Stephen Merchant — is in place for this British romantic comedy written and directed by Dan Mazer. It follows a man and woman heading for marriage, despite their undeniably wide range of differences.
“The Wall” (2012, NR, 108 min., $29.95). Austrian filmmaker Julian Polsler delivers a mind-bending movie about a woman trapped behind an invisible wall in the countryside. Stuck with her dog Lynx, the woman goes about trying to survive in an area that is totally cut off from civilization. German actress Martina Gedeck takes the lead role.
“Just Like a Woman” (2012, R, 90 min., $24.98). British actress Sienna Miller hits the road — giving up a cheating husband and her lousy life — in hopes of becoming a belly dancer. She aims toward New Mexico and a prestigious belly dancing competition, and she's traveling with an acquaintance who's carrying a dark secret.
“Red Clover” (2012, NR, 85 min., $26.98). Starring Billy Zane, Courtney Halverson and William Devane, this one is set in the town of Irish Channel, La., the site of a massacre on St. Patrick's Day more than 50 years ago. Now, the town is thinking about celebrating the holiday again, but it might come with more trouble.
TV ON DVD
“Digimon Collection: Seasons 1-4” (32 discs, 205 episodes, $229.95)
“Kindred: The Embraced, The Complete Series” (three discs, eight episodes, $39.99)
“Primeval New World: The Complete Series” (three discs, 13 episodes, $29.98)
“WWII: 3-Film Collection” (Three World War II films from the History Channel, five discs, $24.98)
“The JFK Collection” (Eight films about John F. Kennedy and his family from the History Channel, three discs, $19.98)