DVD reviews: 'Prometheus' and 'Rock of Ages'
“Prometheus” (2012, R, 124 min., $29.98). Billed as one of the biggest blockbusters of 2012, filmmaker Ridley Scott's “Prometheus” met expectations, providing incredible visuals, a strong cast and a promising storyline. Set up as a prequel to Scott's 1979 masterpiece “Alien,” the thriller — written by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts — follows a group of space travelers from Earth. Headed by a couple of archeologists (Noomi Rapace and Logan-Marshall-Green), a powerful CEO (Guy Pearce) and a controlling mission director (Charlize Theron), the crew takes off for the far reaches of the universe after clues on Earth point them toward another point in space. What they find on their destination planet is, at once beautiful, but, eventually, horrific. As individual members of the crew are knocked off, survival turns into the main priority for everyone involved. The film's largest faults lie in its storyline, as the picture goes off into some confusing directions in the final acts. The miscues don't take away from the feature's entertainment value, though, and “Prometheus” earns the title of summer blockbuster. The pic's available in three different packages, including four- and two-disc Blu-ray and standard DVD. Pay a little extra for the four-disc package, and you'll find more special features than you know what to do with. The two-disc set is packed, too, but doesn't equal up to a fantastic four-disc set. 3 Stars.
“Rock of Ages” (2012, PG-13, 123 min., $28.98). It's no stretch to call director Adam Shankman's musical “Rock of Ages” one of 2012's biggest busts. The film tanked at the box office, and that is a result of the final product. The story is boring and, with the exception of Tom Cruise's rocker character Stacee Jax, its characters, for the most part, just aren't interesting. The music — if you're into rock from the 1980s — is fun, as are some of the choreographed numbers, but don't expect “Moulin Rouge” or “Chicago.” Adapted from the 2006 Broadway musical of the same name from Chris D'Arienzo, “Rock of Ages” focuses on the relationship of two talented individuals (Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta) looking for their big breaks in Hollywood. They fall for each other while working at a famous rock bar called The Bourbon Room. However, success is right around the corner, and it could destroy a beautiful relationship. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin and Paul Giamatti also star. Besides an extended cut of the picture, the Blu-ray combo pack holds some nice extras. For the most part, the featurettes explore the music covered in the film, bringing in bands like Def Leppard, Poison and Foreigner. A music video and a look behind the premiere of the film also are here. A standard DVD is available, but the special features are scaled back. 2 Stars.
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982, PG, 115 min., $22.98). Steven Spielberg is a master filmmaker, with “Jaws,” “Schindler's List” and “Jurassic Park” on his resume. Though, only one — “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” — has truly captured the imaginations of children and adults, alike. It's making its debut on Blu-ray in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Out in 1982, this heart-warming picture owned the box office for 16 straight weeks. Nominated for nine Oscars, the feature follows a suburban family that finds a lost alien. After getting over the initial shock, the family bonds with E.T., and decides to help the extra-terrestrial find its path off of Earth. The only problem is the U.S. government is closing in. The picture stars Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote. For this anniversary edition, Universal has done a tremendous job with the Blu-ray transfer. The audio and video is flawless, and this endearing tale and its John Williams' score are all the better for it. The package holds some great extras. A handful of featurettes explore the phenomenon of the film and the folks who made it. The most exciting extra is “The E.T. Journals,” which retraces the production of the picture with bonus footage from the set. Deleted scenes and a look at some of the marketing for Spielberg's film are here. This film also is being rereleased on standard DVD, but extras are limited. 4 Stars.
“A Cat in Paris” (2011, PG, 62 min., $29.95). Nominated for an Oscar in the feature-length animation field, this wonderful film from France has plenty of entertainment value for the whole family. The picture follows a cat that travels with a burglar at night, but hangs out with a young girl during the day. It is available in English and French.
“The World Series: History of the Fall Classic” (2012, NR, 418 min., $39.95). From Major League Baseball Productions and A&E comes the definitive history of the World Series in a documentary narrated by Bob Costas. The film is a large undertaking, but it has more Fall Classic info than one could ever imagine.
“Shut Up and Play the Hits” (2012, NR, 108 min., $34.99). This documentary from Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern is a must-see for fans of LCD Soundsystem, as it covers the final show at Madison Square Garden by the band that was breaking up at the height of its popularity. The doc is an intimate portrait of the band's final moments.
“Bedevilled” (2010, NR, 115 min., $24.98). In this Korean film, a nice-looking woman heads to a beautiful island for a forced vacation, and befriends a young girl during her stay. Soon, she realizes that the young girl is treated like a slave on the island, and it leads them to team up to attempt to escape the island, once and for all.
“The Giant Mechanical Man” (2012, PG-13, 94 min., $26.95). Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina display some good chemistry in this feature film about two adults finding love on their own terms, as they struggle through tough lives. A great cast also stars Malin Akerman and Topher Grace in supporting roles.
“Werewolf: The Beast Among Us” (2012, R, 95 min., $29.98). Steven Bauer, Nia Peeples and Stephen Rea take lead roles in an action-packed thriller from filmmaker Louis Morneau. The picture is set in a 19th century European village, where a monstrous creature is preying on the villagers.
“The Courier” (2012, R, 99 min., $24.98). Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Til Schweiger and Mickey Rourke headline a strong cast in a thriller heavy on action. The film has a courier (Morgan) attempting to deliver a mysterious briefcase to a dangerous assassin who is not going to be easy to find.
“30 Beats” (2010, R, 89 min., $27.98). Sex is a central topic in this drama set in Manhattan in which a group of New Yorkers are gathered into a complex ring of love and desire over a few summer days. An impressive cast of actors includes Paz De La Huerta, Justin Kirk, Jennifer Tilly and Lee Pace.
“The Cottage” (2012, NR, 88 min., $19.98). Needing to rent out a cottage behind their house to make ends meet, a struggling couple with a new baby lets a charming novelist move in. Unfortunately, the writer isn't exactly who he said he was. David Arquette and Kristen Dalton take lead roles in this suspenseful thriller.
“The Barrens” (2012, R, 97 min., $26.98). Darren Lynn Bousman wrote and directed this horror feature about a man traveling into the woods of New Jersey with his family, becoming convinced that they're being stalked by the Jersey Devil. Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erik Knudsen and Allie MacDonald star.
“Something Big” (1971, NR, 108 min., $19.99). Dean Martin and Brian Keith are in lead roles for a film about a notorious bandit who's looking to make a big score. He attempts to steal a Gatling gun to get things started, but he gets caught up with the wife of the commandant of the local cavalry detachment.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“Dial M for Murder” (Grace Kelly and Ray Milland, 1954, PG, 105 min., $35.99)
“Strangers on a Train” (Farley Granger and Robert Walker, 1951, PG, 101 min., $19.98)
TV ON DVD
“Whitney: Season One” (Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia, three discs, 22 episodes, $39.98)
“Holliston: The Complete First Season” (Adam Green and Joe Lynch, two discs, six episodes, $24.98)
“Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters” (standup comedy in Savannah, Ga., NR, 80 min., $16.99)