Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Blu-ray) Pick of the Week – Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) is an inspired young scientist who lives on Swallow Falls – a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (or under the “A” in “Atlantic” on a map). Flint is famous for inventions-gone-wrong (spray-on shoes that can’t be removed and a robotic television set that runs away are two of his finest). That is until Flint tries his hand at his latest invention – a machine that turns water into food – and it actually works! Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is definitely a movie geared towards a young audience but that’s not to say adults won’t like it. There is some great dialogue and visual gags and I actually found it to be more enjoyable than other recent animated fare like 9, Monsters vs. Aliens and even Pixar’s Up. This is a smart movie that the whole family will enjoy and it looks dazzling on Blu-ray. Special features include extended scenes, a featurette on the voice cast, commentary with Bill Hader, an interactive “Splat” button that allows you to throw food at the screen while watching the movie, a regular DVD and digital copy (for PSP only) of the film, plus more. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
Julia – Tilda Swinton plays Julia, an alcoholic with nothing much going for her. When she attempts to extort money from a wealthy businessman by kidnapping his 10-year-old grandson, she soon finds herself in a heap of trouble. The businessman is a connected drug trafficker and when Julia ends up in Tijuana, things spiral out of control and she finds herself having to protect the boy. Swinton gives one of her best performances in Julia, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she got an Oscar nomination for it. No special features. Film *** DVD * (out of 5 stars).
The Final Destination 3-D (Blu-ray) – A group of young adults are saved from dying in a terrible accident at a car race after one of the them has a premonition of the crash. Death comes lurking soon after and one-by-one they begin to die in grotesque scenarios. Sound familiar? It’s the same premise as the other three films in the Final Destination series, and this takes the cake for being the worst of the bunch. Horrible acting and script aside, the film is fun when watched in 3-D. The 2-D version (which is included as well) is painful to sit through and I don’t recommend trying. Special features include an exclusive look at the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, two alternate endings, additional scenes, a regular DVD and digital copy of the film, plus more. Film ** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
Dogtown and Z-Boys (Blu-ray) – Documentary about a group of California skateboarders in the ’70s known as the Z-Boys. The film showcases their rise to fame and how they changed the sport of skateboarding everywhere. Narrated by Sean Penn and directed by pro-boarder Stacy Peralta (who was also one of the Z-Boys), this is one of the most intriguing pieces on the subject, melding vintage footage with interviews of the people who lived it and the people they inspired. Although most of the footage is from old Super8 cameras, the Blu-ray release is clean and the 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix is beautifully done. Special features include commentary with Peralta, alternate ending, a deleted scene, The State of Pool Skaters with Tony Alva and Bucky Lasek, raw skateboarding footage, plus more. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
Shuttle - After returning to Los Angeles from a Mexican vacation, Mel (Peyton List) and Jules (Cameron Goodman) hop in a shuttle bus to get home. It’s late at night and there are only three other people on the bus with them (two young men and one weaselly accountant). The driver takes a detour through a bad part of town and soon the five passengers are on a ride from hell. Shuttle is a dark, twisted horror film that falls into the category of other gross, violent films like Hostel and Turistas. Although better than I expected, it’s still not worth watching. Special features include deleted scenes, casting sessions, and a behind the scenes featurette. Film ** DVD ** (out of 5 stars).
More New DVD releases this week: The Green Berets (Blu-ray), The Hip Hop Project, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures – The Complete Series, Big Love: The Complete Third Season, Chuck: The Complete Second Season