The Help (Blu-ray) Criticize This! Pick of the Week – Based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a look at 1960s Mississippi from the viewpoint of Skeeter (Emma Stone), an educated, young white woman who sympathizes with the black maids she sees being treated poorly by the ladies she associates with. She wants to tell their side of the story, and goes against her friends, and the law, in order to convince these women to trust her and open up to her. When they do, it’s a wake-up call as to how prejudiced the community she grew up in is. With great performances by Stone, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is one of the most surprising films of the year and is sure to become a classic. The Blu-ray release has a clean image and wonderful sound mix but is not required viewing for this movie. Special features include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and more. A regular DVD is also included. Film **** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
The Hangover Part II (Blu-ray) - Did you like The Hangover? Do you want to see the same guys get even more messed up and do more ridiculously stupid crap? If you answered yes to these questions you are more than likely going to love The Hangover Part II. If not, avoid it like the plague because it’s more of the same from the original film. Having seen the film a few times now, I still find it funny and enjoyable even if it is just a redo of the first. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha all reprise their roles. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great but is nothing to write home about. Special features include a gag reel, making-of “documentary”, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy of the film are also included. Film *** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
Cowboys & Aliens (Blu-ray) – No matter how much I love watching Olivia Wilde strut her stuff on screen, or how big a fan of Harrison Ford I am, or how much I enjoy Jon Favreau’s directing style, I cannot stand it when Hollywood tries to mix the western genre with the science-fiction genre. It just becomes a big cheesy mess, and Cowboys & Aliens is more proof of this and falls into the same category as Back to the Future Part III and Wild Wild West. That said, if you are a fan of the film the Blu-ray is very good quality and is visually and audibly impressive. Special features include an extended cut of the film, audio commentary with Favreau, making-of featurettes, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy of the film are included as well. Film ** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
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Top image: A scene from The Help. Courtesy Walt Disney Home Entertainment.