Film & TV

A Slice of 'Pi' in India

Sandip Roy

The color and visual spendor of India tends to overwhelm any film that is set in India. And Life of Pi is no exception. Ang Lee pretty much admits as much to DNA when he says “the country overwhelms you, with the warmth, the culture and its beauty”. Even in the hands of a director as astute as him, India feels over saturated, wide-eyed and eye-popping, prone to fortune cookie maxim. It’s a striking contrast to the richly detailed but so much more atmospheric Shanghai he created for Lust, Caution. That felt epic and intimate at the same time. This India feels Amar Chitra Katha – bold colors without much shading.

‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ “Hope Springs’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Perhaps the greatest thing about “The Dark Knight Rises” is it doesn’t feel like a sequel. Rather, it plays as the thrilling and natural conclusion to an epic trilogy. The movie is set eight years after “The Dark Knight,” and Batman (Christian Bale) is in exile, having been wrongly accused of murder. In addition, the man behind the mask, Bruce Wayne, is living as an eccentric recluse, beaten and battered from his years fighting crime.   

Sex, Murder and Insanity: ‘American Horror Story’ Delivers on All Counts

Suzanne Scacca

“American Horror Story: Asylum” premiered on November 17 of this year and appears to  lack the focus that the first season possessed.  Briarcliff Mental Institution – the insane asylum where this year’s story takes place – is the singular location, but the set of characters established as the focal point seem to be built on the thin side.  With the announcement earlier this year that the show was to be continued as an anthology, excitement and momentum built around the fact that many of the actors from Season 1 were to be cast in entirely different roles.  

‘Men in Black 3,’ ‘ParaNorman,’ ‘Lawless’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Once again, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star as agents J and  K, government employees who police the many alien beings living amongst us on earth. Only this time, Jones doesn’t get much screen time because the plot centers on a diabolical alien who travels back to the 1960s to assassinate his character.  In order to set things right, agent J also travels to the past, meeting a younger version of K (Josh Brolin) in the process. 

‘Expendables 2,’ Quentin Tarantino Collection Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Sylvester Stallone’s 2010 “Expendables” movie was nothing more than an excuse to cram about a dozen action stars into a single film. Because of this, plotting and characterization played second fiddle to both the names on the marquis and the on-screen explosions. For “The Expendables 2,” Stallone had a hand in the screenplay, but he gave directorial control to Simon West (“Con Air,” “The Mechanic”). 

‘Savages,’ ‘Brave’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Although once viewed as a can’t-miss director, Oliver Stone’s projects have been spotty in recent years, and it’s been more than a decade since he produced a truly extraordinary film. Still, his long-term track record makes any project he helms worthy of attention.  With “Savages,” Stone doesn’t recapture his glory days, but he does deliver a solid crime thriller that blends good performances with a compelling, albeit far-fetched, story. 

Skyfall: Anglophilia in the Age of Globalization

John McGovern

The latest Bond film Skyfall fills viewer’s heads with delectable, admirable views of what it means to be British. There are plenty of other explanations as to why Bond films are adored by American audiences. But some of that success must be credited to the long tradition of Anglophilia in America. The American expansionist impulse has a connection to the love of Englishness, as the United States inherited, more or less, the role of the great imperial power from Britain. 

'Amazing Spider-Man,’ ‘Arthur Christmas’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

It’s only been five years since director Sam Raimi wrapped his take on the Spider-Man comic book character. Still, Sony decided that was long enough to merit a complete franchise reboot. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” directed by Marc Webb, returns to the origins of the character, explaining how an average kid named Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) acquired remarkable, spider-like powers. The film also gives Peter a new love interest, the beautiful Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), daughter of New York City police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary). 

‘The Campaign,’ ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

As we move closer to one of the most contentious presidential elections in memory, the country is ready to let off some steam and laugh. “The Campaign” not only provides that opportunity, it produces its chuckles while delivering a well-deserved skewering of the American political process. The film centers on Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), a long-term politician who has grown accustomed to running unopposed. 

‘Magic Mike,’ ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Director Steven Soderbergh’s eclectic filmography includes everything from star-studded blockbusters (“Ocean’s Eleven”) to limited-release biopics (“Che”), and he’s more than happy to juggle genres. That makes him the perfect person to helm a film about a male stripper who can’t wean himself from the perks of the job. With “Magic Mike,” Soderbergh delivers a movie with enough star power and flash to satisfy the masses but an emotional center that’s rooted in the style of his independent efforts. 

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