Captain America: The First Avenger At this point, nobody would blame you for being superheroed-out--after the X-Men, Thor and Green Lantern, Captain America closed out the genre for 2011. If you missed it in theaters though, definitely don't pass it up on DVD/BD. Director Joe Johnson brings a top-notch, retro-future aesthetic to the production design that looks terrific and suits the material to a T; the CGI effects are so good you'll wonder if Chris Evans really was that pre-Captain, 90-pound weakling Steve Rogers; and an effective storyline moves at a nice pace, never bogging down in the (rather unnecessary) romance or emphasizing lesser-known characters like these movies sometimes do. Chris Evans competently handles the role, though you wish he brought a little more humor to it.
Bookended by current-day scenes, the movie is set completely in the 1940s as Captain America, a super-soldier that emerges from experiments performed on Steve Rogers' body, goes toe-to-toe against the Nazis. First deployed as a propaganda tool in USO shows overseas, our antsy and bored hero ends up on a rescue mission behind enemy lines and encounters the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, always fun to watch), himself the result of Nazi super-soldier experiments and now head of the terrorist organization Hydra. Extras: A BD/DVD combo pack offers director commentary, seven featurettes, deleted scenes and a feature on Marvel. A standalone DVD will also be released with commentary, two featurettes and trailers.
Attack the Block This alien-siege sci-fi comedy received accolades with its UK and limited U.S. release, drawing comparisons to Shaun of the Dead (in fact, it was produced by Shaun's director, Edgar Wright) and securing cult status. First-time writer/director Joe Cornish went on to cowrite Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, and there is talk of Block getting an American remake. Extras: Three commentaries; an hour-long comprehensive making-of feature; a look at the making of the creatures; featurettes on the cast and storyboard process, more. (BD)
Winnie the Pooh Critics adored this family film that brought the fluff-stuffed cub back to the big screen for a new generation. Here, Eeyore has lost his tail and Christopher Robin comes up with an idea how to help him find it. Meanwhile, Owl misunderstands a note sent by Christopher, and sends Pooh and pals Piglet, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore off on a mistaken quest to rescue Chris from kidnappers. Vocals provided by John Cleese, Zooey Deschanel and Jim Cummings. Extras: Bonus short, "Mini-Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Balloon," "The Ballad of Nessie" animated short, 3 deleted scenes (DVD/BD/movie download); the BD adds a John Cleese-hosted behind-the-scenes feature, sing-alongs, Disney music and 5 deleted scenes.
Jurassic Park BD Trilogy We'll be posting a separate review and breakdown.
Pearl Jam Twenty Cameron Crowe directs this loving look at the grunge rock band some two decades after they hit the scene, from the pre-Eddie Vedder era in Seattle to their modern-day performances.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale St. Nick isn't such a jolly fellow in this Finnish horror story (comedy?) about an evil Santa, slaughtered reindeer, a mysterious old man and disappearing children. Happy Holidays!
Shaolin Jackie Chan makes a cameo appearance in this wushu movie about feuding warlords and monks in ancient China.