The Blu-ray avalanche continues!
All titles below are newly available in the high-definition Blu-ray format and also available in standard DVD.
Elf (2003): Will Ferrell and Bob Newhart generate enough good will to keep this reasonably sweet, good-natured holiday fantasy afloat. Mild objectionable language and rude humor; back story involving an out-of-wedlock birth. Okay for older kids.
Ice Age & Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2002-2006): The odd-trio charm of Blue Sky Studio’s computer-animated first film has aged well. Ice Age 2 isn’t as good, but brilliant slapstick from Scrat the squirrel almost makes up for it. Some cartoon menace and combat; a few off-screen deaths; mild crude humor and innuendo. Fine family viewing.
Juno (2007): The value of life and the selfishness of divorce are seen in sharp relief in this sharp, perceptive comedy about unwed pregnancy, which starts out abrasively crass, but gradually reveals a more thoughtful and insightful side. A brief sexual encounter (no explicit nudity); much crass language; references to divorce and remarriage. Mature viewing.
March of the Penguins (2005): Morgan Freeman’s laid-back narration highlights the emotional appeal of this crowd-pleasing story of almost-human parental sacrifice, separation and reunion among penguins. Documentary frankness about the harsh realities of penguin life. Fine family viewing.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003): Rousing, thoughtful seafaring adventure for grown-ups, Peter Weir’s Patrick O’Brian adaptation eschews Hollywood dumbing-down, allowing its 19th-century heroes to talk and think like men of their time. Bloody scenes of battle violence and field surgery; a suicide; somewhat profane language, a couple of rude jokes and brief obscenity. Mature viewing.
Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007): Sam Raimi’s overtly comic-booky Spider-Man movies are full of pulp-style moral lessons: power and responsibility, sacrifice and forgiveness. Stylized, sometimes intense, comic-book violence; mild profanity, fleeting crude language and sensuality. Teens and up.
The Brave One (2007): What were they thinking? Neil Jordan directs a ham-fistedly manipulative vigilante thriller about Jodie Foster living in idyllic peace in New York City until her fiancé is savagely murdered. Suddenly, every slimeball wants to bludgeon, shoot, molest, mutilate or enslave her. I hate it when that happens. Much graphic violence; brief but strong sexuality; depraved sexual menace; repeated obscene, profane and crude language.
Ghost Rider (2007): Nic Cage stars in a lame comic-book movie about war in hell and a stunt biker possessed by a demon of vengeance. As usual, the powers of heaven are nowhere to be seen. Stylized action-movie demonic imagery, including several gruesome supernatural killings, occasional obscene language and a couple of instances of profanity.
Happy Feet (2006): This is the family penguin movie to skip. Cute computer animation, saucy pop lyrics, anti-religion/authority/tradition themes and a coy coming-out subtext. Yuck. Mild innuendo and sexual references; mild menace; anti-religious themes.
Training Day (2001): A blistering performance by Denzel Washington as a bad cop can’t save this flawed, formulaic, excessively brutal action thriller. Brutal violence; much menace; constant obscenity and profanity; sexual amorality and brief full nudity; drug-related themes.