National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

DVD Picks & Passes 10.18.2009

BY Steven D. Greydanus

October 18-24, 2009 Issue | Posted 10/9/09 at 2:57 PM

 

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Peanuts: 1970’s Collection, Vol. 1

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)


Maybe it could go without saying, but it’s the biggest film of the year, so let’s be clear: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, new this week on DVD, represents everything that is wrong with Hollywood today. It’s loud, violent, trashy, chaotic, senseless, overlong, and exists solely to extend and exploit the marketability of a line of toy robots. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Warner Home Video follows its July release of the Peanuts 1960’s Collection with Peanuts 1970’s Collection, Vol 1.

Two of the six episodes are new to DVD: “Play it Again, Charlie Brown,” focusing on Lucy’s unrequited love for piano-pounding Schroeder, and “It’s a Mystery, Charlie Brown,” in which Snoopy investigates the riddle of Woodstock’s missing nest.

There are two holiday episodes, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown,” both previously released in their own DVD editions, along with “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” and “There’s No Time for Love, Charlie Brown.”

The set includes one extra, an all-new featurette on Snoopy’s pal Woodstock. As with the 1960s’ set, bonus features previously offered on earlier DVD editions are missing (completists tear your hair out).

New from Criterion, Mira Nair’s exuberant art-house crowd-pleaser Monsoon Wedding is one feel-good film about family that earns its good will honestly. Rather than glossing over the messiness of family life, Nair suggests that, however exasperating or dysfunctional one’s family may be, family remains very close to the center of things.

Set in contemporary New Delhi, it’s a wedding story that juxtaposes not only two families, but East and West, tradition and modernity. It’s also a feast for the eyes, from miles of marigold garlands and swirling silk to the bride’s elaborately henna-painted hands.

The disparate tones and moods include broad comedy, sickening scandal, extravagant romanticism, culture criticism, and rousing song and dance. The trappings may be unfamiliar, but the feelings are universal.

Extras include audio com-mentary by Nair, an interview with Nair and star Naseeruddin Shah, and six short films by the director.

Gene Wilder fans take note: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is new on Blu-ray. A nostalgic favorite for some, Willy Wonka aspires to the whimsy and fantasy of The Wizard of Oz but somehow doesn’t capture the magic.


Content advisory: Peanuts: 1970’s Collection, Vol. 1: Nothing problematic. Fine family viewing. Monsoon Wedding: An adulterous affair and a discreetly depicted sexual encounter (nothing explicit); some crude dialogue. Mature viewing. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Brief disturbing imagery. Okay family viewing.