National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

DVD Picks 02.13.2011

BY Steven D. Greydanus

Register Film Critic

February 13-26, 2011 Issue | Posted 2/4/11 at 1:33 PM


Blu-ray/DVD: Secretariat (2010)

Blu-ray/DVD: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Blu-ray: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Blu-ray: An Affair to Remember (1951)

Shaun the Sheep: Spring Shena-a-a-anigans (2010)

Secretariat blends Golden Age Christian piety with Disney uplift in its retelling of the story of the greatest racehorse in history and the strong-willed housewife who believed in him.

Diane Lane is excellent as Penny Chenery, who makes her own inroads into the male-dominated Thoroughbred world, saving the family ranch and guiding Secretariat to his historic Triple Crown victory. The terrific cast includes John Malkovich, James Cromwell, Scott Glenn and Fred Thompson.

Screenwriter Mike Rich (The Rookie) and director Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) are both Christians, and they bring the big emotions and sincere sentiment they’re known for. Those who say Hollywood doesn’t make them like this anymore shouldn’t miss Secretariat.

Also available from Disney in a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD edition, the classic animated Alice in Wonderland celebrates its 60th anniversary. Curious-er than the rest of Disney’s classic output, Alice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but at least it evinces Disney’s long-standing affection for the source material, unlike last year’s live-action evisceration from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.

Shaun the Sheep! He’s Shaun the Sheep! The second installment of seven Season 2 episodes (following Party Animals), Shaun the Sheep: Spring Shena-a-a-anigans gives little Timmy a starring role in “Spring Lamb” and “Supersize Timmy” (Timmy also stars in a bonus feature, an episode from his spin-off series Timmy Time). The best episodes are the last two, “Draw the Line” and “Ewe’ve Been Framed.”

Finally, new on Blu-ray in time for Valentine’s Day are a couple of worthy love stories — one more conventional, one less so. The more conventional one is An Affair to Remember, a last hurrah for Catholic director Leo McCarey. Starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, it’s a straightforward remake of McCarey’s own 1939 hit Love Affair.

Then there’s A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard’s sentimental, fictionalized biopic of John Nash (Russell Crowe), the brilliant mathematician whose life was derailed by paranoid schizophrenia. His relationship with his wife Alicia is far from perfect, but she explains in a remarkable speech, “I look at him, and I force myself to see the man I married. And he becomes someone I love; and I become someone who loves him.” Just as good is John’s “You are all my reasons” speech.

Content advisory: An Affair to Remember: Romantic complications and melodrama. Teens and up. Alice in Wonderland: Mild animated menace. Fine family viewing. A Beautiful Mind: Intense depiction of paranoid delusions; some crass language and sexual references; fleeting violence and brief gunplay and other menacing scenes; minimal profanity. Mature viewing. Secretariat: Some rude language. Fine family viewing. Shaun the Sheep: Spring Shena-a-a-anigans: Mild rude humor. Fine family viewing.