Disney's 'Moana' among five cartoon movies on Blu-ray and DVD this week
Posted March 11
Disney’s Oscar-nominated “Moana” is on Blu-ray and DVD this week, along with a four other animated features and a variety of new movies.
“Moana” (Disney, 2016, PG, deleted song/scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, music video, two short cartoons). Moana (voiced by 16-year-old Auli'i Cravalho), the young daughter of the chief on a small Polynesian island, defies her father and sets sail to find fishing waters for her people. But her predestined journey is about much more, as she learns, first from her grandmother (Rachel House), and then when she confronts the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson).
This is another Disney triumph, with gorgeous and artful animation, lively voice performances (Johnson is especially having fun), tuneful songs and a depth of character that could put many live-action films to shame. And, as has been noted since its theatrical release last November, Disney deserves a pat on the back for its authenticity to the represented culture.
“Miss Hokusai” (GKids/Universal, 2016, PG-13, in Japanese with English subtitles or dubbed English, featurette). Set in 1814 Edo, Japan, this lush, rich episodic anime feature with fantasy elements tells the story of a revered, aging painter whose fame continues to grow. But is he still the artist he once was, or is his daughter allowing her own work to pass as his? This is based on a manga series depicting the life of real-life artist Katsushika Ōi.
“Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade” (Fox, 2017, not rated/probable G, short cartoons, featurettes). The Ice Age gang comes to the rescue when Sid the sloth (voiced by John Leguizamo) discovers that his egg-sitting business has been sabotaged by an old enemy, Squint the pirate bunny (Seth Green) in this 25-minute TV special.
“Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon” (Shout! Kids, 2017, PG, featurette). The wacky creatures of Kikoriki Island find their world turned upside-down when a local scientist invents a device that allows the residents to swap personalities. This Russian animated feature is dubbed in English, the second in a film series spun off of a Russian TV series.
“The Legend of Chupacabras” (Lionsgate, 2017, PG, in Spanish with English subtitles or English dubbed). Orphaned Leo and his magical imaginary friends join Leo San Juan and his freedom fighters to confront a mythical monster in a creepy monastery. This Mexican animated feature is the fourth in a series comparing itself to “Scooby-Doo!” and “Goosebumps.”
“Jackie” (Fox, 2016, R for violence and language, featurette, photo gallery). The main draw here is Natalie Portman’s Oscar-nominated performance as Jackie Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of the 1963 assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. The film is occasionally an artsy muddle and this material has been trod in so many movies and TV programs that nothing new emerges, but Portman is effective conveying Jackie’s mix of sorrow and stoicism as she tries to help her family and the country grieve.
“New Life” (Broadgreen, 2017, PG, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Ben and Ava meet as kids, date as teens, and while in different colleges try to manage a long-distance relationship until they inevitably marry. Ben (Jonathan Patrick Moore) becomes an architect, Ava (co-screenwriter Erin Bethea) a schoolteacher and soon a familiar "Love Story" path is paved. It is an earnest but superficial film.
“Resistance” (Omnibus, 2011, not rated/probable PG-13). This alternate-history view of World War II, with D-Day failing and Nazi Germany occupying Great Britain in 1944, ponders the question of whether cooperation with the enemy eventually becomes tacit collaboration. In a remote Welsh valley where all the men have joined the British resistance, the women are left to fend for themselves while surrounded by the enemy. It stars Andrea Riseborough, with Michael Sheen in a small role.
“100 Streets” (Sony, 2017, not rated/probable R for language, featurette). This British anthology soap opera tells three stories of disparate English characters: Idris Elba is a former rugby star seeking forgiveness from his former actress wife, Franz Drameh is a small-time drug dealer trying to get off the streets, and Charlie Creed-Miles is a cabbie planning a family with his wife until an accident derails their dreams.
“Man Down” (Lionsgate, 2016, R for violence and language, audio commentary). A battle-scarred Marine (Shia LaBeouf) returns from a tour in Afghanistan to a post-apocalyptic America, only to find that his wife and son are missing. The co-stars include Kate Mara and Gary Oldman.
“Cold War 2” (Well Go, 2016, not rated/probable R for violence, in Cantonese with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). After being coerced into releasing a criminal mastermind (who was captured in the first “Cold War”), a cop heads a special squad to track him down. This is the sequel to the earlier Hong Kong crime thriller by the same filmmakers, with Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung and Eddie Peng returning, along with Chinese superstar Chow Yun-fat.
“Trespass Against Us” (Lionsgate, 2017; R for language, violence, nudity; featurettes). Michael Fassbender plays a career criminal under the thumb of his blustery father (Brendan Gleeson), who rules his clan of thieves and thugs with an iron hand. But Fassbender yearns to break free and live a calmer, crime-free life with his wife and children. Is that even possible? This tough, profane British melodrama doesn’t hold back.
“Shut In” (Fox, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). Naomi Watts stars in this contrived horror thriller as a widowed psychologist who must care for her catatonic son in between patients. When she thinks the ghost of a young boy is haunting her, is she going mad? Ultimately, a ridiculous twist at the end undoes everything that’s gone before. Oliver Platt co-stars.
“Incarnate” (Universal, 2016, PG-13, featurette). Brigham Young University alum Aaron Eckhart plays an unconventional wheelchair-bound exorcist in this cliché-ridden horror thriller. Rather than rely on faith, he’s a scientist with the ability to enter the minds of those who are possessed, resulting in what he calls “evictions” rather than “exorcisms.” But when demons take over an innocent 11-year-old boy, all bets are off.
“Bloodrunners” (Speakeasy, 2017; not rated/probable R for violence, sex, language; deleted/extended scenes, audio commentary, trailer, bloopers). A tongue-in-cheek Ice-T stars in this genre mash-up as an ancient vampire in Prohibition-era America, hiding in plain sight as a speak-easy-owning gangster. And this gory yarn is just what you would expect.
“Slasher.com” (Cinedigm, 2017; not rated/probable R for violence, sex, language). A gruesome cautionary tale about online dating, this horror film falls back on a familiar plot: If there’s a serial killer on the loose, don’t let your first date take you to a remote cabin in the woods run by crazy hillbillies. Didn’t they see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”?
“The Eyes of My Mother” (Magnet, 2016, R for violence and nudity, b/w, featurette, photo gallery, trailer). This sickening horror for gore-philes focuses on a “bad seed” child who grows up to be a sociopath that would scare Norman Bates. At their remote farm, she sees her eye-surgeon mother murdered by a vagrant serial killer, then she and her father exact revenge, and she grows up to continue the madness, in very graphic terms.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.