“Argo,” “Anna Karenina” in the DVD Screening Room

Posted on: 7:00 am, February 16, 2013, by , updated on: 10:57am, February 15, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO –

RUSS
Welcome to the Screening Room, the Home Video edition, I’m Russ Simmons.
SHAWN
And I’m Shawn Edwards. New in video stores or available for digital download this Tuesday…

1) ARGO (R)

RUSS
“Argo” is the kind of movie that Oscar voters love. It’s historical, it’s serious, it’s a studio-driven enterprise and it’s produced and directed by popular actors. It’s even got a backstage Hollywood angle. Watch out on Oscar night!
SHAWN
Who cares about what Oscar voters love? I’m here to speak for the people and let you know that “Argo” is dope. My second favorite movie behind “Django Unchained” last year. Why? It’s historical but not boring. Well-made but not showy. Terrifically acted but not pretensious. And it’s an entertaining and fascinating thrill ride full of tension and suspense.
RUSS
Ben Affleck shows that he’s learned his craft well, effectively establishing a sense of time and place and forcefully ratcheting up the tension. “Argo” is a real“mission impossible” suspense thriller.
SHAWN
Yes, Ben Affleck has become a terrific director. He should win an Oscar for his work on “Argo.” Oh wait, he wasn’t even nominated? See who cares what Oscar voters think. The only extra material on the DVD release will be a Escape from Tehran: We Were There featurette. The Blu-ray/DVD Combo release will also include audio commentary, a feature length picture in picture: Eye Witness Account feature and three additional featurettes.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

2) ANNA KARENINA (R)

RUSS

Style nearly overpowers substance in the 10th movie adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tragic romance, “Anna Karenina.” The action is staged in an aging theater, so the sheen of artifice is always there. At times, it plays a bit like a Broadway musical.
SHAWN
This may be the most underrratted movie released last year. The more I watch. The more I love. Yes, it’s over the top. And yes, it’s a bit melo-dramatic. But the combination of gossipy storyline, eye candy cast and art direction and slinky silliness make this a terrific watch.

 

RUSS
The filming is wildly imaginative and the costumes and art direction are impeccable. Kiera Knightly makes for a passionate Anna. Purists may balk, but“Anna Karenina” is still a ravishing, if flawed experiment.
SHAWN
Yes, it’s flawed but in such a cool way. Extras will include a commentary with Director Joe Wright, three featurettes, on the set with director Joe Wright, dressing Anna, time-lapse photography and deleted scenes.

 

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

3) FUN SIZE (PG-13)

RUSS
The makers of the Nickelodeon comedy “Fun Size” obviously have no clue about the makeup of their audience. “Fun Size” is too raunchy for the Nickelodeon crowd and too juvenile for teenagers.
SHAWN
Technically there is nothing wrong with “Fun Size.” Like Russ said “Fun Size” is a movie in search of an audience.
RUSS
What could have been a sweet and funny coming of age story is, instead, like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” but with sex jokes. There’s very little ‘fun’ in the derivative and clichéd “Fun Size.”
SHAWN
The movie is an awkward mix but I really liked Victoria Justice and Thomas Mann. They have promising careers ahead so this won’t be a set back for them. No extras, which may be a good thing.
RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

4) UNDEFEATED (PG-13)

RUSS
“Undefeated” was the winner of last year’s Best Documentary Oscar. This emotionally involving movie chronicles the 2009 season of a poverty-stricken North Memphis inner city high school football team, attempting to win its first playoff game in it’s 110-year history. As volunteer coach Bill Courtney aptly put it,“Football doesn’t build character, it reveals character.”
SHAWN
This well-made documentary is lean, mean and straight to the point. Problem is we’ve seen this story before. Not as poignant as “Hoop Dreams” or as inspiring as “Brooklyn Castle.” Two of the best documentaries ever about the plight of defferred dreams in the hood. But a solid documentary nonetheless.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

Follow on Twitter: @fox4kc @RussSimmons1 @sedwardskc

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