[caption id="attachment_127729" align="alignleft" width="300"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
This week: The latest collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp is a remake of the '60s soap opera "Dark Shadows" with Depp playing the centuries-old vampire Barnabas Collins, who is having an amusingly difficult time adjusting to the weird and wonderful '70s.
Also new this week is the family drama "People Like Us" with Chris Pine, the Blu-ray debut of Disney's animated "Cinderella," a Blu-ray collection of the first seven "A Nightmare on Elm Street" movies and "Universal Monsters: The Essential Collection" in high definition for the first time.
[caption id="attachment_149414" align="alignright" width="220"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
Box Office: $80 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 39% Rotten
Storyline: Tim Burton's remake of the '60s soap opera of the same name stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire accidentally released from his coffin prison in the 1970s, who returns to his family estate and tries to get its fishing business back in order while dealing with his dysfunctional descendants. Eva Green plays Barnabas' seemingly immortal jealous lover, with Michelle Pfeiffer on board as the Collins family matriarch and Helena Bonham Carter as the family's live-in psychiatrist.
Extras! The Blu-ray has Maximum Movie Mode, a picture-in-picture track that plays along with the movie and has tons of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
We Say: In addition to the Burton-Depp backlash that has set in with moviegoers, "Dark Shadows" suffers from an uneven tone that shifts from horror to camp to action and never really feels cohesive. Still, Depp is fun to watch as Barnabas tries to get a handle on '70s "sorcery" like televisions and lava lamps, and the supporting cast — especially Pfeiffer, Carter and Green — play weirdly wonderful Burton creations that are a pleasure to watch as they interact.
'People Like Us'
[caption id="attachment_149415" align="alignright" width="220"] DreamWorks[/caption]
Box Office: $12 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 56% Rotten
Storyline: This family drama stars Chris Pine as a struggling New York corporate barterer who flies home to Los Angeles when he learns that his estranged father has died. There he meets the half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew about and tries to bond with her and her 11-year-old son. Michelle Pfeiffer — the home video queen this week, apparently — stars as Pine's mother, and Olivia Wilde is on board as Pine's girlfriend.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Number One with a Bullet: The Story Behind 'People Like Us'" as well as deleted scenes, bloopers and commentary tracks.
We Say: Not everyone has the patience for melodramatic kitchen-sink dramas, but this one benefits from a strong cast and a screenplay that caters to adults more than most.
[caption id="attachment_149416" align="alignright" width="220"] Disney[/caption]
Box Office: $85 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh
Storyline: In this 1950 animated Disney classic, poor Cinderella must deal with a cruel stepmother and awful stepsisters until she meets her Fairy Godmother who guides her to a magical glass slipper that you know she'll fit right into in time for a fairy tale ending.
Extras! This Diamond Edition Blu-ray debut has some magical extras, including the "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You Second Screen" experience, the animated short "Tangled Ever After," an introduction by Diane Disney Miller, "Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland" and "The Magic of the Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story."
We Say: Disney goes all-out with its Diamond Edition selections and "Cinderella" is a must-own title for those with little princesses in their lives.
'Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection' Blu-ray
[caption id="attachment_149418" align="alignright" width="220"] Universal[/caption]
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Storyline: This set has the Blu-ray debuts of all the best Universal monster movies, including "Dracula" (both the English and the Spanish version), "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," "The Invisible Man," "Bride of Frankenstein," "The Wolf Man," 1943's "Phantom of the Opera" and "Creature from the Black Lagoon" in both 2-D and 3-D.
Extras! The set is packaged in a striking book and each disc has extensive historical extras for its respective movie, including archival footage, commentaries by film historians and information on the restorations. The set also ships with the colorful picture book "The Original House of Horror: Universal and a Monster Legacy."
We Say: These characters have been reimagined countless times since their debuts many decades ago, but these original Universal black-and-white classics bundled together in high definition make for the ultimate monster mash for any horror fan.
'A Nightmare on Elm Street' Blu-ray Collection
[caption id="attachment_149417" align="alignright" width="220"] New Line[/caption]
Box Office: $269 million (for films 1-7)
Rotten Tomatoes: 57% Rotten (average of seven films)
Storyline: This Best Buy Exclusive set contains the first seven films in the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise that began in 1984 with the Wes Craven original about a child murderer named Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) who was torched by a mob of angry parents only to stalk and kill their children in their dreams. All of the fantastical horror films except the original make their Blu-ray debut here.
Extras! In addition to featurettes for each movie, a bonus disc contains an all-new retrospective called "Fear Himself: The Life and Crimes of Freddy Krueger" as well as two episodes of the "Freddy's Nightmares" TV series.
We Say: Although the later sequels suffered as Freddy morphed into a joke-cracking bogeyman, the original starring Heather Langenkamp as Nancy and Johnny Depp as her boyfriend is still the stuff of nightmares. The best entries are when Langenkamp returns for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" and 1994's "Wes Craven's New Nightmare," a clever and underrated meta-movie in which the real-life cast from the series is tormented by Freddy after he's been killed off in the movies.
Also New This Week:
"Pet Sematary" Blu-ray
"The Princess Bride" Blu-ray
"Peace Love & Misunderstanding"
"Master of the Universe" Blu-ray