[caption id="attachment_163522" align="alignleft" width="300"] Disney[/caption]
Also new this week is the action-horror flick "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, "Snitch" with Dwayne Johnson and the 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray of Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon."
'Oz the Great and Powerful'
[caption id="attachment_180588" align="alignright" width="220"] Disney[/caption]
Box Office: $233 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 60% Fresh
Storyline: Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a self-described con man/circus magician with questionable ethics who gets whisked away by a tornado to the Land of Oz. There he meets three witches — Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) — who each have different agendas for the prophesized "wizard." Although Oscar doesn't possess the great powers they anticipated, he must quickly find out who is good or wicked and use his talent for illusions if he hopes to help the people of Emerald City and become a better person in the process.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain bloopers and the informative "Walt Disney and the Road to Oz." The Blu-ray contains second-screen capability, "My Journey in Oz" by Franco, a featurette on Danny Elfman's music, "China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief," "Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz" and a featurette on Kunis' startling transformation. A separate Blu-ray 3D version is available for purchase at a discount if you buy the combo pack first.
We Say: Raimi should be commended for pulling as many styles and themes as possible from "The Wizard of Oz" so that his prequel looks to be of the same world as the 1939 film. Franco is perfectly cast as the toothy and shifty Oscar, Kunis is wonderfully wicked as a woman scorned, Weisz is beautifully evil as the conniving self-appointed guardian of the throne and Williams embodies the pureness and goodness of Glinda. The final showdown between Oscar and the wicked witches is pure Raimi lunacy … and it works magic.
'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'
[caption id="attachment_180587" align="alignright" width="220"] Paramount[/caption]
Box Office: $56 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Rotten
Storyline: After overcoming a witch who lived in a gingerbread house, siblings Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) grow up to become vigilantes hell-bent on ridding villages of wicked witches. Unbeknownst to the brother-and-sister bounty hunters, the wickedest witch of them all, Muriel (Famke Janssen), is hunting Hansel and Gretel because of a dark secret that can no longer be kept.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Reinventing Hansel & Gretel," "The Witching Hours" and "Meet Edward the Troll." A Blu-ray 3D is also available in the combo pack.
We Say: Although both the R-rated and unrated versions of this horror-action hybrid are based on the German fairy tale, this is no children's story. Gore hounds will appreciate the witches' hideous makeup, the good use of 3D and the gratuitous violence if they can get beyond groan-inducing clunky dialogue like, "The only good witch is a dead witch." If you're just in the mood for mindless splatter, hunt this one down.
[caption id="attachment_180589" align="alignright" width="220"] Summit[/caption]
Box Office: $43 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Rotten
Storyline: When a teenage boy is wrongfully sentenced to over a decade in prison for distributing drugs, his father (Dwayne Johnson) risks his life and makes a deal with the local U.S. attorney (Susan Sarandon) to become an undercover informant and infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel in this crime thriller that also stars Barry Pepper, John Bernthal and Michael K. Williams.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an audio commentary with cowriter/director Ric Roman and editor Jonathan Chibnail, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
We Say: Inspired by true events, "Snitch" features easily one of Johnson's most mature performances to date ... but then again we're talking about the guy who played the Scorpion King and bounced fruit off his pecs in "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." Here he puts the wisecracks and meathead action behind him for an issues movie about the war on drugs that mostly works, even if the message gets muddled along the way.
'Enter the Dragon' 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray
[caption id="attachment_180586" align="alignright" width="220"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
Box Office: $25 million (estimate)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95% Fresh
Storyline: Bruce Lee plays a martial arts expert determined to help capture the drug dealer responsible for his sister's death in this 1973 classic. The villain operates from a fortified island filled with a team of kung fu fighters, so Lee enters the group's martial arts competition to chop, kick and fight his way into the dealer's headquarters.
Extras!: This Blu-ray double dip contains commentary by producer Paul Heller, three new behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes, "Art that Introduced Kung Fu to Bruce Lee," an interview with Lee's wife, vintage pieces, plus five trailers and seven TV spots. The movie is packaged with never before released production art and an embroidered dragon patch.
We Say: Not only is "Enter the Dragon" one of the most popular kung fu movies ever, it is also the last film Lee completed before his untimely death. This is one of the first martial arts movies that had crossover appeal for mainstream audiences due to its higher production values and Lee's notoriety. This Ultimate Collector's Edition has more bonus features and extra goodies than the previously released stand-alone version, so Lee fans are sure to get a kick out of it.
Also New This Week:
"Ninja III: The Domination"
"The Philadelphia Experiment" Blu-ray
"Sense & Sensibility" Blu-ray
"Running Scared" Blu-ray
"Ring of Fire"