Pixar/Disney's "Brave" tells the story of a young spirited Scottish princess named Merida who balks at an arranged marriage. The film is a marvel of computer animation -- Merida's flaming red hair is as free as she wants to be.
Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire") loves to ride her horse and is handy with a bow, but her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), wants her to be a lady and tries to rein her in. When her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), offers her hand in marriage to prevent a war, Merida flees. She, unlike so many princesses before her in animated films, doesn't dream of a prince to save her. But asking for help from a witch (Julie Walters) proves a bad idea. When a spell backfires, Merida's mother is imperiled.
While "Brave's" story seems stretched a bit, the film never stops being lively, and the animation is a joy.
Oliver Stone thriller
In "Savages," an action thriller from Oliver Stone, California's mellow pot industry runs into the violent world of the Mexican drug cartels. "Savages" is also a different kind of love story, involving a trio played by hot young stars Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively.
Based on a novel by Don Winslow, the film is about two high-end California pot growers (Kitsch's Chon and Johnson's Ben) who share a girlfriend, O (Lively). After the growers spurn overtures to take over part of their trade, a Mexican cartel kidnaps O. The film also stars Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek and Demian Bichir as cartel members and John Travolta as a DEA agent playing more than one side.
Beyond that the plot gets messy, but you have to hand it to Stone -- he still knows how to be provocative.
The cast really has fun with their roles, and amid all the sex and violence in "Savages," which is sort of a welcome throwback to 1970s sensibilities, the filmmaker has inserted some sly commentary about society and today's movies.
-- Unique take on love
Julie Delpy's "2 Days in New York" is a charming and amusing sequel to her successful 2007 indie picture "2 Days in Paris."
The French actress-writer-director returns as a photographer named Marion, who has left Paris and her old boyfriend and is living in the Big Apple with radio talk show host Mingus (Chris Rock) and his daughter.
Marion's serene life and small apartment are upset when her crazy French family comes to visit for her upcoming gallery exhibition. They include her cheese-and-sausage-smuggling father (Delpy's real-life dad, Albert Delpy), her sexually competitive sister (Alexia Landeau) and an unexpected pot-smoking ex-boyfriend (Alex Nahon).
It's not your usual romantic comedy. Delpy has a hardheaded approach to modern love.
-- And keep in mind
Every time I see David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" I become more impressed. And now a wonderful "50th Anniversary Collector's Edition" is available.
Jean-Luc Godard's "Weekend" is both maddening and addicting. Criterion has a new edition of one of the French director's greatest films.
Robert Aldrich's 1977 thriller "Twilight's Last Gleaming" is about a renegade general (Burt Lancaster) who takes over a nuclear missile silo and threatens to launch the nukes unless the president (Charles Durning) admits to the public the real reason behind the Vietnam War.
Brave $29.99/ Blu-ray $39.99
Savages $29.98/ Blu-ray $34.98
The Watch $29.99/ Blu-ray $39.99
2 Days in New York $26.98/ Blu-ray $29.98
Queen of Versailles $26.98/ Blu-ray $29.98
Vamps $22.98/ Blu-ray $24.98
Painted Skin: The Resurrection $24.98/ Blu-ray $29.98
Nitro Circus: The Movie $26.99/ Blu-ray $32.99
Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version Blu-ray $26.99
Lawrence of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray $95.99
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2 Blu-ray $64.99
Empire of the Sun Blu-ray $34.99
Trilogy of Life (The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, Arabian Nights): The Criterion Collection Blu-ray $79.95
Weekend: The Criterion Collection $29.95/ Blu-ray $39.95
Twilight's Last Gleaming $24.95/ Blu-ray $29.95
The Postman Always Rings Twice Blu-ray $19.98
My Big Fat Greek Wedding: 10th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray $19.98
Duck Dynasty: Season 1 $19.95
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One $24.98/ Blu-ray $29.98
Friends: The Complete Series Blu-ray $279.98
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection $99.98
Lost Girl: Season Two $64.98/ Blu-ray $74.98
Stephen Sondheim's Company with the New York Philharmonic $24.98/ Blu-ray $29.98
Paul McCartney: Live Kisses $29.98/ Blu-ray $34.98
Pixar Short Films Collection 2 $29.99/ Blu-ray $39.99
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