* * (C)
Directed by Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens
Universal//Rated R//Horror/88 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand
It's tough being a young girl in a haunted house movie, and it's especially tough on a young actress when that movie telegraphs is final twist during its opening scenes. Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, might have a promising career provided she gets cast in better projects. She appears as Sarah (Olsen), helping her father Joe (Trese), and uncle Peter (Stevens), to renovate their vacation home for its sale. The house has no electricity, prompting the trio to use a generator, lanterns and candles for their inside work. Odd noises and other events persuade Sarah there's someone else in the house. The film, an American adaptation of Gustavo Hernandezís Uruguayan horror "La Casa Muda," is edited so that events unfold in real time. The concept dissipates much-needed tension that can't be recovered by numerous close-ups of Olsen's frightened face. DVD and Blu-ray extras include an audio commentary by Kentis and Lau. DVD Features: English language tracks, Spanish subtitles. Blu-ray Features: Digital Copy of film and UltraViolet.
THE THREE STOOGES
CR: * * (C)
Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Starring Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Jane Lynch
Fox//Rated PG//Comedy//92 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, On Demand, Digital Download
Brothers Bobby and Peter Farrelly attempt to retool "The Three Stooges" for the 21st century while remaining true to the original group's slapstick humor. As newborns, the three brothers are dropped on the doorstep of an orphanage run by nuns. As adults, the trio stays on as inept maintenance men. When they learn that financial difficulties threaten to close the only home they've ever known, the guys decide it's their turn to come to the rescue. Along the way, Larry, Moe and Curly stumble into a murder plot, become involved with the cast of "Jersey Shore," and are soon starring in their own reality TV series. The Farrellys and their actors duplicate the trio's signature finger-poking, head bonking and nyuk-nyuk-nyuking, but the 90-minute runtime means stuffing the film with too many characters into too much plot. DVD Features: Deleted/Extended Scenes, The Three Stooges Mash-Up, English, French or Spanish language tracks. Blu-ray Features same plus: Digital Copy, A History of The Three Stooges, Behind the Scenes, The Sound Effects, Casting The Three Stooges, Original Screen Test.
ALPHAS: Season 1
* * * (B)
Created by Zak Penn, Michael Karnow
Starring David Strathairn, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba, Ryan Cartwright, Azita Ghanizada
Universal//Not Rated//Science Fiction//497 minutes
Available on: DVD, On Demand, Digital Download
Like "The 4400" and "Heroes," the SyFy Channel's "Alphas" showcases a group of humans gifted with extraordinary abilities. Led by Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn), these superhuman patients called alphas, must join Rosen in a coordinated effort to stop other alphas from using their super-abilities to evil ends. The show is darker and more interesting than its predecessors due to the psychological and antisocial effects suffered by Rosen's super-patients. The CIA watches Rosen's team closely, and they are all just one step away from being sent to Bingham, a fortified facility that turns the super-gifted into experimental subjects. The CIA is especially interested in stopping Red Flag, a loosely organized army of alphas with an agenda of their own. Red Flag considers Rosen's team a threat, and uses various approaches to try assassinating Rosen, or at least to have his program shut down. Forced to deal with his team as both patients and criminal investigators, Rosen's practice is a study in conflicted interests. During season one the creators do an admirable job constructing compelling characters, plots and superpowers. The trick will be to maintain this level of creativity. DVD Features: Pilot Extended Version, Deleted Scenes, Alphas at Comic-Con 2011, Alphas: Fan Q & A.