COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

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By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Avatar” (Rated PG-13) — Sam Worthington stars as Jake, a paraplegic soldier in the distant future who volunteers for a mission on the planet Pandora. With the use of a 9-feet-tall “avatar,” Jake is to infiltrate the Na’vi tribe and learn everything about the planet’s indigenous peoples so that the human colonists can displace or destroy the Na’vi in order to obtain Unobtanium, a rare mineral that will solve Earth’s energy crisis. Naturally, Jake “goes native,” and leads the Na’vi in a battle against the humans.

“Avatar” is the highest-grossing film of all time. Director James Cameron, using a revolutionary motion capture technology, 3-D and state of the art CGI has created a triumph of production design. In a 3-D theater, you actually feel transported to an alien world. The melding of live-action and computer generated characters and landscapes is seamless.

Sadly, the dialogue is cringe-worthy, the plot hackneyed and the environmentalist/anti-corporate/anti-imperialism allegory is ham-fisted — making “Avatar” the most beautiful mediocre movie you’ll ever see.

The DVD/Blu-Ray is being released on April 22 — Earth Day — because nothing says “I Care About The Planet” more than the production of millions of non-biodegradable discs and cases. And this is a bare-bones release. No special features, no multi-disc special editions. Nada. I suspect the reason behind this is because “Avatar” is going to be re-released later this year with 20-30 minutes of extra footage (which means yet ANOTHER DVD/Blu-Ray release just in time for the holidays. So, if you really really really need to have “Avatar” in your home, then go ahead and grab this edition. But my recommendation is to wait for the multi-disc special editions that’ll be out later this year.

“Crazy Heart” (Rated R) — Jeff Bridges delivers another top-notch performance in this intimate and compelling character drama about Bad Blake, a singer-songwriter playing juke joints and clubs while his protege Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) is rockin’ the stadium tours. Blake hooks up with a reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and begins a relationship with her and her son, while just around the corner a chance for stardom awaits.

TV SERIES
“Northern Exposure” Complete First and Second Seasons
“Xena: Warrior Princess” Season One
“Merlin” The Complete First Season
“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” Season One
“Everybody Loves Raymond” Seasons Five and Six
“Monk” Seasons One and Two
“F Word” Series Four
“Battlestar Galactica” Seasons 2.0 and 2.5
“Victory at Sea” Deluxe Edition
“Heartland” Season Two
“Falcon Crest” Season One
“Perry Mason” Season Five, Vol. 1
“Whispering Smith” 25 Episodes starring Audie Murphy

© 2010 King Features Synd. Inc.

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