March 2015 DVD Reviews

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Annabelle (Blu-Ray Combo Pack)
Warner Bros. Studios
Street: 01.20
As if Annabelle wasn’t already a travesty, Warner Bros.’ overloaded and unnecessary special edition release makes for even more disappointment. The special features add absolutely nothing to either the experience or the story. It’s as much of a money grab scam as Ed and Lorraine Warren’s supposedly “true story” exploitations. The menu is atrocious and immediately bombards you with the equally awful score at full volume, which was probably the scariest part. The extras are an extraordinary waste of time—moreover, on my Mac, only one shows up—which is obviously a big flaw for a product that touts that we can “watch it anywhere!” On a blu-ray player, the other four options popped up, and the HD Ultraviolet exposes even more of the ugliness of the film’s overall composition. The worst is “The Curse of Annabelle” that plays like an extended trailer, further exposing the extreme laziness behind the scenes. The director, John R. Leonetti, rambles on about how innovative his choices were (shaky—follow cam is not new!) and attempts to create a totally fake creepy lore during filming. Own this if you’re a masochist who needs to be in possession of every bad horror film, or just give it to a person you hate. –Taylor Hoffman

The Case Against 8
HBO Films
Street: 01.13
Filmmakers Ben Cotner and Ryan White document a five-years-in-the-making legal battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8 law banning same-sex marriage. Following around real gay and lesbian couples, we watch their highs and lows as they fight for equality and the ability to get married. Packed in this documentary is behind-the-scenes footage of the Hollingsworth vs. Perry case in which the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage was deemed unconstitutional and overturned. Joy and prosperity were returned to the land of California, letting it tackle bigger issues such as how to properly ignore the homeless epidemic and why it voted a guy into office who starred in Hercules Goes Bananas. For me, there was a big problem with the documentary: It’s boring. So. Damn. Boring. This was a two-hour film that should have been forty-five minutes to an hour at most. All we watch are court proceedings and sit-downs discussing politics until it reaches the inevitable conclusion that we already knew. It’s like watching all the boring political parts of the Star Wars prequels. As for DVD extras, it’s nothing special—deleted scenes and even more sit-down discussions in case the two hours beforehand weren’t enough.  –Kenny Tadrzynski

Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series
BBC Worldwide
Street: 12.09.14
Peter Capaldi got his chance to play the Doctor in a totally different way, and I feel like he did a pretty good job. We all have our Doctor that we love, the one that we started with and to whom no other Doctor can compare—but we are always accepting of a new one and looking for their personal touch. Sure, this new Doctor is old, so he doesn’t have the appeal of being as attractive as David Tennant or Matt Smith, but he sure is charming in his own way. Capaldi is a surprisingly eccentric Doctor with a fantastic Scottish accent. How could you not love that? Unfortunately for Capaldi, I don’t feel like the writers gave him as great of a chance at success as they did with the previous Doctors. His stories just weren’t as entertaining as they could have been. I also felt like I didn’t really get to know him that well by the end of the season, which was a bit disappointing. However, I don’t feel like it was a complete wash—I think Capaldi has great potential as the Doctor, and I think he is capable of greater things. Now that it has been confirmed he will be back for the ninth season, I think he will finally show us what the Doctor can do. –Nicole Stephenson