Brave: Pixar’s latest follows a Scottish princess Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald) whose choice to break with her people’s tradition of arranged marriage leads to tragic consequences. As with all Pixar movies, Brave is a gorgeously animated film and uses Celtic iconography to great effect. Also like most Pixar movies, it follows an increasingly dull narrative of a protagonist that is ostensibly one thing trying desperately to become something else. The Pixar brand, for all its visual sophistication, is a conservative one and even in this story of feminist rebellion against patriarchal establishment comes off as something shallow because of how schematic the story is. It’s nice that after twelve features, the folks behind Pixar decided to make a film with a female lead but would have been nice if that lead wasn’t a Disney princess or if even one part of the film was surprising. Also featuring the voices of Julie Walters, Billy Connelly and Emma Thompson.
Special features: A 3D presentation of the film, a digital copy of the film, two short films, sixteen featurettes, extended scenes, alternate opening and an art gallery.
The Watch: Painfully unfunny comedy starring Ben Stiller as the leader of his neighborhood watch group as they contend with an alien invasion. You’d think with a cast of killer comedic talents like Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Richard Ayoade and Jonah Hill that this movie would be a can’t miss. Instead it’s a crude and sneering bore that tries to get laughs from xenophobic and homophobic panic and the incorrect notion that by putting the quartet of comedic actors in a room together would be hilarious in and of itself. With a few minor changes and a slightly more melodramatic ending this movie could have been an Adam Sandler movie which is shockingly disappointing given that just five years ago the writers and director behind this film made Pineapple Express and Hot Rod. It’s like David Lynch following up Wild at Heart with The Mighty Ducks.
Special features: An extended cut of the film and digital copy of the film.
Vamps: Amy Heckerling (Clueless) reunites with Alicia Silverstone for this gag heavy comedy about two vampire girls (Silverstone and Krysten Ritter) trying make in New York City while avoiding the attentions of Dr. Van Helsing (Wallace Shawn). Despite this film being a mini Clueless reunion and the wave of ‘90s nostalgia that crashing all over people in their mid to late twenties right now, Vamps only earned a pathetic $2,500 in its two weeks of theatrical release. While distributer Anchor Bay used release strategy that also included putting this movie out on VOD simultaneously with its theatrical release, that opening number had to be a punishing loss for all those involved in the film. Expect a Clueless 2 announcement any day now. Also starring Sigourney Weaver, Dan Stevens and Kristen Johnson.
Special features: None.
Nitro Circus 3D: A compilation of stunts from all over the world performed by the action sports collective of the title. While focusing on real athletes performing highly complicated stunts and not a bunch of idiots messing around, Nitro Circus has a similar prankish vibe to the late Jackass series and it’s also has a created by credit from Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine so watching this movie will be sort of like wanting a Surge soda but settling for a Sun Drop, it’s not the same but you can pretend. Featuring stunts by Travis Pastrana, Jim DeChamp and Andy Bell.
Special features: A 3D presentation of the film, an interview with Steve-O, two featurettes and deleted scenes.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at email@example.com