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New on DVD: It’s ‘Back to the Future’

Two Big Franchises Get Deluxe Box Set Releases

Above: Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future."

If you grew up in the 80s than the big news is the special "Back to the Future" box set.

Teenager Marty McFly's time traveling trilogy was a hit in the 1980s (okay the third film was actually 1990). The acting combo of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, and their suped-up DeLoreon time machine struck a chord with audiences and made these films huge box office successes. Now all three films are gathered together in a special edition 25th anniversary trilogy box set loaded with extras both old and new.

New extras include "Tales From The Future," a six part HD documentary that looks at the film from development through filming and release; "The Physics of 'Back to the Future,'" featuring a discussion with physicist Michio Kaku about how the films mostly get the science right; "Nuclear Test Site Ending Storyboard Sequence" that looks at the original ending of the film with optional commentary by Gale; and "'Back to the Future' Night," an archival video that aired on NBC prior to the televised broadcast of the first film. Then you also get the previously released deleted scenes, commentaries, photo galleries, behind the scenes material, and more. So if you're a fan, this is something really special. My friend Bob Rose, who shot my zombie death on "My Boring Zombie Apocalypse," already ran out and bought his Blu-ray copy and told me, "As a super fan, it's like having your three favorite children come back home after college to live with you, except now they are all able to do their own laundry. Oh, and they are millionaires." So there you have it!

The Alien Egg Edition.

20th Century Fox

Above: The Alien Egg Edition.

Another big franchise releasing an even more impressive box set is "Alien." There is a very special edition called "Alien Anthology: Limited Edition Egg" that features all four films in the franchise plus all the bonus features (there's an entire disc five with Anthology bonus features), and an Alien and Egg statue to store the discs. Limited to 5,000 copies in the United States and list priced at $199.99. Pretty dang awesome and perfect for hardcore fans. So make your Christmas wish list early if you want this. There is a cheaper ($139.99) version without the special egg storage. Maybe this should have been timed for an Easter release.

Jennifer Lawrence is a teenager with adult responsibilities in "Winter's Bone"

Roadside Attractions

Above: Jennifer Lawrence is a teenager with adult responsibilities in "Winter's Bone"

Something newer that also comes out today, "Winter's Bone." The film is a collaboration of women: writer-director Debra Granik, writer Anne Rosellini, and actress Jennifer Lawrence. But it is by no means a chick flick. With meticulous attention to detail, and an unflinching and non-judgmental eye Granik creates a vivid and chilling portrait of a Missouri community set far off from the mainstream. What won me over was the way Granik depicted the women. The women were a surprising force in this community and were capable of casual and brutal violence. If you missed this in theaters, it is definitely worth a look.

Since "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest," the final installment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy," opens Friday at Landmark you might want to get caught up on the intricate story. The film follows "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (already out on DVD) and "The Girl Who Played With Fire" (released today on DVD and Blu-ray). Its lead character of Lisbeth Salander (played with intensity by Noomi Rapace) is riveting as she fights to clear her name of three murders and expose government corruption. David Fincher is planning a remake that seems unnecessary but I like Fincher so much that I'm willing to give it a chance and see what he comes up with.

Another recent release to come out today is from an old veteran: Alain Resnais' "Wild Grass," a delightfully unpredictable tale of late-blooming romance. But one new film to stay far away from is "Sex and the City 2," to me that is true horror and if I hadn't been paid to sit through the whole film in order to review it, I would have fled for the exits.

Oliver Stone directs the documentary "South of the Border."

Cinema Libre Studios

Above: Oliver Stone directs the documentary "South of the Border."

"South of the Border" is Oliver Stone's documentary about what he sees as a revolution underway in South America, but one that is under reported to Americans because of the bias in our media. So Stone sets out on a road trip across five Latin American countries to explore the social and political climate and to interview a number of the elected presidents. He ends up speaking with Presidents Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raul Castro (Cuba). Stone gains unprecedented access but seems to miss an opportunity to explore South American politics in real depth or with much complexity. He comes across more as a cheerleader than investigative journalist. Yes there is a lot of change going on in South America. Yes the American media has displayed a bias and sometimes a lack of interest. Those are great reasons to make this documentary but Stone invests his film with as much bias as those he criticizes only leaning in the opposite direction. Plus since his film is so short – well under 90 minutes – it feels more like a superficial fly over of the countries he visits. This is a story that does need covering and Stone opens the door but it looks like it will take someone else to complete the investigation in real depth.

For oldies but goodies there are new Blu-rays of Stanley Kubrick's brilliant war film "Paths of Glory;" the low-budget but influential sci-fi "Dark Star;" and the wild and delirious Japanese fantasy "House" that recently screened to a packed theater at UCSD.

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