New DVDs for January – including Boardwalk Empire & The Walking Dead

New DVDs at the library this month include the first seasons of the critically lauded dramas ‘Boardwalk Empire’ & ‘The Walking dead’; the latest season of ‘Supernatural’; new movies ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ & ‘Horrible Bosses’; and acclaimed British Mini-Series ‘The Hour’…

Cover imageThe hour.
“A six part series that was billed, in the run up to its transmission, as Britain having a go at doing its own spin on Mad Men, The Hour is actually a show with an identity of its own, and quite different from the hit American drama… The Hour’s main attraction, as it turns out, is its cast. Putting The Wire star Dominic West at the heart of the drama proves to be a masterstroke, and he’s ably supported by a high calibre company of acting talent, including Juliet Stevenson, Anna Chancellor and Ben Whishaw…This is a show surrounding a BBC news programme being made in 1956, which happens to be the time of the Suez Crisis. Behind the scenes of the show, there’s sexual politics, ambitions, and pressures from all directions. And that, mixed with a strong attention to period detail, helps make The Hour an engaging drama…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageCowboys & aliens.
“Cowboys & Aliens fuses rip-snortin’ horse opera with some whiz-bang sci-fi, melding dry and austere badlands with slimy, mucusy aliens. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame) wakes up in the midst of sagebrush with a mysterious gadget around his wrist and no idea who he is–but he sure does remember how to take care of the bounty hunters who want to bring him in. His path soon crosses with a ruthless cattle baron named Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford, of Indiana Jones fame), who’s not too happy with Lonergan, who got Dolarhyde’s son in trouble. But their fracas becomes beside the point when spaceships descend and start lassoing people like cattle. The humans, including a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde, Tron), a Native American tribe, and some snaggletoothed outlaws, band together to fight off this invasion from another world…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageSomething borrowed.
“A frothy adaptation of Emily Giffin’s bestselling novel, Something Borrowed itself borrows some of the best bits from earlier romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally…, 27 Dresses, and Sex and the City. Though Kate Hudson is the ostensible Big Star here, it’s Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love, He’s Just Not That into You) who finally comes into her own as a winsome leading lady. The plot is fairly simple: Rachel (Goodwin) harbours secret feelings for Dex (Colin Egglesfield), the fiancé of her best friend, Darcy (Hudson). Along for the ride, and acting as a sort of stage manager/narrator à la Our Town, is Ethan (John Krasinski), who just may be harbouring some secret longings of his own…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageThe walking dead. The complete first season.
“Arguably the biggest hit of the US 2010 television season, the apocalypse drama The Walking Dead pulls the zombie subgenre out of its overexposed doldrums and finds, ironically enough, the humanity and emotion beneath its rotting shell. Produced by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and Gale Anne Hurd (Aliens) and based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead follows a band of Atlanta-based survivors of a viral outbreak that has caused the dead to rise up and consume the living. The group’s nominal leader is a sheriff’s deputy (Andrew Lincoln) who wakes from a gunshot-induced coma to find the world in disarray and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies, Prison Break) and son missing…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageSupernatural. The complete sixth season.
“When audiences last saw the Winchester brothers at the end of season five, Dean (Jensen Ackles) had abandoned hunting demons in favor of family life, while Sam (Jared Padalecki) had apparently lost his battle with Lucifer in the season finale. But as season six reveals, Sam is alive and well… As the brothers grapple with shape-shifting infants (“Two and a Half Men”), vampires (the unfortunately titled “Live Free or TwiHard”), leprechauns (Robert Picardo in “Clap Your Hands If You Believe…”), horror icon H.P. Lovecraft (“Let It Bleed”), and a variety of homegrown monstrosities, they discover that Sam’s soul is in the possession of the demon Crowley (Mark Sheppard), who is using it to manipulate Sam into locating the souls of Purgatory, which could turn the tide of a civil war raging in Heaven towards Crowley and renegade angel Castiel (Misha Collins)…’ (Adapted from review)

Cover imageBoardwalk empire. The complete first season.
“In fine (and bloody) style, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire returns to 1920 when the ban on booze led to a syndicate of bootleggers and smugglers. Created by Sopranos scribe Terence Winter and coproduced by director Martin Scorsese, the story centers on Atlantic City treasurer Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who schemes in private while preaching temperance in public. Jimmy (Michael Pitt, Buscemi’s Delirious costar), a war veteran, acts as his right-hand man, while zealous Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and refined mobster Arnold Rothstein (A Serious Man’s Michael Stuhlbarg) represent significant threats to his enterprise…Inspired by Nelson Johnson’s book, Boardwalk Empire takes a Deadwood-like approach to history by combining characters both factual and fictional with blue language and ladies without brassieres…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageHorrible bosses.
“Three friends, Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day), commiserate about their three respective Horrible Bosses. And yes, each is the worst kind of HR nightmare. Nick’s boss is Dave (Kevin Spacey, terrific), a control-freak megalomaniac. Kurt’s is Bobby (an almost unrecognizable Colin Farrell), a skeevy cokehead. And Dale’s is Julia (Jennifer Aniston, having so much fun it’s contagious), a sexual harasser who never misses an opportunity to prey (or swear). Suddenly, there’s a Hitchcockian twist: What if each of the miserable workers could make one of the others’ worst nightmares go away? But Horrible Bosses is no Strangers on a Train. Instead, it’s a rollicking romp of bad-intentions-gone-even-worse, with the chemistry of all of the actors keeping things moving along crisply…” (Adapted from review)

Cover imageSuper.
“An unsettling combination of black comedy and queasy ultra-violence, this real-world superhero story functions as a grimy (and sometimes surprisingly moving) counter to the stylized wisenheimer hipness of Kick-Ass. Eschewing wirework and bullet-time in favor of painful contusions and awkward pauses, the story follows Frank, a devout, slightly dim short-order clerk (Rainn Wilson), who experiences a major downturn after losing his wife (Liv Tyler) to a local mobster (a gleefully evil Kevin Bacon). Guided by an anime-inspired spiritual vision, Frank proceeds to don a red suit and adopt the secret identity of the Crimson Bolt, who strikes fear into the hearts of criminals by… As his crusade worryingly expands to include jaywalkers and people cutting in line at the movies, Frank receives unwelcome help from an overly bubbly comic-store clerk (Ellen Page, playing way against type) bent on becoming his sidekick…” (Adapted from review)