Avoid ‘The Covenant,’ glorious ‘Sparkle’
The list of DVD new releases for next week is weak — but it does feature one of the most hyped movies of the year (at least on the Internet) and a movie that tries to resurrect "The Craft," but with
SNAKES ON A PLANE
The pop culture juggernaut "Snakes on a Plane" was virtually everywhere over the summer. With its obvious title, you hardly needed to know what you were getting into. But the real question remains: Does it live up to the hype? Yes and no.
"Snakes" has moments of pure hilarity, with CGI snakes slithering out of every corner of the airplane and a crazy cast of characters — including a dead ringer for 50 Cent — trying to avoid getting bitten (and death). While enjoyable, the film is, in the end, "Anaconda" on an aircraft, but without the brilliance of Jon Voight’s South American-accented character. Instead, Samuel L. Jackson stars as a cop trying to transport and protect a X-gamer who happened to witness a nefarious drug kingpin play ball with a public defender.
The DVD includes an audio commentary from Jackson and director David Ellis, 10 deleted scenes, Cobra Starship’s "Snakes on a Video" and four featurettes on the making of the film. It’s a great rental but probably not worth owning. Price: $28.98. Rent or buy: Rent.
You remember "The Craft," don’t you? It’s a story about a handful of teenage girls who get involved in witchcraft, only to turn on one another when things hit the fan.
"The Covenant" follows a similar model, but this time with washed-up blue jean models now turned into actors. Four good-looking students at an eliteprivate school must protect the secrets of a 100-year covenant after the body of a dead student sets the ball rolling toward discovery. In "The Covenant," the acting is terrible and the mythology — what’s supposed to set the tone of the film — never really gets off the ground.
The DVD has an audio commentary from director Renny Harlin as well as a featurette on the mythology of the film that helps explain what didn’t get into the movie. Price: $28.29. Rent or buy: Rent.
With "Dreamgirls" a current hit, garnering raves about the music and performances, it’s only fitting that "Sparkle" is finally being released in digital. The film follows Irene Cara (yes, from "Fame") and Lonette McKee as they struggle to make it as a Supremes-like girl group. The 1976 film is ultimately the story of artists dealing with racism and betrayal, but finding hope and living for a dream in a fashion similar to that of "Dreamgirls." The new DVD features a remastered "Sparkle," and that’s good news for viewers who have been holding onto their old VHS tapes. Now they can ditch them for something better. Price: $19.98. Rent or buy: Buy.
MARTIN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Before he became a parody of himself (having appeared in multiple movies in which he dresses up as an elderly black woman), Martin Lawrence was hilarious in his own show as a brash radio personality not afraid to speak his mind. The DVD includes the entire first season on four discs with bloopers and favorite scenes handpicked by Lawrence himself. Lawrence admirers will love the set. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Fans should buy.