On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 20, 2013


Director Chris Wedge who was at the helm of the original Ice Age as well as the underrated 2005 Robots has definitely seen a progression in the studios animation techniques since their first film. Technically, epic is as the title would have you believe. The vastness of the forest is created with lush color variations and attention to detail in the most common of things we all recognize but hardly take the time to stop and notice in our everyday lives. This makes up for a good amount of distraction when it comes to the simple story that combines elements of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fern Gully, and Aladdin. When Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) or M.K. as she likes to be called returns to live with her father after her mothers death (the first of many animation story staples) she discovers he is still the way he was when her mother left him. Her father, Bomba (voiced by an energetic Jason Sudeikis), lives out in the middle of nowhere and has set up cameras throughout the forest in front of his house as he believes there is an advanced civilization of little people existing within them that he is on the cusp of discovering. Naturally, M.K. thinks he's nuts until she accidentally stumbles upon the queen of the forest, Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles) who tasks M.K. with delivering a pod to the rightful place so that the forest may live on in peace and the threat of the baddies known as Boggans and led by Mandrake (a clear Christoph Waltz) might be stopped. M.K. joins forces with the leader of the Leafmen aka the soldiers of the forest, Ronin (Colin Farrell doing his first voice work) along with Nod (Josh Hutcherson) who is of an independent mind that leaves the life of a soldier to do what he desires. Let us not also forget the comic relief of Mub and Grub (Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd) who are not in the film enough yet serve as another animated story staple who get drug along on the main adventure through forced circumstances. C+

Amour is a french language film written and directed by Michael Haneke. Haneke is a filmmaker often known for his disturbing style more than anything with bleak thoughts and social commentary seeping into his writing. With this film though, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes film Festival and the Oscar for best foreign language film earlier this year, the usually dark director stays true to his style while exploring a more sentimental subject. Amour literally means love and in that we are given a story that is truly a testament to what that word means. I went into the film not knowing much besides the fact it was receiving great reviews. The poster wouldn't seem to allude to anything more than a quiet little drama, almost amateur in its presentation. Everything about that statement tends to be true except for the idea it is anything close to amateur. Amour is a tough look at an aspect of life many would choose to ignore, a section so far down the road most people who join in the bond of matrimony cannot even comprehend. It is striking to see such a simple premise involve such complicated decisions and choices that reflect a lifetime of knowledge. It is impossible not to respond to the film in ways that, even if you haven't witnessed a loved one go through what unfolds, cause you to think of your life in terms of what is really important and who really means something to you. As cliched as it may sound it makes you appreciate the one by your side if you truly love them and likely question your allegiance if you jumped into something for reasons other than pure feeling or emotion. It takes on inevitable questions of life, its worth, and death. It is powerful in the most subtle of ways and a cathartic experience as any you could expect from a film. A

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