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Bait (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

Yes, I voluntarily watched this, a movie about people getting attacked by sharks after a tsunami hits Australia. I read the Blu-ray package; I studied the movie a bit; I proceeded to watch it anyway.

The catch: The people fighting off sharks are inside a supermarket and a parking garage. That's right; this is a movie about people trying to evade sharks by climbing atop the frozen-food section or jumping out of sunroofs. And, oddly enough, it isn't the worst movie containing sharks that I've ever seen. (That honor goes to Jaws: The Revenge. God, I hate that movie.)

There are some decent action and gore scenes here, and the sharks occasionally look good. Granted, the stuff that happens in between the shark attacks is melodramatic bullshit, but director Kimble Rendall drums up a decent scene or two.

One of the better moments occurs when a shark goes airborne and chews off a hanging man's bottom half—while his top half dies painfully. This particular moment is perpetuated with just the right amount of B-movie cheese.

What the movie lacks is a sense of humor. I suppose it's funny enough that the protagonists are evading sharks just moments after buying toilet paper, but it is utterly devoid of intentional laughs. The filmmakers should have taken a cue from Piranha 3D, which mixed some good, goofy laughs with well-executed carnage.

Still, I must give props to those who came up with this idea and saw it through to its unlikely fruition. It's not a very good movie, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

You have the option of watching this in 3-D if you are so equipped. Yep, they actually made this one for 3-D. In the pantheon of 3-D shark movies that includes Jaws 3-D and Shark Night 3D, this one could actually be best.

SPECIAL FEATURES: All you get are some storyboards. A video of the pitch meeting for this thing would've been nice.

Snow White and the Huntsman (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

As Snow White movies go, this one isn't bad. In fact, I rather liked three-quarters of it before it degenerated into a strange Joan of Arc movie.

Kristen Stewart plays Snow White in a decent performance that will be forever clouded by the fact that she was probably sticking her tongue down director Rupert Sanders' throat between takes. Tween girls everywhere will hate this film for life, because it wound up being the grenade thrown into Stewart's real-life relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson.

It isn't even Stewart who gets the greatest kudos for the movie. That honor goes to Charlize Theron as the bloodthirsty queen looking to chomp on Snow White's heart. Theron has been on a roll lately, and she totally smoked Julia Roberts, who played a similar role in the far-inferior Mirror Mirror. The scene in which Theron immerses herself in white goo is chilling and remarkably beautiful at the same time.

The dwarves are famous actors' faces placed on little bodies thanks to some nice effects work. Bob Hoskins (in his last film appearance before announcing his retirement), Ian McShane and Nick Frost are in the group, and they look pretty wild.

There's talk that Stewart might be dropped from the franchise, with future chapters favoring Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman rather than Snow White. That's just silly. I'm thinking Stewart will still be around if they make any sequels. If anybody gets the boot, Sanders seems like the more-logical choice. Stewart, as pouty and strange as she can be, is a big draw.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get the theatrical version and an extended edition with four whopping minutes added. Sanders provides a commentary in which he discusses how much he digs the shape of Stewart's butt. (I'm kidding ... he does a straightforward commentary.) There are also many behind-the-scenes featurettes.

A Separation (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

In this Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner, an Iranian couple is forced to separate when the wife, Simin (Leila Hatami), wants to live abroad, while the husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi), needs to stay home and take care of his ailing father.

The situation causes many difficulties, especially when a hired housekeeper (Sareh Bayat) asked to care for the father starts behaving strangely. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi's film is a strong portrayal of family strife and illness.

Moadi is especially good as a man who finds himself in all sorts of trouble for one short instance of overreaction, which also gives us an interesting look at the Iranian criminal-justice system. A Separation is an absorbing movie, one that definitely deserved its Oscar.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a commentary, a Q&A with the writer/director, and a featurette on him.

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