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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

New on DVD/Blu-Ray: “Act of Valor,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “John Carter,” “Machine Gun Preacher,” and “Safe House”

posted by Nell Minow

This week on DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming, and on demand:

Act of Valor The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their extraordinary missions and their extraordinary devotion to their families, their country, and each other, it became clear that even the biggest stars in Hollywood could never do them justice.  And so they made “Act of Valor,” a thrilling action/adventure film starring active duty U.S. Navy SEALS re-enacting some of their most dangerous missions, with live ammunition.  Every person in uniform you see in the film is currently serving in the U.S. military.  More than once, shooting had to shut down so that the SEALS could get back to work.  The storyline is thin but the action scenes are powerful and the heroes are real.

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John Carter It takes a while to get going and is about half an hour too long, but “John Carter” has some spectacular visuals and well-staged action scenes.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan novels, also wrote the John Carter: Adventures on Mars series, about a Confederate Army veteran transported to Mars, who becomes involved in battles between two humanoid warring factions (one of which has, natch, a beautiful princess who does not want to marry the leader of the opposing side as her father is urging).  There are also some warlike but intelligent tall, green, egg-laying creatures with an extra pair of arms, and some mysterious robed messenger types with access to super-weapons.

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Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) is a substance-abusing biker who became a Christian preacher and then took on African warlords to save children in Sudan.  He finds his skill with a gun is as important to that effort as his faith.

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Safe House Denzel Washington is the vodka and Ryan Reynolds is the orange juice in this spy story with top-notch action, middle-notch story, and bottom-notch ending, with a “surprise” plot twist that is obvious from the first 10 minutes.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search of his father.  Refreshingly, it does not take itself seriously.  Even more refreshingly, it takes the idea of adventure seriously, with a welcome reminder that the actual thrill of exploring beats even the most entertaining movie or game
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