Posted May 8, 2008 in The Small Screen

Just in time for the release of the long-awaited Indy 4, this collection of the three prior Indiana Jones films serves to rev-up casual fans for the new installment but doesn’t add a whole lot for those who bought the series when it was first released on DVD in 2003. Each disc (the set contains one per film) of The Adventure Collection offers a new introduction from producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg, plus a couple of featurettes and a new storyboard sequence, but it’s hardly comprehensive and doesn’t appear to have everything that was available on the 2003 release. However, watching them back-to-back-to-back you’ll be reminded that what made the films great wasn’t just the stunts and action scenes, but the fact that in reality Indy was just a college professor with a really wonderful leave of absence policy. It’s the quieter scenes, and the vulnerability of the hero that makes the series standout, not the special effects—although those have held up pretty well over the years. If there’s one thing that the new introductions do, it’s to emphasize that Spielberg made movies with the human story in mind first, even if he later buried it in action. (Red Vaughn)


Lucasfilm/Paramount, 5 hours, 59 minutes

Release date: May 13



Don’t watch Steel City for the “stirring family drama” or the “devastating secret” that the DVD packaging touts, but view it instead to see what newcomer director Brian Jun can do with good actors. The familiar working class story centers around two sons of an absentee father who now faces prison time following a fatal car crash in a nondescript Midwestern steel town (in this case Jun’s home town of Alton, Illinois). The crash is neither pictured nor fully explained and many details of the family back-story are left unsaid, which leaves you with an unsettling feeling of having missed something, but closely resembles the way real life works. Real families don’t continually hash over events that are painfully known to all of them, so the omissions of the script (also by Jun) seem natural, not deliberately deceptive. Told mostly from the perspective of youngest son PJ (Thomas Guiry, Mystic River), the film was nominated for a Grand Jury prize at Sundance probably because of the great performances Jun coaxes out Guiry and the rest of his stellar cast (including John Heard, Laurie Metcalf and Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera). Hollywood should take notice. Look what actual acting and real human responses do for a so-so story and a teensy budget. Imagine what they could do for a blockbuster near you. (Red Vaughn)


PeaceArch Entertainment/ Your Half Pictures, 95 minutes

Release date: May 6





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