Video Minefield: DVD & Blu-Ray releases for May 8

Video Minefield: New on DVD & Blu-RayThis week’s new home viewing options aren’t worth watching and are even less worth writing about, but because I am your humble servant, I will begrudgingly chime in with a few quick thoughts…

Underworld: Awakening is the fourth installment in the series that cares more about monochromatic shades of blue than distinct characters or narrative tension. It marks Kate Beckinsale’s return to playing protagonist Selene–she refused to participate in the third installment, which became a prequel as a result–but given Underworld is all about generic vampire vs. lycan play, her presence does little but provide leather-clad eye-candy. At least home viewers won’t be forced to put up with the ugly 3-D effects that plagued the theatrical version, further dimming an aesthetic that was already too dark to begin with. D   (Buy / Stream on Amazon)

The Vow finds Channing Tatum struggling to remind his amnesia-stricken wife (Rachel McAdams) of who he is, threatening their relationship, because writing a narrative gimmick is much easier than developing rich characters. To their credit, Tatum and McAdams are both highly attractive screen presences–and even show signs of acting ability–but they can’t overcome the limitations of the material. It’s nice to see Hollywood attempt a straight romance in an age in which the unfunny rom-com dominates, but this “based on a true story” cornball is hardly solid enough to usher in a renaissance of the genre. C   (Buy / Stream on Amazon)