May 24th doesn’t seem to have much to offer most filmfans.  That doesn’t mean it’s a total loss, though.

  • Gnomeo and Juliet – While the film might not end up being as horrible as the title and premise, c’mon.  Really?  Michael Caine, Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Julie Walters and others must have really wanted some easy checks.
  • I Am Number Four –  John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is one of nine alien babies sent to Earth to escape from invaders.  The trouble is, these invaders eventually track down the now mostly grown up toddlers and begin to kill them off sequentually.  John is the fourth alien.  Get it? The film is based on a young adult book series.
  • Burning Palms – Five twisted tales all based in Los Angeles.  This dark comedy/drama stars Dylan McDermott, Rosamund Pike, Shannen Doherty, Lake Bell, Zoe Saldana and Nick Stahl.
  • The Big Bang – Every so often, we get the obligatory film noir that desperately tries to capture some of the magic of detective tales from decades past.  They rarely succeed, often coming off as the self-aware, overwraught messes that they really are.  This attempt is led by Antonio Banderas and Sam Elliot.  There are some other surprises in the cast but perhaps the biggest surprise of them all is that this is the first solo soundtrack from The Smiths’ Johnny Marr.
  • Childrens Hospital: Seasons 1 and 2 – This Adult Swim medical comedy starring Rob Corddry and numerous alumni from ‘The State’ collects the first two seasons together.  The show started out on the web, but then it came to the small screen.  Think ‘Scrubs’ minus the warm, fuzzy moments.

Re-releases are rarely acknowledged here because they are rarely as widely available as genuinely new DVDs, but these two Criterion Collections are special to this examiner.

  • The Great Dictator – Considered by most to be Charlie Chaplin’s last great film, this ‘talkie’ has loads of the silly humor of his prime, but also some touching (if not very subtle) politcal points to be made.
  • Solaris – It might be in Russian, it might be from the ’70’s and it might be slow-paced, but don’t let any of that scare you off. Andrei Tarkovski’s film is widely considered to be an important work of science fiction and most nerds out there would be well advised to at least give it a chance.

All of these titles will be available to rent or purchase in Allentown, the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or!