Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DVD Roundup

Paul (2011) - Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen
Two nerds (Pegg, Frost) have their post-Comic Con road trip across America disturbed by a chance encounter with an alien named Paul (Rogen). On the run from the government agency that has held him captive for decades, Paul convinces the friends to aid him on his quest for freedom. There is a lot to like in "Paul" but for me, the film got tired over the final 30 minutes. The constant barrage of sci-fi references are fun at first and then become obnoxious and the narrative is a little too jumbled for me. Still, Pegg and Frost are always entertaining as always and "Paul" has some strong moments.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: If you're a nerd (like me), "Paul" would make an enjoyable rental. If not, skip it altogether.

Your Highness (2011) - Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman
From the team that brought you "Pineapple Express" comes a tale of a pair of princes (McBride, Franco) who are tasked with saving a princess with the aid of a female warrior (Portman). The rest is a mix of swords, magic, and pot jokes. I feel bad for Portman. She couldn't have known that "Black Swan" would be the career maker that it turned out to be so she filled up her 2011 docket with insignificant throw-away roles ("No Strings Attached", anyone?) of which "Your Highness" must certainly be the worst. I didn't enjoy "Pineapple Express" and every time I saw the trailer for this film, all I could think about was "Year One", one of 2009's very worst films. No thanks.

IHVR: If you enjoyed "Pineapple", you might get something out of this. Otherwise, stay far, far away.

Mars Needs Moms (2011) - Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Joan Cusak
Disney's much maligned entry for 2011 features a group of aliens who come to earth to take the world's best mothers off to Mars to take care of Martian children. It is TRULY unfortunate that this travesty followed "Tangled." That film grabbed hold of the old magic that had been missing from Disney films for over a decade and created significant momentum for the studio...and then "Mars Needs Moms" reminded everyone of why they haven't been paying attention to non-Pixar Disney films for so long. Many critics have panned "MNM" for its disturbing depiction of child abandonment and others (read: "me") have attacked it based solely on the atrocious animation that makes one want to stab oneself in the eyeballs to make it stop.

IHVR: Let's all just pretend this movie never happened and move on with our lives.

Super (2011) - Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon
A regular dude (Wilson) takes justice into his own hands and transforms himself in a quasi-superhero after his wife (Tyler) is stolen away by a drug dealer (Bacon). Written and directed by James Gunn ("Slither"), "Super" is yet another entry into the ever-growing collection of home made superheroes. Some labeled it a "Kick Ass" rip off but Gunn has a history of creating smart, if low brow, dark comedies that border on spoofs and he always manages to get excellent casts. The reviews were mixed but this is definitely interesting to me.

IHVR: "Super" is hyper-violent so if that bothers you, stay away. Otherwise, this is worth a rental.

Jumping the Broom (2011) - Laz Alonso, Paula Patton, Angela Bassett
A prominent family and a low/middle class family are brought unceremoniously together through a wedding. The trailer is painful, the reviews were bad, and even though this film made a solid profit, you would have to give me quite a large sum of money to get me to watch this movie.

IHVR: No thanks.

New to Blu
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The comedic classic that put Cameron Crowe on the map and made people think Sean Penn might not be a total tool (he is), "Fast Times" contains some of the more memorable scenes of the time period and holds up remarkably well. I saw it for the first time a couple of years ago and found it to be strong to quite strong. Of course, I am a huge Cameron Crowe fan so I'm biased.

Dazed and Confused (1993) - Jaosn Landon, Rory Cochrane, Matthew McConaughey
A look at high school culture in mid-seventies Texas featuring a group of stoners, a conflicted quarterback, and the true embodiment of the former "big man on campus" who can't move on with life. "Dazed" is one of those films that can be enjoyed for what it is (a stoner comedy) or can be dissected and worked into any metaphor you might want to illustrate. And if nothing else, it contains one of (by my count) four useful performances Matthew McConaughey has given to date.

Dead Man (1995) - Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, Gary Farmer

New to Blu Ray Pick of the Week
The Fox and the Hound (1981) - Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Pearl Bailey
Okay, okay, I know. How can you pick a middle of the row Disney film as the Blu Ray of the week on a week that features "Fast Times" and "Dazed and Confused"? Well, because I love "The Fox and the Hound" and this is my pick of the week, not yours. Suck it. One of Disney's forgotten classics, "Fox and Hound" focuses on the unlikely friendship between (duh) a fox and the young puppy who is charged with catching him. I know exactly one other person who would list this in his top five Disney films (as I would) but I'm sticking with it: top five Disney animated film ever. Deal with it. (Apparently a 2006 sequel is included with this film but I don't really care about that.)

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