Thor (2011) - Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman
A brash young Norse god named Thor (Hemsworth) is stripped of his power by his father (Hopkins) and banished to earth. When our world comes under attack, however, Thor realizes his true potential and learns the value of selflessness. The summer's first super hero film, "Thor" was a good start for the blockbuster season but isn't overwhelmingly great. Hemsworth is convincing and Hopkins reminds you of the power he once had but the villain (Tom Hiddleston) is unimpressive and Portman's character is 100% worthless. It's a fun film and a solid starting point for the potential franchise but don't expect "Iron Man" or "Batman Begins."
In Home Viewing Recommendation: Definitely worth seeing. Rent this one!
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011) - Conan O'Brien
A documentary crew followed deposed Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien on his cross country comedy tour. Let's be clear on this up front: Conan O'Brien is a comedic genius. It doesn't matter if you don't like him or you don't care for his brand of humor. It's not about that. Conan understands what he finds funny and what his target market finds funny and he hammers that home time and time again. And no one works harder than old Coco, either, which is exactly what this doc is supposed to be about. I cannot wait to rent this. Review to come soon, I'm sure.
IHVR: Sight unseen, I'm saying this is worth your time if you enjoy documentaries.
Sonic Youth-1991: The Year Punk Broke (2011)
Another documentary, this one following the band Sonic Youth and their influence on the grunge movement. This movie also has some footage of Nirvana just before their break into the mainstream. The 20th anniversary of Nirvana's "Nevermind" is right around the corner and as a HUGE fan of the band and the grunge movement in general, I'm extremely interested in seeing this.
IHVR: I'm in for sure and if you're a music fan that doesn't have much knowledge of this time period, I hope you'll check it out, too. The perfect Netflix Instant doc.
Meek's Cutoff (2011) - Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano
A group of settlers hires a hardened cowboy (Greenwood) to lead them across dangerous territory but soon come to realize that he doesn't know where he's going. I'm always interested by Westerns and this one picked up some solid reviews from major critics (including Christy Lemire, my go-to film expert) but it wasn't as well received by the casual filmgoer.
IHVR: I'm not running out to rent "Meek's" tomorrow but if it pops up on Netflix Instant, I'll add it to the queue.
Big Bang Theory: Season 4 (2010) - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parson, Kaley Cuoco
I was late to the "Big Bang Theory" bandwagon but I've come to really dig this standard sitcom about a group of nerdy scientists who live across the hall from a would-be actress. In fact, it's become my go-to "I really need to get some writing done and I've already watched Sportscenter so I'm going to watch something I've seen a hundred times but still enjoy" show on boring weeknights. It is surprisingly well-written and the characters grow on you with each season.
IHVR: Good times here and a lot of fun to catch up on. Check this one out.
New to Blu Pick of the Week
Star Wars - The Complete Saga (1977-2004) - Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Ewan McGregor
I'm going to make a bigger deal out of this later in the week. SPOILER ALERT: I'm more than a little angry at George Lucas right now concerning all the reported changes to the original trilogy. I am going to do my best to resist the urge to buy this as my form of personal protest (in addition to my lack of an extra $100). But as hypocritical as this may sound, at the end of the day it's still "Star Wars" FINALLY coming to Blu-Ray so...yeah, of course this is the pick of the week. I will nerd out for "Star Wars" anywhere, any time. Just trust me. It's pretty sad.
Also New to Blu
Halloween 2 (1981) - Jamie Lee Curtis
Citizen Kane (1941) - Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten (Confession: I have never seen "Citizen Kane." Sorry.)
O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) - George Clooney, John Turturro, John Goodman
Trainspotting (1996) - Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremmer, Robert Carlisle
The Frighteners (1996) - Michael J. Fox, Jake Busey
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) - Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris
Don't Say a Word (2001) - Michael Douglas, Brtitany Murphy, Sean Bean (SPOILER ALERT: Sean Bean dies. Shocking, I know.)
Supernatural: Season 6 (2010) - Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
Glee: Season 2, Volume 2 (2010) - Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch (I gave up on "Glee" about two episodes into Season 2 so I cannot speak to the quality of this season though the fact that I gave up two eps in should speak for itself.)
Grey's Anatomy: Season 7 (2010) - Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey (The show that will replace "Desperate Housewives" when it ends this season as the leader for the "E.R. Memorial Award for the Show You're Shocked is Still on the Air Every Time You See a Commercial for It.")
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2010) - John Hannah, Manu Bennett
Rescue Me: Season 6 (2010) - Denis Leary
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 6 (2010) - Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney (After I finish "Mad Men" and get through "Breaking Bad", I'm starting on "Always Sunny." I hear only hilarious things.)
Blue Bloods: Season 1 (2010) - Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Michelle Moynahan
Private Practice: Season 4 (2010) - Kate Walsh
Camelot: Season 1 (2010) - Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green
Love Wedding Marriage (2011) - Mandy Moore, Michael Showers
Bill Cunningham New York (2011)
Outsourced: The Complete Series (2010) - Ben Rappaport, Diedrich Bader (AKA "The Show That NBC Inexplicably Thought Would Be Better Than a Full Season of "Parks and Recreation.")
The Tempest (2010) - Helen Mirren, Djimon Housou
Hesher (2011) - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman