Monday, October 10, 2011

DVD Roundup - 10/11

Green Lantern (2011) - Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
A hot shot test pilot with a haunted past (Reynolds) stumbles upon the remains of an alien space craft and its dying occupant who gives him a mystical ring. Soon he is emboldened by immense powers but it is enough to save earth from a menacing force? Green Lantern had the ingredients for an excellent comic book movie, including a big name star with a lot of appeal, but the finished product is just terrible. TERRIBLE. I pride myself on being able to avoid truly awful films so my list is somewhat slanted; but this is the worst film of 2011 in my book. Bad dialogue, stupid plot points, weak acting, and video game-like special effects that cost a ton but look distractingly bad. I hate this film.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: I've made no bones about my love for popcorn films and summer blockbusters so when I tell you to stay away...please listen to me.

Horrible Bosses (2011) - Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston
Three buddies with (duh) horrible bosses take it upon themselves to make the world a better place and kill them all. Shenanigans abound. In a year that will be remembered for R-rated comedies, you could make the case that this is the best of the bunch (though Bridesmaids would have something to say about that). It is absurdist comedy but it has more humanity than you might expect and more importantly, it seems very organic. Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day work extremely well together and Aniston's against-type performance may very well rejuvenate her career.

IHVR: If you're into this sort of comedy, Horrible Bosses is definitely worth your time.

Tree of Life (2011) - Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn
On the surface, a story about a 1950s Texas family and the interactions between father (Pitt) and son. Under the surface, a story about EVERYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. The opinions on Tree of Life differ WILDLY from those who think this is the greatest film of all-time to those who find it pretentious on down to those who just flat out don't get it. Welcome to life with director Terrence Malick. This seems to be the most confusing (relatively) mainstream film in recent memory and I've been chomping at the bit to see it for several months now.

IHVR: The more people who see this film the better. That way we can just have a world wide discussion and come to some consensus as to what the heck this thing is all about.

Zookeeper (2011) - Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb
A slovenly zookeeper (James) discovers that his animals can talk and takes their advise on life and love. I should probably just stop after reporting that Zookeeper has a 13 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But I can't. I also must say that Kevin James is not funny. I really and truly do not understand his appeal on any level. He was fine in Hitch but I DESPISE The King of Queens and that's basically the trend for everything else he's ever been in. People always say he's good at physical comedy but I think that's an affront to John Belushi, Chris Farley, and all the other great physical comedians. What am I missing here?

IHVR: If you have a kiddo, I imagine you'll have to take one for the team. Otherwise...

Judy Moody and the NOT Summer Blues (2011) - Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham
An elementary-aged girl (Beatty) sets out to have the greatest summer of her life. Based on a well-known children's book, Judy didn't quite find the audience it expected and is only a percentage point higher (14%) than Zookeeper on Rotten Tomatoes. I'd like to point that one well-respected critic, Mr. Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News, gave this a fresh rating and called it, "a seriously perfect vacation destination." I generally stay away from mocking the reviews of others (unless it's Armond White) but...really, dude?! A 14 percent movie and you went with the word "perfect"?! Where do we gather to stone this guy? Also, to the editors of the New York Daily News: I'm available for interviews when you're ready to replace this guy.

IHVR: As with Zookeeper, parents may have to bite the bullet but hopefully the rest of us can stay away.

Terri (2011) - Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Bridger Zadina
A tubby teenager (Wysocki) with low self-esteem develops a mentor-mentee relationship with his high school's principal (Reilly), himself a bit of an outcast. I missed Terri during its very brief stay in theaters but I'm excited about getting another chance to see it. Many critics whom I trust have pegged this as a film to watch and Reilly in a semi-serious role is always a sight to see.

IHVR: I'm hopeful that this is as good as it has been billed and that it finds an in-home audience.

Bones: Season 6 (2010) - Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz
I don't watch many true procedurals (which Bones definitely is) but I've always found this one to be quite appealing. It peaked, in my mind, a couple of seasons ago and I watch more because I've invested in over 100 episodes and less because it is thrilling week-to-week but it's still solid viewing and entertaining. The conclusion at the end of this season was a decent cliffhanger, too, and could push the show into new territory.

IHVR: The first five seasons are on Netflix Instant and it's definitely worth catching up on.

Chuck: Season 4 (2010) - Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin, Yvonne Strahovski
A fine example of how Nerd Culture has infiltrated Hollywood, Chuck is, for me, a fine show but not one that I can't wait to see each week. In fact, I've never been able to get through a full season on TV; I always end up catching back up with it when it comes out on DVD. I intend to stick with season five since it is the last season but having not seen season four yet, I can't recommend one way or the other. I will say this: Chuck is at its best at the beginning and end of each season. The first and final four episodes are usually very, very good while everything in the middle is a bit hit or miss.

IHVR: This is a fun, smart show that would be a blast to catch up with on DVD. Give it a shot!

Also New
The Trip (2010) - Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Beautiful Boy (2010) - Michael Sheen, Maria Bello
Indian Summer (1993) - Alan Arkin, Diane Lane, Bill Paxton (Blu-Ray)
The Bad Seed (1956) - Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones
Camp Nowhere (1994) - Jonathan Jackson, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Scolari


  1. Looking forward to your take on The Tree of Life. Just be aware that it's a demanding movie (especially the first half-hour or so).

  2. That's part of why I haven't seen it yet this week. Need a day when I can set aside 2 hours to really watch it instead of giving it 75% of my attention like I normally do. Thanks for the comment!


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