It’s time to draw in a big yawn and look over this week’s slate of releases. If you’re the type who heads down to your local Blockbuster (assuming you still have one) and loads up on rentals for the weekend, you might have yourself a good time — plenty of movies worth that once-over this week. But luckily, and somehow inexplicably, the week of Christmas brings us very little to spend quality dollars on. The best recommendation I could muster relates directly to the world of Family Guy, and my track record should show that I’ve never been a fan. It’s no South Park, but it did get the nod of approval from George Lucas to make fun of that really famous space opera. That has to count for something, right? That’s how we’re rolling This Week in Blu-ray…
Here’s a little caveat: if you don’t already own any of the Family Guy versions of Star Wars, this box set is definitely for you. The entire trilogy gets some laughs, delivers some pointed commentary on George Lucas’ brainchild and could very well be the funniest thing Family Guy has done in years, if ever. It may go down as the most focused work Seth McFarlane and team have done. Rather than sporadic laughs for jokes that are all over the board, The Trilogy sticks the landing with relevant humor that will get the Wars nerds giggling. It makes the rest of us laugh, as well. So go check it out, nerf herders.
If you are one of those lucky bastards (or ladies) to be sitting in front of a television with 3D compatibility, it might be worth trying out that functionality with the third film in the Step Up franchise. I never thought I’d write a line like that — and I still don’t — but the fact remains that some of the visuals here are very cool, whether in 3D or on Blu-ray (but probably much better in 3D). This, along with Jackass 3D, feels like the film they had in mind when they created 3D. The dance moves are ridiculous, the beats are thumping and even this pasty suburban-raised kid from the Midwest got down to some popping and locking. (Jesus, did I really just write that?) It’s a nice visual feast that you’ll want to watch a second time before mailing it back to Netflix. But be sure to mail it back — you don’t want people to know you rented that one.
This one got groans from an audience primed to see Scott Pilgrim earlier this year when the line “From the Mind of M. Night Shyamalan” graced the screen. And for good reason — the guy really missed the boat, the dock and the port with his shot at adapting The Last Airbender. But lets not hold that against this film, as directed by John Erick Dowdle. It’s got some intensity not seen from Shyamalan’s stuff in a long time and it delivers the chills when it needs to. File it under “much better than expected,” the great victory of film events crippled by low expectations. Final verdict: you should see it, because you probably didn’t do so the first time around. The Blu-ray isn’t a buy, though, as Universal took the express elevator on the special features. Basic set of featurettes, some deleted scenes and a special look at The Night Chronicles. No, you’re not required to watch it before getting to the movie that rises above the name attached to it.
The “collector’s edition” packaging of Oliver Stone’s latest film’s release is very swanky with the family portait of Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf. But don’t be fooled by appearances. Like the shine on this movie, mostly pedigree-based, Stone’s latest is a flashy, hollow extension of his better years. Douglas brings Gekko back with some force, but the film eventually goes bankrupt on energy. The Blu-ray is much of the same, with a few featurettes and an audio commentary track from Stone that start as interesting add-ons and eventually become as tedious as the film itself. However, the film itself is worth seeing once. So take a few hours out of your weekend, get back together with Mr. Gekko and see how the old suit feels. You might like it more than I did, and that might be worth it. Or don’t, it doesn’t bother me either way.
I’m assuming Salt would go here, but I haven’t had a chance to review it yet.
And now, the glorious list of titles that didn’t make it to my mailbox this week. Buy and rent at your own risk, dear friends: