What happens when you take a scene-stealing character from one funny movie (Russell Brand’s Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and put him in his own movie? Nine times out of ten that’s a recipe for under-performance and fan disappointment. Luckily, director Nick Stoller was able to bring enough freshness to the equation (most of which is courtesy of Jonah Hill and P. Diddy) to make Get Him to the Greek a worthy successor to Sarah Marshall. Meaning that if you liked the first one, you’ll dig this one. It’s easily enjoyable, gag-riddled and even has some scene-stealing of its own — by the aforementioned music mogul Diddy and Mad Men star Elizabeth Moss, who gets caught up in perhaps one of the most awkward scenes caught on film this year. You’ll have to rent it to see what I’m talking about. And you shant be disappointed, as the Blu-ray release is jammed with content. So much so that I’ll let you discover it all for yourself. Just know that it’s there, and it’s worth checking out — at least once.
“Support Unrated Horror” is the slogan being passed around with Adam Green’s latest film, Hatchet II, due in theaters this month. It’s a worthwhile sentiment, I suppose, if you’re into blood splatter and breast jiggling (or any combination of the two). That’s what old school, unrated horror is all about — at least this is what they tell me. Frozen doesn’t exactly fit with that message, as it isn’t exactly about the blood or the bare chests of nubile coeds. However, it does deliver a bit of brutality, moronic plot or not. Not exactly the “Hitchcock with teeth” thriller that Ain’t It Cool claimed it to be, but worth a single viewing nonetheless. The Blu-ray is pretty well loaded with extras — two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, a few featurettes and the like — delivering a release that is a solid rent if you’re looking to scare yourself on a Tuesday night. I would recommend watching it prior to a big skiing vacation. But I’m sort of a masochist like that.
I don’t like to curse in my reviews, but this sort of thing is just too fucking adorable to be good for any of us. The story of four babies from different corners of the Earth, shot and assembled into an extraordinarily lovely documentary by Waiting for Jesus director Thomas Balmes. Seriously, this guy can go screw himself for making such a film that presents the very definition of a “feel good” story. Feel good? I feel fantastic after watching this movie. And when combined with the viewing of the next title on this list, it leaves me in the perfect mood to go out and make my own bundle of joy… Ladies… On the whole, the Blu-ray is light on features, but it does have a featurette that shows the babies three years later. That’s cute. Unpretentiously, objectively cute. I hate it.
It goes without saying that on concept alone, Spartacus isn’t for everyone. Cut from the same cloth of shows like Rome and HBO’s Real Sex, Starz has delivered a sword and sandals series that brings a new meaning to the subgenre (swords being a major double entendre, as the show is also full of male genitalia). It’s bloody, sexy and yes, there’s also some sand. And even while the show’s first few episodes may send you running for the high ground (they’re almost unbearably hyper-stylized), it’s a show that grows on you over time. Given a chance (read: one full season), Spartacus may earn a place in your heart. Enough to at the very least disappoint you with the fact that season two isn’t coming any time soon. Thus, I declare that you should give it a spot in your Netflix queue. The show itself, along with a healthy supply of special features, work extremely hard to earn such a distinction.
I had to dig all the way into last week’s releases to find some titles for the “avoid” section. And rightfully so, as this week seems destined to be one of the better weeks for Blu-ray buyers that we’ve seen in months. As I mentioned in my review published in May, Ridley Scott’s attempt to bring the hero of Sherwood Forrest back to life substitutes scale for substance and does nothing more than feel like a watered down version of Gladiator, set in the woods. It’s incredibly bland. The Blu-ray release matches said blandness, offering up a director’s cut of the film (not an improved version, sadly) as well as a portfolio of art from the film. There are some deleted scenes and a Director’s Notebook complete with Ridley Scott’s notes from the production — all of which would be interesting if attached to a more interesting film. Sadly, they are not.
There’s nothing to be had against this “breathless thriller” (as one cover blurb calls it), save for the fact that it is pretty light on special features. It’s the scourge of the Blu-ray buying world, releases like this one. A decent movie, presented handily in HD, thrown together with special features that are re-used from previous DVD releases. They don’t offer us anything new or interesting, therefore they don’t offer us any reason to spend more money to update to BD. That is, unless you are a completist. But if that’s the case, I’m not sure why you need advice at all — you’re probably buying everything that comes out, anyway.
- Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (Sony)
- Eden of the East: The Complete Series (FUNimation)
- Good (National Media)
- The Killer Inside Me (MPI)
- Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Criterion)
- Prey (Vivendi)
- The Private Eyes (Hen’s Tooth)
- Rock & Rule (Elevation)
- Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums (Eagle Rock)
- Suck (Koch)
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Warner Brothers)
- The Thin Red Line (Criterion)
- Voltron: Fleet of Doom (Media Blasters)
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