DVD 9/28/10: The Killer Inside Me, Iron Man 2, Babies, Frozen, Suck, Get Him to the Greek, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Battle for Eternia, King Kong (1933) Blu-ray, Scrubs S9, Super Size Me SE, Secret Agent Aka Danger Man CSBy billyok | Monday, September 27th, 2010
разтегателни диваниThe Killer Inside Me (R, 2010, IFC Films)
You know how this goes: Guy fouls up, guy takes drastic measures to cover up the screwup, drastic action opens new cans of worms, and the cycle begins. That’s fun movie fodder, and that’s the story of Lou Ford (Casey Affleck), a small-town, engaged-to-be-engaged sheriff whose attempts to run a prostitute (Jessica Alba) out of town do not go as planned. The title is an unmistakable allusion to the details of that trouble, and the back of “The Killer Inside Me’s” box is happy to fill it all in for you if you don’t enjoy the element of surprise. But even complete familiarity with “Me’s” plot outline cannot undermine just how much fun it is not only to watch Lou solve one fiasco by making an even bigger mess, but especially what happens to his character when the rest of West Texas regularly hands him ways out of his troubles that he may or may not accept. “Me” is an extremely enjoyable (and, in spite of the noir pretense, unabashedly and darkly humorous) picture of complete character degeneration, and the only thing more satisfying than the journey is the wild turn of events the movie assembles for its conclusion. Kate Hudson, Elias Koteas, Tom Bower, Ned Beatty and Simon Baker also star.
Extras: Three behind-the-scenes features.
Iron Man 2 (PG-13, 2010, Paramount)
The huffy critical blowback “Iron Man 2″ endured for not being as good as the original was pretty unfair, because outside of complete self-sabotage, there was nothing the film could possibly do to surprise us the way its predecessor did. Like that movie, this movie is as much about Iron Man’s alter ego, eccentric, sharp-tongued mega-industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), as it is Iron Man himself. Also like that movie, “IM2″ skirts superhero movie conventions by leaning on a sharply funny script that resonates in our world as well as theirs. The difference this time is that, in addition to not being able to surprise us with all that wit, “IM2″ also is obligated to detail the fallout from the first movie, which concluded with Stark coming out as Iron Man. That takes us down some bumpy roads in which Stark deals with celebrity, infamy, a United States military that wants his toy and the drain his suit’s chemistry has on his failing health. So much fallout is bound to make for a less snappy film, and not every road feels narratively essential. But “IM2″ deserves points for going there at all instead of lamely pretending things are business as usual, and it maintains its sense of humor while doing so. And with respect to Jeff Bridges, the first film doesn’t have Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), an outstanding adversary who plays both sides of the coin and whose grand unveiling in “IM2′s” early going should make other comic book movie villains jealous.
Extras: Director commentary, deleted scenes, two behind-the-scenes features, music video.
Babies (PG, 2010, Focus Features/Universal)
Your enjoyment of “Babies” can be gauged by one factor and one factor alone: How much do you love babies? “Babies” chronicles the first years of four newborns in Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. But while the overlying message is hit-you-over-the-head obvious — the love between parent and child knows no border — the movie itself is surprisingly (and admirably) hands-off. There is no narrator, no explanatory setup, no overlying text beyond names and locations. No filmmakers enter the frame, and the only ones readily acknowledging the presence of a camera are the babies (and pets) who can’t help but stare. Even they seem to get used to it, though, and while the message behind “Babies” certainly deserves commendation, it’s the stars of the show and their candid displays of curiosity, mischief, self-amusement and general confusion that makes watching 93 minutes of mostly dialogue-free footage so much sweeter and funnier than a description on paper might imply. With that said, a fair (and obvious) warning: If babies don’t really do it for you, this won’t either, and even those who appreciate “Babies” might also appreciate being able to pause the movie and catch a breather from what essentially is a cute train that never stops rolling.
Extras: A feature on the babies three years later, “Babies” contest winner feature.
Frozen (R, 2010, Anchor Bay)
Let this be a lesson for the few of you lacking the ground-level common sense to figure this out: When it’s dark outside and a ski resort says it’s closing down for five days, don’t bribe the chairlift operator into letting you go for one last ascent up what otherwise is a deserted trail. Thats what Parker (Emma Bell), Joe (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan (Kevin Zegers) did, and as you might guess, a sequence of events leads to both the operator leaving the scene and the lift shutting down mid-trip, leaving the three stranded high above the ground amid freezing temperatures. “Frozen” puts itself in a tricky spot, because it’s a movie that both takes place almost entirely in the same small area and also one that really wants to touch some nerves by not blowing absurd holes in its logic. As such, there is a limited number of ways this can go. But limited options doesn’t hurt like it could have, because once “Frozen” makes its selections for how it wants to scare audiences, it mines those selections for gold and does a lot with a little. Skiing and snowboarding aficionados will certainly get more rattled by the dramatization of worst fears realized in bad ways, but anyone afraid of heights, the dark, the elements, tight spaces or being stranded will get theirs as well.
Extras: Cast/writer/director commentary, deleted scenes, four behind-the-scenes features.
Suck (R, 2009, E1 Entertainment)
The disheartening laws of banality suggest that any movie that’s doused with loud music, loud makeup, caffeinated acting and an attention deficit disorder can also stake a claim as a potential cult classic. In actuality, most of these movies are just bad — and that’s a bummer for “Suck,” because it’s entirely too much fun to deserve getting lost in the playground of calculated cult classic wannabes. In “Suck,” the only fetching member (Jessica Paré as Jennifer) of a floundering indie band transforms into an object of hysterical fascination when she disappears one night and reemerges as a vampire capable of hypnotizing audiences. Her bandmates (Rob Stefaniuk, Chris Ratz, Paul Anthony) are predictably rattled — catching her feeding on a convenience store clerk tends to do that — and in the meantime, a weathered vampire hunter (Malcolm McDowell) seeks to vanquish the spell that both transformed Jennifer and previously killed his wife. Does “Suck” sound like yet another morose story about vampires? Yes it does. But in addition to being a comedy that’s too clever to fall prone to dreariness, “Suck” really is a movie about rock and roll. The vampires are a device, but the real story — how long do we look the other way if audiences are buying tickets to look at us? — is so much more, and “Suck” has a legitimately entertaining time milking it from start to finish. Dave Foley, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and Dimitri Coats also star.
Extras: Writer/director/cinematographer documentary, making-of documentary, music video.
Get Him to the Greek: Unrated Collector’s Edition (R/NR, 2010, Universal)
It’s understandable why someone decided to write a movie centered around rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), because while a bunch of characters stole scenes in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” he came away with two handfuls and parts of the soundtrack as well. But if “Get Him to the Greek” leaves us with any lasting lesson, it might be that a little Russell Brand is better than an entire movie’s worth of him. “Greek” takes place long after the events of “Marshall,” and Aldous’ stardom has peaked and faded. But with the 10th anniversary of his Budokan-esque show at the Greek Theatre looming, and with music executive Sergio Roma (Sean Combs) needing a sure thing after numerous failures, an anniversary show seems like a good idea. So Sergio sends a minion (Jonah Hill, playing a completely different character than he portrayed in “Marshall,” so just play along) to fetch the perennially intoxicated Aldous, the job proves more challenging than originally envisioned, and from there, wackiness — and lots of it — ensues. Moments of that wackiness are amusing and even sharply funny. But mostly, “Greek” reaches and strains itself to fill nearly two hours with what essentially is an empty excuse for Aldous to be Aldous. As it turns out, while he’s really funny in short bursts, he’s harder to take in longer form. “Greek” goes through the usual motions — wackiness, loud wackiness, heartfelt turnabout, happy ending — and it does a reasonably entertaining job at it, but little more than that.
Extras: Theatrical and extended (by four minutes, don’t get excited) cuts, cast/crew commentary, deleted/extended scenes, alternate beginning and ending, uncut music scenes, two behind-the-scenes features, bloopers, line-o-rama.
Worth a mention
— “Astonishing X-Men: Gifted” (NR, 2010, Shout Factory): The torrent of animated comic book shows and movies might leave non-devotees completely overwhelmed, but “Astonishing X-Men: Gifted” merits a little extra attention. Instead of a full-fledged cartoon, “Gifted” is a motion comic, a hybrid between cartoon and static comic that’s a bit jarring the first time you experience it. In addition to being novel, though, the motion comic approach lets storytelling and sharp writing shoulder the entertainment burden instead of sleepwalking while flashy animation does the work. Fortunately, given the writing minds — Joss Whedon and John Cassaday — tasked with making that happen, that works out just fine. Includes six episodes (which, totaled together, form a feature-length presentation), plus interviews, a behind-the-scenes feature, a visual X-Men retrospective and a music video.
— “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Battle for Eternia” (NR, 2002, Mill Creek): The good news about this set is the reminder it serves about the relatively unheralded 2002 “He-Man” cartoon reboot, which did just about everything right by staying true to the original cartoon while enhancing the universe with more sophisticated animation and storytelling. The bad news about this set is that, while it’s affordably priced at $10, the complete 39-episode series is available for less than twice the price. This set includes 10 episodes, along with a commentary track on one episode and original scripts for all 10.
— “King Kong” (NR, 1933, Warner Bros.): Maybe the migration to Blu-Ray would accelerate if studios replaced those ugly blue cases with the packaging reserved for “King Kong’s” Blu-Ray coming-out party. “Kong” comes packaged like a hardcover book, and Warner Bros. binds an equally attractive 32-page companion booklet to the spine. Other bonuses include a commentary track with visual effects pioneers Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, a seven-part making-of documentary, a profile on “Kong” writer Merian C. Cooper, high-definition transfers of test footage and the original trailer.
— “Scrubs: The Complete and Final Ninth Season” (NR, 2009, ABC/Disney): A lot of fans balked — hence the cancellation that followed — but “Scrubs” made a bold play to extend its life by moving the focus to a teaching school after a huge portion of its cast left town following the eighth season. It definitely isn’t the same, and this is the show’s weakest season if we’re keeping score, but even in this form, a down season of “Scrubs” can hang with most sitcoms’ best years. Despite the exodus, most of that old cast returns in some capacity at some point, and fans of J.D. (Zach Braff), Turk (Donald Faison) and Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) have much to look forward to in this set. Includes 13 episodes, plus deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes feature about the transformation, bloopers and a “Live from the Golf Cart” feature that will make more sense once you’ve seen the episodes.
— “Super Size Me: 6 1/2-Year Anniversary Special Edition” (PG-13, 2004, Virgil Films): The world has changed greatly in six and a half years’ time, but this film remains as scientifically dubious — and thoroughly, hilariously engrossing — as it was the day it arrived. The new edition follows up with a new Q&A with filmmaker and test subject Morgan Spurlock, as well as answers to the 10 most-ask questions about its creation.
— “Secret Agent Aka Danger Man: The Complete Collection” (NR, 1960, A&E): Like any series lucky enough to be ensnared by A&E’s DVD arm, “Secret Agent Aka Danger Man” finally gets the svelte megaset treatment, with all 86 episodes available on 18 discs packaged inside nine slim cases. Extras include a profile on series star Patrick McGoohan, the uncut U.S. show opener and a photo gallery.