Apologies for not getting this stuff up last week. On short notice I jumped the midwest ship and relocated to British Columbia temporarily. However DVDs continue to be released whether I write about them or not. I will only cover this week’s stuff though, as I don’t think Rio is worth looking back for.
This week–and the past few weeks for that matter, have more or less consisted of what I label the “shit season” making its way to small screens of primarily American homes. The “shit season” is that early year bullshit that plops itself uncomfortably in between the “Oscar season” and the “summer season.” No one likes this stuff. No one makes any money at the box office, no one is in the run for awards, and everyone is desperately trying to get the exhausted second semester society to find its way to the theater. There is no real pattern as to what genre works best in this time frame so studios try everything. Everything fails.
Top 5 Releases
5. Paul (2011)
I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The idea of them being paired with Seth Rogen and the Apatow crew seemed like an international match made in heaven. But as soon as the trailer showed up for this mismatched disaster, I realized that this was no more true to their initial comedic spirit that Pegg’s pathetic effort to gain an American audience with Run, Fatboy, Run. Nick Frost’s recent effort (returning to full-on British humor) in Attack the Block seems like the film this one desperately wanted to be.
4. Super (2011)
Rainn Wilson struck comedic gold with his haircut, glasses, and overly dry humor in The Office. Unfortunately, he hasn’t successfully shaken that image and has been confined to continuing his little act as an absurdly serious and immature adult with genuine but specific passion. I haven’t seen it yet, but will check it out later this week. –Review Coming Soon!
3. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – Blu-Ray
I guess comedies are a bit overdosed this week, but worst ones could be had. This early Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) script is rude, crude, wild, and fun. It shows a less mature and more outrageous side of him. This side I suspect was the one that wrote for Rolling Stone Magazine at age 18 and toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The youthful edge of Sean Penn is revealed here as well.
2. The Battle of the Algiers (1966) – Criterion Collection
This release is getting the Blu-ray update this week, so it isn’t much new. But the film itself is still a masterful French classic that uniquely depicts and important part of their history. It isn’t a favorite of mine, but the film is well-crafted and deserving of the Criterion honor.
1. Dazed and Confused (1993) – Blu-Ray
After Richard Linklater’s brilliant debut about generation X, there was Dazed and Confused. The funny thing is, he discovered that he was basically making the same film. His only real goal with both films was to depict a time and a place, a short window of youthful culture. His astonishing discovery was that humanity retains most all of its values (or lack thereof) despite generational issues. The end result was a better crafted film about the time that he himself had a firm nostalgic connection to, the 1970s.
On the mainstream/shithole end of the spectrum, Your Highness, which I think we all desperately wanted to be a successful throwback to Mel Brooks, looks more accurately like an epicly disappointing follow up to director David Gordon Green’s alarmingly good Pineapple Express. Right alongside that is an animated feature that I totally forgot existed: Mars Needs Moms. Is this perhaps in some way related to the cult classic masterpiece of schlock-awful cinema, Santa Clause Conquers the Martians? I actually own the latter on DVD. If you haven’t seen that one, I recommend it. I believe SCTV plays as an annual tradition. As for the new animated flick, I couldn’t care less.
The Fox and the Hound, which I am told is a classic of some sort, is on blu-ray for those who concern themselves with such affairs. I myself have only a little more interest in this as I do in Mars Needs Moms… well maybe a little more.
The last of the week is something called Tactical Force and a show called M.A.S.K. Once more I’m reaching the level of things I’ve neither heard of nor care about which means it is time to stop writing. Be sure to check back for the review of Super later this week.