Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

General

DVD LOUNGE: Monday Edition

It was to my shock and overall disappointment that we lost a DVD Lounge column during the Great Blogger Snafu of 2011.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a copy of the reviews, so in this column I’ve reconstructed those reviews and will be presenting (if all goes well) five reviews a day through Friday.

Fire up your queues and get ready for the magic after the jump.


Green Hornet
Sony / Released May 3, 2011

The Pitch
Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is a slacker by day, party animal by night… until he finds a serious career that’s seriously cool: crime-fighting action hero. As the Green Hornet, he teams up with gadget wiz and martial arts master Kato (Jay Chou) to take down LA’s underworld. Even Britt’s assistant Lenore (Cameron Diaz), doesn’t suspect this mismatched pair is the masked duo busting the city’s toughest thugs led by Chudnofsky (Academy Award® winner Christoph Waltz, 2010, Supporting Actor, Inglourious Basterds). With style, swagger and an arsenal of awesome gear, the Green Hornet and Kato are doing justice their way, making every mission a mix of over-the-top action and outrageous comedy.

The Review
I might be in the minority, but I found Michel Gondry’s reimagining of the Green Hornet a refreshing change from the standard comic hero genre film.  A large part of it’s success comes from the palpable chemistry between it’s leads, Seth Rogen (who co-wrote with Evan Goldberg) and Jay Chou, who delivers a charming, unforgettable performance.  Extras include commentary, featurettes and a gag reel.  The Green Hornet delivers well executed action, snappy dialogue and solid performances that elevate it above the humorless comic book movies and instead recreates it as the first superhero buddy movie.  Highly recommended.

Trailer

Marlowe
Warner Archive / Released April 26, 2011

The Pitch
Five-hundred bucks doesn’t come easily for private eye Philip Marlowe (James Garner). But when it comes by way of a bribe, it might as well be five cents. He rejects Winslow Wong (Bruce Lee) and his offer of cash…and Wong promptly karates the detective’s office into a junkpile. In a colorful whodunit based on Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister, Garner’s easygoing style contrasts agreeably with the grim task of sleuthing a case of missing persons, blackmail and ice-pick murders. Carroll O’Connor, Rita Moreno, William Daniels, Sharon Farrell and Jackie Coogan are among the cast of characters living in a sprawling ’60s L.A. so hard-boiled somebody’s got to crack. And when that happens, it’s Marlowe’s job to put the pieces together.

The Review
Marlowe is less of a study of Chandler and more of the evolution of James Garner.  Here, Garner plays the character with his tongue planted firmly in cheek, amused with himself and in actuality in many ways developing the onscreen persona that would follow him to The Rockford Files.  The film doesn’t necessarily succeed in creating the Los Angeles noir one would expect, but rather a depicts a moment in time as seen through a motion picture studio (Look, Hippies!).  Marlowe isn’t particularly cinematic, but it is reminiscent of a solid television drama.  The film is aided immensely by the ensemble of fantastic and familiar character actors sprinkled throughout.  Extras are light, including only the trailer.  Marlowe is heavy on charm, extremely watchable, but ultimately forgettable.  Recommended.

Trailer

Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season
Warner Bros. / Released April 26, 2011

The Pitch
Congratulations…you’re fired. Mike (Kirk Cameron) receives a car from his pleased parents after he’s named Employee of the Month. (So how’s he going to tell them he’s been canned?) Mike’s not the only one with secrets. Brainy Carol (Tracey Gold) wants everyone to think she has a romantic extracurricular life with a hunky football hero. And what’s up with 10-year-old Ben (Jeremy Miller) and those 67 calls to a sex line? (No, it’s not what you might think.) These events don’t all happen at the same time, but they do all happen at the same place: the Season 2 home-sweet-ho-ho-home of the Seavers – dad Jason (Alan Thicke), mom Maggie (Joanna Kerns), three on-the-grow kids. Jason works as a psychiatrist. You think maybe it’s time to add some family appointments to his calendar?

The Review
If you grew up with the Seavers like I did, and haven’t checked in on them in some time, you’ll be happy to know that Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season, doesn’t disappoint.  Airing during the renaissance of the family sitcom (alongside The Cosby Show and Family Ties), Growing Pains doesn’t shirk at providing a somewhat realistic view of the nuclear family dynamic.  It’s also appealing that the Seaver kids, are flawed, and need their parent’s guidance and advice to successfuly navigate through adolescence.  The set contains no extras.  Revisiting Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season was a worthwhile experience.  The series has held up well and is worth revisiting or introducing to younger viewers.  Highly recommended.

Preview Clip

Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles
Warner Archive / Released April 26, 2011

The Pitch
Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles is one half-hour packed with the adventures of two of the most unusual animation creations of the legendary Hanna-Barbera studio. Buzz Conroy is a heroic boy-genius who builds the powerful robot Frankenstein Jr. When the Ghastly Genie, the Junk Man and other evildoers get up to their old tricks, “Frankie” and his young creator crank into action. The crime fighting coalition continues with the Impossibles, a group of superheroes disguised as a beatnik rock group. At the direction of “Big D,” Multi Man, Coil Man and Fluid Man make hot-rockin’ musical justice thwarting thieves and corralling crooks with their transformative powers. All-family classic cartoon fun isn’t just possible – it’s guaranteed with this 2-Disc, 18-Episode Collection.

The Review
One of my most anticipated Hanna Barbera titles does not disappoint as Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles kept a smile on my face throughout the entire series (in small doses, however).  Each episode contains a single Frankenstein Jr. and two Impossibles adventures.  Frankenstein Jr. is remiscent of an animated Johnny Sokko facing off against ’60s-era Batman rogues and The Impossibles is essentially, the Monkees (or better yet, the Mosquitos from Gilligan’s Island) fighting crime.  The plots are pretty generic (and repetitive which is why it’s best to view single episodes at a time), but the color, character designs and voice work is still impressive today.  Unlike most Warner Archive titles, this does include a brief featurette.  Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles is a product definitely from another era, but worth revisiting.  Recommended.

Preview Clip

Thor: Tales of Asgard
Lionsgate / Released on Blu-ray, DVD & Game Consoles on 5/17/11

The Pitch
Before he ever lifted his mighty hammer, there was the sword. Fantastic journeys beckon from the mysterious nine realms. Places of dark mists and fiery voids. Of winged creatures and giants in the ice. And the most alluring quest of all – the search for the legendary Lost Sword of Surtur. Hungry for adventure, Thor secretly embarks on the journey of a lifetime, joined by his loyal brother Loki, whose budding sorcery equips him with just enough magic to conjure up trouble, along with the Warriors Three – a band of boastful travelers reluctant to set sail on any adventure that might actually be dangerous. But what starts out as a harmless treasure hunt quickly turns deadly, and Thor must now prove himself worthy of the destiny he covets by saving Asgard itself.

The Review
Reminiscent of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Tales of Asgard back-up stories that ran in Journey Into Mystery, Thor: Tales of Asgard focuses on the adventures of a teenage Thor, Loki, and cast, with mixed results.  The biggest problem is that it feels less like Marvel’s Thor, and more like a generic take on the public domain Norse characters.  Completely missing Lee’s tone and Kirby’s dynamic design, Thor: Tales of Asgard suffers from the biggest offense of them all, it’s pretty dull.  It very loosely ties into the feature film (actually repeating some plot points), but both the animation and script are uninspired.  Extras include commentaries, featurettes, trailers and a Thor-centric episode of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  Thor: Tales of Asgard is a fairly standard, kid-friendly film, but it’s not the Thor that you expect or necessarily want to see.

Trailer

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Movies

Produced by Aengus James & Colin King Miller Directed by Mark Landsman Featuring Steve Coz, Carl Bernstein, Iain Calder, Judith Regan   I distinctly...

Movies

Let’s be honest, how could a movie with the title The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot not pique one’s interest? Add...

Columns/Features

So, here we are. It’s been far too long since this column has run, missing most of the spring and the summer. I’m not...

Columns/Features

So, April Fool’s!  It’s been far, far too long since a DVD/Blues column has been finished.  This was intended for publication more than several...

%d bloggers like this: