There’s a peculiar theme at work in this week’s Blu-ray releases. In separate movies, both Liam Neeson and Matt Damon find their whole lives taken away from them by mysterious forces. Neeson wakes up from a car accident to discover that no one recognizes or remembers him, not even his wife. Damon gets a look behind the curtain at god-like beings who control every aspect of his life and every decision he makes. Meanwhile, we in the audience continue to wish that we could erase Channing Tatum’s movie career from existence.
Here’s the week’s release slate:
- ‘The Adjustment Bureau‘ (Universal)
- ‘Cedar Rapids‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘Ceremony‘ (Magnolia)
- ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Eagle‘ (Universal)
- ‘Ghost in the Shell: Individual Eleven‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Ghost in the Shell: The Laughing Man‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Growth‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘happythankyoumoreplease‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Island‘ (Paramount)
- ‘Kiss Me Deadly‘ (Criterion)
- ‘Louie: The Complete First Season‘ (20th Century Fox)
- ‘The Medallion‘ (Image)
- ‘Mega Python vs. Gatoroid ‘ (Image)
- ‘Priest of Love‘ (Kino)
- ‘The Rig‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘The Romantic Englishwoman‘ (Kino)
- ‘Stonehenge Apocalypse‘ (Starz/Anchor Bay)
- ‘Unknown‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Unknown (Combo Pack)‘ (Warner Brothers)
- ‘Wake Wood‘ (Dark Sky Films – June 20th)
- ‘You Got Served: Beat the World‘ (Sony)
Loyal readers of this blog know that we’ll be giving away two copies of ‘The Adjustment Bureau‘ this week. The movie received very polarizing reviews during its theatrical release. Some critics (including our own at the time) called it a fun blend of the science fiction and romance genres. Others tore every single aspect of it to shreds with merciless abandon. I haven’t seen it personally, but a friend of mine whose opinion I generally respect fell on the positive side.
A couple years ago, audiences really enjoyed watching old codger Liam Neeson show some young punks what’s for in the surprise hit ‘Taken‘. Naturally, that could only mean that we’d be in store for more of the same, which is apparently what we get in ‘Unknown‘. From the trailers, this looks like the teal-est movie that has ever been made. I don’t think there’s a single other color in the whole film.
‘The Eagle‘ is based on the children’s adventure novel (‘The Eagle of the Ninth’) about a Roman centurion searching for his lost father. Channing Tatum stars… And I’m out. Next.
Speaking of crap made for children, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘ got a sequel this year. It’s at times like this that I’m glad I don’t have kids.
Are you a fan of those pleasantly innocuous indie crowd-pleaser comedies like ‘Little Miss Sunshine‘ or ‘Hamlet 2’ about the wacky antics of dysfunctional people doing goofy things in the cutest way possible? The most recent entry in that Sundance Audience Award sweepstakes was ‘Cedar Rapids‘. I find these things insufferable. Your mileage may vary.
If that’s not quite enough indie rom-com bullshit for you, try ‘happythankyoumoreplease‘, the directorial debut of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ star Josh Radnor, who seems to think that he’s making the next ‘Garden State’. Our reviewer Steven called the movie “bland and unimaginative.” I’ll trust him on that.
On the TV front, we have the complete first season of ‘Louie‘, the FX sitcom starring and almost entirely created and produced by foul-mouthed comedian Louis C.K. I liked him when he had a recurring part on ‘Parks and Rec’, but I absolutely hated his HBO comedy ‘Lucky Louie’, which was just astoundingly terrible. I’ve only caught bits and pieces of this one, but it seems to be a big improvement. I know that Dick is a fan.
Before we move along to catalog titles, let’s not ignore the latest SyFy Channel monster schlock-fest ‘Mega Python vs. Gatoroid‘. This is the one that features a catfight between ’80s pop icons Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in a swamp. Feel free to just watch that scene and skip the rest.
OK then, would you believe that Michael Bay actually made one halfway decent movie and it turned out to be his only box office bomb? Well, you can stop believing that myth, because ‘The Island‘ is actually just as dumb as all of his other movies, if not more so. Ask yourself this: Who are all those product placement billboards, commercials, and logos that litter every inch of the underground clone factory supposed to be advertising to? The clones don’t have money. They don’t buy things. Why would Puma and Apple and Speedo pay to put their logos all over everything down there? It boggles the mind.
In better news, the Criterion Collection brings us Robert Aldrich’s film noir classic ‘Kiss Me Deadly‘, starring a very young Cloris Leachman. I’m way behind in my Criterion collecting these days.
Finally, we get three “movies” from the ‘Ghost in the Shell‘ anime series. For those who haven’t followed the ins and outs of this franchise, let me break it down for you. The TV series is not a direct sequel to either of the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ films by Mamoru Oshii. Instead, it’s a parallel adaptation of the same original manga (comic book) and contains many plot points that contradict the Oshii films. The show ran for two seasons, called ‘Stand Alone Complex’ and ‘S.A.C. 2nd Gig’ respectively, followed by a direct-to-video movie called ‘Solid State Society’. Two of the Blu-rays being released today (‘The Laughing Man’ and ‘Individual Eleven’) are condensed DTV movies that take clips from those two seasons and boil them down to the essential plot-points. Only ‘Solid State Society’ is a fully unedited narrative.
As someone who’s watched the entire ‘Ghost in the Shell’ series, my inclination would be to only pick up the ‘Solid State Society’ Blu-ray and skip the clip-shows. However, since I haven’t seen them, I can’t judge how well they work on their own. It also occurs to me that cutting out most of the cutesy Tachikoma comic relief would probably be a good thing for this show.