In this week’s Blu-ray releases, Drew Barrymore saves the whales, Jason Segel gets stoned, and Madonna tries to rule the world. In other words, it’s just another average Tuesday.
The biggest miracle about ‘Big Miracle‘ is that the film somehow scored a theatrical release despite so obviously being a TV movie-of-the-week. Aside from Drew Barrymore, the rest of the cast (John Krasinski, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Kristen Bell) are all TV stars slumming between seasons or between shows. Even director Ken Kwapis is on loan from ‘The Office’. I suppose that kids like whales, or something. If you’ve run out of ‘Free Willy’ sequels to keep your little tykes entertained, I suppose you could do worse than this.
In ‘Wanderlust‘, Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston get stuck in a commune full of dirty hippies. Are hippies even really still a thing anymore? Haven’t they all died out by now? I feel like this script was written twenty years ago. Anyway, the movie comes from a lot of the crew behind the old sketch comedy series ‘The State’ and the not-as-funny-as-its-reputation summer camp spoof ‘Wet Hot American Summer’. Aaron and Luke both thought it was pretty decent.
Jason Segel plays a stoner (what a stretch, right?) in the latest indie dramedy from the Duplass brothers, ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home‘. Ed Helms nicely plays against type as Segel’s total prick of a brother. I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival last year and was pretty underwhelmed by it. Aaron liked it a lot better than I did.
Pitched as ‘The Hangover’ for teens (like that’s a great idea!), ‘Project X‘ is that movie from earlier this year with the incredibly vague ads that had something to do with a house party that gets out of control. According to every single person over the age of 16 who saw it, the movie’s an astoundingly awful piece of crap. The target audience (who were too young to even see it legally) of course at this shit right up, to the tune of a $50 million profit on a budget of about 8 bucks and change. What I want to know is, where the hell are Matthew Broderick and the chimps??
In a post-apocalyptic dystopia, rival gangs vie for supremacy by facing off in ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ competitions – to the death! That sounds kind of awesome, doesn’t it? Sadly, ‘The FP‘ is a one-joke gimmick with terrible acting and even worse production values.
This week, Disney dusts off a couple of its biggest flop musicals from the ’90s and tries to pretend that they’re beloved classics. First we have a 15th Anniversary Edition of ‘Evita‘, which may well be the best movie Madonna has ever made, but that’s of course not saying much. This adaptation of the mega-hit stage show was a critical and commercial dud. Improbably, ‘Newsies‘ had just the opposite journey. This notorious movie bomb was recently revived as a hit Broadway show. It’s a strange world we live in, isn’t it? Now you can relive the awfulness of Christian Bale’s singing with a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray.
Until now, fans of the ‘Blade‘ franchise had to settle for some middling-quality Blu-rays from Canada. Finally, New Line has rolled out American Blu-ray editions of ‘Blade’ and ‘Blade: Trinity’, but oddly has omitted Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Blade II’, which is the only halfway decent entry in the bunch. [Looks like these have been delayed, sorry.]
Who knew there were so many movies called ‘Project X‘ that don’t feature Matthew Broderick or chimpanzees? The 1968 version is a sci-fi thriller about a cryogenically frozen spy from famous schlock-meister William Castle. The gimmick in this one (Castle loved his gimmicks) is that the action scenes were all animated by Hanna-Barbera. So, literally, a live-action scene with real actors will cut to a clip from ‘Jonny Quest’. Weird.
Criterion celebrates the late monologist Spalding Gray this week with director Steven Soderberg’s 1996 film version of ‘Gray’s Anatomy‘ as well as Soderbergh’s recent documentary about the man, called ‘And Everything Is Going Fine‘. I was fortunate enough to see Gray in one of his last plays in the late ’90s. He was truly a unique talent.
Two of the FX network’s raunchy comedies, ‘Louie‘ and ‘Wilfred‘, make their way to Blu-ray this week. I’m not sure that either show has production values that require high definition to be enjoyed, but it’s nice to see that TV product isn’t completely dead on the format yet. Having watched the entire first season of ‘Wilfred’, I’m still undecided if that show is actually funny, or just weird.
My wish list for this week is pretty short – just the two Criterion titles. Tell us in the poll and in the Comments about which discs have caught your interest.