BLOGS

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

by Ethan Alter October 11, 2011 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

With this ring, I vow to kick your ass.

Green Lantern
DC's first attempt at a non-Batman, non-Superman comic-book blockbuster got a lot of flak when it arrived theaters this past summer, but honestly, Green Lantern is not that bad. The movie's biggest sin -- beyond casting Blake Lively -- is that it simply tries to do too much, juggling the typical superhero origin story with some outer space soap opera shenanigans and needlessly cramming in two villains when one would suffice. (Particularly since one of said villains is a vicious, evil... cloud. Sigh. You'd think Hollywood would have learned something after what happened to the mighty Galactus in that Fantastic Four sequel.) In the plus column, we'd add Ryan Reynolds' lively performance as Earth's new emerald space cop, Mark Strong's note-perfect take on Sinestro and some clever uses of Green Lantern's ring. We realize the chances of the announced sequel actually happening are slim to none, but we'd be willing to give the Green Lantern franchise another shot. Just get someone other than Martin Campbell to direct it -- may we suggest Joe Johnston? He did a nice job with Captain America and could likely find the fun that's lacking in this version of GL.
Extras: An extended cut of the film with almost ten additional minutes, picture-in-picture commentary, eight featurettes, deleted scenes and a digital copy of the best-selling reboot issue, Justice League #1.

The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick's fifth film was almost three years in the making (even longer when you consider that he's been doing test shoots and shaping the script since the '70s) but absolutely worth the wait. A rich, heady film about life, death and the origin of the universe itself, The Tree of Life elevates the familiar coming-of-age narrative of a boy's journey to manhood to a positively cosmic scale. As usual, Malick's camerawork (the movie was shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, who also served as the director of photography on Malick's previous film, The New World) and distinctive editing style are the real stars here, but Brad Pitt also impresses as a stern '50s-era father and Jessica Chastain is marvelous in the first of a string of memorable performances she's given over the past year. The Tree of Life may not ultimately be everyone's cup of tea, but for adventurous moviegoers, it's essential viewing.
Extras: A solid, if disappointingly routine 30-minute making-of documentary consisting of cast and crew interviews (though the famously press-shy Malick doesn't appear as a talking head) as well as conversations with noted Malick appreciators like Christopher Nolan and David Fincher.

Horrible Bosses
A ramshackle comedy held together only by the sheer skill of its cast, Horrible Bosses scores just enough laughs to make it worth recommending. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play a trio of put-upon working stiffs that decide to make their daily grind a little more bearable by offing their supervisors, who range from a nunchucks-wielding cokehead (Colin Farrell) to a cruel, potentially psychotic a-hole in a three-piece suit (Kevin Spacey), to an out-and-out sexual predator (Jennifer Aniston). Jamie Foxx also pops up in a memorable cameo as a supposedly experienced hitman that lends his questionable expertise to these novice killers. Will you remember Horrible Bosses at all after you watch it? Nope. But is it funny? Yeah, mostly.
Extras: Deleted scenes and a bunch of featurettes, including one in which the cast reminisce about their own worst jobs and horrible bosses.

Terri
The kind of quirky indie comedy that Sundance was created for, Terri stars Jacob Wysocki as the title character, an overweight teen outcast who lives with his doddering uncle (Creed Bratton from The Office in an actual dramatic role) and goes through the motions of attending school and pretending to learn. Eventually, his oddball ways (he shows up for class in his pajamas, for crying out loud) get him sent to the principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly), who attempts to befriend this mixed-up kid. Well-acted and nicely observed, Terri nevertheless feels a little too -- pardon the pun -- thin. Its modest charms remain largely surface level, never developing into anything more complex and captivating.
Extras: A making-of featurette and deleted scenes.

Also on DVD:
Congratulations America! By avoiding Zookeeper earlier this summer, you proved to Hollywood that they can't just stick Kevin James and a bunch of talking animals in a movie and expect to gross $100 million. On the other hand, this frees him up to do Paul Blart 2, so please stay strong and don't let that tempt you back into the theater. Friends don't let friends pay to see bad Kevin James movies. Hoping to replicate the surprise success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid flicks, the kiddie book Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer got a big-screen adaptation, but failed to rack up the same big box-office grosses. Maybe it'll find a more receptive audience on DVD, since the format allows parents to turn the movie on and then leave the room so they won't have to watch it. Christmas may still be two months away, but it's never too early to start re-releasing seasonal classics on DVD. First one out of the gate is Scrooge, the 1970 version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol starring Albert Finney as the crotchety old humbug Ebenezer Scrooge. This week's other vintage release is a new Blu-ray edition of Maniac Cop, the '80s cult crime classic starring Bruce Campbell. Finally, English comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon yuk it up in the excellent road trip comedy The Trip, a condensed version of a six-part British miniseries, and French director Bertrand Tavernier offers up The Princess of Montpensier, a leisurely-paced, but entirely enjoyable slice of medieval pulp fiction involving a pair of swashbucklers and the lovely young woman whose affections they both desire.

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