I Want My DVD: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Aw, c'mon Channing -- a big-screen version of Cop Rock sounds like a great idea!"

21 Jump Street
In the wrong hands, 21 Jump Street could easily have joined the ranks of big-screen adaptations of old TV shows that should just have stayed on the boob tube. But thanks to co-writer/star Jonah Hill and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the Jump Street film turned out to be a clever lark, exploiting the "young cops go back to high school" premise in a fun way by having the central odd couple -- dorky Schmidt (Hill) and studly Jenko (Channing Tatum) -- switch places so that the nerd becomes the cool kid and vice versa. Stocking the movie with comic ringers (among them Rob Riggle, Chris Parnell and Ellie Kemper) helped as well. But Jump Street's secret comedy weapon throughout is Tatum, who gives his most relaxed and appealing performance to date. He should ditch those lame three-hankie weepies like The Vow and devote himself to a full-time comedy career.
Extras: A commentary track with the directors and the cast; twenty deleted scenes, a gag reel and additional outtakes with Ice Cube's foul-mouthed police captain; five featurettes including one featuring an original Jump Street alum (Hint: his name rhymes with "Phloney Flep") stopping by to make a cameo appearance in the movie.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to read our interview with the directors
Click here to read what other '80s shows we'd like to see made into movies

The Artist
Back in February, the Academy voted -- for only the second time in its history -- to award the coveted Best Picture Oscar to a silent movie. That film (and future Trivial Pursuit question) was The Artist, which also picked up statues for its director Michel Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin. Set in 1920s Hollywood just as sound was about to revolutionize the motion picture industry, the movie follows the declining fortunes of silent screen superstar George Valentin (Dujardin) and the rise of new It Girl Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). A lightweight charmer of a movie with a standout performance by Dujardin -- who brilliantly channels such early cinema icons as Chaplin, Fairbanks and Valentino -- The Artist encountered a significant backlash as it solidified its eventual Oscar victory and while it may not be the most substantive film to win Best Picture, it's an entirely enjoyable throwback to Hollywood's vanished past. If nothing else, the film's awards success will hopefully encourage modern-day viewers to check out the real thing.
Extras: Six making-of featurettes; a Q&A with Hazanavicius and his cast; and a blooper reel.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to read our Q&A with Michel Hazanavicius

Wrath of the Titans
Proof that there really are sequels that nobody demanded, this follow-up to the 2010's high-grossing, but little-liked Clash of the Titans belly-flopped at the box office, earning roughly half of its predecessor's $160 million take. Part of that blame can probably be placed on the enormous success of The Hunger Games -- which came out the week before to huge numbers -- but the general shoddiness of Wrath didn't really help matters. The movie takes its cue from star Sam Worthington's bland presence as reluctant demigod Perseus and boringly goes through the motions of contemporary blockbuster filmmaking, piling effects heavy action sequence on top of effects heavy action sequence with little to no attention paid to storytelling or coherent battle choreography. At least we can take comfort in knowing that we likely won't be seeing these Titans again anytime soon.
Extras: Three deleted scenes; ten featurettes; and Maximum Movie Mode with additional behind-the-scenes content.
Click here to read our original review

A Thousand Words
The Eddie Murphy Comeback Train that kicked off with Tower Heist -- and then promptly slowed down once that movie performed below expectations -- derailed completely following the blink-and-you-missed-it release of this long-delayed comedy, which was originally filmed in 2008. Murphy plays a smooth-talking liar who reforms his ways when a mystical encounter leaves him with only a thousand words left to utter until he kicks the bucket. It's the sort of premise that Murphy might have been able to make work at the height of his career when he embraced irreverence, but his late-career turn to excessive sentiment and sappiness strangles the comedy. We'll still be rooting for Murphy to recover his groove, but if he keeps picking movies like this, the chances of that happening seem slimmer and slimmer.
Extras: Deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

Also on DVD:
2012's other Snow White movie Mirror Mirror arrives on DVD as Snow White and the Huntsman continues to chug along decently at the box office. In the contest of Evil Queens, Charlize Theron out-villains Julia Roberts without breaking a sweat. Here's a new spin on the cop genre for you: the Swedish film Sound of Noise follows a dogged cop on the trail of six guerilla... percussionists. Is one of them Max Weinberg? Alfred Hitchock's 1935 classic The 39 Steps gets the Criterion treatment in a new DVD and Blu-ray edition that includes a commentary track with a Hitchcock expert, a documentary about the director's early years in England and the complete broadcast of the 1937 radio version. In case you've been off-planet the past few years and haven't heard of this "Christopher Nolan" fellow, the new box set Christopher Nolan's Director's Collection gets you caught up on some of his flicks, including Memento, Inception and a little film called The Dark Knight.

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