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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

by Ethan Alter December 11, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seth MacFarlane directs My Dinner With Ted.

Ted
No longer content to just be the king of Fox's Sunday night Animation Domination cartoon block, Seth MacFarlane decided to take his brand of pop-culture based broad humor to movie theaters and came up with the summer's biggest comedy hit. The story of an (overgrown) boy and his talking teddy bear, Ted is proudly juvenile in its comedy, but it also happens to be pretty darn amusing, thanks largely to the interaction between the titular CGI-bear (voiced by MacFarlane) and live-action star Mark Wahlberg, who does some of the best acting opposite a non-existent animated co-star since Bob Hoskins tangled with Roger Rabbit. MacFarlane's television background does shine through in the fact that the movie has maybe a half-hour's worth of solid material dragged out to feature length; the final act in particular, which features a miscast Giovanni Ribisi as a teddy-snatching creep, is an enormous waste of time. But the movie justifies its existence with two terrific scenes: a Bourne Identity-style brawl between Ted and Wahlberg and a stunt cameo by Sam J. Jones, star of the 1980 cult favorite Flash Gordon, which serves as a great running gag throughout the movie. Ted isn't a comedy for the ages, but it provides an afternoon's worth of pleasant diversion.
Extras: A commentary track anchored by MacFarlane and Wahlberg, alternate takes, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette about the aforementioned man-on-teddy-bear brawl.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see our picks for the creepiest living toys in movies

The Bourne Legacy
In seeking to continue its profitable Bourne franchise after original star Matt Damon declined to return, Universal opted not to go the James Bond route and re-cast a different actor in the title role. Instead, they tapped rising star Jeremy Renner to play an all-new charcter, Aaron Cross, who was part of another top secret government division tasked with creating the perfect superspy. In the wake of Bourne going rogue, that division is ordered shut down and its various participants terminated. Cross manages to escape his executioners, but may perish anyway due to the fact that he no longer has easy access to the drugs that make him so super. The idea of basing an action movie around a hero who is -- for all intents and purposes -- a drug addict is intriguing, but the movie can't fully commit to it (even if Renner does, with a performance that's darker and rougher than Damon ever was) and instead falls back into the usual generic spy games, which are executed just competently enough by incoming director Tony Gilroy. The Bourne Legacy isn't terrible, but if Cross is the future of the series, he deserves a movie that allows him to be more than Jason Bourne's stand-in.
Extras: Five making-of featurettes that cover Renner's casting, the film's globetrotting locations and a sequence where Cross squares off against a wolf.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see which franchises we want Jeremy Renner to appear in next

Miami Connection
Originally released and soundly ignored in 1987, this ultra-cheesy, ultra-low budget action movie is now enjoying a second life as a midnight movie favorite, courtesy of its re-discoverers at Drafthouse Films, the distribution arm of the Austin-based genre movie mecca, the Alamo Drafthouse. Made as a star vehicle for Korean Tae Kwan Do expert Y.K. Kim (who also wrote and produced the film), Miami Connection takes place on the mean streets of Orlando (you probably thought Miami, right?) where the members of a local rock band, Dragon Sound, get their vigilante on by attacking a syndicate of drug smugglers/ninjas. Packed with awful late '80s pop music, amateurish performances and bargain-basement effects, this is the kind of film that's best enjoyed in a venue at the Drafthouse, where you can get good and drunk beforehand and have a classic grindhouse experience. Seen by yourself at home, you'll just kind of wonder why you aren't using the 83-minutes to watch something... well, better.
Extras: A comprehensive making-of documentary featuring new interviews with Kim and other cast members, deleted scenes, a 25th anniversary Dragon Sound reunion concert and two promotional videos. For the truly '80s nostalgic, Drafthouse is selling a limited edition VHS copy of the film complete with era-appropriate plastic white case.

Dick Tracy
Let's start the campaign here and now to rescue the reputation of Warren Beatty's 1990 adaptation of the '30s comic-strip cop with the hook nose and banana-yellow slicker. Sure, the storytelling is wonky and Beatty is just a touch too old for the title role, but the movie is a visual marvel, the primary-colored counterpoint to Tim Burton's dark, brooking 1989 Batman. Those colors look even richer in this new high-definition edition, while the Oscar-winning make-up (one of three Oscars that Dick Tracy took home, the other two being Best Art Direction and Best Original Song, which was written by Stephen Sondheim of all people) still impresses. Dick Tracy has been relegated to a footnote in the recent comic-inspired movie boom. Here's hoping this new DVD changes that.
Extras: Sadly, this is a bare-bones edition with nary a commentary track or making-of featurette in sight. Someone get Beatty into the recording studio and release a special edition in time for the film's 25th anniversary in 2015.

Also on DVD:
As long as parents keep paying to see them, Fox will continue cranking out Ice Age movies. So take this as a plea, people... don't make your kids watch Ice Age: Continental Drift and let the franchise die quietly. Despite a cast that includes Melissa Leo, Jesse Eisenberg and Tracy Morgan, the indie comedy Why Stop Now barely got a theatrical release. Now that the movie's on DVD, we can find out whether this was a case of studio mishandling or just poor filmmaking. Hot on the heels of the DVD release of The Dark Knight Rises, Chris Nolan's very first film Following gets a Blu-ray upgrade courtesy of Criterion, which is also putting out a high-def box set of The Qatsi Trilogy. Not to be confused with the new movie musical, 1998's Les Misérables, which stars Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush as a non-singing Jean Valjean and Javert respectively, arrives on Blu-ray. And finally, Jane Campion's 1996 costume drama The Portrait of a Lady, starring Nicole Kidman, turns up in a high-def special edition as well.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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