DVD Round-Up: '3 Stooges,' Will Ferrell, & a SF TV Trio
Week of July 17th, 2012
Published: 07/16/2012 12:31am
There are some very interesting films out this week including the Farrelly brothers tribute to The Three Stooges (Fox, “PG,” $29.98, BD/Combo $39.99). The critics didn’t like it much—it only earned a 50% split on Rotten Tomatoes—but the critics never liked The Three Stooges anyway. In fact most critics missed the point—of course the movie’s narrative is frenetic and confused, it’s a Three Stooges movie, and I think the evidence is clear that the Farrelly’s understand the Stooges a hell of a lot better than the average movie critic does. Bottom line: if you don’t like the original Larry, Moe, and Curley shorts, you won’t like this film, but it is a “must see” for those who enjoy the Stooges’ anarchic antics. Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Sasso (Curly) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe) all do a good job with the slapstick and with the physical comedy, which really is a lot harder than it looks.
Another, very different sort of genre film worth a look is Lockout (Sony, “PG-13” $29.99, BD $35.99). Guy Pearce stars in this sometimes absurd, but often compelling B-movie set in a dystopian future in an outer space prison, where the President’s daughter is kidnapped by rioting inmates. Lockout is a heck of a lot more Escape From New York in space than it is Bladerunner, but it’s good enough that those who liked the Escape movies will enjoy this solid genre effort.
For those who enjoy quirky romcoms there is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Sony, “PG-13,” $30.99, BD $35.99), a character-driven comedy that features excellent performances from Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. Directed by Lasse Hallestrom (Chocolat), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is one of the best romantic comedies of the past two years in large part because it hearkens back to the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s. It earned a 68% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which is a good showing for a film from a genre that is pretty much universally despised by critics, who are sick and tired of seeing elaborate variations on just a few themes.
TV on DVD
Alphas exists in a “shared universe” with two other SyFy shows, Warehouse 13 and Eureka. Eureka: Season Five (Universal, 563 min., $34.98), the series’ swansong is also due out this week. Set in a small town populated by scientific geniuses and patrolled by a decidedly pre-information age sheriff, Eureka is one of the most fascinating of contemporary science fiction series with its mixture of eccentric characters, big secrets, and even bigger conspiracies. A special bonus for geek viewers of Season Five are appearances by pop culture mavens Will Wheaton and Felicia Day.
The other major sci-fi series due this week is Sanctuary: The Complete Fourth Season (eOne Entertainment, 572 min., $44.98, BD $49.98), a Canadian-produced green-screen science fiction fantasy series, which aired for four seasons on the SyFy channel, but was recently cancelled, and which like Eureka, will soon be off the air for good..
Animated offerings include Dan Vs.—The Complete First Season (Starz, $24.98), the flash animated series that appears on The Hub cable network. Created by Dan Mandel and Chris Pearson, this is a surprisingly funny show about a misanthropic curmudgeon who lives in Southern California, and basically feels, with some justification, that the whole world is arrayed against him. The only other animated offering is the two-disc Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics: Spooky Games (Warner Bros. 250 min., $19.98), which ties in (Scooby-style) to this summer’s Olympic activities.
Also out this week is Leverage: The 4th Season (Fox, 792 min., $39.98), which collects 18 episodes of the crime drama series starring Timothy Hutton that airs on the TNT network.
Vintage TV series include Bonanza: The Official Third Season (Paramount, 1700 min., $74.99), which includes 34 episodes of the classic western, and the sitcoms Designing Women: The Final Season (Shout Factory, 507 min., $44.99) and Different Strokes: The Complete Third Season (Shout Factory, 507 min., $44.99).
The Inbetweeners: The Complete Series (eOne Enteretainment, 432 min., $39.98) is the controversial U.K. show about teens indulging in sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll that MTV is preparing to ape with an American version. Here’s a chance to view the original cringe-inducing teenage wasteland suburban saga before being subjected to an American copy.
On the documentary side there is James May’s 20th Century: The Complete Series (Acorn Media, 174 min., $59.99), in which Top Gear’s James May explores the 20th Century to show how key inventors and their inventions have changed the way we live today.
Also new to North America this week is Psychic Squad Collection 2 (Sentai Filmworks, “14+,” 325 min., $49.98), which contains episodes 14 to 26 of the 52-episode series produced by Synergy SP that began airing on TV Tokyo in 2008. Based on a shonen manga by Takashi Shiina, the Psychic Squad anime is an action-filled harem comedy set in a future where many more people have developed ESP.
Even more interesting is The Book of Bantorra Collection 2 (Sentai Filmworks, “17+,” 350 min., $59.98), which collects the second half (episodes 14-27) of the anime series produced by David Productions that adapts the fantasy novel series by Ishio Yamagata that posits an alternate world where dead people turn into stone-like books that are stored in the Bantorra Library and guarded by armed librarians who battle with a psychotic cult known and the Shindeki Church. A totally implausible, but still fascinating fantasy set in well-developed fantasy world.
This week’s one heavily-discounted re-releases is the sexy Girls Bravo Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 600 min., $29.98).
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of ICv2.com.
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