Armchair Directors are flying solo this week, with no guest. We chat about Rambo, Green Lantern, Super 8, Wolverine and lots of new movies on blu-ray!
Archive for June, 2011
It’s a split decision on whether Green Lantern burns in brightest day and blackest night.
Jim Carrey + Penguins = WIN! A fun family flick that hopefully won’t get lost in the shuffle this summer.
Guelph’s own Chad Archibald dreams up a kick-ass indie feature film with “Neverlost,” the film is screening all around this month – check this graphic for locations/dates.
The glory days of early Spielberg return with J.J. Abrams’ latest alien flick, “Super 8.” MINT!
This week we take a look at two of the previous flicks of Super 8 director Steven Spielberg Jr. aka J.J. Abrams: Joy Ride & Star Trek.
Before he was invading people’s minds in “X-Men: First Class”, James McAvoy invaded our hearts in “Penelope” and “Wanted”.
The X-Men franchise mutates back into a good series as Charles Xavier, Magneto & company go back to the beginning in “X-Men: First Class,” one of the better blockbuster movies of the summer.
Crandall and Mercy go ape over the new trailer for the prequel to the classic Charlton Heston sci-fi flick.
Welcome back to New to Blu for June! I’m taking a slightly different format here – each month there are movies that I think are worth buying, some that are better as rentals and a few that you should avoid. So with this edition, I’m breaking the weekly releases into those categories. We finally get a decent amount of releases to keep us entertained in between the big summer blockbusters at the theatre. Here we go!
One of the last great 2010 movies to hit blu-ray, the Coen bros. deliver again, in this remake. Jeff Bridges and Hallie Steinfeld are completely awesome and True Grit is a movie I’m sure I will revisit again and again. Mercy also flipped out for it, as seen in our original review.
Breaking Bad: Season 3
Breaking Bad is one of the most intense hour long dramas on TV. Each episode is a slow burn in tension and a masterclass in acting. The third season was nearly flawless (“the fly” episode being the only spot on a great run), had a fantastic cliff hanger and tested my nerves. The show is dark, edgy and the work of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul is completely deserving of the Emmy’s they both won. If you haven’t checked this show out, now is the time – Season 4 kicks off in mid-July and it is sure to be explosive. Can’t wait.
Superman: Motion Picture Anthology
This package is loaded with special features, is the first time that Superman III and IV are on blu-ray and FINALLY includes both theatrical and extended/alternate cuts for the first two films. I may be in a minority, but I really like having the original versions I grew up with, so that’s a main selling feature here – as well as some of the new extras, including the rumoured Krypton opening of Superman Returns. The price is a bit steep at $100 but Warner seems to have made it worth our while.
Rent: Green Lantern – Emerald Knights, Blue Crush 2 & Just Go With It
Green Lantern fans, start your engines! The hype for this months huge blockbuster really gets into high gear with this dtv animated movie, which is supposed to be decent, I’m intrigued. Blue Crush 2 is probably another Universal dtv cash grab along the lines of Death Race 2, but I really enjoyed the charms of the first film, so I’ll have to give this one a shot too. Adam Sandler churns out another inoffensive comedy that is passable but not memorable. A few good moments here and there, but nowhere near his long fading past glories of inspired flicks like Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer.
Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
While my ‘superfan’ status makes me slightly biased, this documentary stands as one of my favourite films of 2011 so far. Bieber isn’t the only one with a great music flick, and although Never Say Never also functioned as a concert film, the Foo Fighters go the straight doc route. The movie brings us up to speed on the formation of the band, the early years growing pains and revolving doors of band members. Things get serious when drummer Taylor Hawkins nearly dies of a drug overdose, however the Foo’s soldier on and the movie concludes with a look at the recording of their latest album ‘Wasting Light’, a high point in their long career. This probably plays better to fans, but there is enough drama for onlookers to be intrigued as well.
Jackass 3D was inspired lunacy and this should be more of the same. This features over an hour of bits shot during the making of 3D that didn’t make the original cut, but I’m sure there is enough bodily harm/bodily functions to make it a worthy addition to the Jackass library.
Rent: Hall Pass & Battle: LA
Hall Pass comes in an ‘extended’ version that hopefully dials up the funny, because the absurd certainly outweighed it in the theatrical cut. A strange little movie but I’m interested to see how it plays on video. Our original review of this Farrelly Bros flick is here. Mercy and I were split on Battle: LA in our original review. This is the kind of movie that is probably easier to forgive on video, just check your brain at the door and get ready for ‘splosions.
Avoid: Red Riding Hood, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
The Adjustment Bureau
A strange movie that is 1/3 Howard hawks screwball comedy, 1/3 Dark City-esque sci-fi and 1/3 romance. OK, so maybe the romance angle rises to the top, but I was genuniely impressed with this one. Great snappy dialogue and perfect casting go a long way. John Slatterly is great as one of the bureau agents and the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is incredible…like lightning in a bottle good. It does veer on the sappy side, but the movie had me smiling and the final chase sequence is fantastic. Can’t wait to see this one again.
Before Michael Bay became all about transforming robots, he made this high octane sci-fi flick, with ugly leads Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson. It finally arrives on blu-ray and should look awesome. The soundmix on the dvd was bombastic and the blu-ray will hopefully sound even better. It ain’t high art, but this is a great guilty pleasure. I recommended it in our Right Direction: Michael Bay segment.
Ed Helms has had great success playing second fiddle in movies like The Hangover or on TV’s The Office, but here he gets to star as mild mannered insurance salesman Tim Lippe. This odd little flick is equal parts sweetness and crudity. It is never over the top hilarious, but I found it completely charming. Helms is great, Anne Heche brings a unique likeability and John C. Reilly gets to go all out as sleezebag Dean Ziegler. Some crazy stuff happens in Cedar Rapids and there are more than a few memorable lines that you’ll be quoting plus it has one of the funniest references ever to HBO’s show The Wire.
Rent: The Eagle & Unknown
The Eagle is very similar in story to last year’s fun CENTURION. It is hard to take Channing Tatum seriously but the movie does have it’s moments and Jamie Bell is great. The low budget nature hurts the ‘epic’ feel that Kevin McDonald was clearly shooting for but if you like period Roman drama, it is worth a look. Liam Neeson is always watchable and Unknown is no exception. January Jones does her best to kill the picture with her horrible acting and the script is basically a total rehash of an older action movie (which I can’t name here without completely ruining the ‘twist’ of the movie, but let me just say the other picture was a lot more fun). If you like Neeson it’s worth a watch but it’ll fade quickly from memory once it is over.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy Extended
After buying the theatrical blu-ray editions, it’s tough to cough up more money into the Lord of the Rings pit, but this collection seems pretty great. All the previous special features are ported over and hopefully the extended editions look a little bit better than the previous release. It’s rare that I want to sit down and watch over 10 hours of movie, but if I do, it’ll be nice to do it in HD.
Jumanji & Zathura
Jumanji was a favourite of mine when I was younger, a great mix of action and comedy. Joe Johnston (who is currently putting finishing touches on Captain America) made board games exciting with the dazzling effects and a great feeling of adventure. I haven’t watched this in years, so the blu-ray will be a nice reason to revisit it. 10 years later, Jon “Iron Man” Favreau made Zathura, which is basically the sci-fi version of Jumanji, but a TON of fun. A highly underrated movie featuring a pre-twilight Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson and Dax Shepard. These two will make a great family fun double feature.
Rent: Sucker Punch Director’s Cut
The theatrical cut of Zach Snyder’s weirdo Sucker Punch earned a Turd Alert in our original review. Now it arrives on blu-ray in an EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT that is nearly 30 minutes longer. I’m not sure that adding to the movie can save this mess, but I’m definitely interested to see if this makes it suck any less – but my expectations are LOW.
Avoid: Season of the Witch, Beastly
That’s it for this edition, see you next month!