This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Men in Black 3, Lawless, Paranorman ...
This week: Third time works like a charm for Men in Black, ParaNorman and Lawless bring the cool, Sparkle brings the last dance for Whitney.
► Despite its production chaos (the norm with Barry Sonnenfeld, it appears), MEN IN BLACK 3 delivers everything the first sequel forgot – a decent storyline and a cool villain. The opening scene alone, with Jemaine Clement as baddie Boris the Animal in an outer space prison, was worth the 10-year wait. There’s also some goshdarn emotion this time, bringing the series back to its core characters and not the gonzo effects. Oh, and Josh Brolin as a younger Tommy Lee Jones? One of the great performances of the year that’ll never be discussed at Oscar time.
► Sorry, ‘Expendables 2,’ but LAWLESS is the proper definition of “guy’s movie.” So cool it even makes Shia Labeuf bearable, John Hillcoat’s true story of Virginia bootleggers during prohibition served up two great performances: Tom Hardy as the toughest brother from a family of moonshine makers, and Guy Pearce as the deranged federal agent tracking them. Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke round out a great cast.
► Not sure what the appropriate age is for PARANORMAN, but damn … where were animated movies like this when I was a kid? Ghosts, zombies, ‘Halloween’ references – here’s a movie that doesn’t just acknowledge but celebrates the fact horror movies are a huge part of any kid’s upbringing. The scarier, the more memorable. This one’s from the team behind ‘Coraline,’ and it shares the same dark tone while adding way more laughs for a story vaguely similar to ‘The Frighteners’: A kid is cursed with seeing ghosts around him, and discovers a supernatural threat to the town.
► SPARKLE was supposed to be Jordin Sparks’ splashy movie debut – a remake of the 1976 flick inspired by The Supremes. Instead, it became the ‘Whitney Houston Death Movie.’ She died soon after filming wrapped, making this her fifth and final movie. She plays the overprotective mom trying to steer her daughters towards church instead of showbiz. Bonus stuff includes a tribute to Houston.
► The wave of generic PG-13 paranormal movies have officially become indistinguishable with THE APPARITION, a movie I swore came out three years ago when it was called ‘The Unborn.’ Or was it ‘The Uninvited?’ ‘The Messengers?’ This dreck actually opened in theatres just three months ago. Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan are a couple dealing with ghosts conjured up by a university experiment years ago.
► So, remember when Channing Tatum made a ‘Step Up’ movie? Me neither, because I would sooner drink milk from 2007 than sit through one of these movies. And that includes you, STEP UP: REVOLUTION. You can’t tempt me with your fiery dance moves or your cutting-edge flash mobs (by a group called … The Mob!) or the brave decision to cast a third place finisher from ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ … because first or second place is too obvious. I do, however, own ‘Flashdance’ on DVD, for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain.
► Is it just me, or was the horse tragedy surrounding LUCK just a convenient excuse for HBO to kill the underachieving show? Because it’s hard to believe a few equestrian casualties – horrible as they are – would shut down a show with this kind of pedigree: Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, from the guy who created ‘Deadwood’ with a first episode directed by Michael Mann? The show’s second season was supposed to start in January, but after three horses died during production, HBO shut it down. David Milch must be wondering where his luck has gone since ‘Deadwood.’
► Long before the CSI gang used their fancy gadgets to solve cases, Raymond Burr was verbally bitch-slapping people in court until they inevitably confessed. The best is when they try to escape afterwards, because that always works. PERRY MASON was legal comfort food for people still discovering the wonders of TV, though things get a tad more dark for the eighth season. It fell out of the Top 30 and only had one season left, before Burr brought the character back in the ‘80s.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!