This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Magic Mike, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Blade Runner, Clone Wars ...
This week: The surprising package that is Magic Mike; Abe the vampire slayer; and how many friggin' wrong turns can you make before turning the GPS on?
► The problem with MAGIC MIKE for a lot of folks is they went in expecting a wild girls-night-out comedy, and instead they got … a Steven Soderbergh movie. Bad for them, great for the rest of us, because this defied all odds to become one of the best flicks of the summer. Channing Tatum, in his official ‘I’ve Arrived’ role, plays a male stripper who mentors a troubled teen into the business. Based on Tatum’s own years as a stripper, though the whole thing feels like a ‘Boogie Nights’ remake. There better be an Oscar nomination in the cards for Matthew McConaughey as the club owner – his best performance ever.
► Abolishing slavery by day, slaying the undead by night. Hey, who’s to say ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER isn’t based on true events? Were you there? Director Timur Bekmambetov, he on the non-sensical ‘Night Watch’ movies, takes the goofiest idea for a movie imaginable – the revered prez as a vampire killer – and plays it straight. Which somehow makes it funnier. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Abe’s wife Mary Todd and Rufus Sewell is the chief vamp.
► Five? We’re up to WRONG TURN 5? I’m not only left asking how many inbred hillbillies there are out in the woods, but wouldn’t the general population hear about all of these people getting massacred by now? And they still go? I realize I’m questioning the logic of the ‘Wrong Turn’ franchise, but come on. For Part 5, dumb college kids go into the woods for a Halloween party, get killed, roll credits. See ya for Part 6.
► Besides crap your pants, what would you do if you heard a 70-mile wide asteroid was going to hit Earth in three weeks? Cash in your Air Miles? Pray to Bruce Willis? In SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, Steve Carell is abandoned by his wife, but finds a bizarre new purpose when his neighbour (Keira Knightley) admits she didn’t give him some lost mail, including a letter from his high school sweetheart. With society crumbling, they set off on a road trip to find her.
► The biggest problem with THE CLONE WARS is that it’s a prequel to a prequel, and there’s only so much leeway to tell stories. Still, to a legion of fans this animated series is doing the dirty work the movies couldn’t: Broadening the universe and giving more insights into the origins of Darth Vader. Not to mention the action sequences rock. Season 4 has the return of Darth Maul.
► Unlike the ‘Avatar’ cash grab, BLADE RUNNER isn’t skimping for its Blu-ray debut. In addition to Ridley Scott’s 2007 Final Cut, you get the original 1982 theatrical version, the 1982 international theatrical cut, and the 1991 Director’s Cut (which everyone assumed at the time was the final word). The three-and-a-half hour documentary ‘Dangerous Days’ is also included.
► For as long as the networks are around, they will never stop looking for the next ‘Friends.’ ABC’s HAPPY ENDINGS has to be the sixth or seventh attempt, and unlike most of the casualties this one has made it to a third season, starting this week. Season 2 has more of the awkward dynamic within a group of, uh, friends after one of the couples breaks up. The show got off to a rough start, but the second season made plenty of year-end best of lists.
► Long before it was a U2 song (and a year before police shot those unarmed protesters in Dublin), SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY was director John Schlesinger’s amazing but overlooked follow-up to his classic ‘Midnight Cowboy.’ It’s one of the great relationship movies of the ‘70s, following an employment counselor (a never better Glenda Jackson) and her frustrating romance with a bisexual artist (Murray Head), who is also the object of affection for a middle-aged doctor (Peter Finch). A great, slow burn of a movie from a masterful director.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!