This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: 56 Up, Last Resort, 6 Souls ...
This week: Michael Apted's brilliant 'Up' series in one tidy package, the one-and-done season of 'Last Resort,' and Shout! Factory dusts off the complete Dobie Gillis.
► Without question, one of the most impressive things in cinema history has been Michael Apted’s UP series. It started in 1964, examining the lives of 14 British children with the promise to re-visit them every seven years. Apted has diligently kept pace, and every new film in the series is a revelation, following Apted’s belief that each child’s social class seals their fate later in life. THE UP SERIES includes all eight films in the series including the latest 56 UP, in which the subjects face middle age with more surprising detours which can’t help but make you reflect on your own life. You could quibble that simply being in these films has altered the lives of its participants, but even that in itself makes for fascinating viewing. This isn’t just a great documentary, it’s one of our most fascinating, ongoing social experiments.
► It was nice knowing you, LAST RESORT. Despite a premiere that instilled hope we had an intelligent new action show to fill the void of ’24,’ it never went past the 13 episodes ABC ordered. It’s best to watch it in one big gulp anyway. Andree Braugher stars as the commanding officer of a U.S. war sub who defies orders to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan, and is instead fired upon himself. He and his crew take refuge on an island, where they threaten to rein nukes on anyone who attacks them, including the U.S.
► It should be a crime to waste Julianne Moore in a movie, and few have been as guilty as 6 SOULS (formerly known as ‘Shelter’). She plays a psychiatrist who takes on a patient that manifests the characteristics of his many personalities. It turns out all those personalities are dead people. The only way this Shyamalan rip-off could be any worse is if Shyamalan directed it.
► Pretty much a carbon copy of ‘Billy the Exterminator,’ Animal Planet’s CALL OF THE WILDMAN is a dubiously staged reality show about a Kentucky hillbilly named Ernie Brown, Jr. who makes a living getting rid of pesky critters. He proceeds to handle skunks, snakes and snapping turtles with his bare hands because, you know, that’s what all professionals do. Yet another reality show depicting the south as an illiterate subculture.
► A former officer in the Syrian army (Alexander Siddig) leaves his job and wife (Marisa Tomei, so he must be serious) to start over again in Canada. Until his daughter vanishes and he’s forced to find her. Only, this is called INESCAPABLE, not ‘Taken.’ Glad we got that cleared up.
► On March 24, 1972, a crew of professional burglers used dynamite to blast a hole into the roof of a vault at the United California Bank. They made off with $30 million in cash and valuables, which was the biggest score in history at the time. SUPERTHIEF: INSIDE AMERICA’S BIGGEST BANK SCORE looks at how it all went down, focusing on Phil Christopher, a mafia associate who was added to the crew late as a muscle man. The crew was caught when they botched a similar heist in Ohio and left fingerprints behind in their hideout … because they forgot to do the dishes.
► A few facts about THE MANY LIVES OF DOBIE GILLIS, which sees all 147 episodes getting released by Shout! Factory this week: 1. Before he was Gilligan, Bob Denver played Dobie’s pal Maynard, the first beatnik on American TV (he even had the audacity to have facial hair). 2. One of Dobie’s enemies was played by a young lad named Warren Beatty. 3. The show would have a huge influence on Scooby-Doo, whose main characters were pretty much animated versions of Dobie’s leads.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!