This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Boss Season 2, Down the Shore, Father's Day ...
► Starz was so sure of BOSS, it greenlit a second season before the first episode even aired. Which must have led to some tight collars after the first season was so underwhelming. It didn’t get any better for Season 2, no matter how many Kathleen Robertson nude scenes they threw at us. The show’s premise – a Chicago mayor (Kelsey Grammer) diagnosed with a degenerative disease – was a bit too ‘Breaking Bad’ at the outset, and the far-fetched political storylines pushed the show into soap opera.
► James Gandolfini is back in Jersey for DOWN THE SHORE, but he's a long way from Tony Soprano here. He plays the manager of a rundown amusement park mourning the death of his sister. Things take a weird turn when a stranger claiming to be her husband shows up with her ashes, asking for his half of the house Gandalfini still lives in. His neighbours (Joe Pope and Famke Jansen) get involved, and some long buried secrets start surfacing.
►Look, I realize we're supposed to like Troma movies in an ironic way, but at what point are shit movies just … shit movies? FATHER'S DAY is more of the pointless dreck 'Grindhouse' and 'Hobo With a Shotgun' have encouraged. Made for $10,000 (laughable budgets are a source of pride with this company), Adam Brooks stars as a one-eyed anti-hero named Ahab who gets out of prison and resumes his search for the killer who raped and murdered his dad. And of course, they show the rape scene. Best thing about this might be the vintage VHS cover.
► Not to be confused with 'The Gates of Hell' – the one where a dude gets drilled through the head – the 1953 Japanese classic GATE OF HELL won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and has never enjoyed a proper DVD release. Criterion fixes that with a digitally restored blu-ray with new English subtitles. This was the first Japanese color film to be released outside the country, about a samurai who desperately wants to marry the woman he rescues, only to find she's married to someone else. Denied his prize, he becomes obsessed with her and sets out to prove he's a better warrior than her husband.
► Two things have made FAMILY TIES fascinating to revisit decades later: 1. How the show was like a bizarro ‘All in the Family,’ with the liberal parents and conservative kid, and 2.) Just how great a comic actor Michael J. Fox was at the peak of his popularity. He won three straight Emmy Awards for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, including here for Season 6. This is also the season Courteney Cox joins the cast as Alex’s girlfriend. Fans have been waiting awhile – Season 5 came out four years ago.
► The fifth and final season of BBC’s MERLIN finds the young wiz making a final stand to protect Camelot against a young druid named Mordred, whose destiny is to kill the king and destroy the castle. A decent hit over in Britain, the show was originally picked up by NBC before it was dumped into the no man’s land of SyFy. Speaking of which ...
► When you have a week this lousy for new blu-rays, even SyFy shit like DRAGON WASPS gets a second glance. An entomologist searches for her missing dad in the jungle only to be attacked by Guerillas. Then they're both attacked by giant fire-spewing wasps. The problem? The wasps show up infrequently, because this is SyFy and insect CGI costs money. This is actually a step up for Corin Nemic after 'RoboDoc' and 'Sand Sharks.' They're both exactly what they sound like.
► Lots of folks figured BBC's INSIDE MEN would be an on-going series, but they're really afraid of commitment across the pond – even their best shows have notoriously short lives (witness 'Downton Abbey' struggling to retain its cast after three short seasons). This one is just four tense episodes about employees of a money counting house pouncing on a one-time-only chance to rob the place. Their supervisor (Steven Mackintosh) catches wind, then wants in. The series begins with the robbery, then backtracks to the events leading up to it.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!