This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Man of Steel, Turbo, Dexter ...
This week: The Superman movie we were all waiting for (and still complained about); the documentary Seaworld doesn't want you to see; and the dearly departed Dexter.
► There are Superman movies we all universally hate, but it appears there are none we all mutually love. Even the '78 classic gets ragged on with surprising regularity, so what chance did Zack Snyder's MAN OF STEEL have? Here, at long last, was the Superman movie with epic battle scenes and Kryptonian ass-kicking you all begged for after the sedate 'Superman Returns,' and do you know what some people bitched about? It was too much! Action overload! Excuse me, but ... are you freakin' kidding me? The last half-hour of this movie nearly blew my fan-boy mind as Supes (Henry Cavill) throws down with Zod (Michael Shannon) while insurance rates in Metropolis soar. Could they have fought in the middle of the desert? Yes ... and then people would whine they fought in the middle of the desert. So if a solid, modern, visually astounding Superman movie like this isn't good enough, internet haters, what do you propose? A Superman/Batman movie? Like that'll ever happen.
► As much as that cover looks like the kick-ass remake of ‘Orca’ we’re all waiting for, BLACKFISH is scary for other reasons. This potent documentary follows the story of Tilikum, a killer whale captured 30 years ago near Iceland (that footage will crush you) for a life in waterpark captivity. He has subsequently been involved in the deaths of three trainers, including two at Seaworld. Not quite as gutwrenching as ‘The Cove,’ but it’ll still put you through the wringer. Likely the Best Documentary frontrunner for next year’s Oscars.
► It’s hard to remember the last time a once beloved show was so hated by the end, so way to go DEXTER. From the heights of Season 4, when it was TV’s biggest buzz show, to the rancid past few years which culminated with a bad-beyond-belief eighth and final season. The venom spewed over the series finale would have melted the internet if so many people weren’t watching ‘Breaking Bad’ instead. In a desperate attempt to not end as expected, the writers came up with something far, far worse. Even the biggest emotional moment – involving the death of a major character - was botched to the point you wonder what the hell everyone involved was thinking. Some lessons learned here, foremost being when to pull the plug.
► Which brings us to DEXTER: THE COMPLETE SERIES, where you can see the downfall play out over eight seasons. 'Dexter' was an instant hit for Showtime, buzzworthy from the start with its offbeat premise and sharp (although hardly great) writing. The first two seasons were marvelous before the third (the Jimmy Smits year) went off the rails. In hindsight, it was the first sign of what was coming, But the show stormed back with a phenomenal fourth season in which John Lithgow played the series' all-time best villain Trinity, and an ending which stunned just about everyone (getting a leg up on the shocking deaths to come in other cable dramas). And that was it. The show's decline the very next season was swift and surprising, and the next three were even worse. When fans are openly hostile to a show they once loved, you didn't stick the landing. You malfunctioned in mid-air.
► The legend goes, Dreamworks had a competition among employees to pitch a one-page idea. Storyboard artist David Soren proposed ‘Fast & Furious’ … with snails. Five years later we get TURBO, in which a garden snails dreams of winning the Indy 500. Fine for undemanding kids, tiresome for adults who’ve seen the same jokes (and plot) in much better movies.
► The Canadian-made I DECLARE WAR is a twisty mix of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Lord of the Flies.’ An innocent game of Capture the Flag goes askew for a group of 13-year-olds, as the usual sticks and rocks become much deadlier weapons in their imagination. The game suddenly becomes a pint-size war flick, with consequences that feel real even if the battle isn’t.
► There are folks who will never accept Diablo Cody as an Oscar winner, and they can point to PARADISE as reason why. Cody’s directorial debut finds Julianne Hough as a plane crash survivor who renounces God and heads to Vegas (don’t we all, baby), where she meets a lounge singer and bartender who help her catch up on all the sins she’s been missing (alcohol, tattoos … uh, dancing). Cody also wrote the script, which means plenty of smug dialogue and unrealistic characters. Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer co-star.
► You never know which David Gordon Green you’ll get with a new movie. The one who made the modern comedy classic ‘The Pineapple Express,’ or the one who dropped a massive deuce with ‘Your Highness.’ PRINCE AVALANCHE steps way back to focus on two guys, stern Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s dopey brother Lance (Emile Hirsch), as they spend the summer of ’88 repainting traffic lines on a desolate highway ravaged by wildfire.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!