This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Olympus Has Fallen, Southland, Girls ...
This week: A bad year for the White House continues with Olympus Has Fallen, another heap of Hatchet, and Jennifer Beals dancin' like she's never danced before.
► Trashing the White House is all the rage this year. Getting a jumpstart on 'White House Down,' Antoine Fuqua's better-received OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN has Gerard Butler as a demoted Secret Service agent who has to save the President's ass when North Koreans attack, hoping to reunite their country. Their second demand? Uh, detonate all of America's nuclear weapons in their silos. Aaron Eckhart is The Prez, Morgan Freeman is the Speaker of the House, and Dylan McDermott is the mandatory traitor. Fuqua is a long way from the heights of 'Training Day' here, but this is big, dumb fun for what it is.
► Trust me, the GIRLS backlash is going to hit hard in Season 3 (always the pivotal season for a ‘buzz’ show), and the signs for future discontent were all over Season 2. Not as fun, interesting or well-written, and by the time it was over the neurotic weirdness of Lena Dunham’s character just stopped being funny. Thankfully, Emmy-nominated Adam Driver brought the goods every week as her flaky boy toy, dropping uncomfortable bombs like they’re Halloween candy. He was the best reason to watch – he’s starting to become the only reason.
► Looking to be this year’s ‘Searching for Sugar Man,’ Mark Covino’s documentary A BAND CALLED DEATH rediscovers an obscure but incredibly ahead-of-its-time called Death – three black guys from Detroit who started out R&B then had their minds blown after an Alice Cooper show and went punk. They went nowhere until a 1974 demo they made started getting buzz decades later.
► From the start, the ‘Hatchet’ series was an ode to old school slasher flicks from the early ‘80s. And true to form, the sequels have been a sorry lot. HATCHET III is like a slasher hall-of-fame roll call with Derek Mears, Danielle Harris, Caroline Williams (who can forget those stems in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2?’) and of course Kane Hodder as the reanimated Victor Crowley. Stuff like this belongs in a drive-in, not blu-ray.
► This year bid a sad farewell to SOUTHLAND, whose fans are always quick to interrupt whenever you declare ‘The Shield’ as the “best cop show ever.” Fifth and final season of cops dealing with corruption and domestic blues while confronting the worst L.A. has to offer. These last ten episodes pack a whallop, leading up to the finale in which two cops are kidnapped. Like previous releases, all episodes are uncensored.
► You know, we could lament (again) how Taxi Driver-era Robert De Niro wouldn’t wipe his ass with a movie like THE BIG WEDDING. Or we can just give in and be thankful movies like this have him, because they’d be even more painful without him. He and Diane Keaton are a divorced couple who agree to act like they’re still married when their adopted son’s biological mother – a religious freak – plans on coming to his wedding. The massive cast includes Robin Williams, Amanda Seyfried, Susan Sarandon and Katherine Heigl.
► Among my crushes of the early ‘80s, Jennifer Beals fell somewhere between Pat Benatar and Elvira. Which meant I watched FLASHDANCE a lot. A whole lot. Didn’t care the plot was hokey, the acting wooden and the dance moves dangerous for mere mortals (and who pours a bucket of water on themselves on stage?), for kids of the ‘80s this was our ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ Beals went on to do so many better things, but those leg warmers … that torn sweater … that Irene Cara theme song. Take your passion and make it happen, y’all. Blu-ray comes with a mini-soundtrack and retrospective on its impact in 1983.
► Michael J. Fox could have bolted FAMILY TIES after ‘Back to the Future’ made him a superstar - or at least appeared sporadically – but he knew the show and his co-stars would be toast without him. So he labored on for four more seasons, winning three Emmys in the process. For the seventh and final season, dad Steven Keaton suffers a heart attack in a heavy two-parter, the neighborhood battles racism, and in a nice series finale, Alex leaves home for a job on Wall Street.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!