This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Runner Runner, Archer, The Following ...
This week: Affleck drops a bomb before becoming Batman; Bacon tries to fry a killer; and we fondly recall a time when The Wicker Man didn't suck.
► That nice roll Ben Affleck was on hit a pothole with RUNNER RUNNER, which does little with an intriguing concept. Justin Timberlake uses online poker to fund his Princeton tuition, but when he loses big, he heads out to Costa Rica – where the site is run – to prove he was cheated. The site’s owner (Affleck) offers him a job, which gets muddled when the FBI turns him into an informant. Gemma Arterton does her best to distract you from the clumsy script.
► As network drama loses more and more buzz to cable, shows like Fox’s THE FOLLOWING try to turn the tide. Unfortunately, in this golden era of TV, you cannot do a show about a serial killer with the constraints of regular TV. Viewers have seen the other side, and are unlikely to go back. Kevin Bacon stars as an FBI agent trying to recapture a killer (James Purejoy) he nabbed nine years earlier, and who now has a cult doing his bidding. Against all logic, it’s back for a second season starting Jan. 19.
► Fact: If you drop an ARCHER quote at a party and someone recognizes it, you will be friends for life. I’m fond of saying “danger zone!” in a really high voice, but no one’s caught on yet. Maybe my delivery is just fucked up. Anyway, four seasons in, this is still one of the funniest and most under-appreciated shows on TV, animated or otherwise. Season 4 includes the instant classics ‘Legs,’ in which Ray gets fitted with bionic legs, and the two-part ‘Sea Hunt,’ a sorta crossover with ‘Sealab 2021.’
► We are weak. Admit it, if the original THE WICKER MAN and the remake are playing at the same time, we’re going to pick the remake every friggin’ time. It is a train wreck I never get tired of. Which is too bad because Robin Hardy’s 1973 original is a creepy, slow burning, wholly original horror flick overshadowed by its own shitty offspring. There are several different versions of the film floating around – this Final Cut restores a few scenes and runs 92 minutes, but is still missing 10 minutes from an out-of-print VHS version. The digital restoration is the main thing.
► Hoping to be this month’s ‘Sharknado,’ BIG ASS SPIDER! has former ‘Heroes’ star Greg Grunberg as an exterminator tasked with taking down an alien arachnid stomping all over L.A. As a corny tribute to those giant bug movies of the ‘50s, it offers a cheeky laugh or two. Somehow, you just know Ray Wise is in this.
► Pink has made some cameos over the years, but THANKS FOR SHARING is her proper movie debut, earning good buzz as a sex addict who hooks up with fellow addict Josh Gad while in therapy. Tim Robbins and Mark Ruffalo also star as successful businessmen whose lives intertwine after meeting at a support group. Gwyneth Paltrow and Joely Richardson round out a gnarly cast, but it’s Pink – using her real name Alecia Moore – who steals the show and will no doubt expand her empire soon.
► Showtime's HOUSE OF LIES does a nice job giving corporate America the ass-kicking it needs. Don Cheadle and the forever smokin' Kristen Bell are among a team of management consultants who pull out all the stops - moral or otherwise - to get business deals done while trying to overtake a rival firm. Season 2 has Matt Damon asking the firm to find a charity to enhance his image, and Jeannie's term as CEO may be cut short when an old boyfriend posts a sex tape online. Based on Martin Kihn's book 'House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time.' Season 3 starts Jan. 12.
► With its third season in 2003, 'Enterprise' changed its name to STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, and held off cancellation by delivering a single story arc for the entire season. After millions are killed by a mysterious probe, Enterprise is transformed into a warship and sent to confront a race called the Xindi, who are actually being used by another time-traveling enemy to destroy Earth before the Enterprise's descendants in the 26th century wipe them out. The use of a single story was likely inspired by '24,' which was all the rage at the time. 'Enterprise' gets a lot of flack from Trek fans (what doesn't?), but this is considered one of the single greatest seasons of any Star Trek show. Not enough to save it, however - it was done after the following season.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!