This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Taken 2, The Possession, To Rome With Love ...
This week: Taken 2 gets taken behind the shed, Woody Allen goes from Paris to Rome, and another of those spoof movies we love so much.
► A big reason so many people liked 'Taken' is that it felt different from today’s generic action movies: Coherent fight scenes, less hyper editing, a gripping story. All things missing from TAKEN 2, of course. At least Liam Neeson is back as the former CIA operative, up against the dad of one of the dead kidnappers from the last film. The guy kidnaps someone’s daughter, gets killed and his dad is all “I shall avenge you?” Okay. About all you need to know is this is from the director of the perfectly wretched ‘Transporter 3,’ which is the opposite of what ‘Taken’ tried to be.
► The get-out-of-jail-free card for horror movies is to say it’s ‘based on true events.’ It gives tedious stuff like THE POSSESSION the right to say “Hey, don’t blame us … this is a real story we’re telling here!” There must be a whole lot of possessed kids out there, then. Kids like Emily (Natasha Calis), who finds a weird box at a yard sale one day, and is soon taken over by a Jewish demon. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick are the parents.
► While not as beloved as last year’s Midnight in Paris,’ TO ROME WITH LOVE was still one of Woody Allen’s biggest hits, nabbing over $73 million worldwide. This one is his love letter to Rome, with four separate stories (unconnected, for a change). The usual all star cast includes Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Roberto Benigni and Penelope Cruz.
► I want to puke just typing out this title, but here goes: To anyone who had anything to do with the making of 30 DAYS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, I hope you never work in this industry again. I hope you recognize the steaming dump you just took on your own profession. I hope you’re proud of helping further the decline of ‘spoof’ films: From the heights of ‘Airplane’ to shit like this. Not everyone can make a movie. You had a chance to make a movie … and made this? Go stand in a fucking corner and think about what you’ve done.
► Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have had the touch of gold on the BBC and HBO for well over a decade, but reaction was mixed to their latest, LIFE’S TOO SHORT. A lot of the familiar beats from ‘The Office,’ ‘Extras’ and ‘An Idiot Aboard’ are back, with Warwick Davis playing himself as a struggling dwarf trying to jumpstart his career. Guest stars include Liam Neeson, Sting and Steve Carell, but by far the best episode has Johnny Depp hiring Davis for the afternoon so he can study his dwarfish ways for a movie.
► Soccer moms will make a night of it with WON’T BACK DOWN, which has Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as parents fed up with their inner-city school coming up short, so they take on the administration and a corrupt teachers’ union prez (Holly Hunter) to make it look all ‘Lean On Me.’ Naturally, the flick was slammed for being anti-union propaganda.
► ‘Boogie Nights’ fans rejoice, Heather Graham is back in the porn biz for ABOUT CHERRY. She plays a director who takes in an 18-year-old who joins the industry after fleeing her abusive home with her younger sister. Based on a script co-written by porn vet Lorelei Lee. Co-stars James Franco, Lili Taylor and Johnny Weston.
► Two years after it was cancelled, Season 2 of MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE is finally here. This was hyped as Ray Romano’s first series since ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ but this is worlds apart from his sitcom comfort zone. He co-stars with Scott Bakula and the great Andre Braugher as three friends in their late ‘40s dealing with the onset of middle age. You’ll get more out of it if you’re starting to wake up with new aches and pains, but this was an overlooked gem of a show. Love that Beach Boys theme song too.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!