This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Ted, The Bourne Legacy, Girls ...
This week: The warm & fuzzies with Ted; Ice Age and Bourne are back for fourths; and HBO's surprisingly great Girls.
► A talking teddy bear movie from the ‘Family Guy’ guy wasn’t supposed to be the funniest movie of the year. But damn if no other movie in 2012 made me laugh like TED. At first I thought Seth McFarlane caught me in a weak moment or one of my rare good moods … but no, from the script to Mark Wahlberg to an ending that tugged your heart just a bit (come on, admit it), this crude, crafty little flick delivered what so few comedies did this year: Genuinely funny shit. Mila Kunis isn’t a bad bonus either, but nothing beats the out-of-nowhere appearance by Sam ‘Flash Gordon’ Jones, accompanied by requisite Queen music.
► The way Jeremy Renner is taking on franchises, I expect him to sign on for Star Wars VII any day now. With Marvel and Mission: Impossible crossed off, he took over the Bourne series with THE BOURNE LEGACY. The film didn’t make anyone forget Matt Damon - his character is still very much part of the story – but Renner certainly brought an intriguing new character to the series (it helped having Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three films directing this time). Whether this makes Renner the next George Lazenby is up to Damon.
► It was easy to hate GIRLS before it was even out of the gate because of its initial buzz as a younger, hipper ‘Sex and the City.’ Instead, creator & star Lena Dunham delivered a brash and frequently funny show about struggling 20-something New Yorkers trying to survive a recession while tending to their dysfunctional relationships. It also gets one of the best comic performances of the year out of Adam Driver as Dunham’s aloof dipshit of a boyfriend who reveals new layers each episode. Season 2 starts Jan. 13.
► The ‘Ice Age’ franchise started feeling warmed over before the second one ended. The fourth one, ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, is pure 3D slumming. It’s the same manic dialogue, eye-straining action and flashy bright colors aimed for the attention deficit generation. They make money through repetition, so take solace that Disney’s ‘Brave’ - an original, risky animated movie - crushed this at the box office.
► Twenty years after it was made, Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson blindly purchased a 35 mm print of some movie called MIAMI CONNECTION on eBay for $50. He spun it into a lucrative piece of ‘80s cheese which routinely packs his theatre. Not sure how this hilariously earnest mix of ninjas, drug lords and rock star vigilantes will play without a crowd (it’s like Brock Landers without the porn), but I see many a college dorm throwing ‘Miami Connection’ parties soon. If you really want to go old school, it’s also out this week on VHS (400 copies only).
► What, you ask, is the difference between THE TOXIC AVENGER: JAPANESE CUT and the regular edition? About four more minutes … and that’s all Troma will tell us, because they want you to buy yet another version of this fun but see-it-once-and-that’s-enough cult classic. You can expect another edition for the 30th anniversary in two years. This one includes trailers and an intro by director Lloyd Kaufman.
► Jesse Eisenberg’s nifty streak of dark comedies continues with WHY STOP NOW, where he plays a piano prodigy scrambling to get to an audition, right after he drops his mom (Melissa Leo) off at drug rehab. The problem is, she has to be on drugs to be admitted, so he scrambles to hook her up via dealer Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan), who isn’t exactly rolling in product. Sounds like this year’s Christmas movie in the Law household.
► What’s that? You just spent $500 on eBay for the original Japanese ULTRASEVEN boxed set? You may want to skip this next part – Shout! Factory releases the complete series this week for about $35. As with all American editions of Japanese shows, the purists will moan about the dubbing or episode order, but rest assured this is the same goofy version TNT syndicated in the ‘90s. The show itself was Eiji Tsuburaya’s follow-up to ‘Ultraman.’ While the storylines were a tad more mature, the monsters were as goofy as ever. Alas, this set does not include the banned 12th episode of the series, about aliens dying from radiation sickness. Touchy subject in Japan.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!