The Green Hornet
The ideas were sound, but the execution sucked. Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz star in this comic-book adaptation that fell short of expectations, and became one of the running fanboy jokes of the season. However, thanks to some sensuous, near-porn-worthy shots of coffee and a few great lines, the disaster finds a soft landing amid the disappointments. Even Rogen as a leading man becomes tenable, but the tone never settles into a solid groove, ensuring the whole movie wobbles from scene to scene as it wavers between comedy, action, bromance and auteur-driven social commentary. Special features on three-disc Blu-ray package include The Green Hornet Cutting Room Floor game, filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, making-of features, The Stunt Family Armstrong, Easter Eggs, Finding Kato and more.
Despite Anthony Hopkins’ memorable performance as an obsessive man of the cloth, this horror chiller feels tepid, because it’s desperate to be taken seriously. A nod to the recent Vatican decision to re-educate its employees on the techniques of exorcisms, The Rite features Hopkins teaching a young priest on the ins, outs and levitations of Satanic possessions. It’s always a popular theme – partly because we almost believe it’s possible. Director Mikael Hafstrom is eager to go documentary style, but the movie feels leaden as a result of the earnest approach to what could be high camp. All the way through, I was craving a little Udo Kier, as seen in Dario Argento’s recent exorcism flick, Mother of Tears – which nailed the horror and tongue-in-cheek insanity in one fell swoop. Special features include alternative ending, digital copy and more.
Ron Howard takes on a lowbrow romantic comedy with journeyman results, as he directs Vince Vaughn and Kevin James as good buddies with a big problem: One buddy’s wife is being unfaithful, and the other buddy knows about the emotional carnage unfolding behind closed doors. Watching grown-ups try to be grown-ups is encouraging in a Hollywood movie, even if they finally prove themselves children. The best marks go to the females, who, despite little to sink their teeth into, find ample subtext in every throwaway piece of dialogue. Kudos to Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder for making the most of the emptiness and turning their two-dimensional characters into real people. Special features include This is Chicago, deleted scenes, gag reel and more.
Loudon Wainwright III: 40 Odd Years
He’s got one of the prickliest personalities in show business, which may explain why Loudon Wainwright III is only getting his Gloria Swanson close-up now. And this four-CD, single-DVD boxed set is quite the star treatment. Going back to the era of Attempted Moustache, the collection features songs from the beginning (The Man Who Couldn’t Cry) right to the recent past. Eighty-seven tunes are featured in all, plus the DVD containing live performances and documentary footage, including a 1993 Dutch TV documentary and Wainwright at the BBC from 2005. The surprises include commentary and notes from the likes of filmmaker Judd Apatow (who credits Wainwright for his creative inspiration) and journalist David Wild. If you are a Wainwright fan – or even a passing Rufus or Martha fan – you’ll find something to warm up to amid the cactus needles.
From Prada to Nada
A Latin-tinged take on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, From Prada to Nada features Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega as two lovely sisters who have been living the high life as Daddy’s little girls. They are rich and good-looking, and primed for the red-carpet treatment that lies ahead. Yet, when Papa keels over dead in the first act, Nora (Belle) and Mary (Vega) are brought up to speed on the family’s failing financials. The young women are penniless, save from the BMW SUV in the driveway, and their matching Louis Vuitton luggage. With nowhere to turn, they end up moving to East Los Angeles to live with their aunt. The Beverly Hills princesses are shocked by what they find: Illegal immigrants working sewing machines! Shared bathrooms! Muscular young men with tattoos! People speaking Spanish! It’s all cliché with a Spanish accent, and that’s not enough to make it new. Special features include featurettes, bloopers and deleted scenes.
The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town
Because you really can’t go wrong when you have Patti Smith on camera, this documentary about Bruce Springsteen’s fourth album finds some chewy content, as it takes us back in time when the Boss was in the midst of his salad days. The 1977 album at the heart of this expose is considered a sign of the Boss’s maturation as a songwriter and social observer, and this release definitely establishes its place in music history, as it features interviews with key players. Special features include Songs from the Promise, a five-song concert filmed in New Jersey and the Making of the Promise.
- DVD releases for July 5
- DVD releases for July 5
- New on DVD: Casino Jack, Hollywood history doc among week’s releases
- Cinema Verite Pioneer Leacock Dies In Paris At 89
- Woody Allen Snags Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg For Next Movie