August 5, 2009

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

Also this week: The Soloist, Flight of the Conchords, Race to Witch Mountain, Combat Shock, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Highlight of the Week

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season Three (Warner) The finest season of Adult Swim’s infinitely odd 11-minute sketch-comedy series also includes some its most outlandish material. Caveat emptor: many (if not most) will be dumbfounded by this uncompromising blend of post-immature surrealism, but anyone missing out on the bizarre spirit of John C. Reilly’s Dr. Steve Brule, “The Jim and Derrick Show,” and Spaghett is just plain missing out. Though these guys run a dubious operation, the title doesn’t fib: Tim and Eric is an awesome show and they do a great job! Extras: extended episode, featurette, deleted scenes, bloopers, promos.

Also Available

The Soloist (Paramount) Coming off the heels of successful Brit period-dramas, director Joe Wright takes a crack at modern day LA with this adaptation of the true-story book by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (played with charismatic distinction by Robert Downey Jr.). Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of a Julliard dropout turned mentally afflicted vagrant with a fondness for eccentric costumes borders on Will Smithian, but for the most part sheds the schmaltz. Even still, his character’s arc falls short of revelatory, which can also be said of the film. Extras: Wright commentary, making-of, featurettes, animated short, deleted scenes. 

Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Second Season (Warner) Clever and catchy as the duo may be, this season’s musical set list is second-rate compared to its predecessor. Other than that, everything you loved in the first year is at par, and hilarious storylines are as essential as hilarious song numbers, right? Seymour Cassel makes a grand cameo as over-the-hill hood Johnny Boy. Dig it. Extras: deleted scenes, featurette, more. 

Race to Witch Mountain (Disney) A tepid retooling of the ’70s sorta-classic Escape to Witch Mountain, what this 21st century update lacks in charm it makes up for with “wowee-zowee” effects solely amusing to the single digit demographic. Equal credit is due for the casting of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Extras: deleted/extended scenes, bloopers, Escape reference guide.

Combat Shock (Troma) Don’t be fooled by the goofy Troma label, this is one punishingly dark vision made even bleaker in a new director’s cut. A perverse amalgam of The Deer Hunter, Taxi Driver and Eraserhead (mutant baby alert!), Combat Shock earns its status as a singular entity and is recommended for those with a cast-iron stomach and an affinity for cheap, guerrilla-style filmmaking. Extras: both cuts; commentary with director Buddy Giovinazzo; short films and music videos, interviews, more.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Peace Arch Trinity) Michael Chabon’s wonderful 1988 debut novel gets lost in translation thanks to Dodgeball helmsman Rawson Marshall Thurber’s watered-down screenplay and amateur direction, with key elements butchered to the degree of sacrilege. Extras: featurette, deleted scenes.