June 15, 2010

Youth in Revolt

Also this week: Mystery Train, Caddyshack, Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 7, Yo Gabba Gabba!, MacGyver: The TV Movies

Highlight of the Week
Youth in Revolt (Alliance) Critics all but unanimously trashed this Micheal Cera vehicle upon its premiere at TIFF 09. Yet this coming-of-age comedy is frequently inspired, with the Mickey Mouse–voiced outcast-du-jour playing not only what seems like himself, but also a dark alter ego, which adds nihilistic bite to the familiar recipe. With his mustache and cigarette, François Dillinger (Cera) is the superbad doppelgänger who helps the Criterion-collecting geek Nick Twisp (Cera) find his spine and lose his virginity. The movie owes a lot to the perverse hand of director Miguel Arteta (2002’s undervaluedThe Good Girl, 2000’s under-seen Chuck & Buck), solid source material from novelist C.D. Payne and a support cast that includes Steve Buscemi and Zach Galifianakis (in real and clay form). This rebel film is miles ahead of the pandering likes of Nick and Norah and, yeah, Juno too. The Blu-ray boasts a vibrant transfer and worthy extras like commentary with Arteta and Cera, deleted material, extended clay sequences and awkward auditions.  
Also Available
Mystery Train (Criterion, E1) Jim Jarmusch’s triptych tale about a Japanese rockabilly-hipster couple, a confused Italian, a pissed-off Brit (played by Joe Strummer)with an unintended Elvis coif and a firearm has these characters intersect in a dilapidated Memphis hotel run by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Spike Lee’s little bro, Cinqué. This was already released in a barebones DVD that didn’t fully represent the visual scope of the director’s dreamy open spaces, but rediscovering it by way of Criterion’s superb high-def upgrade will indeed put a spell on you. For those who aren’t hot for Jarmusch’s unhurried approach to film narrative, note that Mystery Train is one of his wittiest, prettiest and most accessible items. Extras:Jarmusch Q&A with fans, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins doc, locations featurette, typically excellent essay booklet.
Caddyshack (Warner) “Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!” (Cue Kenny Loggins.) Thirty years after its release, one of the all-time most quotable comedies still holds up the bar. Todd Phillips can try all he wants, but he’ll likely never find the ad libbing magic that came from then young and inexperienced comics Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and the late, oddly great Rodney Dangerfield. Anyone who qualifies Happy Gilmore as the quintessential golf-com is way off course. This one holds up even better than you think. BD extras include a lengthy vintage retrospective and a lengthier new one.
Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Seventh Season (Warner) Curb’s Seinfeldian seventh season — in which LD reunites his former cast in the hopes of winning back the love of his life — actually holds its own against the series’ surreal sixth. It was great to see the whole gang waxing about nothing in Jerry’s old digs, and nearly all of the show’s classic scene-stealers are at the top of their game. Seinfeld-y extras include a reunion doc, interviews with David and the Seinfeld cast, rebuilding the sets and Larry David as George Costanza.
Yo Gabba Gabba! Clubhouse (Paramount) Like a G-rated episode of Wonder Showzen, this is some truly outlandish children’s programming. If drugs took drugs, they would watch Yo Gabba Gabba! Combining elements of retro videogames, hip original tunes, Sesame Street and other insanity, DJ Lance Rock and his psychedelic buddies build a clubhouse, go on an exciting Indiana Jones-themed adventure, celebrate lazy summer days and dance like animals in this four-pack of episodes from the hit series. Music buffs young and old will also enjoy inventive tracks by Erykah Badu, Jimmy Eat World, The Killers and The Aquabats.Extras: No Gabba Gabba.
MacGyver: The TV Movies (Paramount) Listen up, noobs: before MacGruber, there was another rugged agent (circa 1985-1992) who could do wonders with a Swiss Army knife and some duct tape. Whether searching through the lost city of Atlantis or uncovering an illicit power plant overseas, Patty and Selma’s favourite feather-haired action icon keeps it real in this twofer of swell features. Extras: puh-leez.