September 8, 2010


Highlight of the Week

MacGruber (Alliance) As any Corky Romano survivor will confirm, succinct sketch comedy almost never makes for feature-length funny. Will Forte’s special-ops spoof was one of the best sketches of the past few years on the ever-waning SNL and, whaddya know, it is now the best sketch-to-movie adaptation since… Wayne’s World 2? Funny-gal Kristen Wiig resumes the position as MacGruber’s sidekick, and together they fight to foil Val Kilmer’s diabolical scheme to blow shit up with a stolen nuke. Along with saving the world or whatever, the two engage in the most amazingly idiotic sex since Team America (or The Room). Could this be the shitty-movie antidote SNL has waited all these years for? Recent news of Forte being replaced this season doesn’t help matters. This DVD comes with both theatrical and unrated cuts. (Virtually indistinguishable, apparently the unrated version is four minutes longer.) Extras include cast ’n’ crew commentary, a ridiculously brief deleted scene that should’ve either been left in the movie or not included on this DVD, and a good ol’ gag reel. 

Also Available

Micmacs (eOne) Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes a welcome return to his whimsical roots. After taking a stray bullet to the brain, Bazil — who grew up fatherless due to a freak landmine accident — meets up with a clan of junkyard misfits who help him even the score with the competing arms manufacturers responsible for both mishaps. Jeunet’s films have the tendency to feel emotionally stilted, which is particularly jarring whenever Micmacs attempts to dig at something deeper than dazzling visuals and inspired sight gags. Still only two features on, Jeunet has yet to deliver a flat-out-brilliant follow-up to 2001’s flat-out-brilliantAmélie. Extras: a brief but decent interview with J-PJ. 

Critters Collection (New Line) Is there anything more deserving of your hard-earned clams than this budget-friendly Critters collection? Yes, plenty of things. On the other hand, with the four flicks costing less than a subway token each, you can cost-effectively watch those fangy alien hairballs (think: space Gremlins) chomp their way through small town USA, Billy Zane, sexy Los Angeles and the furthest reaches of the galaxy any time you feel the urge. Tough crowd. How about Leonardo DiCaprio making his film-acting debut in one of the sequels? I’m not saying which one, but the DVD cover will gladly tell you. Extras: understandably nonexistent, though the sweet vintage poster art is sorely missed. 

James and the Giant Peach (Disney) Sandwiched between The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline (let’s forget Monkeybone), this odd adaptation of the beloved 1961 Roald Dahl children’s book was another success from Henry “guy who everyone thinks is Tim Burton” Selick. While it may not be as gobsmackingly splendid as his other work (again, forget Monkeybone), this 1996 stop-motion odyssey is worth revisiting in high-def for its smashing stop-motion visuals and freaky live-action bookends. The reissue skimps on extras: activity games, behind-the-scenes material and a Randy Newman music video. Post-Coraline Selick commentary would have been nifty. Or at the very least get Tim Burton — no one would know the difference.