Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

My weekly stats show time and again that this column is the most viewed post, so I'm bringing it back.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: I actually heard someone say they went to see this figuring how can a movie with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey suck? Exhibits A-F: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Dinner for Schmucks, Bewitched.

The Call: The poster for this Halle Berry thriller says something like: 'There are 1.5 million 911 calls each year. This one made it personal." Yeah, Halle Berry HATES IT when you butt-dial her dispatch center.

Phantom: They ain't what they used to be, but it's still kind of amazing that a movie with Ed Harris and David Duchovny can be so obscure. You might say it...vanished from theaters. YOU might say that. I'm too sophisticated to make a comment like that.

As Luck Would Have It: Well, it has Salma Hayek. Do you need to know anything else?

Shark! My complete ignorance of the movies on this list is the theme of the week, but any shame I feel in acknowledging I never heard of Shark! is alleviated by the joy I feel in learning that in 1969, Samuel Fuller made a movie starring Burt Reynolds and Barry Sullivan. And it was called Shark!

CSI: NY: Season 9: Season 9. Wow. Just wow.

Best of Looney Tunes: I used to buy that line about how Warners had a family video division that was entirely separate from the catalog DVD division and how it wanted to release things aimed not at the collectors market, but at some kind of nebulous general audience. Now I am convinced that Warners actually just runs a rogue division dedicated to pissing off animation devotees by cranking out endless repackages of its cartoons while refusing to continue comprehensive archival releases of the Looney Tunes.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: This must be the fifth or sixth time someone has tried to put out a complete set of this show. Hey, hey, hey, maybe they get it right today.

Peter Gunn Season 2: My dad raised an eyebrow the other day when I claimed Johnny Staccato was a similar but better show. Uh, now that I read that I realize it's not that interesting to you guys, but it was kind of a conversation starter for us.

Wagon Train: Final Season: Tune in to see if they finally got off the wagon train.

WWE: Best of War Games: Every now and then, when WWE sees a chance to make money, it acknowledges that one of its competitors did something cool. Kudos to the company for recognizing the innovative idea Jim Crockett Promotions had of taking a bunch of guys, putting them in a set of double steel cages, and having them beat the crap out of each other. Trust me, it was more original than I'm making it sound.

And in Instant Watching...

The Avengers: As I believe I wrote when Hunger Games arrived, every couple months Netflix gets a blockbuster movie that allows the company to say, "SEE? We DO get big movies."

Katy Perry: Part of Me: Yeah, I'll admit, I might check some of it out. And I assure you, I am interested in all parts of Katy Perry, not just the ones she--aw, who am I kidding. I might just go look for screencaps instead.

John Hodgman: Ragnarok: This is interesting: An exclusive standup comedy special. It's kind of like how HBO built up its brand by running comedians in concert, only you can run it into the ground yourself instead of watching HBO do it.

Soldiers of Fortune: It's like Netflix started a "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies" category. Talk about a manly film, with a manly title and a manly cast: Christian Slater, Ving Rhames, Sean Bean, Dominic Monaghan...Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

More Disney movies: Mulan I and II, Hunchback of Notre Dame I and II, Who Framed Roger Rabbit...Slowly the Disney deal pays dividends as Netflix builds up a decent assortment of the Mouse's library. And so far, none of it has suddenly disappeared.

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