Monday, November 18, 2013

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

I missed last week because I was still reeling from my epic 3-part rollout of this feature last weekend, not to mention the ballyhooed DVD release of Flo: The Complete Series, but let's regroup and try to get back on track today with a look at the releases of last week AND this week, plus some of the more notable streaming newcomers:

Man of Steel: I really disliked "Superman Returns", and I have good reason to think I will loathe this one, too. Yet I still feel compelled to watch it. I realize this is my problem, not Warner Brothers', but I reserve the right to complain about it. The tagline for this one should have been [SPOILER ALERT]: "You will believe a man can snap another man's neck!"

The World's End: Edgar Wright completes the unofficial trilogy he made with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (the others being "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz"). Here's the new DVD that excites me most this week. If there were any justice, THIS would have been a big hit and "This Is the End" would have been the underseen cultish thing. But I haven't seen either one, so maybe I'm off base here.

We're the Millers: Oh, God, they already made a movie out of that atrocious Will Arnett CBS comedy? You've gotta be kidding me!

Oh, this is the one with Jason Sudekis? And Jennifer Aniston doing a pole dance or something? Eh, maybe they ought to do a movie out of the atrocious Will Arnett CBS comedy.

Turbo: Poor Ryan Reynolds. Even his cartoon movies didn't work this year.

Planes: Well, it did better than Turbo, but I can't help but feel this is one of the B-Team efforts from Disney. Maybe I'll feel differently after I get it for my kids and see it a few hundred times.

Paradise: Whatever happened to Diablo Cody? This.

The To-Do List: Is it too reductive to say this is the movie in which Aubrey Plaza gets all slutty and it's probably pretty funny? OK, then I won't say it.

JFK Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-Ray: I'm guessing this contains the 11 1/2-hour cut Oliver Stone couldn't release earlier. hey, wouldn't it be funny if he came on at the end this time and said, "Or Oswald did it alone. You know, whatever."

Celebrity Billiards: If "Celebrity Bowling" is just too sophisticated and glitzy for you, several episodes of the Minnesota Fats 1967 series come to DVD. The MSRP is a little high for what I believe is a collection of 3 episodes, but one of them includes Groucho Marx, so that alone must be worth something.

Best of Sesame Street Collection: You want to give this one the benefit of the doubt, you see Elmo on the cover, and you realize, nope, not what you consider the "best" here.

Combat The Complete Series: If they keep re-releasing this show on DVD, sooner or later the odds are the Allies are gonna lose.

Warner Archive had a big week, dropping 6 Danny Kaye flicks and a pair of Jack Benny films last Tuesday. As I write this, I have no idea what's coming out this week, but, hey, that's almost enough to cover us even if they don't do much tomorrow.

And in streaming...

Netflix added Skyfall, the most recent 007 picture, and Frances Ha, the most recent Noah Baumbach movie. Not much connecting the two, but, well, let me try: Greta Gerwig stars in "Frances," and I have always been fascinated by her name. I think it's a terrible name for a movie actress but a fantastic name for  a James Bond villain.

Also new is Jeff Garlin in Dealin' with Idiots, or, since it's Garlin, should likely be called DEALIN' WITH IDIOTS! There are a few movies debuting on streaming simultaneous to DVD: Barbara and Grabbers, to name two. I don't know anything about them, but I think it's cool. It's not quite as cool when a movie debuts on streaming 3 years after it hits video, a la The American starring George Clooney, but since I never got around to seeing's new to me!

 Kristen Bell IS The Lifeguard, and the picture of her in a red Baywatch-style outfit on the cover looks cool. Then you find out the movie is about her having an affair with a teenage boy, and it becomes a lot less cool. For us, not for the teenage boy.

Ryan Gosling stars in Only God Forgives, a crime thriller directed by the man who also directed him in "Drive." SPEAKING of that latter picture, I got almost halfway through it last week, fell asleep, and the next day it was expired. I was loving the movie! "Drive," please come back! Netflix can pull this one back for a few days, give me a chance to see "Drive," and then swap them back out. Sound good to everyone else?

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life may well be an interesting documentary, but I'm still kind of ticked off that Paul Williams documentary never hit Instant Watching. I was set to tout Joan Rivers: Don't Start With Me as a rare interesting movie add on Hulu until I realized it's on Netflix, too!

Amazon Prime rolled out the first 3 episodes of Alpha House, its original political comedy series starring John Goodman, but I don't know if I'm going to try them. Despite its best efforts, Amazon is not going to get me to pay $75 a year for Prime, so why should I watch this and feel shafted when I don't get the rest of the first season?

Warner Archive followed its massive add of the week before with another good assortment of old-school titles, including George Pal's Atlantis, the jazzy "proto-noir" Blues in the Night (1941), Ginger Rogers and Frances Dee in the pre-code Finishing School, holiday perennial It Happened on Fifth Avenue, and, if you want something a little grittier, how about 1973's pimpsploitation flick The Mack?

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