Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

Lee Daniels' The Butler: Remember when this was coming out and we wanted to mock the hell out of the pretentiousness of the director putting his name in the title? And then we found out it was actually because a greedy corporation put in a frivolous copyright claim and made him do it? Well, unfortunately, I still remember that second part, so I'm still not gonna mock the title.

Enough Said: A delightful romantic comedy with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini. If you're wondering why I don't have a wise-ass remark about this, it's not because I think it's too soon to disrespect the deceased. No, it's because the guy still scares the hell out of me.

Carrie: You mean this is NOT the vintage Europe World Tour concert movie we've all been waiting for? It's another version of the Stephen King story? Yawn.

Riddick: I get the ominous feeling Vin Diesel is just gonna keep bringing this character back every few years whether we like it or not. Hey, wait, Karl Urban is in this? I might have to take a look.

Wow, my man crush is way out of control.

Fruitvale Station: I thought this dramatization of the story of a young man who was killed by a rapid transit police officer was a significant, meaningful film. But it didn't get any Oscar nominations, so now I know I can skip it.

20 Feet from Stardom: This documentary about backup singers DID get a nomination, so we can all be sure it's worth watching.

You're Next: Don't prejudge this one just because it was made in 2011 and released in 2013. Prejudge it because it's a slasher movie.

Rewind This!: A documentary of the rise and fall of VHS? How awesome is it that it comes out just after Blockbuster closes? I gotta see this one.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Season 2: For you cheapskates that didn't buy the complete series, you can keep buying 'em one season at a time.

And in streaming...

Hey, I like to make fun of Hulu here a lot, but it did two cool things lately: It made its interface on my Blu-Ray player a lot better, and it added 71 episodes of the classic Naked City, a mix of half-hour and hourlong installments. Score one for the good guys!

I noticed this week that Crackle now has the complete run of The Larry Sanders Show, and I was worried it would be edited until I fired up an episode and heard Hank Kingsley fire a glorious F-bomb. Hey, now!

I'm still catching up with the big updates Warner Instant made at the end of December/beginning of January. Last week, the service added more noir, like Larry Tierney in Born to Kill, Deadline at Dawn, Nobody Lives Forever, and The Set-Up. Plus there is proto-noir (if there is such a thing) Strangers on the Third Floor with Peter Lorre. Ape fans can enjoy Mighty Joe Young and Son of Kong. I believe From the Earth to the Moon was also just added, cult hit Snow Devils is new, along with a few Errol Flynns--Virginia City and Gentleman Jim,. And if I mentioned this last week, I apologize, but it's always worth mentioning an appearance by the great Dick Powell--this time, it's Varsity Show.

Netflix has been pretty slow so far this year, but it has added some quality titles. New original documentary The Square joins the also just-added The Act of Killing as fresh Oscar nominees that are available.

Ricky Gervais brings us travelogue series An Idiot Abroad, and all of it is now on Instant Watching. Last year's Kevin Hart concert film Let Me Explain is another new add.

Some WWE videos are back on, and it's disappointing that they're "reruns" but cool that they are back. It'll be interesting to see if the WWE/Netflix arrangement continues, and to what extent, when the WWE Network (which promises to offer the entire WWE home video library) next month.

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