Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

Dallas Buyers Club: This Matthew McConaughey as a great actor thing came way too fast for me. The fact that "Failure to Launch" just showed up on Netflix Instant isn't helping any (HBO's "True Detective," however, is).

Escape Plan: Sly and Arnold are trapped inside an unbreakable prison. They attempt a daring escape but are interrupted when Kevin Hart gets them to box each other. Wait, am I confusing this with something else?

Free Birds: Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson voicing a kids movie? I guess it's OK, but I can't shake the nagging fear that it's a gateway movie to the R-rated stuff.

About Time: The latest (maybe the last?) Richard Curtis romcom comes with this description:

About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.

It doesn't? Well, I guess I'll give up my time machine and get back to work on that perpetual motion device I've been working on for years.

Baggage Claim: It's nice we're in an era when African-American audiences can be targeted by the same kind of generic romantic comedies as white audiences.

Justice League: War: I hate to be one of those complainers about how comics used to be, but these DC animated movies are getting pretty dark. It would be nice to see something like Super Friends:  Heated but Ultimately Nonfatal Fights.

Romeo and Juliet:  I guess the kids got enough of this in English class, because nobody went to see this umpteenth reimagining of the tale. Why does every generation get one of these, yet "Troilus and Cressida" sits around gathering dust?

Three Stooges Collection: Budget-priced box set containing 6 of the team's feature films, and it sounds like a great deal, though knowing Mill Creek, I wouldn't be surprised if it was all crammed on one flipper disc.

Family Matters Season 4 and Laverne and Shirley Season 7: You know, I pair these two TV releases because, initial appearances to the contrary, the shows actually have a lot in common. For instance, they both...are sitcoms...and...OK, I'll admit it, I just don't have anything to say about them.

Warner Archive went totally nuts, releasing several noirs, including a couple George Rafts; a few 1930s films, a couple Brother Rat movies, and the 1972 TV series Search. Now, I've never seen that one, but, boy, I sure want to when I read the official description:

Hugh O’Brian, Doug McClure and Tony Franciosa rotate leads as elite high tech espionage operatives for Probe Division of World Securities Corporation in this spy-sensational SF-flavored actioner from Leslie Stevens (creator, The Outer Limits) and Robert Justman (Producer and one of the guiding lights of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation).

And in streaming...

Netflix followed up a lackluster January 1 monthly catalog add with an even weaker February 1 catalog add. In fact, Netflix has been adding a few interesting titles here and there but not bringing it in terms of volume lately. Perhaps the highest-profile add this past week was The Croods. Several WWE titles have been added lately, which may be a good sign that their deal will continue despite the imminent launch of the WWE Network.

Sunset Boulevard, MASH, and Marathon Man are good adds, and the Airplane! movies and the first Naked Gun are welcome, but overall it's been an inauspicious start to 2014 for Instant Watching.

Crackle pleased me by adding Drive. I started to watch this on Netflix several months ago, then fell asleep, and it expired the next day. Now I get a chance to finish it!

Hulu was quiet this week. I guess it's focusing on all the new network shows right now.

Acorn TV added Slings and Arrows, Father Brown, the recent comedy You, Me, and Them, and new episodes of Miss Marple. It is also adding a new episode of George Gently each week this month.

The real action this week, as it has been most weeks lately, is at Warner Archive Instant. Yes, I bemoaned the disappearance of scores of titles yesterday, but at least the service is also adding a bunch of stuff. Lots of goodies this week, including pre-Codes, genre action, and some outright classics. Here are some highlights of the Friday update:

Bedside (Allen Jenkins, Warren William), Air Force (John Garfield), Destination Tokyo (Garfield and Cary Grant), You'll Find Out ( Kay Kyser with Lugosi and Lorre).

A slew of early Hollywood female-driven pictures are new, including They Call it Sin with Loretta Young, Illicit with Babs Stanwyck, Guilty Hands with Kay Francis, and Female (Ruth Chatterton). I also see some Joan Blondell movies and a bunch of new William Powell titles. Star-studded wartime efforts Thank Your Lucky Stars (WWII) and Starlift (Korea) are here, and so is the infamous Wonder Bar.


policomic said...

I loved the show "Search" when I was a youngster. I imagine it might seem kind of silly to me now, but it was spies and high-tech gadgets stuff. Plus (if memory serves) Burgess Meredith, so there's that.

Rick Brooks said...

It sure sounds like it's worth at least a look-see. Warner Archive Instant has the pilot movie, "Probe," on streaming, so I will have to check it out.