Another Tuesday, another bunch of new releases. Here’s what’s out today
My favourite show on TV gets released on DVD the day after the season finale airs [how I wish more shows would do this, giving me the summer to catch up instead of the DVD of the show coming out 2 weeks before the new season starts, but I digress]. This is a spectacular rebound from the disappointing Season 6 [it also was off the air last season because of the writer’s strike]. The extra time off seemed to help because CTU is gone, the action now takes place in Washington D.C. instead of Los Angeles, we have a new president, and overall just a nice sense of refreshment. I still say you can have a drinking game for how many times Jack Bauer says “Dammit” in an episode. It’s a stellar year [not its best year, Season 1 and 5 are the best of the series], but it’s an enjoyable way to pass the summer.
It is one of the biggest hits of 2009 [unfortunately, I don’t see why], and it comes to DVD. The story is simple: a mall is under siege by bad guys, and there is only one man who can stop them – Paul Blart. I will say that Kevin James is a highlight, and he is trying is hardest in every scene to make the material work, but what he’s given is not very good. Kevin James will eventually make a great film where he is the lead [his best movie role was still in Hitch, which I’m a big fan of, so see that instead of this], but this film is not it. Everyone else seems to be sleepwalking through this, but if you’re a fan of Kevin James and you like movies that have 80’s soundtracks, this film is for you. Otherwise, slip it.
Tom Cruise’s latest has an amazing pedigree on it. It co-stars Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Carice von Houten [see her in a film called Black Book, it’s a fantastic movies that very few of your friends have seen], Tom Wilkinson, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp, and Thomas Kretschmann. It is directed by Bryan Singer, and co-written by Chris McQuarrie [Singer has directed, X-Men 1 and 2, Superman Returns and The Usual Suspects, while McQuarrie is best known for writing the The Usual Suspects], but their was a lot of negative buzz surrounding the film. It got moved around a fair bit on the calendar, and at what point was supposed to be released in February 2009, until it got a Winter 2008 release. People thought the reason the studio moved Valkyrie from ’09 was because the studio did not have any faith in the film, and they knew they had a dud in their hands. Also, Tom Cruise’s popularity is not like it once was, although he can still draw in an audience. The film turned out not to be the flop that many thought [or had hoped] it would be. The story is about a group of Germans who do not agree with Hitler’s ways and try to kill him. It is interesting subject matter, and apparently the supporting cast does an absolute fantastic job with the material. Don’t believe the negative hype, make your own opinion, and check it out for yourself. Once you have done that, then you can praise it or bash it.
The remake of the 80’s horror classic involves much of the same plot, but with the added benefit of 3-D. Yes, the glasses are included so you can be scared out of your mind to your hearts content. I do like horror films, but I never seemed to be interested in this one. Find out for yourself if the remake is better than the original [which is already out on DVD].
I don’t know very much about this show, except that it is created by Alan Ball [writer of American Beauty and creator of Six Feet Under], and it stars Anna Paquin. The basic premise is that it follows Anna Paquin dealing with vampires in Louisiana. Do not expect an Underworld type film or lots of action sequences. This is a drama. It’s one of those shows that has a very loyal following, and it was recently picked up for a second season. I don’t feel quite like this show has broken out to be a huge hit, but if you’re a fan of quality HBO programming, you might want to check this one out.
This is a critic’s darling, but it has never taken off. You can thank the critics for the fact that the show even got to Season 3. It stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton and deals with a high school football team dealing with the pressure of winning, as the town lives and breathes with every victory and defeat. Might be worth checking out just to see why critics love this series so much.