August 27, 2005

Hard Hitting DVD Reviews

Enough with the Marvel-style angst: you want reviews, you got 'em!!!!

(But first, be sure to check out Greg's contests. We'll still be here, and you can get free schwag).

The Young Ones: Every Stoopid Episode
: the Generation X version of Monty Python, with enough anarchic British humor to keep you going (even if only 12 episodes worth). Also, check out disc 3 with the premiere episode of Bottom, where Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson have plenty of fun with pheromones!

Bamboozled: Dear Spike Lee - Yes, this is supposed to be a satire (however ripped off it is from better movies), but the main rule of satire is for the characters to have some redeeming value. (Tommy Davidson and Paul Mooney come close...and there is Savion Glover's tap dancing). However, this is an ugly, pretenious movie, with one-dimensional characters, a lack of irony, and Damon Wayans doing the worst William Shatner impersonation on the planet. (Plus, Hollywood Shuffle handed the same thematic material in a much stronger way). I want those two hours of my life back, dammit!

The Specials - if you're looking for special effects driven superhero fights, this isn't the movie. If you want a clever character study of dysfunctional superheroes, this is your movie. Written by James Gunn (Lollilove, Scooby Doo, Tromeo & Juliet), this is an understated movie. It's worth renting, and you'll dig it.

L.A. Confidential - The great thing about this movie is that, even though it's a Hollywood version of Ellroy's book, his hard-hitting style of writing still shows through. Noir at its best. If you don't like this movie, there is something seriously wrong with you.

Quatermass - The Thinking Man's Doctor Who. It's an end-of-the-world scenario first presented in the 70s (and seems somewhat dated). However, it's a clever bit of writing, and has Simon "Manimal" MacCorkindale. Take that, Sci Fi Daily!

(Just a side note - I think the first three Quatermass stories should be remade. With all the advances in science, this is a concept just waiting to become a new franchise. Please feel free to snark away in the comments if you do not agree).

Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive:
Although cutting edge when made, this story (sadly) doesn't hold up well. Storywise, it is clever, but as the behind-the-scenes featurettes point out, the change of tone was not welcome by all. However, it does reveal something that a lot of 80s Who Fans suspected all along - JNT didn't care about telling a good yarn. Nevertheless, pretty decent - less City of Death than, say, The Sunmakers.

The Great Rock & Roll Swindle: Or, "How Much of a Talentless, Credit-Grabbing Wanker Malcolm McLaren is." Director Julian Temple later redeemed himself with The Filth & the Fury, and that's the DVD to rent, friends. Avoid Swindle like the plague.

Grace of My Heart - Thanks to Fred Hembeck, I saw this movie again. First time, I thought it was just a roman a clef of Carole King's life. The second time, I saw it for what it is: a well crafted love letter to Brill Building pop. A hidden masterpiece.

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