Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.
Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.
Inglourious Basterds (also Blu-ray). There are very few directors who make films like Quentin Tarantino. The man has a distinct vision going into whatever project he makes; he plans out just what he wants to make and goes for it with all his might. The man has a special kind of love for cinema and it just oozes from every frame of film that he shoots. His love of cinema shines bright in this film that literally uses film in an effort to take down the Third Reich. A love song for the movies and a revisionist take on history, it's a thrilling film that follows a few converging tales and featuring some very good acting. In particular, Christoph Waltz as our main bad guy is particularly thrilling. Yes, it is long and perhaps a tad self-indulgent, that does not take away from the finished project.
The Hangover (also Blu-ray). What a fantastic comedy. This movie arrived early in the summer and proceeded to exceed all expectations. In a genre that has been dominated by Apatow and Apatow-lite comedies over the past few years, The Hangover is different. It is a goofy, drunken, slapstick comedy blended with the mystery genre. Is it a simple mystery? Sure, but that does not take away any of the fun to be had. Just watch as the friends frantically search Vegas for their missing friends. There is no way you can't laugh.
Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3 (Blu-ray). So far I only have the first season, but it is only a matter of time before I get the second and third seasons. I am a big Trek fan and I really like what they did with the first season. You get remastered and original episodes plus all sorts of extras.
G-Force (also Blu-ray). Never bothered with this in theaters and will not likely catch it on DVD. It is the story of super spy guinea pigs fighting to save the world and themselves. I was so disappointed when I found out it wasn't the Battle of the Planets version of G-Force, but I think that is still coming down the line. In any case, kids will surly enjoy this one.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (also Blu-ray). What a terrible movie. All things considered, this movie should have been hilarious. The cast is good from top to bottom and the trailer is pretty funny. Unfortunately, it is one of those things where all the funny bits were in the trailer. The movie itself is not all that funny, the idea of saving a car lot is lame, and it was not worth the time.
Taking Woodstock (also Blu-ray). This is a slice of life comedy that sees the historic Woodstock music festival take shape as the backdrop to a young man finding direction in his own life. I do not believe this is all that factual, but it does a great job of capturing the moment. This is well worth checking out.
Samurai Champloo: The Complete Series (Blu-ray). I never did see the whole series, but I really liked what I saw. It is from the same creator as the great Cowboy Bebop. It is set in the era of the samurai and is a story of revenge with a hip-hop soundtrack. This Blu-ray release may be a great way to get back to this series that I have had every intention of finishing.
The Maxx: The Complete Series. This aired in the 1990's on MTV when they had an animation block. This series saw its life begin as a comic book created by Sam Keith. It is a bizarre tale that centers on Maxx, a homeless man in New York City who escapes to a fantasy land called Outback where he fights evil creatures. The series follows him as he reconciles reality and fantasy. The question is which is which. This is only going to be available online and Amazon is advertising it as DVD on demand, meaning it will be burned to DVD-R when it is ordered.