September 30, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Iron Man

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that 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.

This week brings a load of new releases, including a host of films that were on the big screen earlier this year. Time to catch up on what you missed earlier in the year! Well, maybe, not all of them were all that great, but some are surprisingly good. I am sure you will likely want to add a number of these to your personal collections, just like me.

Iron Man. To say that Iron Man flies high and sticks the landing would be an understatement. There is a strong undercurrent of energy, realism, and just plain old fun. The bottom line is that Iron Man delivers on the potential that superhero films contain. It pushes the boundaries of what a superhero film can be in much the same way that Batman Begins did, bringing a maturity to the material and allowing it to develop in an organic manner. Yes, I love this movie. It is available in one-disk, to-disk, and Blu-ray versions. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall. From my review: "This is one of the best films I have seen so far this year, and easily the best comedy. It offers big laughs and outrageous situations while simultaneously being undeniably sweet and utterly human. The combination serves the film well. It had me smiling as I left the theater knowing I saw something special." That still holds true, more or less. It may not be the funniest anymore, but it is definitely one of the best, a romantic comedy with a ton of heart and great characters. It is available in single disk, three-disk (with digital copy), and Blu-ray versions. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Olympics: 2008 Beijing Opening Ceremony. I missed this when it aired, but in the time since I have heard many good things about it. The elaborate opening was directed by film Zhang Yimou, who also helmed Hero and House of Flying Daggers. I am looking forward to this. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

My Name is Earl: Season 3. The third season had its moments, but it wasn't quite as good as its predecessors. Still, I would not mind having this in my collection. It is funny, fresh, and it has a great cast. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Sports Night: 10th Anniversary Complete Series Edition. I never saw this when it was on television, but a friend introduced me with the first DVD release. I still need to add it to my collection. Sadly, as good as it is, it was one of those misunderstood shows that cancelled before its time. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

U2: Live at Red Rocks. This concert was recorded back in 1983 and has been remastered for its debut DVD release. Like U2? You'll want this. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions. This Discovery Channel release looks fantastic. It is a four DVD set that looks into our space program, including footage taken during actual missions. I need to check this out. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*. This is definitely a good film. There are some great interviews and it does not play along with the media's anti-steroid bias as it explores the issue of their use, as well as the underlying "win at all costs" mentality. This is a movie worth spending time with, regardless of which side of the issue you are on. It also happens to have been made by someone from my area. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Taxi to the Dark Side. This is the Oscar winner for the Best Documentary Feature in 2007. The film takes a look at the murder of an innocent Afghani cab driver. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Dream Theater: Chaos in Motion. Dream Theater makes some insanely excellent music, and their most recent release, Systematic Chaos, is one of their best in years. This two DVD set chronicles their tour. Looking forward to seeing this sure to be excellent performance. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Starlost: The Complete Series. Prior to seeing this on the schedule, I had never heard of this 1973 series created by Harlan Ellison. It is a Canadian production and while the execution may not be great, the concept looks excellent. In the future, humanity is forced to leave the Earth in an ARK ship that is sectioned off into different areas, an accident causes these areas to be locked off from each other. As time passes they forget about each other until one person learns the truth. Actually, that sounds a bit like Wall-E. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Pulse 2: Afterlife. I am one of the three people that liked the first film, although I am not sure that a direct to DVD sequel was necessary. This film picks up after the events of the first film, with ghosts now haunting their old homes in deserted cities, while the survivors avoid anything electronic. Battlestar Galactica's Jamie Bamber is among the stars. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back. The first film was pretty interesting, but is a sequel needed? Well, I guess every moderately successful horror film deserves a second round. This one has the brother of the character in the first film, freshly back from the war and hot on the trail of the missing. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Can't Hardly Wait: 10 Year Reunion Edition. This teen comedy did not bring anything new to the table, but what it did, it did well. I actually enjoyed this film, of course, the presence of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seth Green doesn't hurt. Actually, I am surprised this warranted a 10th anniversary release. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


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