May 19, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Friday Night Lights

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.

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 that 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.

Friday Night Lights: The Third Season. I love this series. When I first began watching the first season, I was not sure I would. I mean, it isn't like I am a football fan or a fan of angsty teen dramas or anything like that. On top of that, the pilot was not all that great. For some reason I stuck with it and found a wonderfully written and acted drama that portrayed a very real feeling community. That continued through the second season,despite the introduction of a couple of new elements as it tries to court a wider audience. It survives those missteps and is as compelling as ever as it moved into its third season, a season afforded by a new deal with DirecTV. If you have not seen the show, I encourage you start with the first season and get yourself caught up before season four rolls around.

True Blood: The Complete First Season (also Blu-ray). This HBO series, starring Anna Paquin. I have not seen a single episode but have heard good things. It concerns vampires living openly in our world and is set in Louisiana. So, any fans out there that can put the sell on me?

24: Season 7 (also Blu-ray). Talk about quick turnaround, the season ends on Monday and the season set is available on Tuesday. I guess they want to strike while the iron is hot. The season has been good, although it has not lived up to seasons 1 or 5. I am also beginning to wonder if the shelf life for this series drawing near an end. As much as I have enjoyed its run, how many other ways can be concocted to have Jack save us? Are we far away from seeing Jack in space?

Valkyrie (also Blu-ray). Not nearly as bad as I was expected, not nearly as good as it could have been. This Tom Cruise starrer tells the story of one of the many failed attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler. It is a film that relentlessly surges forward, often at the expense of the audience and any human growth.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (also Blu-ray). This is a surprisingly enjoyable film that is safe for the entire family and is genuinely funny. Kevin James stars as a dedicated mall cop who longs to be a police officer. He gets his shot when a gang takes over his mall.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Skynet Edition (Blu-ray). Yet another release for the classic science fiction action film. It arrives just in time to help you get ready for the arrival of Terminator: Salvation. Now, whether or not this version is worth it is yet to be seen. That said, I do not have it on Blu-ray yet...

Fanboys. It is glorious. Yes, you read that right, this movie is glorious. So it is a little light on character development, a lot implausible on the plot side, and not terribly complete in any respect, but that does not stop it from being thoroughly entertaining. All right, let me be completely honest, I love Fanboys. The humor works completely for me. It is goofy, outlandish, and I find it so completely endearing.

A Bug's Life (Blu-ray). Probably one of the lesser Pixar releases, this early outing is still highly entertaining and likely looks great in high definition.

My Bloody Valentine 3D (also Blu-ray). This release includes both the 3D version as well as the flat. I can guarantee that if/when I get this, I will only be watching the flat. The 3D is of the red/blue variety and is sure to be about as enticing as staring at mud while hitting yourself in the forehead with a reflex hammer. As for the movie? Much better than expected, a lot of fun for the horror fan.

Outlander. I could have sworn this science fiction film was going to get a big screen release, or did it and I completely missed it? It stars Jim Caviezel and tells of an alien who crash lands on Earth, followed by an alien predator. It is the age of Vikings and the alien fuses his tech with current standards to lead the fight back.

Enemy at the Gates (Blu-ray). This World War II set film centers on a battle of wits between a German and a Russian sharpshooter. It has been awhile since i have seen this, but remember it being very good, with a very real feel and a tense showdown where neither man can see the other.

The Machinist (Blu-ray). I have had this on DVD forever and have not yet watched it. I am not sure why, but surmise it could be subconsciously related to the weight loss that Christian Bale put himself through. I can just imagine how irritable he must have been to be around.

Eden Log (Blu-ray). This science fiction film looks pretty interesting. It centers on a man who wakes up alone and with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He then finds he is not alone...

Circle of Iron (Blu-ray). Here is a film I learned of not terribly long ago and wanted to see it, I just have not done i yet. The movie is based on a story that was being developed by Bruce Lee prior to his death with, I believe, James Coburn. David Carradine took on the starring role in this martial arts tale.


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