May 12, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Taken

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 upon them 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.

Taken: Extended Cut (also Blu-ray). Taken is a thrilling ride from start to finish. Yes, it does feature human trafficking as a story device and yes, it is a bit exploitative of such a tragic occurrence, but it has a great glossy sheen of action. No one can shepherd an action film to the screen like Luc Besson. This movie is an absolute thrill ride from start to finish and is also one of the great box office stories of 2009. I am looking forward to seeing this longer cut, I want to see how much more wild it can get.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (also Blu-ray). Less complex than the first two films, Rise of the Lycans' sole purpose is to put full-bodied action to the dawn of the war merely glimpsed in earlier films. It fails to engage the brain in any meaningful way, leaving it content to wander around the familiar blue-tinted frames watching the performances play out. It is not really bad, but it is not terribly good either. It is worth it for fans of the series and those looking for a fun diversion.

Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray). Just in time to catch up with the new movie comes this high definition box set featuring the first six films of the series. It is all the films featuring all of the original cast. If it is done right, this could be a great looking set.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Blu-ray). The classic Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood spaghetti western is arriving on high definition. How can you go wrong? This is a great film that everyone needs to see at least once. That reminds me, I need to see it again.

Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy (also Blu-ray). Do we really need this? Probably not, but I bet it is still pretty funny. It is a collection animated skits that, from the bits I saw, are just like the asides from Family Guy.

Fargo (Blu-ray). One of the Coen Brothers' best films, this Oscar winning film is coming to Blu-ray. I can just imagine how much whiter those snow filled scenes will look, not to mention the wood chipper....

Big (Blu-ray). Tom Hanks' classic comedy. How can you not like this movie about a boy who gets his wish to be big? Not sure I need it in high definition, but the movie well worth the time.

Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray). In case you don't want that big six movie set mentioned above, but you still need a fix for the classic Trek, this will fill the bill. This trilogy contains The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home.

Licence to Kill (Blu-ray). One of the two Timothy Dalton starring Bond films. I have not seen this one in some time, but I remember this being the one I liked.

The Man with the Golden Gun (Blu-ray). Step back before Licence to Kill, back to the Roger Moore era. This one is where Bond faces off with Christopher Lee and his one shot-one kill gun. It was a ridiculous entry, but still fun.

There's Something About Mary (Blu-ray). This movie was made back when the Farrelly Brothers still made good movies. I remember sitting in the theater and laughing so hard I was sure I missed half the jokes. This movie is genuinely funny, very funny.

S. Darko (also Blu-ray). The sequel to the cult hit Donnie Darko is here. Is there any way this can hold a candle to the first film? I have not read or seen anything about this film, but I cannot say I am not excited. I would really like getting my hands on it.

The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series. Want a series sampler? This has four memorable episodes to tease you: "The Trouble with Tribbles," "City on the Edge of Forever," "The Balance of Terror," and "Amok Time." Nice selection.

The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Just like the disk above, four episodes to tease you: "Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1," "Best of Both Worlds Pt. 2," "Yesterday's Enterprise," and "The Measure of A Man."

The Grudge 3. Is this really necessary? Wasn't the second one bad enough.

Plague Town (also Blu-ray). I had never heard of this film before, but the trailer looks very promising. American tourists stranded in the English countryside where strange things are happening. Violence, horror, and bloodshed ensure.

Wayne's World (Blu-ray). Party time! Excellent!


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