September 22, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

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.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (also Blu-ray). Set in the world of Monsterland, this animated feature has a washed up luchador named El Superbeasto and his female sidekick, Suzi-X, facing off with the evil Dr. Satan. This is Rob Zombie's first foray into animation, and it looks like fun. It has violence, gore, nudity, and all the things that a cartoon is not supposed to be. The trailer looks fun, and makes me wonder if this is related to his first two features? I mean, the bad guy here is Dr. Satan, who we meet in House of 1000 Corpses. In any case, I am looking forward to it. The voice cast includes Rosario Dawson, Danny Trejo, Sheri Moon Zombie (of course), Paul Giamatti, Clint Howard, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Brian Posehn, John DiMaggio, and Ken Foree.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray). This includes Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. This collection will be mine, but probably not right away. I am most interested in First Contact, which is easily the best of this collection. I also believe it will be available separately.

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 2 (Blu-ray). To round out this week's Star Trek experience is the second season of the classic 1960's series. I have the first season collection, and it is fantastic. I look forward to revisiting this season as well. I love having both the original and remastered episodes available.

30 Rock: Season 3. This show has won a good handful of Emmy awards since its arrival. Sometimes I think that is the only reason NBC keeps it around, for the prestige factor. No matter how good it is, it has not yet been a ratings juggernaut. I am glad it is still here, as it is one of the funniest shows going. It has a great cast, strong writing, and stands out from the sitcom crowd.

Castle: The Complete First Season. This is not one of the best shows going, but it does have a sense of humor and is built around an interesting character. Castle is played by Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Drive), he is an author of murder thrillers and his research has him riding along with a police detective, using his literary knowledge to assist in the solving of crimes. It is fun and worth checking out, although I am not sure I want to own it.

Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. I have not seen this, but there films are always fun to watch. I am a big fan of their feature, Curse of the Were-Rabbit. This will hopefully continue the quality we have come to expect from them.

The Mentalist: The Complete First Season. Here is another show that made a bit of a splash when it debuted last season. It is another cop show with a twist. Our central character, played by Simon Baker, is a former psychic who admitted his fraud and know uses his abilities to solve crimes without the mysticism.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete Second Season (also Blu-ray). Sadly canceled, this sci-fi action series really picked up some steam this season and ended on a high note. It may have tossed a few wrinkles into the Terminator continuity, it was still endlessly interesting and fun to watch. At least we will have the two seasons to revisit.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (also Blu-ray). I never bothered with this in theaters, and I doubt I will on disk. The comedy stars Matthew McConnaughy in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by a series of ghost girlfriends who take him on a tour of his love life. I cannot say it looked all that interesting to me.

Shawn of the Dead (Blu-ray). Previously available as a Best Buy exclusive, this horror/comedy classic is now available to all. Anyone who likes zombies and comedies will want to own this one. It is hilarious, bloody, and brilliant.

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray). Also previously only available in Best Buy, this buddy cop comedy was a brilliant follow up to Shawn of the Dead. It also stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for director Edgar Wright. It features a gung ho city cop sent to a sleepy town with an unusually high accidental death rate. Very funny stuff.

Observe & Report (also Blu-ray). I wanted to like this more than I did. It had its moments, and offered up some interesting sequences, but it was a little mean it did not quite come together the way I had hoped. You would think Seth Rogen as a mentally unstable mall cop would be brilliant. Oh well.

Gojira (Blu-ray). Here is a title I would have loved to put at the top of this list, but sadly I have heard it is not all its cracked up to be. The movie is a classic, no doubt, but I hear the Blu-ray is taken from the same transfer as the last DVD without any further cleanup. Oh well.


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