December 1, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Better Off Ted

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.

Better Off Ted: The Complete First Season. This is a fun series that I look forward to returning. It centers on a fictional (duh) research and development company and gives us an inside look at the various projects that go wrong and the variety of characters that inhabit the office. In a way it is like The Office, but in a slightly more standard sitcom format. Where it really wins is in the clever and humorous writing that captures a sort of heightened reality. Definitely worth checking out.

Terminator: Salvation (also Blu-ray). I was really looking forward to this movie, although it was not without some trepidation, I mean McG was directing it after all. The film is an interesting new chapter in the franchise, despite it not being exactly what we wanted. It is a movie that has a good dose of action and a few good ideas adrift in a sea of poor execution. It does have John Conner and a host of Terminator bad guys, but this future is not all its cracked up to be. It is worth checking out, just try not to get your hopes up.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (also Blu-ray). I enjoyed the first film, it is not the greatest thing in the world, but it was fun and had a certain magical whimsy to it. The sequel feels tired and overstuffed. The new locale finds familiar characters doing familiar things while the rules got left behind in New York. Ben Stiller looks like he doesn't want to be there and that sense of magic is lost. The one bright point is Amy Adams who brings an enjoyable sight to the screen as Amelia Earhart.

Snatch (Blu-ray). One of Guy Ritchie's better efforts finds British gangsters, boxing promoters, Russians, Jewish jewelers and a diamond fighting for attention. It arrives on high definition and hopefully will look pretty good.

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (Blu-ray). Step back a bit farther and we get to Guy Ritchie's auspicious debut, which also introduced the world to Jason Statham. It centers on four guys who put all their money into a high stakes poker game, lose, and find themselves deep in debt to mobsters who are not all that friendly. It is here in time to help us get ready for Ritchie's next film, Sherlock Holmes.

The Green Mile (Blu-ray). I have not seen this movie in such a long time. Never would have guessed this was a Stephen King adaptation. It tells the story of death row guards and their lives leading up to the execution of an inmate accused of child murder who is capable of faith healing. Sounds like a perfect holiday gift!

Paper Heart (also Blu-ray). I missed this when it was in theaters, hopefully I can now catch it on home video. It is a mockumentary centering on Charlyne Yi's search for the meaning of love. Along the way she meets Michael Cera and the unexpected happens. That is an awful description, but the movie still looks pretty good!

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