January 4, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: Battlestar Galactica

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.

Battlestar Galactica: Season One (Blu-ray). One of the greatest series to grace the television screen is making its way to Blu-ray. Previously only available in a complete series box (which I still want), it now looks like the season sets are making their way to store shelves. I remember when I first saw the mini-series on the Sci Fi (now SyFy) channel I was not so sure it was all that good. Then the first season hit and everything changed. This is not your daddy's Battlestar Galactica, this reinvention strips away the camp, the bad effects, and the cheesy acting. This new series is dark, gritty, yet still with a strong human element. It grew increasingly complex over its run, and always more interesting.

Chuck: The Complete Second Season (also Blu-ray). This show is a lot of fun. I was so glad when it was picked up for a third season (coming soon!). The series deftly blends comedy and action, thrills and romance, all in the name of fun. It is far from a serious series and it embraces that. Just sit back and enjoy. One of the great things about it is the chemistry between the cast members. Just watch the relationship between Zachary Levi's Chuck and Yvonne Strahovski's Sarah, it works beautifully and anchors the series. If you aren't watching it, why not? Give it a shot, you may be surprised that you like it.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (also Blu-ray). This movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I initially wanted to write this off, but when I did see it, it revealed itself to be quite good. The story is carried by the relationships and the fun gags with food. This is definitely one worth gathering the family for.

The Final Destination (also Blu-ray). Initially I said this was better than the third film in the series. However, I think I may have overstated it. This is a bad movie with uninteresting characters, no story, and gimmicky 3D effects. Considering it was a financial success, I doubt it will be the last of the series. Still, the only ones really worth watching are the first two, after that, forget it.

10 Things I Hate About You (also Blu-ray). I have not seen this movie in years. It is hard to believe that it is ten years old. It has a good cast including early film roles for Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, all successful actors. I need to revisit this one.

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