September 16, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Pushing Daisies

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.

This week brings a load of new releases, including a bunch of new television titles, they just keep coming as more and more new seasons get underway for the 2008 fall season. Time to catch up on what you missed last season! In addition to the television titles and movies listed below, there is a whole mess of re-releases and new editions coming out, as well as a new compilation television set of a classic science fiction franchise. I am sure you will likely want to add a number of these to your personal collections, just like me.

Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season. I cannot wait for the second season of this series to begin. Frankly, I am just ecstatic the show is coming back at all, I was sure the writer's strike was going to kill it. The show is magical, mysterious, romantic, hilarious, and unlike anything else on television. The show stars Lee Pace as a pie maker who has the ability to bring people back to life with a touch, but if he touches them again, they are dead for good. The romance is an interesting one, as the woman he loves died, he brought her back, but can never touch her again. There is also the detective that he works with to make money solving murders. It needs to be seen to be believed. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Torchwood: The Complete Second Season. I have only seen a handful of episodes from the first season, but I really like what I have seen from this Dr. Who spawned series about an organization that investigates the supernatural. I need to finish off the first season and get started on this one. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Made of Honor. I am sure there are people out there who will really like this movie. I am not one of them as I find my initial liking of the movie slipping slowly away into the void. As much as they want you to believe the contrary, there is not a lot of heart beneath the shallow veneer. It is possible to make a likable rom-com using the formula, but this is not it. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Chuck: The Complete First Season. This series is a lot of fun. It brings together espionage, action, adventure, romance, and comedy under one roof, centering on a geek no less. Zachary Levi stars in the title role as a computer nerd whose brain is downloaded with all of our intelligence agencies secrets, he is now guarded by a pair of agents, one posing as his girlfriend, the other as his nemesis. Real fun and real addictive. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Speed Racer. I really liked this movie. I am sure there will be those who have the exact opposite reaction that I did. This is the sort of movie that you will either love it or hate it. It is a weird movie, but, for me, it provided an exciting blast of cinematic energy. It is also safe for the family. There are a couple of minor language uses, and the violence is mostly comical and fantasy based. Speed Racer is not perfect, but it is well worth spending some time with. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Young @ Heart. I wanted to see this on the big screen, but was unable to take advantage of any opportunities. The film is a documentary about a group of senior citizens that performs classic and contemporary rock songs. The trailer just looks wonderful, I am looking forward to checking this one out. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Breakfast Club: Flashback Edition. An important teen film from the 1980's gets the re-release treatment. I like this film, although I am unsure if it warrants a new purchase, as I have not been able to ascertain the presence of an improved transfer or the extras. Any one out there know? (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete First Season. Another worthy show that appeared out of last season's debut crop. The series is essentially a night time soap opera centering on a wealthy family in New York City, their spoiled kids, and the lawyer who works for them, who also happens to be looking into the death of his father, which happened while working for the same family. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

88 Minutes. Al Pacino's phoned-in performance, and the lovely Alicia Witt make it bearable, but only barely. This thriller sat on shelves for over a year (having reached DVD in Germany in early 2007), and with good reason. Something tells me it should have remained on the shelf, but it is here now and will likely do well on the rental market, but believe me when i say you can do better. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Star Trek: Alternate Realities. This looks like a great set. I thought these themed sets had gone away, but it is nice to see they are still around. Nice value for fans who don't want the whole sets. The set is 5 disks with 20 episodes covering all 5 series. All of the episodes focus on alternate reality episodes (duh!) such as Mirror, Mirror from the original series. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Sixteen Candles: Flashback Edition. See above for The Breakfast Club, same deal. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Death Note. This Japanese film arrives with both a dub track and subtitles. The series is based on an anime series about a man who can write things in a notebook and have them come true. I have heard plenty of good things about this film, I am going to have to see this. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Love Guru. I wanted to like this. Despite my trailer reactions and my very low expectations, I wanted to like this. Mike, I'm still a fan, just stop working below your talent level. Hopefully the next time we see Mike the movie will be funny. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Blood Simple. The Coen Brothers first film on DVD. I know this has been out before, but I am unsure if this is anything other than a new cover. It does say Director's Cut. In any case, I don't own this one, now is my chance. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Beetlejuice: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Go on, say it. Just remember it has to be three times, kind of like Bloody Mary or Candyman. Michael Keaton stars in the title role for Tim Burton's surreal afterlife comedy. This movie is a blast, I am looking forward to see what is included in this new edition. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Snow Angels. David Gordon Green's drama hits DVD. The indie director recently reached a wider audience with Pineapple Express, but he is known more for dramas, such as this Kate Beckinsale starrer. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Finding Amanda. Matthew Broderick stars as a producer with a gambling and drinking problem, sent to Las Vegas to find his troubled niece, played by Brittany Snow, to get her to enter rehab. It looks pretty good. Hopefully it will be. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Class of 1999. This has got to be a low budget film, but the name seems so familiar. Stacey Keach and Malcolm Mcdowell star in this film about a principal who takes his school back from the gangs by bringing in robotic educators. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

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