If it's crap ... We'll tell you
THE VIRGINITY HIT (DVD)
And we're continuing our counting off of the genres that someone has tried to mix with the hand held camera footage style and now we can add teen comedy to the list. I assume the reasoning for the seemingly endless stream of these long past the time the 'new shiny thing' allure of it has faded can be chalked up to A: It's cheaper and B: trying to get the hordes of reality-show watching sheep out there back to the theaters. Much to my surprise, though, 2010's "The Virginity Hit", a completely star-less film produced by Adam McKay and Will Farrell, isn't as bad as I would have imagined. The story follows a group of friends who have a special bong they've bought to only smoke from when one of them loses their virginity. Soon, only one of the boys is left with his innocence, but not for long as it appears his long time girlfriend is about to give it up. Alas, it turns out that she hooked up with a guy at a frat party so the deal is off and the search is on to get this nerdy horndog laid anyway they can. A lot of critics HATED this film for its unflattering and downright misogynistic characters, but from my experience, that was pretty much exactly what most boys were like at that age. It's not so much funny, as uncomfortably honest. but perhaps in a way no one really needs to or wants to watch. Even though that kid does get ONE HELL of a comeuppance. I mean, damn.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Virginity Hit
ADVENTURES OF POWER (DVD)
Exactly what it looks like from the cover, "Adventures of Power" is yet another attempt to capture the, whatever the hell it was, that made people fall head over heels with"Napoleon Dynamite". Not that I didn't like ND, I just can't quantify it either. "Adventures of Power" comes a little closer than most imitators, perhaps, but that's not exactly a glowing recommendation. The writer and director Ari Gold (unfortunately not Jeremy Piven's character from "Entourage") also plays the lead role of a man-child named Power who grew up in a small mining town with his aunt (Jane Lynch) and his father (Michael McKean). Despite the realities of the hard-scrabble life there, Power dreams of playing the drums, but his family was always too poor to buy him one, so instead he focused on the 'art' of air-drumming. When he finds out about a air-drumming group in Newark New Jersey led by the one-handed Steven Williams, he sets off the find his destiny. Of course he ends up falling for a girl, a deaf woman (Shoshannah Stern) whose religious zealot mother hates rock n roll, and he finds his air-drumming nemesis, the rich son (Adrian Grenier) of the same guy oppressing the miners back in his home town. It's all pretty by-the-numbers for these omnipresent man-child movies lately, but I can hand "Adventures of Power" this: it doesn't fall back into gross-out jokes or 'shock' language the way most of these do and it kind of even has a heart. Plus, who can look me straight in the eye and tell me that they've never played air drums to "Tom Sawyer" by Rush at least for a minute? I'm not sure it's possible not to. I can't even drive with that song on the radio for fear of getting in an accident.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Adventures of Power
ALMOST FAMOUS: THE BOOTLEG CUT (Blu-Ray)
Cameron Crowe's essential Rock and Roll movie is partly a musical fairytale, partly a autobiographical story, and partly a coming-of-age journey for its young journalist protagonist (Patrick Fugit). With a bit of muddling of the truth, he found himself on a tour bus with an up-and-coming (fictional) band called Stillwater being paid by Rolling Stone magazine to write a cover story about them. That's pretty much the real story of Cameron Crowe's entry into the world of entertainment as well, fantastic as it sounds, an achievement that was helped by his friendship with famous alternative rock critic Lester Bangs, here played so memorably by Philip Seymour Hoffman. But that's the thing about "Almost Famous". Almost every character in it, flawed as they are, are so utterly lovable and memorable. The film is a collection of unforgettable sequences, some funny, some charming, some sad, that all have that ring of being 'genuine', even if they didn't actually happen. The writer Neil Gaiman said, "Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten" and this is the Rock and Roll fable version of that sentiment. The movie is positively loaded down with talent as well: Frances McDormand as Fugit's fair but protective Mom, Zooey Deschanel as the sister who got him hooked on the music in the first place, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee as members of Stillwater, Anna Paquin and Fairuza Balk as two of the dedicated groupies, and most importantly, Kate Hudson as the living symbol for rock adoration, the human goddess Penny Lane. This was the film that introduced her to the world, but don't hold that against it. She's absolutely magical here, uncannily capturing that golden-tressed, charismatic, unbearably sexy girl we all knew at some point when we were young that teased us to almost the point of tears. This 'Bootleg Cut' adds 40 minutes to the original film but unlike the previously released DVD set, this only comes with the extended version of the film. For my money it's the only version you need. There's nothing else new included in the extras but hey: "Almost Famous" in HD. That's enough for me.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Almost Famous [Blu-ray] - Starring Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup and An...