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EVERYTHING MUST GO (Blu-Ray and DVD)...Guest Review by LEON
I don't think you can call this a “comedy”. Granted, it stars Will Ferrell, Glenn Howerton (from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia') and Stephen Root ('Office Space', 'King of the Hill'), and the premise- a man comes home to find his wife has thrown all of his tuff onto the front lawn, so he decides to arrange it like a den and live outside in it- does sound reliably humorous. But really, "Everything Must Go" should only be considered a comedy if watching a person's entire disintegrate in one day is what makes you laugh. To be fair, Ferrell's Nick Halsey has been a gentleman drunk most of his life; he's been a successful salesman, but his recovery from his alcoholism has been much less successful. After a charge of sexual harassment (which he was too drunk to even remember) he's fired from his job. He despondently limps home to find that his long-suffering wife has moved out, tossed all of his possessions into the front yard, changed the locks, canceled his cell phone and frozen his access to his bank accounts.... and all of this happens in the early AM. By noon Nick has relasped (again) right back into a bottle...well, more like a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I suppose it's the contrast of watching a man piss away so much of his life with the cheapest beer possible that provides an element of dark humor to what might otherwise be too black to endure. Will Ferrell picks exactly the right amount of charm to give to his best dramatic role to date. Kudos is due to the minimal supporting cast as well, most notably Christopher Wallace Jr. as Kenny, a lonely neighborhood kid who forms an unlikely friendship with Nick and helps him find a pinhole of light that may or may not be enough to keep a man at rock bottom going. Wallace steps up where I've seen so many young amateur actor's lack of skill sink a movie like this. "Everything Must Go" is one of my favorite movies of 2011, but even I'm not sadistic enough to call it a comedy.
...unless you compare it to 'Leaving Las Veags'.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Everything Must Go [Blu-ray]
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN/RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Blu-Ray)
With everyone so shook up lately about the announcement of a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" in the works, may I be the 18 millionth critic to remind you hyperbolic folks that it's hardly the first time? Even more prudent to remember before freaking the heck out, sometimes these remakes come out damn fine. Case in point is the unforgettable 1960 remake of it by John Sturges, "The Magnificent Seven". So popular indeed was his ensemble Western retelling, that a lot of people think the remaking happened the other way around. Gathering together the manliest man cast ever assembled for one picture (Trust me, "The Expendables" ain't got SHIT on this), the film casts Yul Brenner as Chris (no, not my driver), a black hatted good guy who decides, even though there's not much pay in it, to gather a group of hard-asses together to defend a poor Mexican town against a ruthless bandit (Eli Wallach). Without much cash to work with, Chris ends up having to recruit some men with sketchy pasts and reasons to sign up, but once the ragtag seven come together, they're a force to be reckoned with. And hell, look at who he gets: Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and rounding it out as a last desperate addition, a young hot-head wanna-be cowboy, played originally by Toshiro Mifune in Kurosawa's film, and here by Horst Buchholz. I'd easily put this in the top five of the old-school westerns to put on a must-see list. Not so much for the first of three increasingly lack-luster sequels, "The Return of the Magnificent Seven". Only Brenner returns, although both McQueen and Buchholz's characters are here, albeit played now respectively by Robert Fuller and Julian Mateos. This time, a new group is formed to return to the small town they helped in the first village when the member of the seven who stayed behind to start a family is kidnapped, along with all the rest of the town's men, by a manically depressed rancher who is using them as slave labor to rebuild a small village as a tribute to his dead sons. Didn't make a lot of sense to me either, but whatevs. There's a half way decent action packed ending and Elmer Bernstein's score is great, but it's hardly memorable beyond being connected to the original, and even then, you might find it more tarnishing than anything else. The new blu-rays both look just fine though, although naturally the brunt of the cleanup work was given to the original, and with the exception of some weird color blips during a few scene transfers, they're much better looking films than you'd expect after 50 some odd years.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Magnificent Seven [Blu-ray]
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Return of Magnificent Seven [Blu-ray]