If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Another week, another coffee table littered with freshly watched movies at the Cyrus domicile. But nothing that came out made me quite as happy as the...
THE KIDS IN THE HALL: THE COMPLETE SERIES (DVD)
I realize that this series has been released in its entirety before on DVD. It doesn't matter. Let me put it this way: in order of extra toppings of awesome sauce, the greatest sketch comedy shows in history in order are...#1-Monty Python's Flying Circus; #2-The Kids in the Hall; #3-Mr.Show. Any of these getting even a half-way decent re-release is cause for some sort of celebration. Especially with this great collection, featuring all five complete seasons of the Canadian troupe's wildly influential show, a huge amount of bonus features, and even a brand spankin' new 8 episode season, told as a continuing story with the Kids playing the majority of the characters, called "Death Comes to Town". Ok, sure, it's been a long time since these guys have worked together, and this new effort suffers more from the format change than anything else, but it's still funny and well worth a look for fans...and everyone should be fans. Some old characters make brief cameo appearances here and there, and the two most oft-repeated characters from the show's run, the two cops played by Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch, get bigger roles, but its fictional Ontario town of Shuckton is mainly populated by the kids playing new characters. Not the least of them is McKinney's humorously loathsome 'Death', who was funny enough alone to send me back for a second watch soon. Regardless, my neatnik side is glad to see all of these tidily boxed together and I can hardly wait to dive back in with all those characters that I loved so much. Except for Chicken Lady. Chicken Lady creeps me out. Nightmares. Brrrr.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Kids In The Hall, The: Complete Series DVD Megaset
...and then there's the rest...
THE BIG BANG (Blu-Ray and DVD)
I'm not going to blame other critics for coming down on this 2011 weird genre mish-mash. How could I? It's unsettling, to be sure. Antonio Banderas, clearly is struggling with playing a hard-boiled private eye (and the sometimes seriously overwrought noir dialogue that goes with) while the film around him seems more concerned with physics jokes, and its swirling, colorful, somewhat hallucinogenic visual sensibility. It's uncomfortable, to be sure, but there's more than enough fascinating about "The Big Bang" to forgive, and maybe even embrace, most of its eccentricities...I mean, assuming you like cosmological humor used to reflect upon noir genre sensibilities. Ok, so that's a narrow demographic, but hey...I'm in it. Banderas plays the private dick who is hired by a giant Russian ex-con former professional boxer, who is looking for a stripper pen-pal (Sienna Guillory) he had in jail, who not only knows where his hidden stash of diamonds is, but has seemingly disappeared since his unexpected release as well. Big shocker there. As Banderas follows the trail of clues, bodies start turning up in his wake. Obviously, something goes WAY wrong, because we're getting all this in flashback, as he relates the story to three cops (William Fichtner, Delroy Lindo, Thomas Kretschmann) who would just as well beat it out of him as anything else. Lots of odd character actor cameos, a heady sense of humor, and a humorously explosive ending made "The Big Bang" a lot of fun for me, but I can just as well see why most folks will likely walk away just puzzled.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Big Bang [Blu-ray]
GODS AND GENERALS/GETTYSBURG (Blu-Ray)
Nope. Okay, so maybe I watched "Gods and Generals" first mistakenly (it's the 2003 prequel to the 1993 film "Gettysburg") as, thankfully showing that I'm not insane, most critics agreed that it was damn near terrible. This new edition adds even MORE to it's already ridiculously bloated screentime, making it clock in at a hellish four hours and thirty-nine minutes of largely pro-Confederate army point of view historical re-creation. Decent performances or no from actors like Jeff Daniels (the only Union soldier given any exploration whatsoever, albeit briefly), and little more than cameos from Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Sorvino, and Robert Duvall, don't balance out the film's tedious focus on General "Stonewall" Jackson, played with an agonizing amount of speechifying by a heavily bearded Stephen Lang. If Ted Turner's pet project prequel had any more (suspicious) adulation for the man, they'd have actually shown him at the end of his life ascending into heaven being led by Jesus himself. Actually, I'm about 100 percent surprised it DIDN'T have that scene. Maybe I should check the deleted scenes. I had every intention of watching the considerably better reviewed "Gettysburg", with its more focused story and less southern biased storytelling, but jebus christmas: four hours thirty-one minutes...I'm only human. I can take no more. Here's a spoiler for you: the North won. The South did not, in fact, rise again, although I suspect if it's the year 3050, there'll still be rednecks with confederate flags on the back of their pick-ups up on blocks in their front yards. For those who do love indulging in monumental historical filmic recreations, both sets come in very nice digibooks with an extra bonus blu-ray filled with extra features.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Gettysburg: Director's Cut (Blu-ray Book Packaging)
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Gods and Generals : Extended Director's Cut (Blu-ray Book Packaging)