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An assortment of recent (Q3 2008) Blu-ray, HD-DVD and DVD reviews

1056 Views 8 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  bdowell
Now that we're in the 3rd quarter of the year, time for a new thread...

Two most recent movies on disc for me were Fool's Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, along with Drillbit Taylor with Owen Wilson.

Fool's Gold was a'ight, though I only gave it 2 stars at Amazon.com (because you can't give movies there half stars). I'd have rounded up, but I didn't want to have the rating for the movie moving into more positive territory because of me (assuming some fanboyz come along and rate it 'best ever' or something like, I figure it'll take more positive reviews to move the needle so to say). Fool's Gold isn't a horrible movie, and really isn't that bad at all, but it is just so formulaic (treasure hunters don't care that much for each other except when hunting treasure... the star treasure hunters are the only ones brilliant enough to figure out where the treasure is... etc.) and has been done so many times before that it becomes a case of why bother.

If you want to drool over McConaughey or Hudson, go for it. Better to rent it than waste the $$ on buying it though.

Drillbit Taylor is the story of a group of geeky school kids that are being mercilessly bullied in their freshman year of high school. They hire a body guard in the form of Owen Wilson's homeless character Drillbit Taylor. The movie has it's moments, but they are too few and far between really. It's also yet another movie from Apatow and company and unfortunately they seem to be thinking they can live off the glory of earlier, perhaps somewhat over-rated works.

Rent it if you feel inclined to see it. If you missed it completely you wouldn't be missing that much.
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I wound up renting the BD of Shine a Light from Netflix, along with Harold and Kumar escape from Gitmo...

Shine a Light looked pretty nice on Blu-ray, but, uh, yeah.... Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are definitely not the best thing to see in HD. Seeing Keith Richards handle the axe = :up: Seeing a close up of Keith Richards face = :down: :down: :down:

Seriously, it's worth a rental, and is interesting if you are a Stones fan, but not something to go out of your way for. Seeing some of the footage from old interviews and such was cool, and comparing the appearances from back in their youth to their now completely worn selfs was pretty shocking. Mick Jagger has looked like the crypt keeper for quite a while, but those images of him from the earliest days of the Stones show such a boyish and youthful face. It hints at what was to come, but doesn't do much more.

The music performances were decent. Not great, but decent. The tone/pitch seemed off compared to the versions of the tunes I'm more familar with (radio played, from CD or albums, etc.) The mix of tunes was pretty good too. Some from just about all of the various phases/genres that the Stones had ever worked in.

On Harold and Kumar, escape from Gitmo..., well, it's just the latest from the current generation's Cheech and Chong. It was funny enough if you liked the first one, and had myself, my wife, and my teen daughter laughing pretty good at spots. Nice bottom-less scenes :up: :D Again, worth the rental to me. I might purchase it later if I can catch a decent sale on same, but otherwise I'll settle for the rental disc.
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Richard King said:
:lol: The Stones played a teen club (Big Reggie's Danceland) at the amusement park in Excelsior, Minnesota, on the shores of beautiful Lake Minnetonka, during their first tour of the states. This was before they broke big in the states and a bit over a year before I moved to Minnesota. A couple of my friends attended (Excelsior kids attended the high school that I went to) the concert and, from what they said they were some of the 100 or so that showed up. It would be interesting to compare pictures taken during that tour to the frames from the video. I may have to look for it just for the laugh. :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rolling_Stones_1st_American_Tour_1964 http://www.lakeminnetonka.com/13historydanceland3.html
My wife and I were reminiscing a bit about the Stones concert I went to on the day I broke my nose diving into a pool that was shallower where I wound up at then I expected. I didn't want to miss the concert and wouldn't go to the doctor despite having a nose that looked like it had been in a bad bar fight earlier that day. Scratched up badly, bent crooked and not reset as it should have been. Fearing wasted time at the hospital, I basically had a bandaid put on it, and went to the concert with her looking a bit of a messy sight.

The thing was, I wasn't so interested in seeing the Stones. It was their Voodoo lounge tour and while I had purchased that CD and was enjoying it, I wanted to see the opening act for them as they came to RFK in D.C. -- The Counting Crows. They were hot off their August and everything after disc, and I really liked their music.

Once the Stones started playing we stayed for about another 45 minutes (give or take) then left early as the pain in my nose started getting bad again (time for more aspirin/tylenol). I was happy I had been able to see The Counting Crows and was a little disappointed in not being up to staying to see more of the Stones show, but I had work the next day, had a messed up nose, and was not in a mood to stay in a very crowded stadium venue with less than the best acoustics. I figured I could just go home and listen to CDs if I wanted more music.
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Wife and I watched What Happens in Vegas, the Ashton Kutcher & Cameron Diaz romantic comedy. Borrowing a bit from the terminology used in the 'at the movies' show with Roeper (before he and Ebert were both kicked to the curb), I'd put that one at the 'rent it' level at best. Not great, but not something I'd waste money buying.
My wife and I watched a rental of Married Life on Blu-ray last nite. (Rental from Netflix.)

Billed somewhat as a film noir in the Hitchcockian style, I thought it was ok, but not as good as I expected and/or hoped for. I will say if you rent it, definitely check out the alternate endings and note that if you do that, be patient when checking out the differences between the first and second alternate ending as they both play out similarly until well into each.
Well, I'm glad I didn't spend money to go see Baby Mama in the theatres. It was ok, but as I seem to keep finding with the SNL team lately, just not consistently funny. I didn't mention in my quick Amazon.com review that the Blu-ray picture quality was definitely soft and not as sharp and detailed as I would like either. Not bad, but not great.

Finally, I'd also say I was really disappointed in the lack of extras on the disc. Nothing there, just a commentary track.

So, let's summarize: mediocre movie, mediocre picture quality, zero extras. Total value: rental at best.
A couple more recent films:

Run Fatboy, Run! with Simon "Shaun of the Dead" Pegg in the lead role. I enjoyed it a lot, but note, as mentioned in my review over at Amazon.com that this isn't that close to Shaun of the Dead and you may not like it as much if you are expecting something more like that movie. Read my review, check out the longer version of the recommendation and see if it convinces you to give the movie a chance, or, perhaps scares you off from that film.

If you can stand the strobing effects, bright lights, and anime style done in live action Speed Racer is ok for a night's entertainment. If you were a fan of the TV series, you'll find the film is very similar in style and really does a decent job of taking the cartoon and turning it into a film with regular actors on the screen. Again, see the review and/or some of the other reviews at Amazon for more thoughts on it.
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Over the last day or so there was Leatherheads. George Clooney's look at the early days of professional football in the U.S. The quick summary: rent-it. Ok, but not great. Probably more entertaining to football fans.
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