For Your Home Viewing Pleasure: October 8th, 2013

after earth bluWe can’t speak to the quality of the Will and Jaden Smith father and son sci-fi flick After Earth, but we can say it’s out now on Blu-ray, DVD and the like.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition gives Batman fans what they really wanted from this adaptation of the seminal Frank Miller Batman series: everything on one three disc set.

It’s funny when you think back to the days when, first, Lucasfilm didn’t want to put the Star Wars out as a set on DVD and then it took a while to get them on Blu-ray. Now in the past few years we’ve had a number of different sets. There’s two more now, Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI and Star Wars Trilogy Episodes I-III that include both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the films.

Hasbro’s latest home video offering Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – Predacons Rising looks great on Blu-ray and features a pretty fun story even if you’re not steeped in the lore. Don’t believe us? Check it out!

In other TV-related news, A&E Home Video has a collection of The Avengers episodes featuring none other than that iconic super spy herself: Emma Peel. Dubbed The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset the set contains all 51 of Diana Rigg’s episodes as the character on the three discs.Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life

Finally, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is now available on Blu-ray, so that’s a thing.

Computer Movies: Hackers (1995)

Oh man, you guys, I LOVE Hackers. I was really excited about the idea of computers and the internet without really getting in the the technical side of them. So, when Hackers came out in 1995, I was in. In the theaters watching that with my friends. Man, the Angelina Jolie nip reveal is much more prominent on the big screen. That’s really all I remember from the actual theater experience. Hey, I was 12, gimme a break. I would go on to purchase Hackers on VHS. I can’t tell you how many times I watched it, because I honestly don’t remember, but when the missus and I watched it after we got power back (it had been sitting around from Netflix) I was tossing out lines and scenarios like I had just watched it yesterday. And hell, I still loved it for different and similar reasons.

When I was a kid, I was blown away by what computers and the internet could do, now that I’m older, that fascination has been replaced by a quaint interest in how cool a 28.8 modem was at one time. Or how you had to go to elaborate pay phones in China Town to hack. As far as the story goes, it’s still pretty solid. Fledgling hacker Joey stumbles upon a virus that Fisher Steven’s The Plague has created. This sends him and his friends down a rabbit hole that sets the little guys up against the big guys in a battle of technology with a dundering computer crimes official (related for some reason to the Secret Service, is this really how it was?) trying to chase them both down.

Of course, it’s not a perfect movie and if I was watching it in 2010 for the first time without nostalgia backing the movie up, I’d probably think it was a fun artifact that’s generally pretty silly. All the silliness can be broken down to two individuals and their ridiculous performances: Johnny Lee Miller as Dade Murphy/Zero Cool/Crash Overdrive and Stevens as The Plague. Miller tosses out every line like he’s a Christian Slater-impersonating robot, just shouting and awkward. As a kid I thought he was rad, but I’m older than him now and it just seems crazy. Stevens’ character is just ridiculous. He’s a soda drinking, skateboard riding, trenchcoat wearing, virtual reality game playing little goober who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else in the room. I can’t tell if this is a script problem (like, was the scene where he appears on a street riding his skateboard and holding onto a car through sewer steam in the script or a director choice? man that scene was lame, though, again, I though it was cool when I was a kid) or what, but man, he’s pretty bad all around. But, that just makes it SO much easier to hate him.

One other thing that irked me was how ridiculous the law enforcement professionals were portrayed. Now, I get that they’re supposed to the the bad guys in an anti-establishment story like this, but, aside from one dude who thinks the hacker manifesto is cool, they’re just out of control, breaking into peoples’ houses without a care in the world, not caring when Plague is in Dade’s room and smashes his boom box with a bat and using AK-47s to apprehend teenagers. Ah well, I’ll chalk this one up to fun nostalgia with plenty of rollerblades and outdated tech.

Trailers! Trailers! Trailers!

I see a lot of posts on /Film about various movie trailers, but I tend to ignore them until I see them on TV or at the movies. Looking at them on a tiny computer screen just doesn’t do it for me all the time, but every now and then I get sucked in to looking at a bunch of trailers and here are the ones I saw that I’m looking forward to.

Hot Tub Time Machine. Just saw this one on TV today (though a shorter version) and can’t wait to see it.

I discovered The Runaways with the Dazed and Confused soundtrack back in high school and eventually picked up one of their records at a my beloved used record store Boogie Records. So, this movie based on them is definitely in my wheelehouse.

I just stumbled upon the trailer for this Angelina Jolie spy flick called Salt. The plot seems pretty basic in that “wrongly accused person on the run trying to prove their innocence” way, but what I like is seeing an ass kicking woman in the role. I’m not a big fan of Jolie, but this looks promising.

And finally, Cop Out is Kevin Smith’s next movie. I’ve been avoiding the trailers, but was in the spirit and gave it a look. You can’t really go wrong with Tracy Morgan teaming up with Bruce Willis. It’ll be interesting to see Smith, a director I love, doing, not only a movie he didn’t write, but also an action-heavy flick. Hopefully this is his big huge movie.

Wanted: My Third Favorite Comic Movie of 2008

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Yup, I said it. Of course Dark Knight and Iron Man were the cat’s pajamas, but what movie holds the third spot in my heart for this year? Well, without thinking about it too much (and not doing any real research), Wanted, which I saw for the first time this weekend on DVD easily takes the bronze cake. I also saw Incredible Hulk, which I found to be generally boring and mostly uninspired, and Hellboy II, which Rickey just watched. I share his sentiments and you can check out my comments over there for a few specifics.

Even though I liked Wanted for all of it’s action movie craziness, I gotta say, I’m not a fan of the comic. I’m not a big fan of the idea of raping various women showing how much of a bad ass you are. We get it already, he’s not held by society’s rules. Plus, I found the end of the comic to be pretty dull, even though we were kind of influenced by it for the recent Secret Invasion TTT over in ToyFare.

Fun fact for those of you who might not know already, the screenwriters actually started writing the script after the first issue came out, but before the rest of the issues. They apparently came up with a lot of the same themes and plot points which I found very interesting. If you’re interested in hearing them talk about their experiences writing the script check out the interview done with them on the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast via iTunes (I’ve enjoyed a lot of the podcast interviews on there). Anyway, that explains the differences in the plot, which include them not being supervillains among other things.

So, what I liked about the movie is that they just kind of went crazy with it. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “loom of fate” idea, but whatever, it’s just a goofy plot point that didn’t bother or intrigue me, it just kind of sat there. I’ve always been a fan of stories where it turns out that a normal dude is actually really special (and in this case a born assassin) and Jame McAvoy plays the roll very well, going from schlub to annoying new guy to total badass (how can you not love the scene where he tells off his boss?). But beyond that, I also really like just how good these assassins are at their craft. They’re not just good enough to shoot a dude from what looks like hundreds of city blocks away, but they can flip one car over another and shoot a dude through the sun roof. It’s just a lot of fun and I had fun watching it.

Of course, it’s not a perfect movie. It would have been cool to see them as villains, but hey that’s just my inner geek talking. There’s also a scene where James is chasing this dude who he thinks killed his dad and out of nowhere all of the other assassins that we know (Common, Angelina Jolie, a few others, but not Morgan Freeman) and things just go crazy. Why were they there? I really didn’t get that and I don’t think that it got explained even with the twist ending (which I was expecting, but Em even called it before the reveal). I also thought the twist got a little confusing. If he did what McAvoy says he did, then who’s to say he wasn’t lying about the other ones? That will make sense, if you’ve seen the movie and you’re thinking of the library scene towards the end of the movie. Oh, also, McAvoy’s assault at the end is freaking sweet even if I’m still not quite sure how he got them to explode.

I guess I should comment on the other stars. Morgan Freeman definitely elevates what’s probably not a very good role on paper (as you’d expect). Common’s pretty cool as the Gunsmith. I think this is the first movie I’ve seen him in. I wouldn’t mind seeing him as Green Lantern John Stewart, as he was potentially cast in the Justice League movie. And then of course there’s Angelina Jolie. She’s one of those actresses that I’m not a big fan of until I actually see her in something. I’ve got this kind of mental block about her (probably because I don’t like the person I see on TV and whatnot), but then I think about Hackers and Gone in 60 Seconds and I dig those movies, so I guess I like her.

So, in the end, congrats to Wanted for getting my coveted (heh, who am I kidding?) third place in my 2008 comic book movie list (I’m sure I’m missing something, but maybe not). But watch out, I still haven’t seen Punisher: War Zone, which I’m hoping will fill the same kind of niche (I love Dolph’s original and it looks like WZ follows in its footsteps pretty well, though without the Shakespeare-quoting drunk bum).