On DVD & Blu-ray, 7/19/11: ‘Peep World,’ ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ More

PEEP WORLD (DVD/Blu-ray)

How come TV actors so rarely get a break on the big screen? The general consensus seems to be that we’ve moved beyond the age of the Movie Star–just look at how little anyone cared about Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts’ Larry Crowne–so why is it still so hard for TV actors to make great movies? Take a look at Peep World. You’ve got Michael C. Hall, who’s given stunning performances on Six Feet Under and Dexter; this man should be working with A-list directors, but instead he makes stuff like Gamer. You’ve got the trifecta of Rainn Wilson, Judy Greer, and Sarah Silverman, all of whom have done very funny work on television. The closest any of them get to cinematic greatness is Wilson’s bit part in Juno. TV’s time-consuming, I know. But when you look at a mess like Peep World, you wonder how so many talented TV people got thrown into such a bad movie. In a way, it reminds me of The Great New Wonderful, an awful movie that inexplicably starred Edie Falco, Will Arnett, Jim Gaffigan, Tony Shalhoub, and Stephen Colbert. Peep World isn’t nearly as bad, but its story of an oh so dysfunctional family feels like an unpleasant tenth-generation copy of The Royal Tenenbaums. It has no style, little wit, and the narrative is all a-shambles. With this many talented actors involved, there are bound to be some effective moments, and there are. But if a filmmaker with respect for and knowledge of the medium had been given the same budget and the same cast, something special could have happened. Extras include deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer. 

Continue reading

‘Super’ Review: A Schizophrenic Film About a Psychopath

Super, written and directed by the cult-equipped James Gunn, reminds me of two recent movies. The first, and most obvious, is Kick-Ass. Like that film, and the comic book upon which it was based, Super takes the last decade of our nation’s obsession with anything and everything involving people in brightly colored underpants fighting crime to its logical conclusion: a real, non-superpowered individual puts on brightly colored underpants and fights crime. Also like Kick-Ass, the movie is shockingly violent in the way it dissects our fascination with superheroes. Which brings me to Hobo with a Shotgun, the other film Super reminds me of. Hobo with a Shotgun is a grim, joyless piece of work masquerading as nerd comedy, in which a vigilante mercilessly exterminates scores of criminals who rape, rob, and murder scores of innocents. Super sort of falls into the weird, misshapen chasm between the two.

Continue reading