Pegg good in ‘Fat Boy’
Owls Head — Run, Fat Boy, Run (New Line DVD or Blu-ray, PG-13, 100 min.). Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead”), who Anglicized the script, stars as Dennis Doyle, a woman’s clothing story security guard who literally ran away from his pregnant girlfriend (Thandie Newton as Libby O’Dell) on their wedding day five year’s ago. Dennis has always wanted Libby back, but is a bit of a slacker. It is only when he has new competition in “Mr. Perfect” Whit (Hank Azaria), a hedge fund manager, that he becomes determined to act.
Basically, Dennis decides he has to compete with Whit and, since Whit loves to run marathons for charity, Dennis decides to enter the Bridges Run marathon in London to prove to Libby that he has changed and can finish something he started. Out-of-shape Dennis gets help from his landlord (Harish Patel as Mr. Goshdashtidar) and Gordon (Dylan Moran), his best friend and Libby’s cousin. As usual, Pegg shows a flair for physical comedy (the rubbery legs fall; the scratching bit with the store mannequin that is a laugh-out-loud moment) and there is a nice emotional finish to his “Rocky” like endeavor. Matthew Fenton plays Jake, Dennis and Libby’s son. Ex-“Friends” actor David Schwimmer makes a competent directorial debut, and makes the “wall” that marathon runners hit literal.
DVD extras include audio commentary by actors Pegg and Newton, Gill Pegg (Simon’s mom) and Schwimmer; 14 deleted scenes (7:20) with optional commentary; 6:47 worth of outtakes; and a brief interview goof. A second disc contains a digital copy of the film. Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 2.5 stars
Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it
Deception (Fox DVD or Blu-ray, R, 108 min.). “Deception” is decidedly not deceptive; just the opposite, it is too predictable. Each clue is far to clear as audit manager/accountant Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGreggor; the sharp Blu-ray image made the zits far too noticeable) is befriended by lawyer Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman). Bose obviously is not an attorney with the firm he says he is (the secretary does not recognize his name), obviously does not live in the building he claims to have an apartment in (a downstairs neighbor does not recognize him) and he deliberately switches cell phones on McQuarry. When Bose goes off to London, the lonely McQuarry discovers Bose’s cell phone is entry to a world an anonymous sex (a salacious plot element that actually could be completely cut from the film without changing much of the story). Michelle Williams plays the mysterious woman that McQuarry falls for and Bose uses as leverage to force McQuarry into an illegal act. Heightening the disappointment is a bungled ending.
DVD extras include audio commentary by director Marcel Langenegger and he does discuss why he made what I feel was the wrong choice during the ending -- I still felt cheated. The Blu-ray can be viewed with 14 behind-the-scenes segments, picture-in-picture, if Blu-ray version 1.2 or higher, or -- nice touch -- the segments can be accessed via a menu for earlier Blu-ray machines. Brief features cover the making of the film (18:18) and real life sex clubs (10:14), and there are three deleted scenes (5:21), including an even blander version of the ending. Grade: film: 2.5 stars; extras 2 stars
Another Cinderella Story (Warner Premiere DVD or Blu-ray, PG, 92 min.). This is a decent enough remake of the Cinderella story by way of “Step Up” or “High School Musical,” but my main problem is -- surprise -- there is not enough dancing in the movie and it lags a bit before the finale. Nonetheless, the two leads are appealing. The cute-as-a-button Selena Gomez (of Disney Channel’s “The Wizards of Waverly Place”) plays Mary Santiago, forced to live with her demanding stepmother (Jane Lynch as over-the-hill pop singer Dominique Blatt) and her two step-sisters (Katharine Isabelle as Bree and Emily Perkins as Britt). Drew Seeley (of “High School Musical” concert tour) plays pop sensation Joey “JP” Parker, who has been a star for some four years but now wants to go back to public high school to finish his senior year. Taking Joey’s “back” is Dustin (Marcus T. Paulk), a rapper and dancer; while Mary’s best friend is Tami (Jessica Parker Kennedy), who wants to become a clothing designer.
Joey’s management decides there will be a dance contest, with the winner to appear in his next video. Meanwhile, Dominique keeps pushing Joey to make a video with her, which he refuses because she is just so wrong for his audience. However, first there is a masked dance at school, which Mary sneaks out to (Dominique had given her all kinds of chores) and has one amazing dance (a tango) with Joey before having to bolt before midnight. She drops her Zune (apparently this is a portable music storage and play device) and the next day Joey starts a search ofr the amazing dancer and Zune owner; instead of fitting in a slipper, the right girl has to know the four top tunes on the Zune play list. Highlights, other than the final dance competition, include Mary and Joey dancing unknowingly “together” on opposite sides of a one-way mirror and Joey helping Mary with her chores dance-style.
DVD extras include short features on the dancing in the film (5:35), on Gomez (3:21), on Seeley (3:58; he started dancing at age 7), on Lynch as Dominique (5:46) and on Tami’s fashions (5:11). There also are sing-along versions of three songs and the “Just That Girl” music video. Disc two contains a digital copy of the film. Grade: film and extras 2.5 stars
Re-cycle (China, 2006, Image DVD, R, 109 min.). Co-written, edited and directed by The Pang Brothers, this supernatural film is a visual odyssey full of good ideas and one of the brothers’ better films. Angelica Lee (their “the Eye”) plays novelist Chu Yun, who is having a difficult time getting her new novel underway. The book, her first horror novel and several romance books, is to be called “Recycle.” In a twist that recalls Stephen King, strange sounds lead Chu Yun to a trip outside. She is joined on the elevator by an elderly woman and a young girl, who sink through the elevator door when she gets off at the ground level! The writer then emerges in a street full of debris and corpse-like bodies get up from the ground. It seems, as a young girl she meets later explains, that Chu Yun now is in the dimension of the abandoned. From bodies that hang in trees and drop down to attack to a landscape of giant, abandoned children toys, from a library overloaded with discarded books to a tunnel of floating fetuses, from a bridge full of creepy beings to the forgotten dead arising from their graves, Chu Yun and the young girl she meets must battle to find the Transit, so the writer can return to the real world. Every so often, one of the forgotten realms is literally erased.
DVD extras include a making-of feature (15:43) that shows the vast amount of computer graphics and green screen work that went into the film; six deleted scenes (8:45), including a groove of forgotten loves with trees filled with torn-apart photos of lovers; a brief look at before and after computer renderings (1:40); a cast and crew Q&A (8:25); and a look at the gala premiere (16:16). Grade: film 3.5 stars; extras 3 stars
Torchwood: The Complete Second Season (BBC, 5 DVDs, NR, 628 min.). Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and crew are back to battle the strange stuff that comes through the energy rift in modern-day Cardiff, Great Britain. Helping Jack are former police woman Gwen (Eve Myles), computer expert Owen (Burn Gorman), medical expert Toshiko (Naoko Mori) and jack-of-all-trades Lanto (Gareth David-Lloyd). Lanto is Jack’s occasional lover, but the bisexual aspects opens the season with a bang when Jack’s ex-lover (Captain John played by James Marsten of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Smallville”) shows up to wreak mayhem. Many episodes this fine season reveal the team members emotional sides, as Toshiko falls for a handsome soldier trapped out of his time; Gwen’s fiancé Rhys discovers Torchwood and helps the team discover the truth about a massive alien creature; and after a booby trap goes off in a building we learn how each of the team was recruited. However, in typical British drama fashion, once we learn the depths of the characters and event happens that alters the lineup. The series, created by Russell T. Davies (the current “Doctor Who”), also brings in a former “Doctor Who” character for several episodes, namely Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones, now a full-fledged physician. DVD extra include deleted scenes, outtakes, a Torchwood Declassified look at the series and a look at the life and many deaths of Captain Jack (who cannot die). Grade: season 3.75 stars; extras 3 stars
Torchwood: The Complete First Season (BBC, 6 Blu-ray DVDs, NR, 637 min.). As it recently did with the new “Robin Hood” series, BBC Video is reissuing the first season on Blu-ray at the same time it issues season two on regular DVD, and since BBC America is not carried in high definition yet, the upgrade in visual quality is quite startling, and welcome. The core cast is the same as season two and this season begins with the recruitment of Gwen, as she tries to find out about the Torchwood team and how they were able to interrogate a corpse in the pilot. The show it self is a spinoff of “Doctor Who” (Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who). Carried over from the regular DVD release are the audio commentaries for every episode (not sure why this was abandoned for season two); outtakes and deleted scenes; more Tourchwood Declassified; the Captain’s Log video diary; and 14 behind-the-scenes futurities. Grade: season and extras 3.5 stars
Star Trek: Alternative Realities (CBS/Paramount, 5 DVDs, NR, 15 hours 17 min.). This is probably the most fun of the Collective collections, each one which has been based around a theme and has brought together episodes from all five “Star Trek” television series, this time with the sub-themes of Mirror Universe, Parallel Dimensions, Twisted Realities and Alternate Lives. There are 20 episodes in all here, including Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura beamed to an alternate universe ruled by fear; a visit by Kira and Bashir to a Deep Space 9 where human beings are treated like slaves; Kirk is split in two (one good, one evil); Kirk’s body is taken over by a woman from his past who despises him; Voyager is fractured into different time periods, with only Chakotay able to pass through the barriers; and the Enterprise comes across its immediate predecessor, which broke through a rift in the space-time continuum. Five of the episodes have audio commentaries and there are special looks at each of the types of alternate realities as shown in the episodes. Grade: collection 3.75 stars
Friday The 13th -- The Series: The 1st Season (1987-1988, CBS/Paramount, 6 DVDs, NR, 19 hours 39 min.). Adapting the film series -- sort of -- for the small screen, the idea was to have to distant cousins Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) and Micki Foster (Louise Robey) inherit the Curious Goods antiques shop, but the items it contains have been hexed and gold old deceased uncle had his soul claimed by Satan. So the two cousins and Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins), an eccentric antiques dealer, have to find the items sold from the store before each manifests its evil powers. While the show earned two Primetime Emmy nominations (Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects and in Graphic Design and Title Sequences), it only aired two seasons. This set includes the first 26 episodes, including a Cupid statue that makes women fall at a man’s feet, a tea cup that draws the youth from others, a mulcher that turns human flesh into money, a quilt that enables the sleeper underneath to dream his enemies to death, a cradle from the Titanic and a haunted foghorn that may hold the key to a pirate’s treasure. Grade: season 3 stars
Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Second Season (ABC Studios, 5 DVDs, TV PG DLSV, 671 min.). The Walker family drama stars Sally Field, Patricia Wettig, Rachel Griffiths, Rob Lowe and Calista Flockhart, all experienced veterans of other acclaimed TV shows. The first season dealt with the death of the leader (played by Tom Skerritt, William Walker founded Ojai Foods) of the Southern California family. Now the mother (Fields as Nora) must learn to live as her own woman, rather than as only a wife and mother subject to others’ ambitions. Danny Glover plays political advisor Isaac Marshall, whom Nora falls for. DVD extras include audio commentary on several episodes; bloopers and outtakes; deleted scenes; and Walker family recipe cards. Grade: season 3.75 stars; extras 3 stars
CSI: NY: The Fourth Season (CBS/Paramount, 6 DVDs, NR, 14 hours 45 min.). Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) returns for 21 episodes this season along with his team of Stella (Melina Kanakaredes), Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Sheldon (Hill Harper), Lindsay (Anna Belknap) and Flack (Eddie Cahill). There are murders in Times Square, Central Park and even on the Statue of Liberty, as well as a case that involves one of the Web’s most addictive virtual worlds. And looming throughout the season is Mac’s nemesis, the mysterious 333 Stalker. DVD extras include audio commentary on the episode “Down the Rabbit Hole”; an overall look at the season; and features “Art Imitates Second Life,” “Dante’s Infernal Episode” and “Art Attack.” Grade: season 3.5 stars; extras 2.5 stars
Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour(Sony DVD, PG, 80 min.). Narrator Sarah Landon(newcomer Rissa Walters) tells of her weekend trip to Pine Valley, Calif. to visit the aunt (Jane Harris as Thelma Shaw) of her best childhood friend, a friend who was killed by a drunk diver. When she arrives in town, she is told the story of the death of high school athletic hero Johnny in a car accident and the curse that Johnny's father put on the son of the woman who was driving the car. That boy (Brian Comrie as David Baker) has become a recluse as his 21st birthday -- the fatal day -- nears, but Sarah was friends with his brother Matt (Dan Comrie) and the two of them try to help Dvaid avoid his fate. I couldn't quite put my finger on why, but the film seemed a bit flat. It obviously is a family affair as Lisa Comrie directed the film and co-wrote it with John Comrie. The only bonus is a waste: a psychic reading ame that just delivers yes or no answer no matter what the question the viewer asks. Grade: film 2 stars; extra dog
Due on video:
Also this week: This American Life: The First Season (Paramount); Dinosaur King: The Adventure Begins (Shout! Factory); Most Evil (Image); Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series (CBS/Paramount, 16 DVDs); Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fourth Season (Warner); Broken Fences (Vanguard); For Heaven's Sake! (Vanguard); Illusion Infinity (Vanguard); Red Ridge (Vanguard); Unsigned (Vanguard); L.A. Confidential special edition (1997, Warner, 2 DVDs); The Price of Sugar (New Yorker).
Sept. 30: Iron Man (Paramount); Taxi to the Dark Side (Image); My Three Sons: Season One, Vol. 1 (CBS/Paramount, 3 DVDs); An Autumn Afternoon (Japan, Criterion).
Oct. 7: The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season (Fox); The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945, Warner); Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (Warner); Watership Down deluxe edition (1978, Warner); Brotherhood: The Complete Second Season (CBS/Paramount, 3 DVDs); Robot Chicken: Season 3 (Warner); Classic Christmas Favorites, 10 holiday specials including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Year Without a Santa Claus deluxe editions (Warner); Jack Frost deluxe edition (Warner); Strait Jacket (Manga/Starz); Discovery Essential Dinosaur Pack (Image); Indyfans and the Quest for Fortune and Glory (Cinema Libre); Moon Zero Two/When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (Warner); Martin: The Complete Fifth Season (HBO).
Oct. 14: Mongol (Warner); Saving God (Echo Bridge); Nash Bridges: The First Season (CBS/Paramount); The New World extended cut (2005, Warner); The Adventures of Robin Hood: Season 2 (Mill Creek).
Oct. 21: Charmed: The Ultimate Box Set (CBS/Paramount, 49 DVDs); also limited deluxe edition); Half a Person (Ariztical); LA Ink: Season One, Vol. Two (Genius); The Stone Angel (Vivendi); The New Adventures of Old Christine (Warner); Rain Shadow: Series 1 (Acorn).
Oct. 28: Tinker Bell (Disney); Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (Warner); Affairs of the Heart: Series One (Acorn, adaptations of seven Henry James works, including Washington Square, The Wings of the Dove); Agatha Christie: Mystery Lovers Collection (Acorn; five mysteries including The Secret Adversary, The Affair of the Pink Pearl, The Body in the Library); Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Passion (Acorn).
Nov. 4: Popeye the Sailor 1941-1943 Vol. 3 (Warner); The Films of Budd Boetticher, includes Westerns The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Ride Lonesome, Buchanan Rides, Comanche Station and documentary Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (Sony); Valentin (TLA); The Howdy Doody Show (Mill Creek, 5 DVDs); NFL History of the New England Patriots (Warner).
Nov. 11: The Perfect Holiday (Sony); Walt Disney Treasures Wave VIII: Destino; Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow; and Chronological Donald Vol. 4 (each Disney, 2 DVDs); The Sopranos: The Complete Series (HBO, 28 DVDs); I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series (Sony); M Squad; The Complete Series (Timeless); Arctic Exposure with Nigel Marven (Genius); This Christmas (Sony); The Director‘s Series: Rosselinni 2-disc collector‘s edition with Escape By Night and Where Is Freedom? (Lionsgate); Band of Brothers (HBO, Blu-ray); Storm Hawks: Showdown in the Skies (Sony).
Nov. 18: Wall-E (Disney); Jason Stuart: Making It to the Middle (Ariztical); 3-Day Weekend (TLA); Dog Tags (TLA); Garden Party (Lionsgate); Dog Whisperer: Celebrity Edition (Screen Media/Universal); Bones: Season 3 -- Totally Decomposed Edition (Fox); Mister Lonely (Genius).
Nov. 25: Hancock (Sony); Superman: Doomsday (Warner); Meet Dave (Fox); Santa Pete (Vanguard); Pink Panther Ultimate Collection (MGM, 18 DVDs); Space Chimps (Fox).
Dec. 2: Growing Up (Genius, 5 DVDs).
Dec. 9: Anamorph (Genius); Deadwood: The Complete Series (HBO); The Wire: The Complete Series (HBO); I Am Legend ultimate collector‘s edition (Warner).
Dec. 16: In God’s Name (Warner); Entry Level (Porchlight); Generation Kill (HBO); Get Smart: The Complete Series (HBO).
American Girl: Girl of the Year (Warner).