While some fans lament the seemingly imploding film career of the latest prettier half of "Bennifer," what's really sad is that Hollywood has managed to take Elektra, the dark, driven creation of the great Frank Miller, and reinvent her as just another melodramatic heroine. As portrayed by the lithe, earnest Jennifer Garner, "E" is a conflicted killer with quirky habits (obsessive-compulsive disorder for a few quick laughs!), who squares off against a slew of overdone computer-generated special effects. Oh, and did I mention the precocious young sidekick and the hunky single dad next door? Had the filmmakers gone for gritty action and an R rating instead of the flashy fantasy nonsense, this movie could have been great instead of just OK. Even at a mere 96 minutes, it's a tad sluggish.
By and large, dragons have had a tough time of it in Hollywood. Past attempts from Pete’s Dragon, to Dragonslayer, to Dragonheart—heck, even Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story—have failed to set the world on fire. Enter Eragon (based upon the popular book by Christopher Paolini), the latest cinematic tale of winged, flame-belching lizards and the humans who befriend them. There’s nothing really new in this sequel-ready fantasy/adventure: an evil king and his minions; the brave underdog resistance; a young hero who loses everything before coming of age. It all borrows a lot from the original Star Wars trilogy, while looking much like Lord of the Rings.
In the simplest possible terms, Steve McQueen had "It." Truly, women wanted him, and men wanted to be him. Maybe it was the eyes, the sense of intensity he conjured, or the impression that he knew something we didn't. Or perhaps it was his physicality, the grace with which he performed his own stunts, combined with his ease and outright glee with props. Warner has assembled some hard evidence of the actor's elusive mystique in their recent Essential Steve McQueen Collection, a grouping of souped-up reissues and new-to-DVD titles.
A 1950s sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet is a futuristic spin on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Fifty years later, it remains a fun and frightening cautionary tale of fathers, daughters, and hubris, replete with flying saucers, ray guns, and other technology far beyond our own.
Would you believe that Get Smart has returned on DVD?
I don’t think we’ve ever reported on a TV title in the Reference Corner column before, and perhaps that’s because there are too few TV-on-DVD sets like this one.
OK now, I don’t say this very often, but this movie is messed up. It’s actually pretty good—don’t misunderstand—but this well-crafted tale of three impossibly obnoxious tourists on a budget takes many a dark twist, with lots of unapologetically graphic violence. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Peter Jackson not only creates elaborate special editions of his movies, he lets audiences know that bigger, better versions are in the works when the initial theatrical cuts first hit the store shelves so we can choose wisely. He did it with his Lord of the Rings trilogy and now with his King Kong remake, offering a subsequent director’s cut with new extras that complement the original release.
What's funny about a group of staid suburban Texans who take life much too seriously? Pretty much everything, as their Emmy Award–winning third season proves, from the all-time-great "And They Call It Bobby Love," with guest voice Sarah Michelle Gellar (the episode culminates in a cheer-out-loud eating contest), to the darkly comic skydiving mishap in the season finale.