DVD: Be Cool:
I am a big Get Shorty fan. The dialogue, the acting, and the plot all just exude a coolness that is never struggled for, just achieved. The thought of a sequel seemed a little odd, but knowing that it is based on the Elmore Leonard sequel novel, I had high hopes. The end result was admittedly funny but nowhere near the quality of the original. The story takes place a few years after Get Shorty, and Chili Palmer is deciding to get out of the movie business. After a friend gets murdered, he decides to get into the music business instead. Far too many jokes are rehashed, but that in itself isn't the problem. Whereas the original was an effortless cool, this movie tries too hard to be cool—and rarely succeeds. Far too much time is spent on the (admittedly excellent) secondary characters, with Chili himself just kind of showing up to drive the plot along. The effect, though, highlights two of the best aspects of this movie: the Rock and André 3000. These two absolutely steal the movie, and this disc is worth a rental just for them. There are many musician cameos, but, unlike in Get Shorty, where actor cameos are natural (as in, they can act), the musician cameos are often awkward and distracting.
DVD: Essential Steve McQueen Collection—Warner Bros
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.
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DVD: 12 Monkeys Special Edition—Universal
Based on the short French film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows poor, hapless convict and time traveler Cole. He is tasked with preventing a plague that wiped out most of humanity. Time travel not being an exact sport, he is tossed around a bit, and everybody thinks he's insane. Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam directs one of the best science fiction movies of the 1990s. Bruce Willis plays poor Cole, while Brad Pitt is truly incredible as nutcase Jeffrey Goines.
MoDesign (Monster, LLC)
Are you looking to house your various electronics in a way that will add to your room's décor rather than detract from it? MoDesign's $2,500 Audio/Video Component Tower 6000, part of their Centra line of home theater consoles, is made with a smoked-black-tinted glass door and sleek, lustrous wood. If you don't like the glass, wooden doors with either a light- or deep-cherry finish are also available separately. The unit is functional, too. According to MoDesign, a dual-fan cooling system helps your components perform as they should, and the glass door is specially designed not to interfere with signals from remote controls. The Monster Cable Management System helps keep your cables neatly organized.
MoDesign (Monster, LLC) (866) 563-6388 www.MDesignLife.com
DVD: Elektra—20th Century Fox
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.