Blu-ray Today: Smaug, Paranormal Activity and Oderus Urungus

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs, Movies, Music, TV
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 8:00 am

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Although the titular fuzzy-foot takes a bit of a backseat for much of the middle part of this Middle-earth trilogy, the world of the story expands significantly with the forests of Mirkwood, the burg of Laketown, numerous cave-lairs filled with preposterously narrow catwalks over large chasms, and Smaug's big treasure pit. Book purists may object to Ninja Legolas playing as significant a role as he does, but Luke Evans gives Bard more dimension than Tolkien did, and Benedict Cumberbatch is superb as Smaug. A goofily forced finale with Thorin actually surfing molten gold with a shield is admittedly one of the dumbest things ever, but overall there's enough pure fantasy fun here to recommend.

Except...there's an extended edition coming later in the year. But you've been around Peter Jackson movies long enough by now that you must surely know that.

Nurse 3D - You would think I'd be all over a movie about a fetishy vigilante nurse who preys on pervs and makes them suffer. Here's why I never saw it - the only opportunity I was given to watch a film called Nurse 3D was via a watermarked online video in 2D. I know it caused my freelancer Todd Gilchrist to develop several new fetishes, and I assume it uses 3D to primarily exploitative effect. Not having a 3D TV as yet, however, I may find it takes a while before I find out.



Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - [Please note before you read further that I consider the statute of spoilers to have expired once a movie hits Blu-ray. Carry on.] Acknowledging the popularity of supernatural horror movies in the Mexican-American community, the PA series finally gave us a movie which isn't about the problems of well-off white people owning new homes. Characters in this installment actually go outside, interact with other human beings, and have a sense of humor. As does director Christopher Landon - when a group of barrio gangbangers show up at a house full of witches and starts blowing them away with shotguns, it is easily the highlight of the film...and any of these sequels to date. Alas, the triumph is short-lived...the one problem this film could not fix, and maybe doesn't want to, is that the demon remains undefeatable, even temporarily. To hold my interest, the next sequel needs to at least give its heroes a fighting chance.

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses - Danny Trejo and Danny Glover are too old for this shit, but they gotta eat. Wishmaster's Andrew Divoff is the bad guy.

Grudge Match - Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are also too old for this shit, but somebody wanted to make a Rocky versus Raging Bull movie without having the actual rights to either character, so here we are.

Holliston: The Complete Second Season - Commemorate the late, great Oderus Urungus with the second and likely final season of the Fearnet sitcom in which he played the imaginary friend of aspiring filmmaker Adam, who was played by real-life filmmaker Adam Green. Also starring filmmaker Joe Lynch as aspiring filmmaker "Joe," and Dee Snider as their cross-dressing boss, so it's pretty much a must-see.

A Field in England - I like to do movie reviews. In any given week, if there's a movie I think may be of interest to you readers, I try to review it, and I always hope there'll be at least one. But one week I started watching this - a black and white period piece set in 1648, depicting a group of battlefield deserters walking across a field in search of treasure. They talk in their thick accents (I'm no stranger to all manner of UK accents, but these were rough), eat dubious mushrooms, engage in strange power dynamics, and if anything actually interesting happens, it does so past the 50-minute mark, at which point I gave up, not caring what was to happen next or why any of what I'd already seen mattered. It's possible this is brilliant and I just missed it. Seems unlikely, but it's possible.

Justin Bieber's Believe - You know this is the one you're looking forward to the most. Don't lie. Cry eggcelsior, true beliebers.

Those are my top picks for today. Anything to add?

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