Blu-ray Today: Ryan Reynolds Hears Voices, Mars Invades and Bruce Dern Goes Quackers
The Voices – I’d rarely say this about anybody as stunningly blessed by genetics, but I almost feel sorry for Ryan Reynolds.
No, I don’t feel sorry that he married first Scarlett Johansson and then Blake Lively. Though for all I know, they could have been very picky and made him do a lot of housework. Instead, I feel a tad empathetic that the guy wants to be a serious actor, but because he was gifted from birth with a face like a huge douche, people treat him that way. And it’s unfair. In Buried, he kept my attention the entire time even when the whole plot of the movie was just him locked in a box, and nothing else. In his two comedies with Anna Faris, Waiting… and Just Friends, he’s unabashedly hilarious. And even though he’s not how I pictured Hal Jordan, I like his Green Lantern.
In The Voices, he stretches again as a factory worker with schizophrenia issues and talking pets (whom he also performs) that drive him to murder. It’s a rare film that makes us feel for both killer and victim, but as with Norman Bates, and Terry O’Quinn’s Stepfather, we want him to succeed and be redeemed by true love, even as it becomes more and more inevitable that such a thing cannot and will not happen.
Director Marjane Satrapi previously balanced sensitivity and politics in her animated Iranian autobiography Persepolis; here she rides the fine line between comedy and stomach-churning, with an ending that’s pitch-perfect. You may not buy producer/costar Adi Shankar’s claim that it’s Deadpool meets Garfield, but if you like both you ought to enjoy just the same. And if this has interested you, stay tuned…we’ll be giving a copy away later today.
Invaders From Mars – Tobe Hooper’s satirical 1986 take on the 1953 Red Scare sci-fi flick stars Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman as the “normal” parents” possessed by aliens, whom their young son (Hunter Carson) must avoid in order to defeat the invasion he may have dreamed. 12 year-old me found this to be the perfect balance of scary and funny, and with Louise Fletcher playing an evil teacher, I’m sure it still has its moments. This new release features a commentary track by Hooper, and a production design gallery by William Stout (the Masters of the Universe movie).
Iron Man 3-Movie Collection – Hey look! A box set for hipsters who insist that Robert Downey Jr. is the ONLY good thing about Marvel movies. Me, I’m waiting for the 56-disc set that comes out after Kevin Feige dies someday.
Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (Doppelganger) – Live-action Gerry Anderson movie about astronauts who travel to a parallel Earth on the other side of our orbit, where everything is backwards. Because of various transfers having been mishandled by people who misunderstood the plot and thought film had been accidentally reversed, it’s not clear which version we’ll be getting, but for 1969, it was a surprisingly dark affair, with a Twilight Zone tone.
Singles – Nerdy or not, I don’t care. Singles and its soundtrack were formative to me, and any attempt to understand generation X pop culture begins here, in a movie that captured Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam right when they broke…as the backdrop to a romantic comedy featuring Matt Dillon as a doofus rocker and Bridget Fonda as the woman who wishes he’d grow up (also watch for the cameo by Tim Burton as a director of terrible dating videos). This is a disc that SCREAMS for more extras than it seems to have – as a cultural document, surely it requires more pretentious, retroactive commentary? Still, maybe it’s better to have this Blu-ray untainted by the likes of Ben Stiller and Hal Sparks.
Silent Running – Hippie astronaut Bruce Dern refuses an order to destroy all the plants growing on his spaceship, and winds up growing crazy alongside his helper robots Huey, Dewey and Louie. Well, if you had to listen to the ear-splitting Joan Baez songs on the soundtrack, you would too. Directed by 2001 effects maestro Douglas Trumbull, and often cited as the inspiration for Wall-E, Silent Running maybe isn’t as great as you’ve heard, but its lasting value is that it inspired others to be greater. Extras include a commentary by Trumbull and Dern.
It also inspired a pretty good song by Genesis’ Mike Rutherford.
Detroit Rock City – I get digging the comic-book-style costumes of Kiss in their prime, but I’m still amazed the actual music was ever seriously beloved unironically. Yet this movie proves it was, at least by director Adam Rifkin, whose comedy follows four teens in 1978 on a trek to see the band live.
Anyway, those are my top picks. What are you watching this week?