Cop Out – Writer/director extraordinaire Kevin Smith bizarrely chose to remove the “writer” portion of his title from this disjointed venture, a hit-and-miss tribute to 1980s buddy cop action comedies. Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan play longtime partners who try to break up a drug ring and end up taking a wacky criminal (Seann William Scott) into custody. The writing ranges from amusing to dreadful, and little of Smith’s trademark spark is there. This seems like a cash-in for all involved, especially the sleepwalking Willis. There’s a decent set of extras, which include a digital copy in the Blu-ray version.
The Losers – An appropriately named, dull-as-dirt action flick links unfulfilling exploding set pieces with a floss-thin story about a special forces squad that exacts revenge over their conniving commander. A squad of C-list actors – Chris Evans of Fantastic Four fame is the most recognizable face – make up this forgettable A-Team wannabe that’s closer to a Z-Team. The Blu-ray includes a digital copy, a single deleted scene and background featurettes as worthless as the film itself.
The Runaways – Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning play Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, members of the 1970s girl group that shook up the rock establishment. The rock biopic stays a little too close to the standard tropes of the genre but bursts with enough catchy music and melodrama to stay watchable. It’s also interesting to see the lead actresses play outside of their respective comfort zones. The best extra is the commentary with Stewart, Fanning and Jett.
Tin Man Blu-ray – Zooey Deschanel glitters as Dorothy (named D.G. in the show) in this sometimes-amazing, sometimes bewildering SyFy network miniseries that twists the L. Frank Baum fiction inside out and updates it to a futuristic science fiction setting. It’s worth a watch, especially here in HD, if you’re a dork for things like this, as I am. The set isn’t bursting with extras and was available as a Netflix insta-stream last time I checked.
Jersey Shore: Season One – The pop culture zeitgeist trainwreck stumbles drunkenly onto DVD, allowing you to relive the oh-no-they-didn’t exploits of Snooki, The Situation and the rest. The MTV pseudo-reality show takes classlessness to a previously unfathomable level of narcissistic solipsism, and is disgusting though relentlessly entertaining. The set is packing deleted scenes, the reunion special and a look at the cast members before they were infamous.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.