Super – The indie-film answer to last year’s sensational Kick-Ass star’s The Office‘s Rainn Wilson as a sad-sack restaurant worker who becomes a masked vigilante after his wife (Liv Tyler) is kidnapped by a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). Reluctantly taking on a Robin-like sidekick in an overeager comic store clerk (Ellen Page), the Batman-wannabe causes more problems than he solves, resulting in non-stop hilarity. There’s nothing much notable in the extras, which is excusable only because the movie is so entertaining.
Dazed and Confused Blu-ray – The 1993 comedy, a breakout hit for Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey and Milla Jovovich, follows a crew of Texas high school kids about to embark on a new school year. Writer/director Richard Linklater’s endlessly quotable dialogue blends with excellent performances and a surprisingly poignant story to attain cinematic nirvana. It’s a shame the shabby set of special features – led by deleted scenes and a background featurette – don’t pay enough of a tribute to the film. True fans of the movie will want to skip this one and wait for Criterion’s blowout Blu-ray release in October.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High Blu-ray – Yet another high school classic, this 1982 comedy contains what for my money is Sean Penn‘s finest performance, as pot-addled slacker Jeff Spicoli. The film also features Phoebe Cates‘ iconic, dream-sequence topless scene, as well as brilliant performances by Judge Reinhold and Jennifer Jason Leigh as a clueless brother and sister who come of age. Director Amy Heckerling and writer Cameron Crowe provide insightful commentary, and there’s also a retrospective documentary and look at the music used in the film.
The Fox and the Hound/The Fox and the Hound II: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray –The sweet but overlooked 1981 Disney cartoon and its agonizing direct-to-video 2006 follow-up cash-in bizarrely get the Blu-ray greenlight before tons of other far more worthy classics from the studio, including Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. A sappy yet watchable set of dramas about overcoming prejudice to form friendships, the movies are nothing special. The extras are a weak smattering of background fluff, although it’s nice that the DVD versions are included.
Mars Needs Moms – Disney’s CGI dud tells an agonizing tale about a boy (voiced by Seth Green) whose mom is captured by aliens. Bland, bumbling attempts at humor and suspense make the proceedings agonizing at times, making the company’s deal with Pixar seem all the more necessary. The Blu-ray/DVD combo includes deleted scenes, an extended opening sequence and a look at the Polar Express-style motion capture used in the film.
Paul – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the Shaun of the Dead guys, play British sci-fi geeks who travel to the U.S. to take in the sights and end up befriending an alien voiced by Seth Rogen. Dry, occasionally uproarious antics ensue, marking another low-key winner from the duo. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo boasts a sizable slate of extras, including commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, a blooper reel and a look at the making of the alien.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl: The Final Season – Showtime’s sizzling drama, starring Billie Piper as high-class London hooker, ends with something of a thud. The heroine, who has found a measure of fame by adapting her sultry exploits into a book, flirts with Hollywood and is also tasked with taking over the call girl operation for her boss as she hits a crossroads with her highly tolerant boyfriend. The season includes only eight half-hour episodes.
Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Makes Me Move! – Yet another round-up of four episodes of the series, assembled seemingly at random. Guest stars include Lady Tigra, Tony Hawk and Laila Ali, and there are no notable special features. For parents like me who are too cheap to spring for the extra monthly cable fee for Nick Jr., DVD sets like this are a lower-cost alternative to buying episodes individually.
Your Highness – Unfairly castigated as a failure by most film critics, I found this send-up of fantasy franchises such as Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings to be overwhelmingly funny. James Franco, Danny McBride and Natalie Portman play members of an unlikely band of warriors who go off on a quest to rescue a captured damsel (Zooey Deschanel). Ludicrous sex humor and pitch-perfect hammy performances make this movie a Monty Python for modern times. The Blu-ray/digital copy combo includes filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes and a full-length making-of doc.
Phil’s novel, Stormin’ Mormon, is available as a Kindle book for $1.