Louie: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
20TH CENTURY FOX
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 9
(OUT OF 10)
This is the funniest show on television. The first season got off to a good start, and got better as it rolled along. (The second season started Thursday, June 23, on FX.)
Louis C.K. is my pick as the best standup comedian working; his standup film Hilarious was one of last year's best movies. He's also a talented writer and director; he writes and directs all 13 first-season episodes, and there isn't a bad one in the lot.
The shows include many of the themes already contained in his standup routines. His sporadically lousy life—with too much traveling, not enough romance, and the occasional scary visit to the dentist—makes for truly funny stuff.
The best episode is "Travel Day/South," which begins with a stingingly funny visit to the airport, continues with a nightmarish plane ride, and ends with a bad day in the South that involves him getting intimate with a small-town sheriff.
In another episode, Louis visits a scary dentist who gives him a little cheek kiss before putting him under—and most certainly taking advantage of him. While tripping on gas, Louis goes to visit Osama bin Laden and convinces him that he's a major asshole and should just give up on the whole terrorism thing. Louis is quite productive during his hallucinations while a dentist does ungodly things to him.
Louie is consistently funny and different from anything currently on TV. You should get this collection and start DVR-ing Season 2 now.
SPECIAL FEATURES: C.K. delivers terrific commentaries on select episodes and gives up many cool secrets.
(I didn't know the pilot voice during "Travel Day/South" was actually him.) It's a two-disc set with Blu-ray on one side of the discs, and standard DVD on the other.
Sucker Punch: Extended Cut (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 3
(OUT OF 10)
This has a lot in common with Cars 2: It's a pretty but incomprehensibly bad shit sandwich that wasted some talented people's time.
Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead, 300) co-wrote and directed this thing about Baby Doll (Emily Browning), a young institutionalized woman who fantasizes about other worlds to escape the horrors of her situation. Her fantasies involve her fellow patients, and look like waste-of-time video games. She gets to run around in skimpy outfits and shoot things, which makes the whole film seem like some sort of weird fetish video.
Snyder has chops for sure, and is currently prepping the next Superman movie. Actually, I'm surprised he was able to keep his Superman gig after shitting out this monstrosity. He must've signed an ironclad deal before Sucker Punch hit theaters and gave Warner Bros. more than a few aneurisms.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You do get Maximum Movie Mode, in which Snyder takes viewers on a video tour of the film. While the movie is crap, it's still interesting to see Snyder talking about it: You get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how to make a shitty movie! It's actually very educational. The Blu-ray comes with three discs: a theatrical version, a digital copy and an extended version of the film that is just longer and lousier.
The Eagle: Unrated (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 5
(OUT OF 10)
This is a near-miss about the Roman Empire circa 140 A.D., and its fading grip on the world. The setting is Great Britain, which the Roman Empire managed to reach—but not without a lot of trouble.
Channing Tatum stars as Marcus, a Roman officer who is brooding all the time about his family's sullied reputation. His daddy was a hallowed Roman officer until he lost a gold trinket called "The Eagle" in a battle that resulted in his death. According to Tatum's soldier, The Eagle represents Roman honor, or some crap like that, so he wants to get it back.
Jamie Bell plays Esca, a British slave whose life is spared after a gladiator battle, thanks to Marcus. He pledges his life to Marcus, even though he thinks the Roman is kind of a dickhead. The two eventually wind up on a quest to retrieve The Eagle from an evil tribe called the Seal People, who really, really hate the Romans.
Tatum's work here is just OK, while Bell delivers a halfway decent performance. Director Kevin Macdonald puts together a couple of good action sequences. However, the film falls short, because the quest for The Eagle is just stupid. When they finally get their hands on the thing, it does not look like something to get all worked up about.
I still don't think Tatum is good enough to be a headliner. The future shall reveal whether or not my little notion is true.
SPECIAL FEATURES: There are some deleted scenes, an extended unrated cut with more beheadings, and an alternate ending that's a little better than the one shown in theaters.