Fright Night (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 5.75
(OUT OF 10)
The studio picked the wrong time to release this witty, funny remake of the '80s vampire cult classic. It was released as a summer flick—and it got trounced at the American box office. (It did, however, make back its budget after worldwide grosses were tabulated.)
If it were up to me (and it most certainly wasn't), I would've released this in December, right after the release of the latest Twilight movie. That would've given a lot of folks a good vampire-action-movie antidote. Also, there has been a surprising lack of new releases worth dick within the past few weeks—meaning there would have been plenty of space for a good Colin Farrell vehicle.
Farrell is great as a handsome vampire who moves into Anton Yelchin's Las Vegas neighborhood. Their houses are out in the middle of nowhere, a perfect setting for a vampire to make his nest and feed on neighbors. Farrell looks like he's having a blast, and his enthusiasm is infectious. When he hisses at sunlight in the middle of a great monologue, it's the mark of an actor who knows what is funny. Happily, he's also the nastiest and scariest vampire to hit screens since Gary Oldman's Dracula.
The movie follows the basic blueprint of the original: A vampire stalks a high school dude's girlfriend; high school dude enlists the help of a fake vampire expert to kill the monster; bloodletting ensues. David Tennant takes over the role of "vampire killer" Peter Vincent, made famous by Roddy McDowall. This time out, Vincent is an alcoholic Vegas club act, as opposed to a cheap TV-show host.
Yelchin is good as the kid who nobody believes, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse gets a chance to play another psycho nerd. He has some of the film's best moments as Evil Ed, a young man who finds out that his vampire paranoia is based in reality.
This was released in 3-D, and that was a big mistake. Most of the movie takes place at night, something that doesn't bode particularly well for 3-D visuals. That was another huge misfire on the studio's part—but all of the studio mistakes can't take away from the fact that Farrell rocks in this film. It also contains one of the year's best cameo appearances.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes, bloopers, a guide on how to make a funny vampire movie, and a Peter Vincent featurette.
The Hangover Part II (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 4
(OUT OF 10)
This is a contender, along with Your Highness, for Biggest Comedic Letdown of the Year honors. Director Todd Phillips got everybody from the first film back together and basically told them all to do the same shit over again—except this time, he threw in a monkey instead of a tiger.
The gang winds up in Thailand, where Stu (Ed Helms) is about to get married. Against his wishes, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) get him to have a drink, and you know what happens next. Yes, you get to see Ken Jeong's little dick again.
This film shows no shame in cannibalizing the original. It even brings back Mike Tyson for a joke that's so bad, it's hard to believe Phillips ever made a good movie.
Internet buzz says the gang will be back again, but they will be equipped with a different plot and will put this formula behind them. Good.
Oh, yeah ... the monkey is the funniest thing in the movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES: An "unauthorized" documentary about the making of the movie, a feature on Phillips, a tour of Bangkok with the now-annoying Mr. Chow, a gag reel and, yes, more about that crazy monkey.
Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES C
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 5.25
(OUT OF 10)
After a mini-slump that included Dinner for Schmucks, How Do You Know and Year One, Paul Rudd got back on the comedy track—sort of—with this routine family comedy that benefits from his charms.
Rudd plays Ned, a complete idiot who sells pot to a cop, gets incarcerated, and has nowhere to go when he gets out. He winds up crashing on the couches of family members, including his sisters, played by Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks.
The screenplay doesn't call for anything all that unique, but the performers keep things moving at a pleasant-enough and funny-enough clip. T.J. Miller nearly steals the film as the guy who, quite innocuously, steals Ned's girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn) while he's incarcerated.
Rudd has a knack for playing dopes. Actually, Rudd has a knack for playing a lot of types. Let's hope this gets him going in the right direction again, because I still haven't quite forgiven him for that crap Reese Witherspoon movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a commentary with the director, a making-of doc, and some deleted and extended scenes.