Louie: Season 2 (Blu-ray)
20TH CENTURY FOX
SPECIAL FEATURES B
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 9
(OUT OF 10)
For the last couple of years, this has been the best comedy on television. Louis C.K. took the show up a notch in Season 2, with each episode getting more adventurous and crazy.
In this season, C.K. got more into his relationship with his two daughters as a single dad. During an episode in which he takes his kids to meet their almost-100-year-old aunt, he spends much of the running time driving in a car, trying to entertain and reason with his "bored" kids. This leads to an amazing sequence where he sings along to The Who's "Who Are You" while his daughters give him confused looks. Huge props to child actors Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker for the glares they come up with during C.K.'s car karaoke. If there were an Emmy for child performances, they would share it.
Other gems include the episode in which C.K. tries to buy a new house for the kids that costs $17 million (even though he only has $7,000 in the bank), and a funny story arc with Pamela Adlon as a platonic friend whom he wants to bed. There's also a classic hourlong episode where C.K. goes to entertain the military overseas—and winds up with a baby duck in his luggage.
Louis C.K. got an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Emmy nomination last year. It's good to see that Emmy picked up on the fact that this guy is brilliant, and his acting is actually one of his greatest assets. Yes, he can write and direct comedy that is consistently hilarious, but he's also the guy delivering most of it, and he does it with a natural style that rivals that of Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
The episodes in this season highlighted a lot of great standup comedy tapings by C.K., too.
The third season of Louie kicks off on Thursday, June 28, on FX.
SPECIAL FEATURES: C.K. offers up some great commentaries at the beginning of the season, but stops after a few episodes. Still, his commentaries on the few episodes are awesome; each one is like getting a new Louis C.K. comedy performance. I especially liked his story about obtaining the rights to "Who Are You" at a cut rate.
Shallow Grave (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 7.75
(OUT OF 10)
Jesus, this movie is almost 20 years old!
With this, the careers of director Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor started rolling in 1994. Shot on a minibudget in 30 days, Shallow Grave stars McGregor as one of three roommates in an apartment (the other two are played by Kerry Fox and Christopher Eccleston) who bring in a fourth (Keith Allen). The new roommate's tenure in the flat turns out to be short—and very bad things start to happen among friends.
Looking back, this still stands as one of McGregor's greatest performances. I remember being more impressed with Eccleston's downward spiral two decades ago; his deterioration seems a bit sudden and outrageous now.
This movie shows that Boyle had his own electric style, which would really show itself in his follow-up, Trainspotting. Shallow Grave is relentlessly dark, showing a sick, greedy side of human nature. I just happen to appreciate a film willing to honestly explore such things.
It should be noted that this film came out the same year as Pulp Fiction. Boyle and Quentin Tarantino made big splashes that year, which was also the year of Forrest Gump.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Some new interviews with McGregor, Eccleston and Fox, all in one feature and presented as a nice segment. You also get two commentary tracks (one of them with Boyle), a booklet and a making-of documentary.
21 Jump Street (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 8.5
(OUT OF 10)
This one about a couple of cops going undercover in a high school is even funnier upon a second viewing.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, with some help from Ice Cube, do a fine job of rebooting the TV show that made Johnny Depp famous. I used to complain a lot about Tatum's presence in films, but here, he shows a tremendous aptitude for humor. The guy has great timing, and proves to be a nice match for the solid comedic chops of Mr. Hill.
This is a lot dirtier than the TV show, something that is quite evident during Ice Cube's extremely obscene first speech. Actually, I'm pretty sure all of Cube's moments in this movie are laced with wonderfully delivered profanity.
SPECIAL FEATURES: There are a lot of features, including a director's commentary that also features Tatum and Hill, a gag reel, and a feature about Depp's cameo in the film. You also get deleted scenes that are as funny or funnier than what made it into the movie.