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Childrens Hospital: The Complete First and Second Seasons





(OUT OF 10)

Rob Corddry stars in, writes and sometimes directs this crazy hospital show produced by David Wain. That's pretty much all you need to know to make this mandatory viewing. But I have space requirements, so I will continue.

Corddry plays Blake, a doctor at Childrens Hospital with no medical training. He wears clown makeup all the time, because he believes in the healing power of humor. He also smears fake blood on his smock for no discernible reason.

Other stars include Ken Marino as another crazy doctor, and Lake Bell, who really reminds me of Amanda Peet. (That's a good thing.) Henry Winkler shows up as a hospital administrator with an unnatural attraction to butterflies. Cameos and short guest stints come from the likes of Clark Duke, Ed Helms and Jason Sudeikis, while Megan Mullally does a pretty funny riff on ER's Dr. Kerry Weaver.

The show's credits list Michael Cera in the role of Sal Viscuso. His appearances are voice-only, yet they're very memorable and a nice homage to the actor of the same name. He basically says a lot of gibberish over the hospital intercom, some of it quite funny.

The show began as a Web series with five-minute episodes, and then got a little longer when Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) picked up the show. The series has been renewed for a third season, which will begin airing in October.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Corddry sits down for an interview that doesn't really count, because it's a mock interview, and he's just being silly (also funny ... the man can't be not funny). You also get the "I Killed Cancer" video (extended edition), deleted scenes, outtakes and a gag reel in which people really gag.

Burning Palms





(OUT OF 10)

Man, this is one repugnant movie. Actually, it's five repugnant movies in one, written and directed by Christopher B. Landon, son of Michael Little House on the Prairie Landon. The boy has not done Daddy proud.

Landon's film is some sort of strange dramedy framed like a poor man's Creepshow, with five stories connected by comic-book graphics. The five shorts are five bad ideas, so lacking in substance and significance that they feel stretched out even as film shorts.

Worst of all is the final segment in which Zoe Saldana plays a rape victim who reacts strangely after finding the wallet of her rapist (Nick Stahl) in her apartment. She has some sort of Stockholm-syndrome episode and forces her attacker to go on a date with her, and what happens is the stuff of brain-dead cinema. Saldana gives a good performance in a short that insults everybody who watches it.

Just as bad is a segment in which Jamie Chung seemingly can't wash the smell off of her finger after fulfilling her boyfriend's request for butt-hole pleasures. This segment thinks it's funny, but Landon's leaden style results in flat, downer humor. And the short's finale offers nothing along the lines of surprise.

The least-offensive segment—although it's still terrible—is the film's first. Dedra (Rosamund Pike) suspects that her boyfriend (Dylan McDermott) is sleeping with his daughter (Emily Meade). Again, it's just offensive for the sake of being offensive—and this is the least-offensive segment.

Shannen Doherty shows up in a couple of the segments as a doctor, and her presence is a harbinger of awful cinema.

When I saw names like Stahl, Saldana and Pike on the DVD box, I thought I had a chance at seeing something decent. Boy, was I wrong.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get nuthin', and you probably won't give a shit.

The Rite (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

This is almost worth watching for the fun work of Anthony Hopkins as an exorcist who catches a demon possession on the job like a nurse catching a cold on the night shift. Hopkins gives his eccentric best as Father Lucas Trevant, tutor to Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), a young, faith-challenged priest ready to call it a day before somebody suggests he look into the whole exorcism thing.

While the film has some creepy-cool moments, it degenerates when the filmmakers choose to cover Hopkins with silly makeup and CGI effects during his possession finale. The effects wind up being a major distraction and take away from the Hopkins performance rather than enhance it.

That's a shame, because as far as modern exorcism films go, this one isn't all that bad. Had the filmmakers exhibited a little more faith in the strengths of their world-renowned actor, things might've turned out a little better.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a "chilling" alternate ending, and a look at the bullshit-artist exorcist guy who inspired the film, as well as some "additional" scenes that didn't make the movie. It should be noted that they are called "additional" rather than "deleted" scenes. I don't know why.

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