This week brings us the end of one of HBO’s most successful comedies this side of Arliss, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law doing their second Sherlock, and Nicolas Cage having another go at Ghost Rider, while Criterion has three different classics, and Sony hopes to get everyone ready for the new Spider-Man with some of the old Spider-Man. Not obscene, but there’s some good releases this week. Check it out…
- Entourage: The Complete Eighth and Final Season: I watched about three seasons of the show and then checked out when it seemed the best reason to watch it was the casual nudity of its starlets. The drama (not Johnny Drama) became repetitive after a while, and it no longer had much of an edge. Perhaps the latter seasons might come across stronger now that it’s over. Perhaps it’s worth checking out for that. But… probably not.
- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: To bring life into the franchise, Neveldine and Taylor (best known for the Crank movies) directed the follow up to the sleepy first Ghost Rider. It tanked at the box office, which likely means the end of the series. It was nice to see Nicolas Cage play an actual comic book character, but Cage’s weirdness has become so second nature, he rarely surprises any more. Dude needs to get a good script again.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: This quietly made piles upon piles of cash, and probably means we’ll get a third entry. You’re better off watching the Benedict Cumberbatch version, but these are done on a larger scale, which means more slow motion action sequences, which is what everyone wants out of a Sherlock Holmes story.
- Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds: Tyler Perry’s first film of 2012 didn’t set the world ablaze, but it made enough for Perry to continue his empire of cheap films. So expect his next one in theaters this fall.
- The Gold Rush / Harold and Maude / Shallow Grave: This is a truly great week for Criterion releases. First there’s the classic Charlie Chaplin silent film The Gold Rush. It’s the one where he eats his shoe, and it’s actually really funny if you’re nervous about watching a silent film. Then there’s Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, one of the most influential films of the last forty years, and the film that’s probably most influential on Wes Anderson’s body of work. Shallow Grave was Danny Boyle’s first film, and it showed a very talented filmmaker emerge. It’s also got a young Ewan McGregor with really terrible hair.
- Meatballs: This was the first film to really feature Bill Murray as a comic lead, but much of his role was patchwork quilted=in after the filmmakers realized he was way more interesting that the child actors in the summer camp drama. There’s some funny stuff in here, but it seems silly to upgrade to Blu with this film.
- Red Scorpion: Though this probably doesn’t deserve the label “classic” this 80’s action film starring Dolph Lundgren has a soft spot in the hearts of numbers of men who grew up on crappy action films. All I remember about the movie is that it’s a little long, a little too Rambo, and ends with the sort of Overkill death that marks the genre.
- Spider-Man / Spider-Man 2 / Spider-Man 3 :It’s hard to say if re-releases of the original Sam Raimi trilogy will get audiences excited for the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man, but it can’t hurt. The first two in particular are the high water marks for the current crop of superhero movies, and Tobey Maguire nails a lot of the character. Though the third film has its problems, there are things to like in it, and over all this is a great modern series of comic book action films. And now that the films finally have all the supplements from the previous releases, it’s worth upgrading.
What are you picking up this week?