Here at RT we’re glass-half full kinds of people, so instead of dwelling on the abysmally-reviewed home video offerings of the week – Billy Bob Thornton’s Mr. Woodcock and Dane Cook’s Good Luck Chuck — we’re thrilled to point out that there are delights to be had on DVD shelves, if you’ll only look (Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest, Criterion’s The Naked Prey)!
It’s possible that Billy Bob Thornton will one day get past his irritable Bad Santa persona and graduate (or return) to roles with depth, challenge, and variety, but Mr. Woodcock will not be the catalyst for such a change. Thornton, an Academy Award-winner for writing, directing, and starring in a far better film about a mentally handicapped man a dozen years ago, now plays a terrifying…gym teacher. When Seann William Scott finds out his dear mother (Susan Sarandon, Oscar-winner) is dating the man who terrorized his adolescent years, he comes home to match wits, and slapstick wrestling movies, with Mr. Woodcock. You can do better, video hounds!
They say January is a dumping ground for bad movies; this week, the saying is true for DVD titles. Our first single digit-Tomatometer DVD release of the year, Good Luck Chuck – a raunchy, unfunny romantic comedy starring Dane Cook and Jessica Alba — earned the scorn of an overwhelming majority of critics. On DVD, expect unrated laughs and a strange, interactive feature of Matrix-style sex positions.
Leave it to Family Guy to save the day! The infamous Star Wars episode, retelling the entire space saga with Peter Griffin and Co., has arrived to poke geeky fun, Quahog-style, at Jedis, lightsabers, and storm troopers. Great extras include Seth MacFarlane interviewing George Lucas himself, an episode commentary, and a table reading Easter egg for you to uncover. Bonus points for knowing the working title of Episode VI.
Film enthusiasts also have something to look for this week: a new Criterion release! Cornel Wilde’s 1966 film The Naked Prey, in a newly restored high definition transfer, offers much more than just the movie itself — the story, based on real events, follows a 19th century colonist on safari forced to flee for his life as African tribesmen hunt him. But as with every Criterion release, this title’s packed with goodies — audio commentary, the original soundtrack cues created by the director and an ethnomusicologist, and a recounted version of the 1913 event that inspired the story, read by Paul Giamatti.
Abandoning conventional narrative, Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has crafted a meditative story about how his own parents met and fell in love. Slow and mesmerizing, Syndromes and a Century was commissioned to honor the work of Mozart — a nice, alternative date movie for the discerning, Dane Cook-averse viewer.
‘Til next week, happy renting!