New in Home Enterainment August 9, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

August 9, 2011

Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
If you missed this Super hero movie starring the Office’s Rainn Wilson and Juno’s Ellen Page, you weren’t the only one.  When his wife leaves him for a local drug dealer, Wilson attempts to win her back by committing vigilante justice.  Wanting to get in on the action is Page who is a little overeager to commit violence for the greater good.  For the first half of the film I was wondering why this movie didn’t get picked up by a major distributor.  After all, the very talented cast includes Wilson and Page as well as Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon.  I thought that studios could have passed due to the fact that it is too much like Kick Ass, but the two films turn out to be very different.  Once I got half-way in, I realized what kept this pic in indie status as the comedy turns incredibly weird and extremely shocking.  That being said, I liked the film due to it sticking to its guns and staying original.  The pacing is good and the script is engaging and surprising.  As eclectic actors, Wilson and Page are truly a dynamic duo and I couldn’t wait to see and hear what would happen next.  B+

Soul Surfer
Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In 2003, a promising young surfer named Bethany Hamilton tragically lost her arm during a shark attack.   Rising above her natural fear of the ocean, she opted to get back on her board to continue her surfing career in spite of her new handicap.  While many faith-based films aren’t of the best quality, Soul Surfer proves that with a great cast (AnnaSophia Rob, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt) and a decent screenplay (written by countless screenwriters) you can release an inspiring Christian film that might have the chance to be appreciated by the non-Christian film-going community.  The film has a nice pace to it and while it manipulates the tar out of you, making it very tough to keep your eyes dry, it still comes off as one of the highlights in family-friendly films thus far in 2011.  A-

East Bound and Down: The Complete Second Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
The first season of this hit HBO comedy starring Danny McBride as the world’s worst professional athlete role model was so originally funny that it’s hard to believe that HBO could come up with a second season to match.  Heading in a different direction, season two follows fallen baseball star Kenny Powers as he struggles to make a name for himself playing Mexican baseball, all in the hope of being noticed again and making it back to an American pro career.  While not as stellar as the first season, number two ends up being just as original, although a little stranger than I expected.   The humor is much darker here as is the discomfort you feel every time Kenny takes the mound.  B

Your Highness
Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity, violence and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Danny McBride has had a nice lineup of performances over the last few years, but lately he has shown himself to be a one-trick pony portraying himself as a foul-mouthed loser with an over-reaching level of confidence.  In Your Highness, he is a medieval jerk who must accompany his brother (James Franco) and a lone warrior (Natalie Portman) on a quest to find and kill an evil wizard.  Beyond the obvious observation that this movie is way below the perceived talent level of Franco and Portman, it is surprising that they both act down to the material.  There is some funny stuff here, but most of the jokes seem like they were written by a couple of stoners who pounded out a script while taking a break from playing World of Warcraft on Salvia (It was actually written by McBride but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was merely channeling said stoners).  Creating a raunchy comedy about medieval times isn’t a bad idea and the plot isn’t horrendous, but I can’t imagine anyone but teenage boys getting anything from this poorly acted mess of a movie.  Frankly, it’s time McBride stepped it up and tried something different for a change.  Adam Sandler and Jim Carey have both proven they can handle more challenging roles and I am certain that McBride has it in him as well.  Then when he goes back to the old character, we will at least know he has it in him.  D

Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Paul follows two comic book nerds from England (Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) who go on a quest to visit famous UFO sites in America.  When they find themselves picking up a pot-smoking extraterrestrial hitchhiker (voiced by Seth Rogen), they help their new friend by running from the government in the hopes they can get Paul to his escape ship.  If Cheech and Chong attempted to make a version of Super 8, it would look much like Paul.  Unlike the other stoner comedy released this week, Your Highness, this one combines two genres (three if you count stoner films as a genre) in a very effective fashion.  Not all of the jokes hit, but the movie is fun to watch and full of surprises.  I especially liked Jason Bateman as the foul-mouthed g-man hot on the alien’s trail.  I do wish the filmmakers hadn’t felt the need to add a love interest as the very funny Kristen Wiig’s character falls flat.  B-