Welcome to How to Spend $20, BOP's look at the latest DVDs to hit stores nationwide. This week: Futurama takes its final bow, Malcolm in the Middle's dad goes bad, the Librarian does battle with Dracula and Chace Crawford flashes his dimples in a sinister way.
How to Spend $20
By Kim Hollis
February 24, 2009
Pick of the Week
For people who did the nasty in the pasty: Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
Okay, Futurama fans. This is it. Really. Fox totally means it this time. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder will be the last episode(s) of the show you will ever see - unless you fans can pull a family guy and buy enough of the direct-to-DVD movies to convince the studio to put it back on the air. Or perhaps for a theatrical version to be created.
Into the Wild Green Yonder begins as an accident at a construction site causes a piece of necklace to become lodged in Fry's head, giving him the ability to read minds. Naturally, this leads him to do some, well, Fryish things. Meanwhile, Bender falls in love with a fembot who is married to the Donbot of the Robot Mafia, and Leela and Amy join a militant eco-feminist society. Fry is told that his special brain is the only thing that can stop the destruction of the "new green age".
Sound confusing? If so, that's sort of par for the course with the direct-to-DVD Futurama movies that have been released over the past several months. We're hoping that Into the Wild Green Yonder is more Bender's Game than The Beast With a Billion Backs.
For people who are tired of seeing Bryan Cranston be such a goody-goody: Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season (2-DVD Set)
I loved Bryan Cranston on Malcolm in the Middle, and when I saw that he was going to be doing an edgier series on A&E, I was all excited about watching it. Alas, despite the fact that I TiVo'd Breaking Bad the very first day it aired, I have yet to watch even a minute of the first season. It's not that my excitement or interest declined, really. It's just that I already watch so much TV that it's always hard to justify adding something new to the schedule. Though perhaps once Burn Notice and Battlestar Galactica have closed out their seasons, there might be a space.
And it's a shame that I've missed it, really, because from all accounts, this is a nastily good little show where Cranston has drawn rave reviews. Now that its first season is being released on DVD, everyone has a chance to catch up on the series in advance of season two, which starts on March 8th. In Breaking Bad, Cranston plays a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who has a handicapped teenage son and a pregnant wife. Financially struggling and having just learned that he has terminal lung cancer, Walter realizes that he has to take drastic measures to help his family financially. Naturally, he determines that starting a meth lab with a former student is the best way to do this.
I think that during these troubled financial times, we can all relate to people who might do desperate things in order to help their family survive. And if Cranston is half as good as he was on Malcolm in the Middle, this is totally worth adding to your queue.
For all my librarian friends - I know your lives are a lot more exciting than you let on: The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice
My passion for the Librarian film series has cooled somewhat since seeing the sequel, Return to King Solomon's Mines. The first movie, Quest for the Spear, was high-spirited, goofy fun. Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtin and Sonya Walger (currently playing Penny on Lost) all are clearly having a blast and turn a movie that should have been B-movie tripe into something that rises above that.
Return to King Solomon's Mines was still fun, but the passion seemed to be gone. I was disappointed that Walger didn't return (even though I like Gabrielle Anwar very much). I'm still excited to see the third movie in the series, though. Curse of the Judas Chalice will have our hero, Flynn Carsen (Wyle) doing battle with Vlad the Impaler - aka Dracula. Gone is Anwar, and in her place is Stana Katic, whose new series Castle premieres next week. I'm always up for a little bit of Dracula lore, so putting Flynn into that world is a welcome plot twist for me.
For people who are dying for another American Pie film: Sex Drive (Unrated and Cream-Filled)
Sex Drive kind of arrived in theaters without much fanfare, and it sure didn't stir up enough interest to make any kind of impact. And yet, I find myself sort of intrigued by it. Sure, it looks like any run-of-the-mill sex comedy. The story has a young man looking for love online, disguising himself as a buff dude when in fact he's pretty much a nerd. He encounters a chick known as Miss Tasty, and he and his friends set off on a road trip to meet her.
Sounds pretty generic, right? So why would I be interested in it? For starters, one of the leads is Clark Duke, who's pretty funny even if most people have no idea who he is. Together with Michael Cera, Duke wrote and starred in the Web series Clark and Michael, which followed their travails as they tried to get their screenplays and TV scripts discovered in Hollywood. He's also a regular on the TV series Greek. The show also features Seth Green, who site regulars will understand that we love thanks to his portrayal of Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And finally, the movie features James Marsden, who I believe is a highly underrated comic performer who is underestimated because people can't think of him as anything other than Cyclops from X-Men. Anyone who has seen him in Hairspray or Enchanted knows the dude is funny. And charming, to boot.
It's for these reasons that I'll give this film a look, even though I'm sure I'm bound to be let down a little bit. Still, if any of these performers deliver on even half of what they typically promise, it should be entertaining enough.
For people who think Chace Crawford is dreamy: The Haunting of Molly Hartley
In October, a little PG-13 rated horror flick opened to $5.4 million. While this may not seem too special, the film was The Haunting of Molly Hartley and that $5.4 million exceeded the production budget, and eventually led to a $13.4 million domestic gross. Freestyle Releasing was probably pretty okay with that, especially since this is the type of movie to make a lot of its revenue on DVD.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley didn't really strike a chord with North American audiences, and critics were generally unkind (it's rated at a horrid 3% at RottenTomatoes). Still, the film does feature Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford (who I maintain would have been a far superior choice to play Twilight's Edward than Robert Pattinson), and it's directed by Mickey Liddell, who brought us the delightful television series Underwood. I'm probably not really going to watch this movie, but it's a pretty darned slow week otherwise, frankly.
February 24, 2009
Battle Planet (2008)
Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season (2-DVD Set) (2008)
Broken Windows (2008)
Countdown: Jerusalem (2009)
Coup D'Etat (1980)
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
Frame of Mind (2009)
Freezer Burn: The Invasion of Laxdale (2008)
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2008)
The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)
The Legend Trip (2006)
The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008)
Man Walking on Snow (2001)
The Pear Tree (1998)
Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge (2008)
Red Sands (2009)
Sex Drive (Unrated and Cream-Filled) (2008)
Strictly Sexual (2008)
Summer Heights High (2007)