At Home Opinions

A quick look at some titles released on DVD this week.

24: Season Five
I was with this show from the beginning. It started out great, lost it’s way for Season 2 and half of Season 3, then it found its groove and produced some of the most cinematic television you can find.

For my money, Season 4 is the best, but this runs a close 2nd. Fast paced and completely unafraid to kill anyone at any time. There’s a twist in the middle that hobbles the story for a bit, but the final few episodes (with excellent work by Peter Weller) is aces. Keifer Sutherland will forever be known as Jack Bauer, no matter what he does after this.

I’ve seen all of Broken Lizard’s films, and while I can’t recommend any, there’s always something likable about them. I’ve been waiting for this to come to DVD, so I could watch it cheaply, and without hearing my friends say “All those good films playing and you paid $10 for what?” I’m sure it’ll be bad, but sometimes a critic chooses to see a film because he actually wants to see it.

Cary Grant (my favorite actor of all time) and Katherine Hepburn made 3 films together. The other two are considered classics, while this one is rarely mentioned. I intend to find out why.

I was excited to see this one arrive in the mail. It felt like the film was rushed into theatres with no tie in to the new Outkast CD. Now I understand why. The film is a mess, with a director more concerned with decorations than structure, and more in love with props and effects than performances. The actors are all over the map, with only Terrance Howard doing good work. He holds the screen like Clive Owen in CLOSER.

And where’s the damn music? There are only a handful of songs in this two-hour snooze fest, most of which are from prior Outkast releases. Andre’s proven himself in other films, but Big Boi is to acting what P. Diddy is to rapping. He can pose and glare, but there’s nothing real. A waste, and a struggle to get through.

Michael Mann’s big budget version of VICE isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not a good one either. A handful of scenes remind you how great Mann can be with this stuff (including a trailer park scene that contained the moment of the summer.) The film’s actually pretty great in Miami, but the story spends very little time there, (which struck me as odd.) Plus, it hinges around a love story that’s as cliché as it is dull.

This was the film I was most looking forward to this summer, and in some areas it delivered. But (like a lot of films lately) it was about 30% too long, and more cartoon-like than its predecessor. Still, there were some spectacular set pieces (“Summon the Kracken!”) and the special effects, sets and costumes topped the first film. Even with my disappointment, I can see myself owning this film.

The real reason for writing this article is mentioning that two of the most ambitious, and challenging classics from the 70’s have finally come to DVD. Bernardo Bertolucci creates an Italian one-two punch similar to THE GODFATHER and APOCOLYPSE NOW.

I thought of discussing the plots, but they’re so wonderfully complex, with layers that can’t be put into a synopsis. Both films represent a perfect marriage of style and substance. Anyone interested in film as art needs to see THE CONFORMIST. Afterwards, I’m sure you’ll want to check out 1900.


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