The Caffeinated DVD : Smurfs, Batman : B & B, Justin Bieber, Two and a Half Men : S8..


Being as busy as I am, hopping between two continents, and plagued with a disease that threatens to take away my ability to cut footloose, a DVD/BD review round-up column couldn’t have been suggested to me at a better time. So here, without further ado, is the new ‘The Caffeinated Disc” (people will go clicking that title just in the hope of finding some saucy action between a couple of elderly folks with bad backs and coffee addictions going at it, I bet) – thanks to ‘the guy that knows a guy that slept with a guy who is the cousin of a guy who was an extra in “Reservoir Dogs”‘ for the suggestion.

Batman : The Brave and the Bold Season Two Part One (Warner) is just what the 36-year-old without a penchant for comic books or cartoons ordered (Yes, they exist – 36-year-old web guys with no interest in comics, video games or animated series); this thing works so well for me because it’s not so much a superhero cartoon series as it is, well, a superhero cartoon series if it were done by Matt Parker and Trey Stone on a bender. A tongue-in-cheek version of the old ‘Batman’ cartoon, it’s more spastic than battastic, but is oh-so-funny! All the gang from Season 1 are back, like Bats, Aquaman, Robin and the Blue Beetle, and they’re joined by Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, and Batwoman; sadly, no sign of Nuclear Man yet (what!? he’s not canon!?). One of my favourite episodes in this bunch is one in which Batman meets his doppleganger on this far-away planet; unlike the earthly Caped Crusader (whose only ability seems to be his effortless ability to lure Catwoman into bed), the alien doppleganger has super powers. Now if only we can get a ‘lets take the piss’ version of “Speed Buggy”….

Once upon a time, back when the CW were the WB and they were interested in making shows that didn’t revolve around nymphete teen socialites or anorexic wannabe supermodels, there was a series called Everwood.  I loved it near as much as Scott Wolf’s bank balance did. A lovely little family series that quickly garnered a loyal following (but not a big enough following to warrant much of a life, unfortunately) the heartwarming show fixed on a recently widowed big city doc who, with his two kids, moves to a squat little town called… Twin Peaks.. er, I mean, Everwood. Everwood : Season 4 (Warner) is where it all comes to a close for Doc Brown (Treat Williams playing the role made famous by Christopher Lloyd in “Back to the Future”… or not) and his youngsters, with the town GP finally finding love again (and stealing her from Scott Wolf) and oldest Ephram (Gregory Smith) getting his act together with long-time squeeze Amy (Emily VanCamp). Your eyes will be as wet as Tara Reid at a baseball match come the final episode.

So much of star Charlie Sheen’s personal life overshadowed Two and a Half Men : Season 8 (Warner), and it’s a shame because… well, his personal life is much more entertaining. In the first episode of the season he’s battling an addiction to alcohol; rather than give up the booze for good, Charlie comes to the conclusion that so long as he’s only drinking beer and wine, and not partaking in spirits, he’s succeeded. Surely this is something that’s come from the actor’s personal life!? And if so, could they not have made it a little more gut-tickling?  This was Sheen’s last season on the show (Ashton Kutcher takes over shortly)….Winner? Not as far as his accountant can tell.

Patrick Lussier is one of the few filmmakers out there (the guy who directed “Final Destination 5″, who I interviewed yesterday and whose name escapes me at the moment, is another) who knows exactly how to use 3D to it’s full advantage; 3D is not supposed to darken a film print, cloak a plot hole, or make Ron’s, er, Weasley pop out at you, no it’s supposed to compliment a story by adding depth and a sense of vertigo, if you will. ”Avatar” succeeded in making you feel you were up their on the clouds with Sambo as he rode that flying Black Beauty, and with Drive Angry 3D (Summit) Patrick Lussier has us feeling we’re behind the wheel of a charger steered by an undead Nicolas Cage.  The flick itself, about a dude with wacky hair (well, of course) who returns from hell to get his revenge on the cult that stole his grandchild, isn’t my favourite of Lussier’s flicks (I think his and co-writer Todd Farmer’s previous film, “My Bloody Valentine”, might be more to my liking) but it succeeds in it’s mission to make effective use of 3D without it coming across as gimicky or flat. Or dark. And at no time does Ron’s Weasley pop out of the screen at you (though I had hoped we might see more Amber Heard ‘poppage’). The film looks a treat on Blu-ray and comes complete with more extras than the Ricky Gervais home video library.

Cedar Rapids (20th Century Fox), a supposed-comedy that’s seemingly been designed to fit the ‘comedic talents’ of Ed Helms (“The Hangover”), makes for a good coaster. The story of a salesman (Helms) that’s sent to a conference in the Midwest, it’s one of these languid, push-hard laffers that thinks by insulting minorities, writing stereotypical supporting characters, and having people get about like they’re fresh from a 1995 recording of Jerry Springer that it’ll get the laughs. It doesn’t. John C.Reilly would’ve been better off making a sandwich than this.

Liam Neeson is an actor I’ve always liked (well, perhaps not in “High Spirits”) and while I don’t mind what he’s become in recent years, which is some go-to guy for action thrillers, I gotta say, it’s getting kinda old. Unknown (Warner) is a fun enough thriller but aside from the fact it’s merely Roman Polanski’s ”Frantic” meets ”Bourne” by way of any other amnesiac spy flick, it’s almost indistinguishable when put side-by-side with fellow Neeson action-thrillers of recent years, ”Taken” and ”The Next Three Days” (he wasn’t the star, but he was in it). I don’t recall much about it, and I’ve only just viewed it, though I do keep seeing January Jones in my head – that’s a sign that I took something away from the movie, right? Blu-ray looks good.

The only thing I’ll say about the Russell Brand starring remake of Arthur is that… I’d rather someone force my junk into a meat grinder and press the heavy switch than sit through it again. Nobody fucks with Christopher Cross. Avoid like week-old milk.

I didn’t think much of the film version (never expected to) but boy I love the original ”Smurfs” cartoon series. The Smurfs : A Magical Smurf Adventure (Warner Bros) is the blu-tac gang at their charming, jovial, lalalalala-ing best. What the film neglected to carry over from the original Saturday morning toons – 10 episodes of which feature here – is the cuteness, fun and magic of the whole Smurf village (which barely featured in the film) and it’s inhabitants. This is such a treasure chest of an offering, pick it up for your little one – no, your kid, not your smurgina.

Justin Bieber : Never Say Never (Paramount) comes to home video in ‘director’s cut’ form which is, of course, ever-so-welcome because, let’s face it,  if there’s one person that deserves being ‘cut’ for this monster it’s the director. Brian’s review of the film is a lot more entertaining than anything I can say about it.

And I see the Superman Anthology series comes out next week locally; hopefully I can seduce someone – with my eyes; it’s always my eyes; look out Martin St. James! – into dropping a copy of it on my doormat.

    What have you guys seen on DVD and Blu-ray this week? What do you recommend we pick up?