Media | A2Q Archives | A2Q #56: The "Rainbow Warrior" Edition | September 16, 2008: Welcome to this week's home video release highlights, a column tragically focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world. Region locks are the home video industry's way of saying they still don't understand the Internet.

Big thanks to Andy (Reibeatall) for taking over the column while I was in Las Vegas last week.


Roundup by Levi | Posted September 15, 2008


Out This Week


88 Minutes
Here we have Al Pacino hamming it up as a normal man who gets a death threat and has only 88 minutes to figure out a way to survive, all the while being sought for questioning by the police in a murder he's been framed for. I don't pay too much heed to Metacritic scores, but it's worth nothing that this has the lowest Metacritic of all the mainstream movies being released this week. And this is the week in which The Love Guru is being released. Ouch.


The Love Guru
So. Yeah. The Love Guru. It's as bad as you've heard. Maybe even worse. Self-indulgent to the extreme, it's Mike Myers with no one to tell him when he has bad ideas. Like this entire movie -- in other words, it's his Ishtar. His Waterworld. His Hudson Hawk.


Made of Honor
Check out this tagline: "A dude is a maid of honor!" And? You might ask. "It's a dude!! And he's the maid of honor!" the film might reply. Are you totally enticed to check this out to find out what happens when a man is in a role that normally reserved for the ladies? That's cool, I guess. I'll, uh, be over here.


Pushing Daisies
Ned is a pie-maker with the unique ability to bring the dead back to life. However, if they remain alive more than 60 seconds, something else alive has to die for balance. He finds this out as a young man when he brings his dog back to life. Later, he brings his mom back after she collapses with a brain aneurysm. His childhood sweetheart's father dies, though, and later he learns the second part of his "gift": anything he touches after they've been brought back to life dies again, permanently.

As an adult, he opens a restaurant he calls "The Pie Hole", and making pies reminds him of his mother. His gift is discovered by a private investigator who realizes that with this ability, solving crimes that involve death is a lot easier. He ropes Ned into teaming up with him, and they make a little money waking the dead and asking them questions like "who killed you?" and "where did you hide your money?" before sending them back into their former state. Everything changes, though, when the corpse he wakes up is that of his childhood sweetheart. Unable to lose her, he then has to keep her a secret from everyone who thinks she is dead while teaming up with her to solve her murder.

A major problem with this arrangement is that the love of his life is someone he can never touch with his bare skin or she'll die and never come back.

The show is a bit morbid, but is also suffused with an airy sweetness. It's been described as a "forensic fairy-tale", and the bright colors, storybook-style narration, chronologically out-of-time touches like vintage vehicles and the heavily stylized dialog all add up to a unique viewing experience, much like creator Bryan Fuller's other shows Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me. It was my favorite show last season, and was criminally limited to just 9 episodes due to the writer's strike. Get this and gear up for the season premiere here in the US on October 1st, as I can't recommend it highly enough.


Speed Racer
Speaking of candy-colored, Speed Racer hits home video after a disappointing theatrical run. It's an extremely divisive film, but personally I fall on the pro-Speed Racer side of the aisle. I suppose they could have done a grim and gritty reimagining of the source material; while that might have been a more popular take, I personally prefer that the Wachowskis have kept the show true to its campy roots. There has been a bit of a kerfluffle among home theater enthusiasts with this release, as the film is an audio/video feast and yet the BD is only a single-layer 25GB disc. While early sell-sheets promoted "TrueHD" audio, the final product only has Dolby Digital 5.1, and the scant extras are in standard definition. Very disappointing if you're a home theater nerd, but probably good enough for most of us.


Speaking of grim and gritty reimaginings, rumor has it that the next Superman film will be yet another franchise reboot, and that they'll try and replicate the success of The Dark Knight by making the the film as dark as TDK was. I don't know about you, but I always wanted to see a Superman who is filled with angst, and a Mr. Mxyzptlk who is a sociopathic serial murderer. Right. Talk about missing the point.


Off-Topic


Last week's column was written by my friend Andy, who took over writing duties while I was in Las Vegas getting a look at some upcoming games at a retail event. I saw a lot of great games being played, and managed to get my hands on Tomb Raider: Underworld, Mirror's Edge, Little Big Planet, Reistance: Retribution and Ninjatown, which is a game based on the Shawnimals character "Wee Ninja" created by ex-EGMer Shawn Smith. The game is great. At it's basic level it's a Tower Defense style game, but instead of towers that shoot different kinds of ammo, you build barracks that different classes of Ninja come out of. The game was really fun and I'm worried it might get overlooked in the crowded 4th quarter. I think the art style and unique units make it worthwhile to fans of games like Desktop Tower Defense and Pixeljunk Monsters or unique DS games in general.

I also need to announce a new feature of "Add to Queue". Every week, the number one comment I get is that some movie got less coverage than it deserved. When I started writing this column I managed a video store and it was no thing for me to watch every movie in advance of it's release. Nowadays, it's much more logistically difficult to do so, so sometimes very good movies slip through the cracks. This is where I want you guys to step in. Instead of posting "hey dude you forgot _____" I want you to post in the comments or on the official thread in the Talking Time forums an A2Q style write-up of the movie in question. The best one or two will be included in the following week's column in a new community section. Note that I personally am not a fan of anime so you're going to have write something really good if you want a cartoon to make it into the column.


Housekeeping


Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Soviet power is a myth. Great show. There are no spare parts. Nothing is working, nothing, it's nothing but painted rust. But you, you need to keep the Russian myth alive to maintain your military industrial complex. Your system depends on Russian being perceived as a mortal threat. It's not a threat. It was never a threat. It will never be a threat. It's a rotted, bloated cow. Follow me on Twitter. You can also e-mail me at vsrobot [dot] blog [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!