From Criterion With Love
David Fincher seems an odd choice to direct an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s whimsical The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and indeed his leaden ¬– albeit picturesque – direction doesn’t provide the necessary levity to breathe life into the surprisingly superficial script by Eric Roth.
Ultimately, the very impressive digital effects aren’t enough to keep it buoyant for its 166-minute running time. Perhaps more entertaining than the film itself is the DVD’s many in-depth supplemental features.
John Huston masterfully brought Flannery O’Connor’s classic novel Wise Blood to the screen in 1979, capturing the work’s unique mixture of black humor, doom and deep-felt spirituality. The always-intense Brad Dourif stars as Hazel Motes, founder of the Church Without Christ. Huston, Harry Dean Stanton and Ned Beatty fill out O’Connor’s cast of Southern eccentrics and charlatans.
Volume four of Seth MacFarlane’s other show, “American Dad!,” comes to DVD. While not as inspired as “Family Guy,” the animated spoof of post-9/11 right wing America is a tad more ambitious. The show centers on Stan Smith, an overblown patriotic CIA agent, his dysfunctional family and alien friend, Roger.
Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy dispenses altogether with “Family Guy”’s pretense of story and just strings together a slew of the fantasy sequences that have become a staple of the show. At 60 minutes, it’s the perfect amount of random pop cultural references, absurd sexual encounters and uncensored vulgarity.
Two History Channel series take you inside fascinating worlds. “UFO Hunters” (The Complete Season Two available May 26) is the real life “The X-Files.” Join experts in examining sightings from around the country, poring over declassified documents, witness accounts and video footage to debunk false claims and find the truth.
The Complete Season Three of the fascinating “Gangland” infiltrates 12 of the country’s deadliest gangs from Los Angeles to New Orleans and includes interviews with current and past members.
Now that Star Trek is in theaters, check out some of the best of its precursors in The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Each set includes four episodes.
Also available: Jake and the Fatman: Second Season
Made in Japan
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo – The Complete Series transposes Alexandre Dumas’ epic tale of revenge to a world fusing futuristic technology with 18th century style for a visually stunning anime. The story focuses on Albert, a disaffected young aristocrat, who goes to Luna, a city on the moon, for Carnival and meets the mysterious Count, who in this version is rumored to be a vampire. The faithful update manages to capture Dumas’ intricate web of relationships better than the several feature adaptations could while adding its own flavor.
“Project Blue Earth S.O.S.” (Complete Box Set now available) is an action-packed pastiche of ’50s sci-fi, complete with boy genius, daring fighter pilot and flying saucers. It’s a vibrant series from Tensai Okamura, director of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.
Also Available: Darker Than Black: Volume Four, Murder Princess: The Complete Series
One of the few films from ’80s teen flick auteur John Hughes that hasn’t dated horribly, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to hi-def Blu-ray. Join everyone’s favorite rebel (Matthew Broderick) as he ditches school, “borrows” a car and hits downtown Chicago.
Two Travolta musical classics come to hi-def. The disco balls and hair grease are shinier than ever in Saturday Night Fever and Grease special edition Blu-rays, loaded with extra features.
From the author of The Ice Storm, Personal Effects, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
From Criterion With Love