Typical odd mix of releases this week and I’ll start with the best of the bunch, Accepted. Coming from Mill Creek Entertainment, I believe this is the first time the underrated comedy has been available on Blu-ray. I’ve always enjoyed this 2006 Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively college flick, but hadn’t seen a non-TV edited version in years so I was eager to pop in the Blu-ray. It still very much holds up and reminded me of how funny Jonah Hill was before he became a serious actor. It has a good following, but because it’s PG-13 I think it doesn’t get the respect of other comedies from that time period. Films like Role Models, Superbad, and Pineapple Express are definitely looked upon as more beloved movies, but rewatch Accepted, it has big laughs especially from Lewis Black. It also has a ton of cameos in it that you may not have realized if you haven’t watched it in a while like Jim O’Heir and Kellan Lutz and it also has a pre-Gotham Robin Lord Taylor and my man Ross Patterson. The Blu-ray also has some great bonus features including deleted scenes, making of, commentary and extended Lewis Black bits. If you are a fan of the film, I highly recommend this new release.
Also from Mill Creek, Your Highness has a new Blu-ray out. I had always thought I had seen the fantasy stoner flick, but turns out I hadn’t. It stars Danny McBride and James Franco as prince brothers with Franco about to marry Zooey Deschanel, but she is taken by a wizard. Franco is the typical hero knight and McBride is forced to join him on his quest to get his future wife back. On the way they meet up with Natalie Portman who is on her own quest. It has some laughs (especially if you watch the Unrated version liked I did), but I can see why it’s not regarded as a stoner classic. Franco is pretty good, but McBride misses more than lands. If you liked Year One you might like it, but just watch Pineapple Express for the 100th time instead. A great cast and a great setting/time period should have made this work more than it does.
Mill Creek also has out two 4-film collections this week. First is 4 Comedy Favorites: You, Me and Dupree, Because I Said So, The Wedding Date, Head Over Heels. You, Me and Dupree is the best of the four, but even that film could have been better. Owen Wilson plays the best friend of Matt Dillon who just married Kate Hudson. Wilson must move in with the newlyweds after losing his job and the typical antics kick in. Because I Said So stars Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore as mother and daughter with Keaton pushing Moore to get married after her two sisters already have and Keaton put off a personal life of her own for years. The Wedding Date stars Dermot Mulroney and Debra Messing with Messing hiring Mulroney (an escort) as her date to her sister’s wedding afraid she’ll run into her ex. Amy Adams also stars. Last is Head Over Heels which stars Monica Potter and Freddie Prinze Jr. After her relationship blows up, Potter moves in with other women and falls for Prinze Jr. but witnesses what she believes is him killing someone and decides to look into the man with her roommates. The last three films are more romantic comedies to me with Dupree being the only straight up comedy.
The second 4 film pack is 4 All-Star Thrillers: 21 Grams, Breach, The American and The Constant Gardener. 21 Grams was nominated for 2 Oscars and stars Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, and Naomi Watts from director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It’s a film that has characters cross over and I’ve always enjoyed it. There’s a mathematician, a grieving mother and a born again convict. It time jumps and I know some people who didn’t like it, but I did. I always thought Breach was underrated. Ryan Phillippe stars as an analyst under Chris Cooper who is arrested and charged with being a spy. Phillippe can either help prove or disprove his boss’s actions. The American stars George Clooney as an assassin hiding out in Italy for one last job. I think it’s one of Clooney’s best performances and it has a beautiful backdrop. The Constant Gardener was nominated for multiple Oscars with Rachel Weisz taking home Best Supporting Actress. Ralph Fiennes stars as a man whose wife is murdered in Kenya and he digs deep into the crime. Both Fiennes and Weisz are great in their roles and it’s one I hadn’t seen in years. Of the two 4 movie packs out, this collection is the clear cut winner.
Max Cloud is out this week and stars Scott Adkins. I watch a lot of action movies and a lot of Asian/martial arts movies so I’m quite familiar with Adkins. This movie is a bit of a departure for him showing some comedic range in a more family friendly film. He plays Max Cloud, a video game character and a young girl is transported into the video game. She must finish the game with help from her friend in the real world (Franz Drameh) or be stuck in the game forever. It’s kind of fun with great graphics and effects for the time period, the film is based in the 1990s. Adkins is good as the hero of the game saying all the cliches and fighting like a 1990 video game character. I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to watch it again, but it’s something different which I appreciate. Great sound effects, score and campiness makes it good for a watch.
Open Up To Me is about a transgender cleaner who starts helping a man when he mistakes her for a therapist. She has a bit of a therapy background once working for a school, but admits to the man she wasn’t who he thought. They start to fall for each other and she feels a bit of happiness for the first time after losing her wife and daughter because of her transitioning. Of course all truths come out and her world falls apart being accused of pushing a former student to death and her affair coming to light. It’s one of those dramas that is well made and well acted, but I think one viewing is all it will get from me.
Last we have JSA: Joint Security Area, a Korean film from 2000 from director Chan-wook Park. It’s about 2 North Korean soldiers found dead on the North/South border and an investigator is brought in to find out the truth. The always awesome Lee Byung-Hun stars in it. The truth comes out that the 2 soldiers had befriended 2 southern soldiers and realized they are all just regular people in a ridiculous situation, but it blows up when someone shows up. I had never seen it, but I’m a fan of Park and Lee Byung-Hun so I quite enjoyed it. This new Blu-ray has interviews, montages and much more for bonus features.