DVD reviews include ‘Disturbia’, ‘Are We Done Yet’
‘Are We Done Yet’
John C. McGinley, who stars as a small-town jack of all trades in “Are We Done Yet,” does little to help this foundering franchise that leans on stale jokes and a tired story. The sequel to 2005’s “Are We There Yet” picks up with Nick (Ice Cube) now married to Suzanne (Nia Long) and assuming the responsibility for her two children. The family moves to a bigger house in the country, where things — such as the house — start to fall apart. It’s a premise that’s been done dozens of times (“The Money Pit” from 1986 to name one), but suffers from poor execution. Instead of breaking away from the first lackluster film, “Are We Done Yet” will leave most folks wondering, is it over yetâ¢ A featurette on the making of the film and McGinley’s character, Chuck Mitchell Jr., are available as extras. McGinley is annoying enough in the feature, but things get even worse in his irritating extra. The disc also includes a lame blooper reel and a film quiz, which you’ll want to skip. PG, 2007. Rating:
Skip It: Because you can watch a guy fall through a roof only so many times.
‘I Think I Love My Wife’
As the second turn in the director’s chair for Chris Rock, “I Think I Love My Wife” is a down-to-earth picture with lots of heart. The script, written by Rock, is smart and funny, and, most importantly, it comes off as a genuine look into the life of a married couple. Rock plays Richard Cooper, an investment banker who is having problems keeping up the physical parts of his marriage with his wife, Brenda (Gina Torres). Brenda doesn’t seem interested in sex anymore, and it’s driving Richard crazy. While his marriage has hit a dry patch, a former crush, Nikki (Kerry Washington), shows up out of the blue, only to push Richard to the edge of having an affair and losing his job. While the story is solid, the subconscious thoughts of Richard add another edge to the process. The talented Steve Buscemi also stars. There are plenty of special features available — bloopers, deleted scenes and two quality featurettes — with the best being the commentary by the comedic Rock, who had his hands all over the film. R, 2007. Rating:
Rent It: If you’re thinking about tying the knot with that special someone.
With the abundant stream of horror movies hitting the big screen, the product has become somewhat watered down. While films like “Saw” and “Hostel” set the genre back years, these two slasher flicks have nothing on “Beneath,” perhaps the worst of its kind. There’s not too many good things to say about this film, Dagen Merrill’s directing debut. The acting is poor, and the story a jumbled mess. It’s hard to follow, and a lot of the plot is introduced and forgotten with little information for the viewer. The story follows a young woman who returns to her hometown for a funeral. Christy (Nora Zehetner) had a rough upbringing, causing her a lot of mental anguish. As she spends more time in town, secrets from her past start to unravel, revealing some of the town’s horrible secrets. Perhaps the worst secret, though, has to do with her late sister. There are no special features available. R, 2007. Rating:
Skip It: Because some secrets aren’t worth knowing.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have come out of their shells, so to speak, after a long layoff from its heyday in the ’90s. The cartoon series re-emerged on TV, and the turtles made their big-screen comeback, as well, after three earlier movies, the latest of which released in 1993. Visually, 2007’s “TMNT” is a nice-looking film on par with the top computer-animated films of today — these turtles are cutting edge. Emotions and fight sequences are crystal clear. Where the film fails is in the story and script. It seems as though much of effort went into animation, while ignoring the lackadaisical story and generic script. Some of the dialogue is downright lousy, even coming from the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Patrick Stewart and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Special effects include an alternate beginning and ending, interviews with the voice talent, deleted scenes and commentary by director Kevin Munroe. An interesting look at the comparison between the storyboards and CGI also is on the menu. PG, 2007. Rating:
Rent It: If you want to rekindle with an old favorite.
It was without a doubt that “Disturbia” would be compared to the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece “Rear Window” as soon as its trailer hit the Web earlier this year. While “Disturbia” follows the same premise as the Jimmy Stewart classic, it’s not on the same level. It’s darn close, though. Starring Shia LaBeouf and David Morse, this teen thriller is a sort-of update to “Rear Window,” taking advantage of new technology to add to the story. Stewart had his camera, and LaBeouf has a cell phone, camcorder and computer at his disposal. “Disturbia” is a sizzling thriller that blows the roof off suburbia. LaBeouf plays Kale, a teen under house arrest who soon realizes one of his neighbors might be a cold-blooded killer. Deleted scenes, commentary, outtakes, bloopers and a making-of featurette are available. A pop-up trivia feature to enjoy while watching the film is the best of the extras. This special feature can be compared to the former VH-1 show “Pop-Up Video.” PG-13, 2007. Rating:
Rent It: If you have suspicions about your suburban neighbors.
“A Month of Elvis”
Even though he’s been dead for almost 30 years, Elvis Presley still has a huge audience. Getting re-acquainted with The King will be even easier today, as a handful of new DVDs hit stores. From Paramount and Warner Bros. comes “Elvis: The Hollywood Collection” (Unrated): “Charro,” “Girl Happy,” “Kissin’ Cousins,” “Stay Away,” “Joe,” Tickle Me” and “Live a Little, Love a Little.” Not Elvis, but Bruce Campbell as Elvis, in the cult classic “Bubba Ho-Tep” (R, 2003) also gets the re-release treatment. Also starring the late Ossie Davis (as JFK of all people), “Bubba Ho-Tep” is packed with special features. Commentary by Campbell — in and out of character — deleted scenes and featurettes on the making of the film, music, costumes and makeup are some of the great extras available. Writer Joe R. Lansdale reading from his short story, “Bubba Ho-Tep,” is a wonderful treat.
Rent Them: Because they called him The King for a reason.
NEW TO DVD
Often referred to as Jackie Chan’s best action flick, “Crime Story” finds the often comedic martial arts’ expert in his most serious role to date. Special features for the re-release include commentary and interviews with director Kirk Wong and actor Kent Cheng, deleted scenes. R, 1993. Rating:
“The Simpsons: Season 10”
Everybody’s favorite dysfunctional family continues their comedic consistency in Season 10 of the award-winning animated show. The four-disc set includes all 23 episodes and a number of special features. Commentary, hilarious deleted scenes and plenty of animation featurettes are included. Unrated, 2007. Rating:
“8 Simple Rules: The Complete First Season”
This family comedy, chiefly remembered as John Ritter’s final sitcom before his sudden death in 2003, found its stride on TV through three seasons on the air. The three-disc first season includes all 28 episodes and some quality special features. A blooper reel and some behind-the-scenes material are worth a look. Unrated, 2002. Rating:
“The Muppet Show: The Complete Second Season”
While this newly released collection includes all 24 episodes of the second season of this family hit, the special features are the real hit in this four-disc package. The hard-to-find Valentine’s Special, a music video with Weezer and the Muppets, and most importantly, the Muppets on the Muppets, a gut-busting time. Unrated, 1977. Rating:
“Brigitte Bardot Film Collection”
The blond bombshell hits DVD on a three-disc set featuring “Naughty Girl,” “Love on a Pillow,” “The Vixen,” “Come Dance with Me” and “Two Weeks in September.” Bonus features include a spicy featurette on Bardot, titled “Larger than Life: Brigitte Bardot and the Mythology of a Sex Symbol.” Unrated. Rating:
“Luis Bunuel Collector’s Edition”
Catching two of Luis Bunuel’s best pictures is now possible with the release of a new two-disc package including “Gran Casino” and “The Young One.” Both films also come with audio commentary by film historians. Referred to as the master of surrealist cinema, the Bunuel collection is good cinema. Unrated. Rating: