Blu-ray Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)
Over the past year or so, I’ve heard more than one person bemoan the trajectory of David Gordon Green’s directing career. Where he was the indie darling several years ago, achieving a level of mainstream success with “Pineapple Express” in 2008, he seems to be flailing a bit. After last spring’s “Your Highness,” he stumbled again with “The Sitter.”
THE TOOTH FAIRY 2
For the record, I know what he was trying to do with this movie. I’m a child of the 80s, as is Green. So his raunchy homage to “Adventures in Babysitting” did not go without notice. Unfortunately, it did not go with much laughter either.
The story is about a twentysomething slacker named Noah (Jonah Hill) who reluctantly agrees to babysit the kids of his mother’s friend. However, after clashing with the kids, he drags them on a trip into New York City to score cocaine for his not-quite-girlfriend. As a result, the night turns into a cavalcade of adult shenanigans.
Like most comedies, there are some decent moments in this film, but much of the humor never quite sticks the landing. A lot of this rides on the characters, which aren’t necessarily underdeveloped but rather just unappealing. The kids are presented as monstrous head-cases, some violently so. Noah is a social pariah but suddenly becomes warm and fuzzy. There’s the expected bonding between Noah and the kids, but at the expense of logic.
This all makes the characters wildly inconsistent. “The Sitter” never quite decides what it wants to be, and it tries to span generations with its humor and set-up. On one hand, “The Sitter” tries to be an edgy comedy that doesn’t care if it offends. Then it twists its ankle trying to spin around so Jonah Hill can have his charming Mike Brady conversations with the godawful kids he’s in charge of.
The saving grace is the side characters, in particular Sam Rockwell as the half-mad drug dealer chasing Noah who accidentally steals $10,000 worth of coke. Rockwell’s whole shtick is funny, but it probably would have played better in a better film. In the end, his jokes – and many of the others, especially involving the children – just come off as mean-spirited.
At almost every turn, I could see what Green was trying to do. Unfortunately, he rarely goes about it the right way. And in the end, “The Sitter” demonstrates that just because you have a certain love for a type of film or the era in which it was created, doesn’t mean you can successfully pull off an homage to it.
Okay, here’s the deal. I know exactly what David Gordon Green was going for with his new movie “The Sitter.” The guy’s undying love for 80s cinema and his tendency towards raunchy subject matter and awkward humor is apparent throughout the film.
The Blu-ray comes packaged with a DVD and Digital Copy for portable viewing. The disc also contains both the theatrical version of the film as well as the unrated version, which actually features some naked breasts. (Yeah, these things are important to me.)
Other bonus material includes deleted and extended scenes along with an alternate ending and a gag reel. Featurettes include “Sits-N-Giggles,” “For Your Consideration,” “The Making of The Sitter” and “Jonah the Producer.” At the very least, even if you don’t enjoy the film, some of these behind-the-scenes featurettes show a more lively and humorous side of the film set.
Blu-ray Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
“The Tooth Fairy 2” is the kind of film that most critics dread. On the whole, as a bloc, critics A) hate Larry the Cable Guy, B) hated the first “The Tooth Fairy” and C) despise all children’s films not made for an adult crowd (like “Hugo”) or not made by Pixar (and even then, they hated “Cars 2,” but see point A for an explanation on that).
SNOW WHITE: A DEADLY SUMMER
However, I’m not in that camp. I don’t love Larry the Cable Guy, but I do find him funny in the right situation. And while I didn’t love “The Tooth Fairy” with Dwayne Johnson, I didn’t hate it. In fact, part of what I didn’t like about the original film was that it didn’t quite feel like a theatrical feature, but rather a direct-to-video rip-off of “The Santa Clause.”
So now that “Tooth Fairy 2” is an actual direct-to-video film itself, it seems to be in much more comfortable territory. This one features Larry the Cable Guy as (believe it or not) Larry, a guy who loses his girlfriend to a slick politician after he wins a local bowling trophy. While trying to win her back, Larry accidentally tells a kid there’s no Tooth Fairy. As punishment, he’s turned into a Tooth Fairy to work off his debt to the magical realm.
So in essence, “Tooth Fairy 2” is the same plot as “The Tooth Fairy,” only on a much smaller budget and with more flab than rippling muscles. And it plays out exactly that way.
It’s a kids’ movie, so don’t expect anything special or complex. And it’s a Larry the Cable Guy movie, so don’t expect anything high brow at all. Don’t even expect anything medium brow. It’s low brow all the way, but in a nice, friendly PG sort of way. Expect some bathroom humor and slapstick. It’s a movie made for kids in mind, not critics, and probably not even the parents as well.
If you can tolerate Larry the Cable Guy, it’s cute. There’s tons of warts on this one, but it’ll be good for a couple giggles for the children.
The Blu-ray includes several deleted scenes and alternate takes. Additional bonus content includes the featurettes “Why Do I lose My Baby Teeth?,” “Return to Fairyland – Making Tooth Fairy 2,” “Larry the Hairy Fairy” and “Tooth Fairy 2 Introduces Crusher the Pig.”
DVD Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: * (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
With two major Snow White themed films hitting the theaters this year, it is no big surprise that someone is taking a stab at a cheap, direct-to-video version.
“Snow White: A Deadly Summer” stars relative newcomer (who will be seen opposite Josh Hutcherson in this year’s “Detention”) Shanley Casewell as a wayward youth who gets in trouble with her wicked stepmother (Maureen McCormick). After consulting with his mirror, the stepmother sends her to a boot camp designed to knock her into shape. But when people start disappearing in violent ways, the kids at the boot camp worry there might be a murderer out there.
To be honest, I was quite shocked at the basement-level production value of this film. Let’s get past the terrible script and nonsensical allusions (like the fact that the stepmother appears to be schizophrenic as she talks to herself in the mirror). Let’s look at how poorly this film is put together.
“Snow White: A Deadly Summer” is shot on video, but not good video. These aren’t the high-quality cameras that Steven Soderbergh are using. More likely, they’re floor models from Best Buy purchased at a discount. With the aesthetic of a bad soap opera, the movie looks exceedingly amateurish. This video awfulness is compounded by bizarre day-for-night shots in a ink-pen blue tint with hard shadows from the sun, clearly seen overhead.
There’s a poor excuse for the story, with the other campers representing the dwarves. But little else makes sense, leading to a terribly cliched ending. If I hadn’t been told by a friend of mine that director David DeCoteau was responsible for dozens of movies like this one, I’d have thought this was made by high school kids when they didn’t want to take shop class.
The only special features on this disc include a commentary with director David DeCoteau and actors Chase Bennett and Jason-Shane Scott. There’s also a stills gallery, for those viewers living in 2003.
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