Now that the U.S. has been eliminated from the World Cup, most Americans will probably get back to their normal lives, but for diehard soccer fans like me, the quadrennial tournament remains the best form of entertainment around. Nevertheless, there are still several great titles being released this week, so if you are looking for something to pad out your daily soccer diet, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
It won’t become a cult classic any time soon, and the title is probably the funniest thing about it, but “Hot Tub Time Machine” is still a solid comedy thanks to its great cast and a smart script by Sean Anders and John Morris – the same guys responsible for the equally funny “Sex Drive” and “She’s Out of My League.” From the inspired casting of John Cusack and Crispin Glover (who’s involved in a hilarious running gag involving his bellhop character losing his arm), to playful nods to “Red Dawn” and the King of Bullies himself, William Zabka, the film is a love letter to popular 80s cinema with the comic sensibility of today’s R-rated comedies. It’s just too bad that the Blu-ray’s special features are so tame, because this is a movie that would have benefited from hours of outtakes.
Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” – winner of the 2009 Palm D’Or and Globe Globe for Best Foreign Language Picture – features an intriguing story, solid acting, and some truly beautiful cinematography. And yet, it’s perhaps one of the most unsatisfying films that I’ve seen in the last few years. Set in 1913 Northern Germany on the eve of World War I, the film centers around a series of mysterious accidents involving the children of a small farming village. Like most of Haneke’s films, “The White Ribbon” is a slow-burn – building tension over the course of its lengthy 144-minute runtime – but when it arrives at its climactic ending, the only thing that the director has to show for it is an open-ended analogy to WWI that will likely confuse and frustrate a lot of people. Up until that point, however, Haneke delivers one helluva suspense film, and though you might not like the way it ends, it’s worth seeing for the craftsmanship alone.
With Robert Rodriguez’s reboot of the sci-fi action franchise due out on July 9th, MGM has unsurprisingly re-released the original “Predator” on Blu-ray for the second time in two years. What makes this edition different than the first, however, is a new digital restoration that holds up remarkably well, despite some special effect shots that really show their age. I almost forgot how much fun this movie is, and although Arnold Schwarzenegger is without a doubt the star of the film, the supporting actors definitely leave their mark – from Carl Weather’s cocky CIA agent to Jesse Ventura’s minigun-carrying commando. The single-disc effort also boasts a sneak peek of “Predators” and a new featurette that takes a look at the legacy of the original movie with interviews by Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal. If nothing else, it will serve to get you excited for the new film when it rolls into theaters in a few weeks.
Also Out This Week: