With his good looks, Liev Schreiber (TV's Ray Donovan) seems born to play an astronaut. In Magnet Releasing's The Last Days on Mars, he finally gets the chance. As chief systems officer Vincent Campbell, he's part of Aurora's six-month mission on the red planet with only 19 hours left to go before heading home. What could go wrong?
According to The Slumber Party Massacre, young women love to have group sleepovers so fun that the girls don't have the good sense to leave the house when their party is crashed by the arrival of a drill-wielding serial killer.
We vilify people for bad behavior in real life, yet celebrate it in our entertainment, particularly on the small screen. When the results are as strong as the current crop, all new (or new-ish) to DVD and/or Blu-ray, why question the disconnect?
Prior to his Spider-Man trilogy, director Sam Raimi cut his superhero-movie teeth on 1990's Darkman, a character of his own creation. Although it's clearly not the most polished of his works, the summer sleeper plays even better as the years tick by. Look no further than Shout! Factory's colorful re-release on Blu-ray.
Someday, celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong may regret hiring Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney to document his 2009 "comeback," but I doubt it. As The Armstrong Lie demonstrates time and again for two mostly gripping hours, the athlete is still unable to tell the whole truth and nothing but.
Well, it left this fan with an unpleasant aftertaste.
At first, I was uncertain who the doc was for. While it certainly is accessible enough for the uninitiated, those people aren’t likely to run across it or even be interested if they do. And since I didn’t learn anything from it, the already converted aren’t likely to feel as if their time was well-spent.
Gradually, the answer became evident: It’s for the superfans. I don’t mean people who were onboard with AD since its first episode, like me, or people who own the series on DVD, like me; I mean the people who have memorized it, who quote it endlessly, who lord their knowledge for it over the heads of others, who believe they love the series more than anyone else and just might come to blows if you told them otherwise.
In other words, some of those people interviewed in the thing, who read too much theory into the show’s plots (hearing “microcosm” is always a red flag), who dismiss everything else on TV as “all crap” (despite much evidence to the contrary), who perform the chicken dance during the end credits.
While it doesn’t start out this way, the doc becomes an insiders-only party to which you’re not invited. Superficial and self-serving, it also felt to me like a Kickstarter project (afterward, my research confirmed that), which only contributes to its insular nature. It suddenly becomes not about the show, but about the people who obsess over it, but to the point where exactly which show being mentioned becomes pointless. One could fill in the blank with Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Firefly or Veronica Mars and so on — all low-rated critical darlings.
That’s a shame, because director Jeff Smith deserves major kudos for getting almost all of Arrested Development’s core cast to sit for interviews; only Michael Cera and Jessica Walter did not participate. Jason Bateman and Will Arnett are as hilarious as expected.
So is David Cross, although he appears to have little patience for his interviewers. That doesn’t stop him from cracking wise, however; in the segment where everyone bemoans how America just didn’t get it, he says, deadpan, “America Ferrara? The girl who plays Ugly Betty? I don't know if she watched it. Huh.”