By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Look Around You” Season One” (Unrated) — Co-written and starring comedian Peter Serafinowicz, “Look Around You” is one of the funniest and most surreal television programs I’ve seen since “Wonder Showzen.” Originally broadcast on the BBC in 2002, this cult classic finally made its American run last year on Adult Swim.
“Look Around You” is a spoof of educational television shows from the 1970s and ’80s. The episodes (or “modules” as they’re called) are meticulously shot to look like worn, scratched, dated film from the era, with washed-out colors and fake scientific apparatus bedecked with DYMO labels, vintage LED readouts and faux-wood trim.
What makes the show so surreal is that even though it’s made to look like it was shot in the 1970s, the era in question must exist in another universe, as things such as ghosts are scientifically proven to be real (and in one module it is explained why they can’t sneeze), and ants apparently have An Agenda.
The DVD not only contains the entire first season, but also features several commentary tracks by Serafinowicz, co-writer Robert Popper, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Edgar Wright, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Tim & Eric, along with a slew of cool special features.
“Black Narcissus” [Criterion Collection] (Unrated) — Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons and David Farrar star in this lushly photographed, Academy Award-winning melodrama of a group of nuns’ attempt to start a convent in the Himalayas. Battling the unforgiving elements and the temptations of the flesh, characters are driven to the brink of madness and murder most foul. “Black Narcissus” is a tour-de-force featuring some of the most breathtaking Technicolor cinematography of the age and riveting performances from its stars. Well worth a look.
FROM THE DISCOUNT BIN
“The Runaways” (R) — Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart star as Cherie Currie and Joan Jett in this uneven biopic about The Runaways, the all-girl prefab rock band from the ’70s that was marketed more for its Lolita sex appeal than its music. The film is based on the memoirs of Cherie Currie, so naturally the film focuses mostly on her and her relationship with Joan Jett. Unfortunately, this leaves the rest of the band members (especially Lita Ford) relegated to virtually non-existent roles.
I thought Fanning — although an interesting choice — was sorely miscast in the role. On the other hand, Kristen Stewart did a pretty good job as Joan Jett — and considering how much I hate “Twilight,” that’s quite a compliment.
If you’re looking to see a good movie about The Runaways, I recommend picking up a copy of “Edgeplay,” the gritty and brutally honest documentary about the band, and leave the Fanning/Stewart flick in the cutout bin where it belongs.
“Jersey Shore Uncensored” Season One
“Super Friends!” Season One, Vol. Two
“Courage the Cowardly Dog” Season One
“Being Human” Season 1
“Degrassi: The Next Generation” Season 9
“Matlock” Season Five
“My Boys” The Complete Second and Third Seasons
2010 King Features Synd., Inc.