By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Crumb” (Criterion Collection) (Unrated) — Director Terry Zwigoff’s documentary of underground comics legend Robert Crumb is like a geek’s “Grey Gardens.” Not only is this a brilliantly loving portrait of a man who almost singlehandly created the underground comics movement, it is also a moving insight into Crumb’s bizarre and troubled family.
Special features include nearly an hour of deleted footage and two commentary tracks: A new track with Terry Zwigoff, and a commentary track from 2006 with Roger Ebert and Zwigoff.
It’s worth mentioning that one of Crumb’s closest friends, comics artist Harvey Pekar died on July 12 and also was the subject of the magnificent documentary/biopic: “American Splendor,” which stars Paul Giamatti as Pekar. Even if you aren’t a comics fan, you simply must watch these films. They are more than just a rundown of the artists’ works, they are great movies in their own right.
“Max Headroom: The Complete Series” (Unrated) — Finally! The ground-breaking, cult cyberpunk series from the 1980s is now on DVD. Both seasons, all 14 episodes, digitally remastered. Matt Frewer stars as Edison Carter, an investigative journalist in a dystopian near-future where television networks control every aspect of civilization — including the government. While investigating a network’s subversive scheme to control society using Blipverts (1-second commercials), Carter’s consciousness is uploaded to a computer, creating the manic, rogue element known as Max Headroom.
“Max Headroom” was a show ahead of its time and was no match in the ratings against powerhouses like “Dallas” and “Miami Vice,” so it was canceled after a few episodes of its second season.
WORTH A RENTAL
“Date Night” (PG-13) — Steve Carell and Tina Fey star in this uneven farce about a New Jersey couple who hope to add a little spark to their ho-hum marriage by having a date night in the city, but wind up being mistaken for another couple who are blackmailing a crooked politician. So, what could’ve been a hilarious film about a couple dealing with all the frustrations that go with trying to get around New York (a la “The Out-of-Towners”), we get a ridiculous, unbelievable chase movie that makes absolutely no sense.
What saves “Date Night” are the performances by Fey and Carell. Their chemistry and comedic timing elevate a poor script and make the film watchable. I wouldn’t recommend this DVD as something you’d want in your collection, but it’s worth a rental.
“Adam-12” Season Five
“Numb3rs” The Complete Series
“Raw: The Beginning” The Best of Seasons 1 & 2
“Trauma” Season One
“Minder” Season Three
© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.