By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“How to Train Your Dragon” (PG) — The reason Dreamworks’ animated films don’t reach the same level of quality as Pixar’s is that all too often, the humor is derived from lame pop-culture references rather than from the characters’ personalities or their situation. In “How to Train Your Dragon,” Dreamworks has finally gotten it right and made an animated family film that is funny and heartwarming, with the same timeless, classic feel we get when watching, say, “Toy Story” or “Monsters, Inc.”
The film centers around a Viking boy named Hiccup who would rather tinker with his inventions than join his fellow Vikings in fighting the dragons that attack their village. One day Hiccup, using one of his inventions, accidentally brings down a young dragon. Instead of killing the beast, he befriends it and names it Toothless. Because humans and dragons are supposed to be mortal enemies, and this is a family film, it is mandatory that everyone must learn A Valuable Lesson About Friendship and Family.
I really liked this movie. The flying scenes are breathtaking, the voice acting by Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara and Craig Ferguson is well-done, and the film zips along at a jaunty pace. Check it out.
“The Hangover” (Extreme Edition) (R) — For cryin’ out loud, this movie has more versions than “Blade Runner.” This “Extreme Edition” is the third release of the film this year. What’s different? Nothing. It’s the same movie you saw in the theater, only this time it includes a 28-page book of racy photos from Stu’s camera and the “missing wedding album,” more outtakes and a gag reel and some other junk thrown in to separate rubes from their cash. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the movie was funny, but this DVD release is nothing but a shameless grab for more cash.
“Christmas Classics Gift Set” (Unrated) — Four classic TV holiday favorites: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Frosty Returns” are bundled in this affordable three DVD set (also available on Blu-Ray).
DOG OF THE WEEK
“Jonah Hex” (PG-13) — Not only is “Jonah Hex” the worst movie of the year, but at 72 minutes, it’s also the briefest (thankfully). Josh Brolin stars as the titular Hex, a cowboy with a mutilated face who’s out to avenge the brutal murder of his family — until President Grant recruits him to hunt down John Malkovich, an evil dude lookin’ to destroy the U.S. Capitol with a super weapon invented by Eli Whitney. For a comic-book movie that’s barely an hour long, you’d expect it to be wall-to-wall action. No dice. It’s mostly grizzled dudes standing around talking. BUT, despite this being boring for the most part, there is one scene that is actually uber-cool. Jonah Hex has the power to resurrect the dead. So in one scene, he kills a dude, immediately resurrects the bad guy and then PUNCHES HIM SO HARD THE BAD GUY EXPLODES INTO A BAJILLION WEE FLAMES. The movie is garbage, but that scene is totally badass.
“Dexter’s Laboratory” Season One
“Angel” Complete Series
“Dollhouse” The Complete Second Season
“C.S.I.: Miami” The Eighth Season
“The Tudors” The Final Season
“Ghost Whisperer” Complete Series
“In Treatment” The Complete Second Season
“Inspector Lewis” Series 3
“Ghost Whisperer” The Fifth Season
“Renegade” Complete Series
“Wolverine & X-Men” Complete Series
“Marcus Welby, M.D.” Season Two
© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.