DVD Corner: ‘Supernatural: Third Season’

Posted Nov. 14, 2008, at 8:21 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:02 a.m.

“Blue Streak” Blu-ray: In this bleak comedy, Martin Lawrence is Miles Logan, a burglar who bungles a diamond heist, spends two years in prison, then, when released, goes back to reclaim the $17 million diamond he hid in a building’s air duct. Beyond his stupidity, the problem is that the building in question has since become a police precinct, which immediately puts “Blue Streak” on a red-hot course of predictability: Naturally, Martin will pose as a police detective to get the diamond back. Shenanigans ensue. As thin as the film’s premise is, what throws it into the drink is the decision to pair Martin opposite Luke Wilson, whose lackluster performance joins the movie in being one many will want to forget. Rated PG-13. Grade: D

“8 Mile” Blu-ray: The title hails from the stretch of highway that divides the racially mixed inner city of Detroit from its predominantly white, middle-class suburbs. On a map, it’s an area about the size of a postage stamp; economically, it might as well be a continent away. On the surface, “8 Mile” seems to promise a story that will transcend that gap, but it doesn’t, at least not completely. Set in 1995, the film stars Eminem as a scrappy 20-something nicknamed Bunny Rabbit who aspires to get away from his boozy mother (Kim Basinger) and become a rap star. Considering he’s white, that’ll be difficult to pull off in this town, but with the help of his best friend, Future (Mekhi Phifer), and his new girlfriend, Alex (Brittany Murphy), he has the support he needs even if he doesn’t have the self-confidence to succeed immediately. Like so many scenes in this unusually timid movie, the rap contest that closes the film is engaging but not electrifying. As an actor, Eminem has presence to spare, but the film doesn’t allow him to fully capture the rage that defines so much of his work; it homogenizes him. Rated R. Grade: C

“I Dream of Jeannie: Complete Series”: Pure male fantasy — though for kitsch, it’s tough to beat this ’60s throwback, especially now that the entire series is available in funky packaging (a cardboard version of Jeannie’s bottle). Forget Christina Aguilera. The only genie worth her salt is Barbara Eden, even if the censors did make her cover her navel. What the series had in spades was the increasingly combative chemistry between Eden and Larry Hagman’s Capt. Tony Nelson, the astronaut who found her washed up on a beach in Cocoa Beach, Fla., only to take her home because, hey, she was hot in those pink pantaloons. After years of bickering, it wasn’t until the final season that Jeannie finally married her master. Just typing the words “finally married her master” feels otherworldly, but those were the times in which the show existed. This was, after all, the ’60s, free love was brewing along the horizon, and this show was running toward it, happily skewering elements of the past while kicking most of them to the moon. Grade: A-

“Lucky Number Slevin” Blu-ray: A violent, diverting stunt headlined by an A-list cast, little more than style over substance. But what style — and what a lack of substance. Here is a movie in which the wallpaper should have received a credit. Every room and every hallway in “Slevin” is papered with such intricate patterns, you don’t have to be the freshest flower in the arrangement to get the director’s drift. Patterns increasingly fold in on themselves, with the double-talking characters blending inward until there ceases to be a meaningful center. It’s due to the strength of the acting, which is excellent, and the peculiar situations that the movie is as entertaining as it is. Stars Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Stanley Tucci, Danny Aiello and the indefatigable Lucy Liu, who is terrific. Rated R. Grade: B

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“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” DVD, Blu-ray: Follows its 2005 predecessor in that it’s not really about pants at all. They’re just a hook for something deeper amid a story that, this time out, feels as familiar as a favorite pair of jeans. Structurally, little has changed. The series remains a coming-of-age story about four young women going through their share of growing pains, with the pants in question serving as a catalyst that connects their adventures over the course of an eventful summer, which they spend apart. The major difference here is that each now is in college and they have a host of other issues to deal with, not the least of which is boys. America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn reprise their roles in a movie stuffed with so many life lessons and tears you expect it to come apart at the seams. But it doesn’t. The film mines all of the ensuing potholes and pitfalls with a quick pace and not a trace of cynicism. In the end, it comes down to this: That a movie about pants features a story that works hard to skirt formula is an irony worth savoring. Rated PG-13. Grade: B

“Star Trek: Original Series, Season Three (Remastered)”: It never gets old. That’s the thing about the original episodes of “Star Trek,” which Paramount has just released in a fully remastered third and final season, so bright and clear Trekkies might faint at the quality of the crisp print. Also enhanced are the special effects, which have been updated, though not at the cost of the show’s tongue-in-cheek charm. The 1968-69 season was memorable, featuring such episodes as “Plato’s Stepchildren,” best known for featuring television’s first interracial kiss, as well as “Spock’s Brain” and “And the Children Shall Lead” to “The Lights of Zetar” and “All Our Yesterdays.” Set your phasers to stun, because that’s pretty much the effect these remastered episodes will have on fans. Grade: A

“Supernatural: Third Season” Blu-ray: Delivers what its title promises and then it goes a step further — it improves upon the very good season that came before it. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles return as Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers working through a traumatic past — their mother was viciously killed by a monster in the first season. Now, the family business is in hunting down ghosts, particularly the elusive one who killed their mother. What ensues is supernatural at every turn, with this season focused on the ramifications of what it meant for Dean to sell his soul to the devil at the end of the previous season in an effort to save Sam’s life. The consequences prove dire, with hell initially held at bay until — that’s right — all hell naturally breaks loose. Grade: B

WeekinRewind.com is the site for Bangor Daily News film critic Christopher Smith’s blog, DVD giveaways and archive of movie reviews. Smith’s reviews appear Mondays, Fridays and weekends in Lifestyle, as well as on bangordailynews.com. He may be reached at Christopher@weekinrewind.com.

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