DVD reviews: 'Rush,' 'Bad Grandpa' and 'Treme: The Complete Series'
“Rush” (2013, R, 123 min., $29.98) There have been a few good racing movies over the years, but the majority of them can't be placed in the sports genre. “Rush” is an exception, as it tackles the rivalry between Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Directed by Ron Howard, it's an exhilarating film that grabs viewers from the start. Perfectly filmed by the director, the race scenes are breathtaking, and the action off the track is just as exciting. Chris Hemsworth turns in a suitable performance as Hunt, while Daniel Bruhl plays Lauda in one of the finest acting achievements of 2013. As a filmmaker, Howard has made a ton of notable films, but “Rush” deserves a place near the top of his impressive resume. The picture follows the pedal-to-the-metal competition between the hard-partying playboy Hunt and the businesslike Lauda, as they square off through the minor leagues of open-wheel racing all the way to the top of Formula One. The pic's fair to both racers, capturing their approaches on and off the track.
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (2013, R, 91 min., $29.99) The fourth installment in the Jackass Film Series is much different than its predecessors, as it carries with it a storyline and not just a bunch of cringe-worthy stunts. Best classified as a comedy that employs a hidden camera, “Bad Grandpa” follows an older gentleman named Irving (Johnny Knoxville) who's tasked with driving his grandson across the country after his daughter is thrown in jail. Irving and Billy (Jackson Nicoll) are on their way to Raleigh, N.C., where Billy's deadbeat father awaits. Irving is a miserable old pervert and spends most of the trip ignoring his grandson, getting drunk and trying to pick up women. As the trip progresses, though, Irving develops a soft spot for Billy, and he grows quite fond of the boy. Comparable to the work of Sacha Baron Cohen in its hidden-camera work, “Bad Grandpa” has plenty of uneasy moments, but it delivers some gut-busting laughs. Some of it's repetitive, and it holds the film back from being a must-see comedy.
“Treme: The Complete Series” (14 discs, 36 episodes, $134.99) Former crime reporter David Simon is largely known for “The Wire,” the spectacular HBO crime-drama series set in Baltimore. “Treme,” Simon's second series with HBO, is a real gem, but it wasn't able to generate the momentum of “The Wire” because of its slow-moving storyline. Set in New Orleans, “Treme” unfolds soon after Hurricane Katrina, when the Louisiana city was trying to pick itself up. Like “The Wire,” it focuses on a handful of residents, and ties their stories together as the characters move forward. Musicians, chefs, police officers and real estate developers are just some of the players. Solidified by strong writing, a tremendous cast — Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, Melissa Leo, David Morse, Clarke Peters, Rob Brown, John Goodman, Steve Zahn and Kim Dickens — and, most importantly, some unique Big Easy music, “Treme” is a series worth watching.
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” (2013, PG, 95 min., $30.99) Picking up where the wildly popular 2009 animated film left off, this new adventure finds inventor Flint Lockwood trying to shut off his invention, which turns water to food. Flint's creation is now creating animal-food hybrids, and humanity is at risk. Bill Hader and Anna Faris lend their voices.
“Last Vegas” (2013, PG-13, 105 min., $30.99) Four old buddies (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) decide to head to Vegas after the sworn bachelor of the group proposes to his young girlfriend. Upon hitting the Strip, the four fogies decide to relive their glory years, which only leads to a strengthening of their friendship.
“A Perfect Man” (2013, R, 95 min., $24.98) Liev Schreiber and Jeanne Tripplehorn assume lead roles in this film from Kees Van Oostrum about a womanizer who's tossed out by his wife for cheating on her, yet again. James (Schreiber) has tons of regrets about the breakup, and wants to get back with Nina (Tripplehorn), but she will have the final word.
“Bonnie & Clyde” (2013, NR, 240 min., $45.99) It's not Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, but Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger provide solid performances in this miniseries that originally ran on the History Channel, Lifetime and A&E. The film follows the lives of the outlaw couple, as they run roughshod across America on their legendary crime spree.
“Argento's Dracula” (2012, NR, 110 min., $24.98) Italian Dario Argento, a longtime director of horror films, puts his spin on the legendary character of Dracula in a film that has the Count attempting to lure away a lovely woman who resembles his lost Countess. Unfortunately, a vampire expert arrives at the same time, and it could foil Dracula's plan.
“1” (2013, NR, 112 min., $19.99) Paul Crowder directs this fast-paced documentary that examines the Formula 1 racing circuit. A long list of drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Mario Andretti and Sir Jackie Stewart, discuss, in detail, the golden age of F1, and the dangers that were present for them.
“Collision” (2012, R, 101 min., $19.98) Frank Grillo and Jamie Alexander star in this thriller written and directed by David Marconi about a honeymoon gone horribly wrong. Off in Morocco, Scott and Taylor, a couple of newlyweds, head off on a trip through the Sahara. After an accident, they find themselves stranded in the middle of the desert with no way home.
“Six Million and One” (2011, NR, 93 min., $24.95) Documentary filmmaker David Fisher and his siblings retrace the steps of their late father, a Holocaust survivor. The documentary takes the group through Austria and back to the U.S., where they get the opportunity to meet the American World War II veterans that helped to liberate their father from the camp.
“Old Goats” (2010, NR, 91 min., $29.95) Taylor Guterson wrote and directed this feature that follows three older guys enjoying themselves in the sunset of their lives. Britt, Bob and Dave each face different hurdles in their lives, but handle them in their own unique ways. And to those in their lives that don't understand their decisions, they could care less.
“April Fools” (1969, NR, 94 min., $19.99)
“The War Between Men and Women” (!972, PG, 104 min., $19.99)
“Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying those Terrible Things About Me?” (1971, R, 108 min., $19.99)
TV ON DVD
“Downton Abbey: Season 4” (three discs, nine episodes, $49.99)