Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: Three New Releases We Absolutely Refuse to Watch
We love movies. Love, love, love them. We eagerly watch everything from the newest international releases to the best of classic cinema, torture porn to the whimsical fantasies, blow-everybody-up action thrillers to "You had me at Hello" romantic comedies. But there are some things we won't watch. And this week there are three such titles among the new releases. (We know everyone won't agree with our opinions here; all we can say is, easy bleeders to the left, please.)
We won't watch Guilt Trip. It reeks of overwrought sentimentally and lame "oh mom" jokes. Barbara Streisand appears as Joyce Brewster, a widow who takes a cross-country trip with her adult son Andy (Seth Rogen in a thankless role). Streisand, beautiful and talented, seems content in taking roles she can phone in (her performances in the 2004 Meet the Fockers and its unfortunate sequel, the 2010 Little Fockers leap to mind). Rogen, who along with Streisand produces, seems happy to sit in the reflected glory of his superstar co-star. Most of the time he seems to be waiting for a rimshot. And that's what's most offensive about Guilt Trip, it has great talents turning in less than great performances - on purpose!
At the time of the film's theatrical release, Village Voice film critic Chris Packham said, "The wisp of a plot serves as a platform for some strong comic dynamics, the only semi-important thing the film has to offer..."
We notice another Barbara Streisand release, Funny Girl is making its way to Blu-ray and Amazon Instant Video this week. Starring with super-suave Omar Sharif, Streisand won an Oscar for her performance as the head-strong, talented comedian Fanny Brice. That's a release we'd be happy to watch.
Up next on our "No! No! No!" list is Arnold Schwarzengegger's The Last Stand, his return to the big screen after his foray into politics. Schwarzenegger is Ray Owens, a 60-something sheriff in a tiny border town that's right in the path of a Mexican drug kingpin who's on the run. (Yawn.) Nothing personal, but Schwarzenegger seems a little long in the tooth to be going mano-a-mano with runaway prisoners. Forest Whitaker co-stars as an FBI agent also after the escapee. Sure, Whitaker has an Oscar to his credit (for his performance in the 2006 The Last King of Scotland) but we don't see much of those acting chops here.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand (and just about every other movie he ever made).
Rounding out our rejects list is 2010 The Runaways, making its way to Blu-ray. Taken from Cherie Currie's memoir, Neon Angel, this is the mostly true story of female punk rock musicians Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Currie (Dakota Fanning). This is an important story and we would have loved to have seen someone else - anyone else! - as Joan Jett, but there's Kristen Stewart in every shot, the poster child for moody, recalcitrant young female actors with more hair spray than sense. Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie was a bit of brilliant casting. Stewart as the spitfire Joan Jett fails miserably.