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You Have the Right to Remain Cool

Blu-Ray and DVD Releases: Man on a Ledge, Gone, and True Blood Season Four

Twenty years ago, Man on a Ledge would’ve been a near-perfect Harrison Ford vehicle, with lines such as, “This… this is my retrial!” and “I am an innocent man!” All it would have needed was a few lines where he’s looking for his wife and/or family and it would’ve been gold. Ford had mastered the art of infusing a film with star power gravitas and everyman bewilderment. He somehow simultaneously convinced you that his characters were in true peril, in way over their heads, and yet in complete control of the situation. Alas, twenty years have passed since twenty years ago (if my math is accurate) and so today this type of role is handed to the likes of Sam Worthington.  I find Worthington too nondescript as an actor to dislike him, but his characters never seem like they’re in danger or like they’re particularly savvy either. They’re just there.

Then again, the plot of Man on a Ledge is similarly just there, showing up for the participation trophy, not really trying to impress or make anyone care that it even exists. Hell, the hero is a man who was framed for a diamond-heist he didn’t commit. Not a murder or a kidnapping or suspected terrorism–the kind of thing a character would’ve been framed for back in the glory days of seedy suspense thrillers–but a diamond heist. By cinematic suspense standards, that’s pretty damn mundane. Not even the almighty menace of Ed Harris or the copious hotness of Génesis Rodríguez can rescue this plot synopsis from “Who-gives-a-shit”-ville.

As far as overzealous PG-13 whodunits go, Gone isn’t half bad. The verdict is still out on Amanda Seyfried’s capability as a leading woman. She’s a good actress but she kind of looks like some sort of automaton sent to infiltrate humanity. Her and Christina Ricci both look like they have summer homes in the Uncanny Valley. In a film like Gone, where Seyfried plays someone who authorities suspect is just some paranoid lunatic who sees serial killers in her cereal bowl, this works in her favor. The movie is a little too exuberant in dropping red herrings and misdirection to keep the audience guessing, but as softball serial killer mystery movies go, it’s reasonably entertaining.

On the TV front, there’s this crazy hit show that’s been running on HBO called True Blood that’s heading into Season Five this summer. Season Four hits shelves today, bringing with it Marnie’s surprising turn into a bit of a havoc-wreaking, surprisingly watchable psycho, courtesy of Antonia. The season ends with a pretty outstanding  20-cliffhanger pileup that includes a tease of the Season 5 return of everyone’s favorite spine-ripping vampire elitist. There’s also plenty of sex, some more sex, some sensuality, some adult situations and a dash of carnality thrown into the mix, for people who are into that sort of thing.

Other releases for Tuesday, May 29th: Goon, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Coriolanus, Royal Pains: Season Three – Volume Two

  • I need to get around to watching Goon. I’d heard surprisingly encouraging things about it when it was initially released, but hockey comedies tend not to rocket to the top of my “must see” list.
  • Not that a modern adaptation of a lesser-known Shakespearean play is going to get much run at the U.S. box office anyway, but the extremely limited release of Coriolanus had some pretty awful timing here in the states. Fresh on the heels of “Occupy Wall Street,” here comes the story of an anti-populist, anti-democracy, military aristocrat with whom audiences are meant to sympathize (if not agree). That’s the toughest sell since Qwikster.
  • I gave TNT the business last week for its generally awful, awful orignal programming. You might expect me to have the same feelings toward USA’s catalogue of gentle dramatic / comedic offerings, but nay, I do not. I have a soft spot for USA shows. I don’t watch any of them even semi-regularly, but if I’m flipping through channels and catch an episode of Royal Pains, In Plain Sight, White Collar, or Burn Notice fifteen minutes or less in, it’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll watch it through the end, find that I’ve been pleasantly entertained and tell myself, “You know, that’s a pretty good show, I should watch more often.” Then I completely forget about it. USA shows are like that reliable, tasty Chinese takeout joint down the street that you like, but never remember to order from until they come by a leave yet another flyer on your doorknob.

Next week: Denzel’s back with Safe House, Duane Johnson’s questionable decision-making continues as he stars in Journey 2, and what’s this… is the mega-flop John Carter coming to a Redbox near you already? Of course it is.

About J. Compton


J. Compton is a horror author whose stories have appeared in Pseudopod, Arkham Tales and other publications. He is co-creator of the BNC, and a generally cool dude. His short story collection Civilized Monsters is available now on Kindle.

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