The Word Garage

The Word Garage

New on DVD & Blu-ray, Week of September 28: ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Get Him to the Greek’ and ‘Babies’

Action and comedy come to the fore this week as ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Get Him to the Greek’ arrive on DVD and Blu-ray. ‘Iron Man 2’ is, of course, the sequel that all Marvel fans have been waiting for; it’s pumped with action sequences and a story line that actually advances the main character’s motivations and development.

‘Greek’ is a comic take on the music business, with a young record company exec forced to babysit a raunchy rock store on his way to make a comeback concert appearance. Let’s not forget ‘Babies,’ a pleasing documentary look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world. And, to round out the week’s releases, there’s a Blu-ray edition of the granddaddy of all monster movies, ‘King Kong.’ ‘Iron Man 2’
What It’s About: Iron Man Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has a lot of problems: the government wants his Iron Man suit for weapons research, his palladium power supply is slowly killing him, his nasty competitor Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is dogging his heels, girl friend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, and resentful Russian science whiz Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has created super villain Whiplash to give Iron Man a run for his money. What’s a super hero to do? Pass the champagne.

It’s Kinda Like: ‘The Dark Knight’ meets ‘King of the Rocket Men’

What We Say: Sometimes you just gotta root for the villain — ‘specially when he really one-ups the hero. We were all for the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ and we kinda got behind Whiplash here — only if to knock some sense into Tony Stark/Iron Man. Despite all the interesting back story and political intrigue, the film only really takes off when Iron Man battles the robots. Next time, Marvel: more Scarlett Johansson/Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, please.
• Extras: The DVD is pretty sparse (with commentary and a few deleted scenes) but the Blu-ray version heaps on the behind-the-scenes-featurettes and an interactive “S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault.”
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue
Watch an Exclusive Clip from the ‘Iron Man 2’ DVD!

‘Get Him to the Greek’
What It’s About: What do you do with a fading rock star who’s last album was a bust and whose life has spiraled down into a mixture of drugs and booze? Why you book him on the ‘Today Show’ and get him a gig at the prestigious Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. And then try to get him from London to New York to Hollywood in three short days, fending off groupies, orgies, boozefests and general activities that surely signal the end of Western Civilization. That’s the premise behind ‘Get Him to the Greek,’ with talented shlub Jonah Hill as a record company exec tasked to get Brit rock star Aldous Snow (the talented snarky Russell Brand) to the Greek on time.

It’s Kinda Like: ‘Spinal Tap’ meets ‘American Pie’

What We Say: We like Hill and Brand but the pair have difficulty carrying this at-times-lumbering comedy that borders on the obscene; the movie seems to have a life all its own with or without the main leads. Chalk that success — part raunch, part music-biz industry satire, part slapstick — to Nicholas Stoller, who wrote and directed ‘Greek’ as well as directing 2008’s ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall.’ ‘Greek’ has its hilarious moments — but also an over indulgent focus on bodily fluids, gratuitous slang and sex — particularly the unrated version.
• Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray have deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, several featurettes, music videos and a funny promo for Sarah Marshall’s new TV series, ‘Blind Medicine.’ The Blu-ray adds cast auditions.
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue
Interview with ‘Get Him to the Greek’ Star Elisabeth Moss

What It’s About: This enthralling documentary tracks the first year in the lives of four babies from four different countries: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. It’s a fascinating study that reveals the differences and, more importantly, the similarities among human beings.

It’s Kinda Like: ‘March of the Penguins’ with kids

What We Say: This is a cute outing that’s part anthropological treatise, part travelogue, part cultural study. You’ll be hard-pressed to dislike any of the sequences in the film — babies are just so darn cute, no matter what country they’re from. Cuddle up with someone you love and while away a brief 80 minute adventure.
• Extras: “The Babies: Three Years Later” featurette.
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue

King Kong
Why the Re-Release? Warner Home Video has been taking great pains to plumb its catalog for classic films to turn into Blu-ray gems, and they’re added 1933’s ‘King Kong’ to the short list of legendary movies getting new high-def treatments (‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘North by Northwest,’ ‘Doctor Zhivago’). They’ve taken on the mighty Kong and sharpened up the picture (though there’s still a lot of grain and soft images due to the source material) and beefed up the mono soundtrack with DTS-HD Master Audio sound. This version, like the previous 2005 restoration, includes several gruesome scenes that were excised for later theatrical (and DVD) re-issues. It’s one of the greatest films of all times and a must for any home video collection.

Special Features: A commentary with special effects icon Ray Harryhausen, effects master Ken Ralston, actress Fay Wray and producer Merian C. Cooper; ‘RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World,’ and almost three-hour long, seven-part documentary on the making of the film; ‘I’m King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper,’ a fascinating featurette on the filmmaker-producer; ‘The Lost Spider Pit Sequence,’ a fabulous special effects sequence cut from the film.

Is It Worth Upgrading? This edition doesn’t add anything to the special features on the 2005 double-disc special edition — but it doesn’t come packed in a 32-page digibook with production photos, notes, and a background of director Merian C. Cooper. The image and sound is indeed better than the DVD, but the qualitative jump is not nearly as impressive as several recent, more modern films’ transformations into high-def. If you don’t have the 2005 edition, this version is a must. If you own that DVD special edition, you might want to put this on the backburner while you await some of the other fourth quarter Blu-ray releases.
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Other New September 28 DVD Releases:
‘Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema’watch an exclusive DVD clip!
‘Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinksy’
‘The Killer Inside Me ‘
‘Perrier’s Bounty’

Check out other new September 28 DVD releases at OnVideo.