Red Hook Summer (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 3 (OUT OF 10)
When I heard that Spike Lee would be reprising the role of Mookie from his breakthrough film Do the Right Thing in this film, I got excited. I was interested in seeing what had become of the pizza delivery boy who threw a garbage-can through Sal's Pizzeria's window.
Well, dammit ... Spike just does a walk-on in his latest film, carrying a pizza box and still saying "Hell no!" to people pitching their wares or religion. Apparently, Mookie still works for Sal, so there must've been some major compromises after the events of Do the Right Thing. I think he should've been fired for the garbage-can incident. It was a dick move.
This film isn't about Mookie. It's actually about a rather drab kid named Flik (Jules Brown), sent to stay with his religious fanatic grandfather (Clarke Peters) in Brooklyn for the summer. Mookie is still delivering pizzas in Brooklyn, but he's not stopping to really talk. His appearance is just a stunt.
We get little Mookie, and too much Flik. Brown is not a charismatic actor, and being that he is the center of the film, the movie lands with a thud. Peters has his moments delivering fiery sermons in his little church, but it's the sort of thing you have seen before.
There's a big plot twist toward the end that further derails an already listless film. The movie, until then, is lighthearted and simple. When the film takes its big shift, it feels very weird. Just what Lee is trying to say with this movie is a mystery, and his string of narrative duds continues. I miss the guy who used to write great films.
However, Lee's Michael Jackson documentary, Bad 25, also came out this year, and it's quite good. So 2012 wasn't a total loss for Spike.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a behind-the-scenes featurette and a commentary with Spike Lee. The commentary is the best thing about the disc.
Men in Black 3 (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 6.25 (OUT OF 10)
I enjoyed this one even more the second time. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones put on the black suits for their first mission in a decade, and it's good to have them back.
The story involves Smith's Agent J going back to 1969 (the year of the Miracle Mets) and trying to save a young Agent K (Josh Brolin, hilarious as a young Jones) from a disgusting killer alien named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). Emma Thompson also joins the party as Agent O, replacing Rip Torn's Zed as the big boss.
Some of the time-travel logic is a bit nutty, but you won't care if you are a fan of Smith in top form. His rapport with Brolin is just as good as his rapport with Jones. And getting Brolin for the role is some of the year's most-perfect casting.
The Cape Canaveral finale is a real winner, as is the leap off of the Chrysler Building. There were all sorts of problems making this movie, but it doesn't really show in the finished product. After the lousy Men In Black 2, this is a strong sequel that I hope will pave the way for more chapters.
SPECIAL FEATURES: There's a stand-alone making-of featurette, as well as a look at the re-creation of 1969 for the film, a gag reel and an examination of the special effects. They're well done and worth your time.
The Bourne Legacy (Blu-ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
BLU-RAY GEEK FACTOR 5 (OUT OF 10)
Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon at the center of the Bourne franchise, and the studio should've just left well enough alone.
The events of this movie take place at the same time as Damon's last Bourne outing, The Bourne Ultimatum. We know this because Matt Damon's character is mentioned on occasion, and his image shows up during TV news telecasts. It's just a reminder of how much more fun the franchise was with Damon starring.
Renner plays Aaron Cross, who, like Damon's Bourne, is part of a superagent experiment. He's a superstrong, supersmart agent thanks to some magic drugs and outlandish writing. Renner is a decent enough actor, but he's no Matt Damon. Consequently, Aaron Cross is no Jason Bourne.
Edward Norton is new to the series as a suspicious retired colonel, and Rachel Weisz is cast as well. Both barely register. Yes, the Bourne movies made a lot of money, but when Damon basically refused to soldier on, it would've been a good idea to let things lie for a while. This one feels rushed and unimportant.
There was some talk of Damon and Renner teaming for a future chapter. I'm doubting that will ever happen, but it's not a bad idea. Damon needs a hit, and Renner needs some help.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a director's commentary with Tony Gilroy, deleted scenes and some making-of featurettes.