Video Verdict: New DVDs for Feb. 24

Ashley Schneider is a baaad girl in "Extreme Movie."

Ashley Schneider is a baaad girl in "Extreme Movie."

It’s not spring yet, but DVD manufacturers have love — or at least sex — on the brain. This week’s crop of new releases features two teen sex comedies, a minor-league horror film and a direct-to-DVD cartoon for adults.

 

Sex Drive
3 stars (out of four)
DVD contains rated and unrated versions of the film. The rated version received an R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, language, some drug and alcohol use — all involving teens
Summit Entertainment
Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray

While it doesn’t offer anything new, “Sex Drive” is a surprisingly funny teen sex comedy.

The focus is on Ian (Josh Zuckerman), a skinny but well-meaning nerd who has convinced an online gal pal that he’s a buffed-up football star. When she suggests they hook up, Ian’s smooth-talking buddy Lance (Clarke Duke) insists they take a road trip to meet her.

Thanks to some unfortunate events, Ian’s longtime friend Felicia (Amanda Crew) ends up accompanying the boys and giving their road trip a heavy dose of femininity. Fans of movies like “Porky’s,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Superbad” and the “American Pie” films won’t find anything inventive about “Sex Drive,” but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it.

Zuckerman, Duke and Crew are affable performers, and they receive an able hand from the always outstanding James Marsden and Seth Green, the latter playing a world-wise Amish handyman. The gags are often over-the-top, but they’re also funny. And, like every good sex comedy, the movie has a sweet and romantic underbelly.

DVD extras include a making-of feature, a bit about Marsden and a filmmaker’s commentary.

 

Extreme Movie
1 star
Unrated
Dimension Extreme
Available Tuesday on DVD

If we use “Sex Drive” as an example of a good sex comedy, “Extreme Movie” is the perfect foil.

Brash, plodding and relentlessly unfunny, the movie is one part feature and one part sketch comedy vehicle. The loosely tied story focuses on several high school kids exploring their sexuality, but the film frequently cuts to bits that have little to do with the overall plotting. One recurring sequence, for instance, features Matthew Lillard (as himself) giving bad sex advice. Another involves a fantasy sequence where a beloved sex toy develops a personality and becomes jealous when its owner latches onto a real girl.

The structure is unusual, but that’s not the problem. The real trouble with “Extreme Movie” is that none of the gags are very funny despite a cast that includes Michael Cera, Jamie Kennedy and Frankie Muniz.

DVD extras include a making-of feature and a commentary with co-directors Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.

 

The Haunting of Molly Hartley
2 stars
Rated PG-13 for strong thematic material, violence and terror, brief strong language and some teen drinking
20th Century Fox
Available Tuesday on DVD

A good horror film requires more than spooky music and an assortment of scenes designed to make viewers jump. But that’s all director Mickey Liddell could muster for “The Haunting of Molly Hartley.”

The film focuses on Molly (Haley Bennett), a 17-year-old girl dealing with post-traumatic stress because her mother attempted to kill her in what most people think was a fit of insanity. Because Molly has begun hearing things and seeing disturbing images, she wonders if she too is going insane, but her father (Jake Weber) assures her that she’s fine.

In the midst of this stress, Molly is also attempting to adapt to a new school where a popular athlete is courting her but the only girl who gives her the time of day is a religious zealot (Shanna Collins). Plus, Molly has this nagging feeling that her problems are deeper than stress … and she may be right.

As second-tier horror films go the setup is respectable, but the third act is rushed and messy, throwing major plot twists at the audience with little buildup or consistency. The result is a hurried picture that isn’t satisfying or haunting.

DVD extras are limited to the theatrical trailer and a handful of cast and crew interviews.

 

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
2 1/2 stars
Unrated
20th Century Fox
Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray

“Into the Wild Green Yonder” is a bittersweet offering for “Futurama” fans because it is very likely the final story in the animated comedy franchise. The last of four planned direct-to-DVD efforts, it sees Leela become an eco-terrorist in an effort to prevent a greedy businessman from demolishing much of the Milky Way.

At the same time, a bizarre accident allows Fry to read people’s minds, and he uses those powers for noble and not-so-noble purposes. Finally, there’s a subplot in which the robot Bender strikes up a romance with a fembot wedded to the head of the robot mafia.

As with all “Futurama” stories, the movie is littered with pop culture references and the jokes are acidic and generally smart. “Green Yonder” does not, however, represent the best “Futurama” has to offer. Personally, I prefer the previous movie, “Bender’s Game.”

Still, the familiar characters and enjoyable old-school animation should be enough to keep long-time fans satisfied.

The many DVD extras include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, a bit on how to draw “Futurama” characters, 3-D animation models, and an audio commentary with the filmmakers.

 

ALSO OUT TUESDAY

“What Just Happened”: Robert De Niro stars as a harried movie producer doing his best to balance a complicated personal life with a career that’s in constant crisis. This unusual dramedy was directed by Barry Levinson (“Rain Man,” “Wag the Dog”), and De Niro is joined by Hollywood heavyweights Robin Wright Penn, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis and Sean Penn.

“Ironweed”: The Great Depression must be on everyone’s mind because this 1987 drama has been awaiting a DVD release for years. Set during that Depression, the film stars Jack Nicholson as an alcoholic who abandoned his family. Meryl Streep adds to the star power by playing Nicholson’s long-time girlfriend and drinking buddy. The well-regarded film was directed by Oscar nominee Hector Babenco.

“The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice”: Noah Wyle is back for the third installment of this Indiana Jones-like TV movie series. This time librarian Flynn Carsen (Wyle) finds himself in New Orleans on an adventure that could lead him to the infamous Vlad Dracula.

“Hell on Wheels”: Documentary about a group of Austin, Texas, women who helped rejuvenate the sport of roller derby. Directed by Bob Ray.

The Spy Collection: Fourteen-DVD set featuring episodes of the spy- and detective-themed television series “The Prisoner,” “The Persuaders!” “The Protectors” and “The Champions.” Presented by A&E Home Video.

“The Universe” Collector’s Set: Also from A&E, this massive set features every episode from the first two seasons of History’s “Universe” television series, plus the stand-alone show “How the Earth Was Made” and the A&E miniseries “The Planets.”

“My Wife & Kids” — Season 1: Damon Wayans’ sitcom about a suburban dad (Wayans) raising his family in Connecticut is finally available on DVD. Tisha Campbell-Martin stars alongside Wayans.

“The Moon & the Stars”: Direct-to-DVD effort starring Alfred Molina as a Jewish filmmaker trying to complete a major picture with World War II looming. Further complicating things is the fact that his leading lady (Catherine McCormack) is German and his leading man (Jonathan Pryce) is English.

 

— Forrest Hartman is an independent film critic whose byline has appeared in some of the nation’s largest newspapers. E-mail him at Forrest@ForrestHartman.com.

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6 Comments

Filed under Video Verdict

6 responses to “Video Verdict: New DVDs for Feb. 24

  1. What is your favorite caracter in toy story ?

    Like

  2. I suppose I’m a Woody or Buzz Lightyear guy.

    Like

  3. Ali

    sex dog girl

    Like

  4. shah

    that is very prefect girl!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  5. shah

    I like it evry much.

    Like

  6. Pingback: 2010 in review |

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