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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > College > Sex > Plastic Surgery > Robbery > Kidnapping > Terrorism > Pizza > Pound Of Flesh (2010/Odyssey Blu-ray)/Rio Sex Comedy (2010/Film Buff/MPI DVD)/30 Minutes Or Less (2011/Sony Blu-ray)

Pound Of Flesh (2010/Odyssey Blu-ray)/Rio Sex Comedy (2010/Film Buff/MPI DVD)/30 Minutes Or Less (2011/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/C+/B-     Sound: B-/C+/B-     Extras: C+/C/C     Films: C+/C+/C



This latest group of comedies dealing with some serious subjects all miss the mark, but make for noteworthy viewing.



Tamar Simon Hoffs’ Pound Of Flesh (2010) has Malcolm McDowell as a very popular professor at a college with more gals than guys and though he is married and loves his wife, is involved in “helping” them in what turns out to be a scandalous way to get scholarships.  That is a secret until a strange murder takes place and then things become more and more interesting.  The cast is good and the makers have picked some very attractive women to fill the roles, but the film fall short when all is said and done, feeling like a lesser take on Pretty Maidens All In A Row (reviewed elsewhere on this site) but has enough interesting moments for those interested.  Needless to say the Penn State scandal will make this an odd one to watch, though this has no under-aged persons being used.  Extras include an on-camera McDowell interview, Making Of featurette, Trailers and interesting Outtakes, some of which should have stayed in the film.



Jonathan Nossiter’s Rio Sex Comedy (2010) has Charlotte Rampling as a plastic surgeon helping women out, hailing from Britain in Rio de Janeiro.  Of course, she is good, as is Bill Pullman as a U.S. Ambassador who runs away from his job in dangerous slums, Fisher Stevens as an opportunist all around and Irene Jacob as an anthropologist it a film that has its moments, but is more all over the place than a narrative film should be and despite the great scenery, I never found very funny.  Yes, it can be amusing, but it is too lite for its own good and if it thinks taking the Woody Allen route was a good idea, that was a bad idea as only Allen can be Allen.  For the very curious only, Bonus Scenes are the only extra.



Finally we have Ruben Fleischer’s 30 Minutes Or Less (2011), his follow-up film to the amusing Zombieland, but this time very, very loosely based on a sad, ugly incident where a man delivering pizza was kidnapped and had a bomb locked onto him if he did not rob a bank.  This is a comedy with Jesse Eisenberg playing the man, but this goes for high concept, gross, crude comedy early on to the point of overkill and that dooms what could have been an interesting dark comedy if the makers had the guts to go dark.  Instead, this starts that silly, gets sillier and never recovers, thinking going overboard id the only way to go.  Disappointing, it is a leave-your-brain-at-the-door piece at best, but could have been better, especially since co-stars Danny McBride, Aziz Andari, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena and Fred Ward give it all they got.  Too bad there was not more character development.  Extras include Blu-ray exclusive Picture-In-Picture Video Commentary by Eisenberg, McBride, Andari, Swardson and Fleischer, The Perfect Crime featurette and BD Live interactive functions, plus Outtakes, Blowing Up with the cast & crew and Deleted Scenes.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Flesh and 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Minutes are about the same, looking good, but not great as stylizing holds back otherwise good shoots and interesting locations, so these artistic choices do not pan out.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rio is softer as expected, yet it is often the most naturalistic of the three not ruining its location work.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Flesh and Minutes are dialogue-based and more towards the front speakers than I would have liked, but are consistent.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Rio is also dialogue-based and more towards the front speakers than I would have liked, but weaker still.


Needless to say they are all curios for their intended audience, so we’ll see what people have to say about them over the next few months as people catch up with them.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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