A Bag Of Hammers (2010/MPI Blu-ray)/As Good As
It Gets (1997/Sony/TriStar/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Demoted (2011/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Meatballs (1979/Lionsgate Blu-ray)
B-/B/B-/B-†††† Sound: B-/B/B-/B-†††† Extras: C/B/C-/C†††† Films: C/B/C-/C
NOTE:† The As Good As It Gets Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies and is available exclusively at
the Screen Archives website which can be reached at the link at the end of this
some more comedy releases, including two older hits and two newer releases that
should have worked better than they did.
Cranoís A Bag Of Hammers (2010) has
Jason Ritter (back trying comedy) and Jake Sandvig as friends trying to make
money and keep their lives together, including some schemes and something about
valet parking, but the script co-written by the director is more interested in
one-liners and slice-of-life moments that donít work so this falls on its
actors.† Too bad this is all over the
place to add up to anything good, so a lack of concentration by the makers
sabotages another project.
have Rebecca Hall as Sandvigís sister, wanting to help a young boy (Chandler
Canterbury) without parental support and a mother (Carrie Preston in a somewhat
thankless role) too distracted by other things.†
It starts well, but in about 20 minutes starts to loose track of itself
then becomes like a bad TV sitcom and in the end is totally goofy and
unrealistic.† Too bad.
and Behind The Scenes featurette are the only extras.
some bad recent work by James L. Brooks, seeing As Good As It Gets (1997) again reminds us of how good he is when
he is in proper form.† I had not seen the
film in a while and more than a few eyebrows in the industry were raised when Sony
allowed Twilight Time to issue this big relatively recent hit as a Limited
Edition Blu-ray.† Jack Nicholson is a
writer of means with obsessive-compulsive disorder and very bad manners who
starts to become interested in waitress/mother Helen Hunt (both so good here) in
what becomes an awkward romantic comedy with an edge.
Greg Kinnear, Cuba
Gooding Jr. (in one of his rare actual acting roles), Skeet Ulrich (remember
him?) and Shirley Knight are among the fine supporting cast with a few surprise
turns we will not ruin, but the film holds up very well and is easily the best
comedy in this bunch.† It also makes me
miss Nicholson, one of our best actors who is not getting the roles he should
be, in part because young new directors are amazingly ignorant of talent or how
to make anything worth seeing.† It has
been 14 years since this was issued and is possibly a minor classic of
comedy.† Now you can see for yourself.
include an Isolated Music Score of Hans Zimmerís music (this excludes any hit
songs), the Original Theatrical Trailer and another booklet with illustrations
and Julie Kirgo essay.
Rogersís Demoted (2011) could have
been a funny comedy about disposability in the corporate workplace, but Office Space and Dilbert beat them too
it.† Sean Astin and Michael Vartan are
friends who work for an automotive tire manufacturer facing financial troubles
and needing more big sales when the boss they like dies, so the company starts
cutting their workforce and keeping the wrong people, while others suffer the
fate of the title.
land up with female secretaries and being party guys who still have frat boy
attitudes about women (which is not always convincing here anyhow), this dud
from some of the makers of American Pie
(yes, blame them for all those bad sequels, including the latest one) prove
lightning is never going to strike twice for them, especially when they are
doing a played-out comedy style that is long dead.† I will give Celia Weston credit for giving
the best performance and stealing all her scenes.† There are no extras.
we go back to 1979 for the oldest of the films, Ivan Reitmanís
leave-your-brain-at-the-door Canadian comedy Meatballs (1979) with Bill Murray, who almost did not make the film
and after 33 years is one of the only reasons it was a hit.† Never a big fan of this film, I had not seen
it in eons and was surprised how dated, flat and dull this was; how
unmemorable.† I even forgot this was
Chris Makepeaceís first film, but at the time, shenanigans at a summer camp had
not been done like this and it had its imitators that were worse.
However, Murray steals the show
acting wacky like no comic actor had before and he saves the film for what it
is.† This put Reitman on the map, which
allowed him to follow with two more Murray
hit: Stripes and Ghostbusters.† Since then, he has done much worse than this
film including Ghostbusters II, Junior, Kindergarten Cop (despite making money), Twins, Dave and
especially dreadful waste Legal Eagles.† This at least is not as pretentious and if
you have never seen it, you should see it once, but donít expect much.
include a Trailer Gallery and feature length audio commentary track by Reitman
and Co-Writer/Producer Dan Goldberg.
Blu-rays offer 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers, save the
1.85 X 1 image on Good, which is
easily the best-looking of the four films and lensed by Director of Photography
John Bailey, A.S.C.† Hammers and Demoted look
like and are HD shoots which have their share of motion blur, color limits and
detail issues.† Meatballs has a print that shows its age, though it does offer some
great demo shots a few times.† That
leaves Good with a recent transfer
from a nice 35mm source (only looking lesser in the opening credits) and much
like the 35mm print I saw in its original release.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Good is also superior to the same type of mix on Hammers, the DTS-MA 2.0 Mono on Meatballs and Dolby TrueHD 5.12 mix on Demoted.† While Good
has a solid soundfield throughout with good ambient sound, Zimmerís
well-recorded score and sound effects to go with its dialogue and jokes
throughout, Hammers and Demoted are not as well recorded, have
their dialogue too much towards the center channel and have inconsistent
soundfields.† Meatballs will likely never sound better unless the sound is
upgraded and the Elmer Bernstein score is a plus.
above, As Good As It Gets can be
ordered while supplies last at:
-†† Nicholas Sheffo