Girls – The Complete First Season (2012/HBO Blu-ray w/DVD)/Heavy Weights (aka Heavyweights/1995/Disney
Blu-ray)/Why Stop Now (2012/IFC/MPI
B- (Girls DVDs: C) Sound: B- & C+/B-/B- Extras: B-/D/C Main Programs: B-/D/C
might be slipping a bit now, Judd Apatow and the comedy of humiliating personal
moments has well marked the current cycle of comedy, though new comedy styles
and ideas are starting to show up. The
following Blu-ray releases show the influence, rise and fall of that Apatow
Girls – The Complete First Season (2012) is a pleasant surprise of
a cable TV comedy about young adults trying to find happiness, sex, fun and
some semblance of a future as created by Lena Dunham, whose independent feature
film comedy Tiny Furniture was
recently released by The Criterion Collection.
it its vein and with some interesting intersections to the Apatow style (he is
co-producer of this series) we get a well-written, well-acted, ongoing tale of
four young women, the lives they have, their expectations, disappointments and
the men who might help or hold them back.
At first, the early episodes seem like much of what we have seen before,
but as I stuck with the show, things started to snowball and become more interesting. By the end of the ten episodes that make up
the debut season, I was surprised how well everything melded to tell the
stories and when so much could have gone wrong, Dunham and company really pull
of a good show.
casting is great all around, with cross chemistry impressive and what you need
for such a show to work. It never
becomes a soap opera and I hope it becomes a huge hit in a way I also felt
about another show that was so good and not enough people watched it at first: The Big Bang Theory. Though it is a very different show, it is
still a comedy and has as many interesting characters throughout, but is also
far more down-to-earth, as well as a show that does the rare job of dealing
with sexually graphic situations and material in an honest way that only adds
to the narrative. See it!
the slipcase packaging include a Digital Copy for PC, PC portable devices and
iTunes capable devices, a nicely illustrated booklet on the show with some
amusing text, a DVD version of the series, plus the discs themselves add five
episode audio commentary tracks with various actors and behind-the-scenes
people, plus Dunham and Apatow, Table Reads, Fresh Air! interview
segment to promote the show, Inside The
Episodes pieces, Cast Auditions, Making Of featurette, a Gag Reel in two
parts, Deleted & Extended Scenes and two separate on camera interview
clips: one with “The Girls” and the other with Apatow and Dunham.
1995, Apatow tried to make the jump from TV to feature films co-writing the
hideously bad Heavy Weights (also
listed as one compound word) with an unfunny Ben stiller as the head of a
summer camp for heavy set boys and even Tim Blake Nelson turning up cannot save
this horrid mess. A young Kenan Thompson
being here will make this an additional curio, but the script is awful and
worst of all, it was directed by one of Hollywood’s
Brill is the kind of robotic, soulless helmer who has made so many bad movies
that one can loose track. This was a dud
and his debut film, yet the one-time character actor was hired to make more
awful films like Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Without A Paddle (or is that without a script?) and the inept Drillbit Taylor. Guess he gets hired so studios can have big
tax write-offs, because he has no business being behind any camera, even a
surveillance camera. If anything, his
whole career is like a guide on how not to do narrative motion pictures. He sadly has two more films supposedly in
production, but if they fail miserably, he should go to director’s jail and
back to acting permanently.
inexplicable extras here sadly include 30 rightly Deleted & Extended
Scenes, a feature length audio commentary track with more people than it needed
to have (none of whom can explain why this is a disaster), an Original
Theatrical Trailer and five additional featurettes including a boring Making Of
one that is one of the worst I have ever seen in home video history!
we have Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner co-writing, co-directing and failing to
make funny a new feature called Why Stop
Now (2012) with Jesse Eisenberg yet again playing another guy with some
heart in a bad situation trying to make his life better but facing bad odds in
making things happen. He has a sister
who complain all the time, a mother (Melissa Leo) who is addicted to drugs and
cannot stop and the has to deal with her pusher (a flat Tracy Morgan almost
laughably bad and over the top as a ghetto-wise dealer who thinks he knows it
all, causing any potential this had to collapse).
(Eisenberg) is also a talented pianist with great talent, but he is now also
becoming an alcoholic on some level, so we get 88 minutes of this including yet
more character voiceover work by Eisenberg that he has done one too many times. Though Judd Apatow is not involved, this film
would not have been greenlit without his many hits and Eisenberg being cast
just confirms that. Despite the talent
and potential, it just never works and that’s a shame because Eisenberg is a
good actor as is Leo. Ultimately, the
Dorling/Nyswaner team got in each other’s way and the result is disappointing.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer, Making
Of featurette and interview with Morgan that is flat.
Blu-ray offer 1080p digital High Definition image transfers with three
different aspect ratios (Girls at
1.78 X 1, Heavy at 1.85 X 1, Stop at 2.35 X 1), but all are of equal
quality with some good shots, some soft shots and some motion blur, though Girls narrowly is the best performer
and also has better image performance that the passable anamorphically enhanced
1.78 X 1 image presented on its DVD version.
also offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes with somewhat
inconsistent soundfields, though they all can claim to be somewhat
dialogue-based, Heavy shows its age
and Stop some budget limits. The Girls
DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on their episodes which are weaker than the
DTS on the Blu-rays.
- Nicholas Sheffo