by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Just in time for Christmas (or whatever gift-giving holiday you choose to celebrate), two of the best-loved animated shows on television, The Simpsons and Futurama, have released new Blu-ray collections that are guaranteed to make lifelong fans happy over their holiday break. The 14th season of the long-running Simpsons — possibly the last really good, imaginative season — finds Marge getting breast implants, Homer going to rock ’n roll fantasy camp with Mick Jagger, Krusty making a run for Congress and the whole family becoming part of a reality show that forces them to live in 1800s conditions. Meanwhile, the Comedy Central-revived Futurama Volume 6 set contains 13 of the latest episodes of the satirical sci-fi show from Simpsons creator Matt Groening. In this set, Fry becomes a cop assigned to the “Future Crimes Division,” Leela hunts down a 4-D space whale, and the crew alters history when they travel back in time to the American Revolution. Fun stuff.
The French don’t get enough credit for being masters of the action film. Over the past decade, they’ve been delivering some of the most inventive and original slam-bang cinema, giving us powerhouse director and producer Luc Besson and franchises like District B-13. The latest to blow my house down is the frantically paced chase thriller Point Blank, a movie which, I am predicting now, will get an American remake starring Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington within two years. Nurse Samuel makes the mistake of stopping someone from killing a witness in ICU. The thugs kidnap his very pregnant wife and force him to abduct the witness in exchange. Dirty cops get involved and soon enough, Samuel is accused of being a cop killer, running around the city trying to find his wife who might go into labor any minute now. Point Blank is an absolutely perfect thriller, with so much tense action, your heart will race with Samuel’s every step.
No bones about it: I love America. It’s the greatest country on Earth, and I make no apologies for that belief. I also tend to enjoy movies that celebrate America. 20th Century Fox has released, on special edition Blu-rays, two highly regarded pro-America movies that will leave you with a right hand over your heart. First up is the Pearl Harbor retelling Tora! Tora! Tora! A co-production with Japan, Tora! recounts, in heartbreaking detail, both sides of the story and the events that led to it, featuring an all-star cast. On a lighter note, Stars and Stripes Forever is the musical biopic of John Philip Sousa, perhaps the most American musician since Toby Keith. He composed songs like “Semper Fidelis,” “The Liberty Bell” and the title cut. Played with patriotic gusto by Clifton Webb, Stars and Stripes is a fun family film that you could watch with your conservative grandma.