This Week On DVD/BD: James Gunn and Rainn Wilson Get Super

Plus Paul, Your Highness, Fast Times on Blu and James Ellroy meets Barko

By , Columnist

I know, I know. The very idea of sitting through another superhero movie makes you want to swear off cinema forever. Well, to paraphrase the wisdom of Sylvester Stallone, if superhero movies are the disease, my Pick of the Week is the cure.

James Gunn’s Super (DVD/BD from IFC) casts Rainn Wilson as a lowly short-order cook who adopts the identity of the Crimson Bolt after his wife (Liv Tyler) falls into the clutches of drug lord Kevin Bacon. Ellen Page has one of her best roles to date as the comic book store clerk who insists on becoming Wilson’s sidekick, Boltie. Super is dark, funny, twisted, and violent but perhaps it’s most subversive element is its heart. Gunn has real affection for these characters and his movie is surprisingly moving. Even if you’re sick to death of superhero movies, give Super a chance.

Also new this week and aimed at the Comic-Con crowd, the extraterrestrial comedy Paul (DVD/BD from Universal) starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and the voice of Seth Rogen. Paul makes a nice double feature with the medieval stoner comedy Your Highness (DVD/BD from Universal) with Danny McBride, James Franco, and Natalie Portman. As usual these days, both movies arrive on disc with both the theatrical version and an unrated extended cut.

Other new releases this week include the animated Mars Needs Moms (DVD/BD/BD 3D from Disney) and the urban rom-com Jumping The Broom (DVD/BD from Sony). If you’re in the mood for a good documentary, check out Cameraman: The Life And Work Of Jack Cardiff (DVD/BD from Strand Releasing), a look at the remarkable career of one of the greatest cinematographers of all time.

New to Blu this week, Universal presents two classic coming of age comedies: Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Richard Linklater’s Dazed And Confused. Before picking up the latter, be aware that Criterion will be releasing their own BD version of Dazed And Confused on October 25, so you may want to be patient.

Speaking of Criterion, their Blu-ray edition of Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle Of Algiers arrives in stores today. Jim Jarmusch’s surreal western Dead Man starring Johnny Depp hits BD from Echo Bridge. And Disney continues to give their animated classics a high-def facelift with a 30th Anniversary edition of The Fox And The Hound that throws in the 2006 direct-to-video sequel for good measure.

For TV fans, BBC/Warner Home Video bring two more classic Doctor Who story arcs to DVD: The Sun Makers starring Tom Baker and Paradise Towers starring Sylvester McCoy. Children of the 80s can revisit one of their favorite cartoons with M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series (DVD from Shout! Factory). Car fanatics can rev their engines with Top Gear: The Complete Season 16 (DVD/BD from BBC/Warner). And Image Entertainment offers up seven collections of Forensic Files on DVD with such themes as Crimes Of Passion, Medical Mysteries, and Serial Killers.

Finally this week, Discovery brings one of the strangest true-crime TV series in many a moon to DVD with James Ellroy’s LA: City Of Demons. The L.A. Confidential novelist acts as tour guide to the seamy side of the City of Angels alongside an animated bull terrier named Barko. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to, folks. You just have to see it to believe it.

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Adam Jahnke has been writing about film since age 13, when he began foisting a self-published newsletter on friends and family (copies of which are now mercifully lost to the ages). In 2000, he joined the staff of the highly respected DVD website The Digital Bits, where he continues to serve as columnist…

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