Lovers Lane
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Digital Divide: September 2010

| August 31, 2010

Look, It’s The City! Run!

So this is how marriage is: You’re together for awhile, squeeze out a few kids, and settle into a routine. You go to work, you come home from work, feed and clean up after said kids, and do it all over again the next day. It goes without saying that your best married friends will be splitting up, and they will let you know in no uncertain terms that it’s the best thing that ever happened to them, and you’re idiots for not doing it as well.

But if we’ve learned nothing else from Hollywood, it’s that a single night of wackiness and danger is all it takes to get the matrimonial bliss back in focus.

Such is the premise of Date Night, director Shawn Levy’s attempt to ape Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. Problem is, despite the able cast, it has none of the quirkiness and cleverness of Scorsese’s overlooked gem.

Steve Carell and Tina Fey play the aforementioned, woebegone couple, and instead of going to their usually weekly date-night retreat of suburban generic restaurant glory, they decide to venture into the big bad city. Of course, nothing good ever happens when you leave the cozy confines of the suburbs, but nobody ever seems to learn.

After snagging another couple’s reservation, the pair are accosted by two ne’er-do-well cops on the take. Seems the two who didn’t show up have stolen some incriminating stuff, and the bad guys want it back in the worst way. Naturally, they assume Carell and Fey are the culprits, and the hijinks ensue.

Along the way, they receive help from a shirtless Mark Wahlberg and encounter the real culprits, James Franco and Mila Kunis, in perhaps the film’s best turn.

Date Night continues the trend of two of TV’s most creative stars’ hit-and-miss relationship with the big screen. Carell, in particular, has shown he has the chops to make it work, but so far the misses have outweighed the hits.

The Blu-Ray doesn’t knock itself out with special features, although it does have an extended version of the flick. Not really sure that’s a good thing, but it’s there if you want it. You also get commentary from Levy, deleted scenes, and an outtake real.

Film: **1/2 Features: **


Has the comic-book movie really come to this? Now they’re not even waiting for them to be created and released before making the film version. Not surprising, really, since even the worst versions of what my grandmother used to call the “funny books” seems like a license to print money.

So here’s Kick-Ass, a fable that wonders what would happen if a normal comic-book geek (Aaron Johnson) decided to follow in the footsteps of his idols and become a hero called Kick-Ass.

Along the way, he inspires others to do the same, including Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Hey, it’s McLovin!), Chloe Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage (as perhaps the worst father in history). Of course, despite routinely getting the livin’ crap beat out of him, Kick-Ass does manage to do the impossible.

The main knock on the film was not only the over-the-top violence – it’s definitely not for the kiddies – but Moretz’s foul-mouthed 12-year-old character. To hear the naysayers tell it, it would single-handedly destroy the film business. But seriously, they said the same thing about Jodie Foster in The Bad News Bears, and she seems to have done all right. Granted, Foster never hacked off anyone’s limbs, but still . . .

The Blu-Ray comes with commentary by director Matthew Vaughn, behind-the-scenes features, and is loaded with BD Live and BD Touch bits.

Film: ** Features: ***

Also Available . . . Don’t be fooled by the title, but The Best Of Soul Train really isn’t. Sure, you get hits by artists such as Marvin Gaye, Barry White, and Sly & The Family Stone, but it’s really nothing you haven’t seen before. You would think that with the long history of “Soul Train,” they’d be able to go a bit deeper, but apparently not.

— Timothy Hiatt

Category: Columns, Digital Divide, Monthly

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