Comedy from abroad packs a few gut-busters in camping trip
This week, we begin in Denmark: Klown (***) Rated R, 92 minutes. Now available on DVD.
This Danish comedy rolls along gathering a few laughs here and there until hitting a few spots that will leave you gasping for air while laughing.
Two seemingly misfit friends (comedy partners Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen) go on a camping and rafting trip. Frank plans on getting away from his wife so he can cavort at a brothel along the way. Casper has just been told by his girlfriend that she is pregnant, so he takes his young nephew along to prove his ability with children.
In an understatement, the trip proves eventful, as they encounter a youth group, the aforementioned brothel, a seemingly compliant hostess who turns out hostile, and more.
The disc holds a comprehensive 42-minute “making of” featurette.
People Like Us (***) Sam (Chris Pine) discovers he has a half-sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), only after his father dies. Their father’s will requests that Sam deliver a large sum of money to her. Instead of quickly fulfilling the task, Sam gets to know Frankie and her son without revealing his secret.
Sam’s hesitation provides both an impetus for the rest of the film as well as its biggest hindrance to believability. The rambling and often unfocused narrative by director Alex Kurtzman is mostly overcome by abundant humor and likable characters.
Rated R, 101 minutes. The disc comes in all formats and various combo packs. Supplements include two commentaries, a 14-minute “making of” featurette, 18 minutes of alternate and deleted scenes, an extended scene and more.
The Tall Man (***) Jessica Biel stars in this child abduction tale with a few chilling plot twists. She plays Julia, a nurse in a small town in the Pacific Northwest where a series of children have gone missing.
She fiercely guards her young son, while the locals blame a mysterious “tall man” for the kidnappings. When it looks like the locals have ganged up against her, writer-director Pascal Laugier throws in a few surprises while maintaining frightening atmospherics.
Rated R, 106 minutes. The disc includes a four-minute deleted scene and storyboard-type visuals.
Bait (**1/2) In this completely plausible scenario, a tsunami washes ashore and floods an Australian grocery store while a robbery is in progress, forcing everyone to take refuge on top of the aisles while an army of great white sharks swim around waiting for some fool to try and escape. What to do? Rated R, 93 minutes. Available in 3-D.
Weird-Noir: Six B-Movies — Girl on the Run, The Naked Road, The Seventh Commandment, Fear No More, Fallguy and Stark Fear These six minimalist features are, as the title suggests, one-time low-budget offerings that ended up as the second feature on a twin bill. The package of six, on two discs, includes lurid mysteries, crime dramas and more. In Girl on the Run (1953), look for a young Steve McQueen in one of his first screen appearances.
Note to Self (**1/2) Christian Keyes wrote the screenplay in which he stars as Curtis, a popular high school basketball player with a bright future. But he discovers, partly through a new love, that his plans can easily change.
Not rated, 100 minutes. The disc holds deleted scenes, bloopers, a music video and a “behind the scenes” featurette.
Vampire Dog (**) Kids might enjoy this story of 12-year-old Ace (Collin MacKechnie), who inherits his grandfather’s dog, Fang, a 600-year-old vampire voiced by funnyman Norm MacDonald. Some light chuckles, but mostly for the young ones. Not rated, 91 minutes.
Drunkboat (***) John Malkovich and John Goodman star in this enjoyable but slight shaggy-dog story about a soused reprobate (Malkovich) who returns to the home of his sister (Dana Delany) despite her reservations. Meanwhile, her son plans on buying a rickety boat from a shady dealer (Goodman).
Paths that have been crossed cross again in this talky amusement based on director Bob Meyer’s own stage play. Not rated, 98 minutes.
Cleanskin (***)Cleanskin, which would be a good name for an acne cream, stars Sean Bean as Ewan, a British secret agent who goes rogue to hunt down a terrorist (Abhin Galeya) hiding in London. Along the way, Ewan leaves a path of dead bodies only to end up with an unexpected target. Violent yet well paced.
Not rated, 107 minutes. The DVD includes a 23-minute “making of” featurette.
Strippers vs. Werewolves (**) The title says it all in this horror-comedy about a pack of London’s most vicious lycanthropic creatures facing off against the denizens of a local strip club. Played entirely over the top but with plenty of blood and silicone.
Not rated, 93 minutes. The DVD also offers an 11-minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette.
Cinderella: Diamond Edition (****) One of Disney’s most popular animated films returns in a spruced-up new edition, looking brighter and even more colorful than ever on Blu-ray. The familiar story sees Cinderella (voiced by Ilene Woods) going to the royal ball — in spite of her mean stepmother, and with timely help from some mice — and meeting Prince Charming.
Rated G, 75 minutes. The feature comes in many forms, including a six-disc jewelry box set, but also in three- and two-disc combos. Check labels, but depending on the version, an abundance of supplements are offered, including Disney’s Second Screen interactive feature, half a dozen games and activities, and more
And, finally, from our TV arrivals:
Portlandia: Season Two This unexpected hit, and Peabody Award winner, from IFC has gained a devoted following for the antics of comedians Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. Filmed entirely in Portland, Ore., with a revolving supporting cast. Ten episodes come on two discs.
Not rated, 220 minutes. Supplements include commentary, a tour of Seattle, an “Inside Portlandia” featurette, a deleted scene, the director’s cut of an episode, and more.
Magic City: The Complete First Season Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in this original Starz series drenched in atmosphere. Beginning in Miami Beach on Dec. 31, 1958, the day Fidel Castro triumphed in Cuba, the series sports the garish big-finned sedans of the era, a topical music score and brilliantly rendered wardrobes.
Morgan plays Ike Evans, owner and founder of the new Miramar Playa hotel. Each week, he deals with unions, the mob and a new influx of Cuban immigrants, not to mention Frank Sinatra and JFK.
Not rated, 419 minutes. Extras include a 14-minute “making of” featurette, eight minutes on “The Real Miami Beach,” and brief segments on the cars, sets, styles, music and more.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Dark Shadows, Red Lights, Sound of My Voice.