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Teenage fleabag: Fox still charms in new DVD release of 'Teen Wolf'

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Preston Barta

Teen Wolf

Rated PG, 91 minutes.

Available today on Blu-ray exclusively through shoutfactory.com.

3.5 stars out of 5

Teen Wolf is a movie that you may remember being cool back in 1985. It features Michael J. Fox as a werewolf teen named Scott Howard. He knows how to shoot some hoop, ride atop cars like surfboards, capture the interest of the most popular girls at school, and have every dude around envious of his abilities. Over the years, however, the movie has lost some appeal. While it still contains a clever representation of the change we all go through heading into adolescence, there's some silliness that eats at its core.

The film tells the basic story that mixes elements from teen coming-of-age films with sports cliches, all while throwing in some werewolf legend to shake things up. It does a lot of what you expect it to do, ending with a moral lesson during its sporting climax that you can be sniffed out a mile away.

Teen Wolf is never really that funny, but it does have a particular charm that makes it fun to watch. A big reason for this is Fox, who is a personable actor that's believable as both as a popular and unpopular high school kid. He wears the role well and works well opposite Boof (a great Susan Ursitti), a close friend that has the hots for him. Their chemistry is infectious.

Extras: The Scream Factory Collector's Edition release includes a new comprehensive documentary about the development of the film, a making-of that features interviews with the cast and crew, a still gallery and original theatrical trailer.

Teen Wolf Too (1/2) - For everything Teen Wolf gets right, its extremely lazy sequel gets horribly wrong. As much as I like Jason Bateman today with his dry sense of humor, his style wasn't fully developed before the 1987 release of Teen Wolf Too.

Bateman fills out the fur for Fox's Howard, playing his cousin Todd. Instead of him completely redoing what Fox did in the first film, Todd is placed in college and is taking on a different sport: boxing. Unfortunately, everything else is the exact same -- only worse, more boring and way less fun.

Even with all Scream Factory's outstanding packaging and extras, this is a difficult one to recommend, unless you're a completionist collector. Otherwise, better let this sad dog lie.

Rated PG, 95 minutes.

Extras: The Scream Factory Collector's Edition release includes many, many different interviews with select members of the cast and crew, along with a still gallery.

Alien: Covenant (1/2) - There was a time when the Alien franchise was dead simple. There were no engineers or infectious black goo, and we certainly didn't know where this drooling extraterrestrial species came from. For original Alien director Ridley Scott, he wanted to take his beloved series to a new, thought-provoking level. And while he attempted to do that with 2012's prequel of sorts (Prometheus), Alien: Covenant sees Scott asking profound existential questions and bringing back the terrifying monster thrills that made this franchise so iconic.

This blood-tingling next chapter contains familiar DNA: A crew of doomed space travelers (portrayed by Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Billy Crudup, among others) make the bad decision of exploring another world. Where Covenant shakes up the formula is by making its characters a group of colonizers seeking a habitable planet to propagate the human race. The rest is the usual, fun descent into a hellish nightmare.

Covenant has cracks in its ship, but it partially fills them in with sharp dialogue and top-tier performances. (Michael Fassbender playing dual roles as a pair of synthetics will give you a run for your money.) It's a well-oiled machine of death, and it'll make you excited about Alien again.

Extras: The Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment release includes a multitude of extended and deleted scenes, a slew of featurettes, a documentary on the making of the film, a director's audio commentary and production gallery.

Also available this week: Blacklist: Season 4, Bluebeard, Broken Mile, Chuck, DC's Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2, Everything Everything, Hickock, Hopscotch (1980): The Criterion Collection, How to Be a Latin Lover, Meantime (1984): The Criterion Collection, Once Upon a Time in Venice, Riverdale: Season 1 (a little corny, but satisfying series) and The Wall.

PRESTON BARTA is a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association. Read his work on FreshFiction.tv. Follow him on Twitter @PrestonBarta.

FEATURE IMAGE: From left: Jerry Levine (foreground, blurred) Susan Ursitti, Michael J. Fox and Matt Adler. Atlantic Releasing Corporation.