DVD Round Up, Feb. 3, 2009: ‘Cheers,’ ‘Lucky Ones,’ ‘RocknRolla,’ ‘The Gene Generation’
CHICAGO – Another week, another edition of HollywoodChicago.com’s legendary Round-Up. Any TV fans out there? Lovers of sci-fi action movies? Afficionados of Rachel McAdams? If you still like Guy Ritchie, raise your hand. Now, all of you, step up to the Round-Up.
“Cheers: The Final Season,” “The Gene Generation,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “RocknRolla” were all released on January 27th, 2009.
“Cheers: The Final Season”
When people talk about shows going out at the top of their game, they inevitably turn to “Cheers” as a prime example of a series that knew when to turn off the lights and close the bar. Raise a glass to the final season with this amazing 28-episode set. In this season, Sam (Ted Danson) rebuilds the bar after Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) sets it on fire, Norm (George Wendt) gets audited, Cliff (John Ratzenberg) gets promoted, and Lilith leaves Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) in order to live in a biosphere. Woody (Woody Harrelson) runs for city council and Carla (Rhea Perlman) sees her daughter get married. Sam invites Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) back to Boston and pretends he’s married to Rebecca. “Cheers” is one of the best sitcoms in the history of the form and now fans can own all eleven seasons on DVD.
“Cheers: The Final Season” is presented in full frame with a 4:3 aspect ratio and spread out over four discs and nearly eleven hours of running time. Sadly, “Cheers” comes essentially free of special features, but each episode does include episodic promos.
“The Gene Generation”
The front of the case for “The Gene Generation” features Bai Ling holding two guns and the phrase “The film that inspired “The DNA Hacker Chronicles” comic book series”. I’m sure that means something to someone but “The Gene Generation” clearly has a niche audience who will be excited to find it in the video store this weekend. Consider this your heads up. According to the case, Ling plays Michelle, a seductive young assassin who preys on corrupt DND hackers who must resuce her brother from Olympia’s seedy underworld as she fights for the survival of mankind in this futuristic thriller. The futuristic action movie won the Grand Jury Award at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and features music by Combichrist. Once again, means something to someone.
“The Gene Generation” is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and comes with an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio track. The special features include a commentary with director pearry Teo and actors Bai Ling and Parry Shen, a commentary with direcotr Pearry Teo and producer Keith Collea, cast and crew interviews, storyboard to screen comparisons, visual effects and concept art, deleted scenes, “The DNA Hacker Chronicles - 1st edition digital comic book, Combichrist music video for “Get Your Body Beat,” and a trailer gallery.
“The Lucky Ones”
Neil Burger, the director of “The Illusionist,” took a wrong turn with the road movie “The Lucky Ones” starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, and Michael Pena, but the film is a well-intentioned drama that is likely to find a curious audience on the home market if just for the strength of its cast. Pena stars as Sgt. T.K. Poole, a soldier in the Iraq War who suffers medical problems after a serious attack. He is granted one-month leave and ends up in the same airport as fellow soldiers Sgt. Fred Cheaver (Tim Robbins) and Pvt. Colee Dunn (Rachel McAdams) when a blackout forces the trio into a road trip. What begins as a short visit home turns into a poignant journey of self-discovery.
“The Lucky Ones” is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital audio tracks. The only special feature was “A Look Inside The Lucky Ones”.
Guy Ritchie used to be on top of the world. “Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch” branded him as the next big thing, a British Quentin Tarantino that spoke to his generation’s love for gangster movies. Then he made “Swept Away” and “Revolver” and it all went to hell. The mediocrity of “RocknRolla” would be more acceptable if this Gerard Butler flick was Ritchie’s third movie, but this far down the slide of the former Mr. Madonna’s career trajectory, it’s just not notable enough to reverse Ritchie’s sliding reputation. “RocknRolla” does have a few things going for it - a charming lead performance, a twisting and turning plot - to barely recommend a rental, but it’s not the return to form that we were all hoping for.
In “RocknRolla,” Gerard Butler and Idris Elba play a couple of small-time thugs stuck in a complicated plot involving a London gang leader (Tom Wilkinson), a hard-as-ice accountant (Thandie Newton), a presumed dead rock and roll star (the “RocknRolla” of the title), a pair of music moguls (Jeremy Piven & Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), a missing painting, and some deadly Russians. “RocknRolla” is presented in widescreen with a 5.1 Dolby Surround track in English, French, and Spanish. Special features include a commentary by writer/director Guy Ritchie and co-star Mark Strong, an additional scene, and “Guy’s Town: The Director Reflects on His Fascination with Ever-Evolving London”.