Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – John C. McGinley will probably always be known for the classic TV character Dr. Perry Cox on the long-running “Scrubs.” But through his character actor career, he has taken on a variety of roles, including the portrayal of Red Barber, the play-by-play man for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the recent film “42.”
CHICAGO – It took baseball, that noble sport, to recognize in 1947 what the universe had dictated since day one – all persons are equal and all deserve an equal chance. Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to break the “color line” in baseball, and the story of that achievement is magnificently told in “42.”
CHICAGO – As the bells toll this Christmas morn, the critical knots are untied and the new comedy, “Parental Guidance,” is deemed to be not bad – even though the marketing might have indicated otherwise. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler make merry and bright as two grandparents taking care of modern kids.
CHICAGO – Mention “documentary,” in word association, and the next response is often “Ken Burns.” Burns brought a new voice to the documentary, and re-engineered the art form so much, that his technique is the “Ken Burns Effect.” His latest feature film, “The Central Park Five,” was co-directed by his daughter Sarah Burns and his son-in-law David McMahon.
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.
CHICAGO – Baseball gets the metaphor-for-life treatment once again in “Trouble with the Curve,’ starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout estranged from his daughter (Adams) and seeks redemption in both arenas of his life. Making his directorial debut is Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood since “Bridges of Madison County.’
CHICAGO – I have defended the 2K Sports baseball games in the past, even personally preferring the “Major League Baseball 2K10” edition for gameplay during last year’s baseball season over Sony’s “MLB 10 The Show,” but this year my denial defenses have fallen to an incredibly faulty release, one full of glitches and generally annoying design decisions.
CHICAGO – Sports games are like automobiles — every year produces a new release but it’s bound to drive in much the same manner as last year’s model. It’s especially rare for a bestselling, highly-acclaimed franchise to make radical changes in an attempt for an even higher level of greatness. And yet that’s exactly what’s happened with Sony’s “MLB 11 The Show,” one of the best sports games ever made.
CHICAGO – Steroids, interleague play, expanded playoffs, the Red Sox finally winning, McGwire vs. Sosa, Bonds vs. the world, the strike, the influx of Hispanic players, The Yankees, The Braves, and, of course, the continued futility of the Cubs — the last two decades of baseball have been two of the most notable in the history of this timeless sport. It only makes sense that the great documentarian Ken Burns would update his 18.5-hour opus about the sport with “Baseball: The Tenth Inning,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – The 1957 Little League team from Monterrey, Mexico, was the first non-U.S. team to win that league’s World Series. That is a fact. “The Perfect Game” creates a story based on that fact that is as improbable as a team from Mars winning the big game.