September 29, 2008

DVDs ; Put Some Iron in Your Movie Diet


Marvel/Paramount, $39.99, with featurettes and deleted and extended scenes, available Tuesday.

Grade: B+

"Iron Man" kicked off this summer of superheroes, and the two- disc set available Tuesday does the Marvel property proud. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, feckless billionaire turned hero in a flying tin can, fighting the forces of evil one of his own employees in an even bigger metal suit amid some great special effects. The people are well cast as well. Gwyneth Paltrow turns in a warm performance as Tonys capable assistant and possible love interest, Pepper. Terrence Howard plays best bud Rhodey (a role that should be significant in the sequel) and Jeff Bridges tears through the scenery as the bad guy. The climax feels rushed, but the ride getting there is a blast.

Bonus features include extensive documentaries on the making of the film, Downey's screen tests and the Onion's spoof Widely Popular "Iron Man" Trailer to be Adapted into Full-Length Film. There are also a dozen extended or deleted scenes, including a watered- down finale that director Jon Favreau wisely cut. Charge up the sequel!



Universal, $34.98, with commentary, unrated and theatrical versions, deleted scenes, featurettes and digital copy, available Tuesday.


While starring in director-producer Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," actor Jason Segel must have impressed with on-set ad-libs. How else to explain Apatow's willingness to bankroll Segel's screenwriting debut in this likable addition to the Apatow collection of adult comedies?

Rookie Segel's script is well developed and witty although protracted. In this breakup, struggling musician Peter Bretter (Segel) is trying to get over his relationship with cheeky TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), even though his chief role in the partnership was holding her purse as she posed for the paparazzi.

Bretter escapes to Hawaii for a vacation and, predictably, Marshall is at the same resort with her new boyfriend, air-headed rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Almost in retaliation, Bretter begins courting pretty concierge Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis). The push and pull in all three relationships makes for comical tension.

The unrated version is a little raunchier than the original and includes (almost to distraction) more full-frontal nudity of Segel. An extensive collection of deleted scenes shows that perhaps the films funniest sequence the coddled Marshall reluctantly joining in an afternoon horseback expedition. Too bad the final edit left that out in favor of some of the tired bits weve seen before.


* Also available Tuesday: "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" (Magnolia, $26.98), with deleted scenes and featurette; "Buried Alive" (Sony, $24.96), with featurette and cast commentary; "Chapter 27" (Genius, $19.95);"Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone" (Liberation, $19.97) and "Sports Night: The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition" (Shout! Factory, $69.99) with featurettes, episode commentaries and book.

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