Tagged: DVD

When Archers Collide

We know, you’re all out buying Hawkeye #1, which we will also be picking up in a few hours. Clearly, it’s the season of the archer and for those following the Olympics, the archery competition has been fun. But now, we have a weird crossover.

The Hunger Games global phenomenon has inspired a surging popularity in the sport of archery demonstrated even further by the success of the United States Archery Team at the Olympics, as well as the highly anticipated Blu-ray and DVD release of the film on August 18 from Lionsgate. Team USA member Khatuna Lorig was there at the beginning to teach actress Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot a bow and arrow in preparation for her iconic starring role. In this image, Olympian Khatuna Lorig poses as “Katniss Everdeen” in a replica jacket from the film, with a symbolic mockingjay pin, in celebration of The Hunger Games’ huge and lasting impact on the sport.

As most recall, archery experts said Jennifer Lawrence’s skill with the bow was far superior to that of Jeremy Renner’s work with the same weapon in The Avengers. This sort of seals the deal on that topic.

REVIEW: Leverage Season Four

leverage-season-4-lev4he-001_packshots_dvd_3d_r1_rgb-300x400-3485209Most television series hit the fourth season mark with the characters firmly established allowing the creators and performers a chance to stretch a bit, certain they won’t lose their audience. The better shows know just how far to stretch, how far to push the formula, and when to pull back. Thankfully, TNT’s Leverage toed the line carefully by varying the stories told in the two half season comprising the 15 episode fourth season. The series has never been anything less than a delight as the con men turned good guys find corruption everywhere they turn and can’t help themselves, coming to the rescue.

The series features a strong, tight ensemble that is allowed to grow and develop, making us love the characters just a little bit more. The fourth season came out on a four disc set last week, just in time for the fifth season’s debut. One of the performers, Christian Kane, tweeted this was a vital season debut and wanted as many to tune in as possible. The reason rests on the ratings which, despite a solid creative run, saw the total viewers drop a dangerous 13% from the previous season. Another drop like that and the fifth may be the end.

But for now, we can revisit the highlights of what made the fourth season so much fun. It starts with the ever-changing locales for stories, starting with the season opener set on a hazardous mountain climb. Set just weeks after the end of the previous season, Nate (Timothy Hutton) and Sophie (Gina Bellman) have to explore what it means to them and the team now that they’ve (finally) slept together. The other romantic entanglement, Parker (Beth Riesgraf) and Hardison (Aldis Hodge), finally started to move after dancing around the matter the previous season.

leverage04a-300x288-1944694The meta story reveals that Jack Latimer (Leon Rippy) has been bugging their HQ and profiting from their exploits by investing against the marks. When he comes clean and asks for their help, Nate has to find a way out, setting up a finale that resolves many issues haunting the character from the first season. Along the way, though, there’s plenty of fun.

The story with the biggest wink to the fans is “The Ten Li’l Grifters Job” where Hutton got to dress as his father’s version of Ellery queen and the costume mystery is filled with literary and television detectives. One of the most interesting bits of storytelling can be found in the parallel stories in “The Girls’ Night Out Job” and “The Boys’ Night Out Job”. Old friends and foes surface, especially the fun return of Sterling (Mark Sheppard) in “The Queen’s Gambit Job” that adds to his character.

But it becomes clear towards the end that someone knows the quintet too well. Events lead to the death of Nate’s father, Jimmy (Tom Skerritt) with the architect of the murder revealed to be Victor Dubenich (Saul Rubenik), the first man taken down by the team in the pilot.  Nate is forced to find a way of changing the odds. He does so by having the team recruit strongman Quinn (Clayne Crawford), Parker’s mentor Archie Leech (Richard Chamberlain), hacker Colin (Chaos) Mason (Wil Wheaton), and Nate’s ex-wife Maggie Collins (Kari Matchett). The final two episodes of the season tie things up from the past as the team looks towards the future. It’s dramatic and fun and extremely satisfying.

leverage-the-van-gogh-job-season-4-episode-4-15-550x366-300x200-1783440The show never lets it take itself too seriously and just when you think it’ll get maudlin, something quirky happens. The formula and cast is elastic enough to allow a wide variety of stories from the typical “The Boiler Room Job” to the somewhat strained “The Cross my Heart Job”, set in an airport. Creatively, the most interesting episode may have been “The Van Gogh Job” with the cast filling roles in a flashback story set during World War II.

There is a smattering of extras spread across the four discs but all are on the short side. You get a featurette on the season opener along with some deleted scenes. There’s a six minute glimpse into the writers’ room, deleted scenes from four other episodes and finally the usual assortment of outtakes. Funnier may be the parody, “The Office Job” Every episode though, comes with commentary and if they are all as interesting as the few I sampled, their worth a listen.

I adore the series and find Parker one of the freshest characters on the air today. Revisiting these characters every summer and winter is a distinct delight so the new DVD set comes well recommended.

A Game of Thone Season One Coming in Deluxe Edition

game-deluxe-300x124-7321799While we’re sweltering in the summer heat, we have to be reminded that Winter is Coming. At least so says the Stark Family of Winterfell. HBO has just announced the forthcoming deluxe release of A Game of Thrones season one, in a handsome package for the holiday season.  Read the details in this press release:

New York, N.Y., July 11, 2012 – Season one of the television phenomenon Game of Thrones will be available for the first time on Blu-ray with HBO Select (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy* in one box set) this fall with the release of Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Collector’s Edition. The beautiful collector’s box set is designed with the sigils of the four main houses and comes with a premium dragon egg paperweight, a Blu-ray bonus disc of season two, episode one, as well as all of the bonus materials and interactive features from the original DVD and BD releases for only $99.97. This limited edition set is the perfect gift for any Game of Thrones fan!

Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire, the sweeping fantasy saga instantly became one of the network’s biggest hits and the fastest selling TV on BD titles of all time. The Emmy® award winning show, which has been called “tantalizing” (Los Angeles Times) and an “HBO Triumph” (Boston Globe), follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime. As two powerful families engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, betrayal, lust, intrigue and supernatural forces shake the four corners of the Kingdoms and the bloody struggle for the Iron Throne will have unforeseen and far-reaching consequences.

Blu-ray (5 discs) – includes all DVD features plus:

•           Blu-ray Complete Guide to Westeros – an interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one, PLUS 24 exclusive histories of the Seven Kingdoms as told by the characters themselves done with animated illustrations that provide more information on the background of Game of Thrones.

•           In-Episode Guide – in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays.

•           Anatomy of an Episode – an in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, “A Golden Crown.”

•           Hidden Dragon Eggs – find the hidden dragon eggs to uncover even more never-before-seen content.

DVD (5 discs):

•           Complete Guide to Westeros – an interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one.

•           Making Game of Thrones -an exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews from the cast and crew.

•           Character Profiles – profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them.

•           Creating the Show Open – an inside look at the creation of the Emmy®-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones

•           From the Book to the Screen – executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin’s epic fantasy novel to life on HBO.

•           The Night’s Watch – an in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700-foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond.

•           Creating the Dothraki Language – an insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones.

•           Audio Commentaries – Seven audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bryan Cogman, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor.

Game of Thrones series regulars include (in alphabetical order): Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Sean Bean as Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark, Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (“Littlefinger”), Jack Gleeson as Prince Joffrey Baratheon, Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister, Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, Richard Madden as Robb Stark, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (“The Hound”), Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. The series is executive produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; co-executive producers, Carolyn Strauss, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza and George R.R. Martin; producers, Mark Huffam and Frank Doelger; directors include Brian Kirk, Daniel Minahan, Alan Taylor and Tim Van Patten; writers include David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson and George R.R. Martin.

The Hunger Games Special Features Spotlighted

The news about Philip Seymour Hoffman being expertly cast in Catching Fire reminds us that we’re just over a month away from the frenzy that will be the Blu-ray release of The Hunger Games. Lionsgate will be releasing the box office smash on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and Digital Download on August 18, 2012 at 12:01 A.M.

In addition to the Jennifer Lawrence-starring adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel, the release will come with a host of special features. To learn more, check out this Official Special Features Trailer.


The Point Radio: Morgan Spurlock & That ComicCon Film

Just before LAST year’s ComicCon, the industry was buzzing about documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock‘s movie about the nation’s biggest pop culture event. Now COMICCON EPISODE IV:A FAN’S HOPE is out on DVD and Morgan tells us the ups & downs of the whole project, plus his view on where he thinks ComicCon is headed. And we already have some late breaking con rumors to share, too!

We’re headed to San Diego – but you can our reports direct from the show floor on The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device–  and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

REVIEW: American Reunion

american-reunion-bluray-300x325-7264922Great film comedies have memorable characters and incidents, usually showing a knack for brilliant casting, and covering turf previously untouched. In 1999, American Pie did all of the above and was a wonderfully funny bit of fluff. It gave us some fine performances, including a resurgent Eugene Levy, the bit with the apple pie, made band camp sound cool, and of course Shannon Elizabeth’s swell nakedness.

The sequels that followed, both theatrical and direct-to-video tried to cash in on the craze but merely retread familiar turf and got less and less funny. Poor Levy would back the truck to the bank to unload all the cash he got to make appearances to at least somehow connect the series together.

However, here we are nine years after American Wedding with American Reunion and it suddenly feels familiar and fresh at the same time. This time around, writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, allow the original characters to age so we’re perfectly okay with revisiting them. It’s always good at a reunion to see who got fat, who lost hair, who has succeeded and who has never changed and we get that and more here.

While the storyline announces it’s been thirteen years since high school graduation, putting the characters at 31 or so, everyone looks way too old to be convincing, a danger of casting 20-somethings to play teens. So, what’s everyone been up to? Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) have the most interesting dilemma: married and deeply in love but burdened with jobs and an infant so their sex life is nonexistent, except in private, solo moments. Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein) is the most successful of the bunch, a sportscaster who gained national attention for appearing on a dance show. And then there’s Stifler (Seann William Scott), who has a lifetime subscription to the Peter Pan Syndrome and is drifting through life.

american-reunion1-small-660x440-300x200-5416983The gang, with new significant others, arrive for the reunion and everyone reverts to form, including Oz, who sees his ex, Heather (Mena Suvari), and is smitten all over again.

Time has passed, though as we see Levy now a widower still mourning his wife’s death while next door neighbor Kara (Ali Cobrin), who Jim used to babysit is now a gorgeous hot to trot 18 year old. It’s Kara who gets to have the memorable nude scene this time around and they cast well since she’s gorgeous and nicely handled the comedic aspects.

All the old gang including Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Finch’s Mother (Jennifer Coolidge), John (John Cho), Vicky (Tara Reid). And others reprise their roles. Newcomers include Dania Ramirez as the ugly duckling turned into hot swan. As a result, all the old feelings, jealousies and behaviors are brought to the fore in interesting ways. It’s far from brilliant and mostly predictable, robbing the fourth film, out Tuesday from Universal Home Entertainment, of being spectacular. The funniest fresh bit may well be Oz losing the dance competition, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris in a nice cameo, to Gilbert Gottfried.

american-reunion-alyson-hannigan-dania-ramirez-300x199-9598836Like walking into the kitchen and the aroma of Mom’s fresh apple pie and being catapulted back to happier, simpler times, this film is a welcome addition to the series and a good chance to see familiar faces who don’t visit often enough.

The transfer to Blu-ray is well handled so the visuals and sound are sharp, not that the film needs either to be entertaining. The Combo Pack comes with Blu-ray and DVD both sold separately, plus an ultraviolet code. The Blu-ray comes replete with 12 bonus features and a commentary. The DVD has some of the features plus the commentary. Although sold as a package with the theatrical and Unrated version, there’s a minute that separates them so blink and you miss it.

Among the extras is a 10:32 “Reunion Reunion” which is all surface and the gag reel is surprisingly tame. Funnier is the “Ouch! My Balls” featurette focusing on the amount of crotch punching the film relies on. Of the handful of deleted scenes only one with Stifler is missed since it sets up the conclusion of his arc. Dancing with Oz and Hangin’ with Jason B are so-so pieces. Clearly the effort was to be funny on the feature itself. The best of the lot is the interactive yearbook where you can  select a character and trace their history across the franchise with clips, cast discussions , their most embarrassing moment and their favorite activities.

Mindy Newell: Sundry Summer Ruminations & Contemplations

Saw my niece Isabel last week. She’s finished The Complete Bone Adventures, Volumes 1 and II and is now reading a collection of Calvin And Hobbes. She also told me that she’s in love with the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series by Rick Riordian; she had already read The Lightning Thief, and was deep into the second book, The Sea Of Monsters. Although by now she’s quite possibly onto the third title, which is The Titan’s Curse. She’s a fast reader. Based on her critiques, I have ordered The Lightning Thief from Amazon, and expect I’ll be ordering the rest of the series, too.

Last I heard Watchmen had not entered the public domain, so I will not be buying any of the Before Watchmen books. I think the whole idea stinks. I don’t understand how other creators who profess to respect creator’s rights could sign on to a rotten deal brokered on a broken promise by DC to Alan Moore. It’s a slap in the face to Alan, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. Oh, wait. John Higgins participated in this mockery? Says a lot about your character, doesn’t it, John? If you need money that badly, there are other ways to prostitute yourself. And that goes for the rest of you, too.

John Ostrander’s latest column about “bad things he hates that he loves” caused me to go to my DVD cabinet and pull out a couple of movies that I should despise but actually love:

World Without End (1956), in which a rocket ship returning from Mars breaks through the time barrier and deposits four astronauts on an unidentified planet, which turns out to be Earth in the year 2508, 400 years after a nuclear war. The surviving humans live underground and are dying out because the men are scrawny, weak, and unable to perform their manly duties. In other words, they’re impotent. Which sure sucks for them, because all the women of the year 2508 are curvaceous, beautiful, and very, very horny. The reason the humans don’t live on the surface is because of the “surface beasts” – the descendants of those who did not flee underground during the atomic holocaust – roam the countryside. They look like mutated Neanderthals, and all they want to do – well, the men, anyway – is get their paws on the hot tomatoes living underground. Our brave, resourceful – and, of course, American; this was the 50’s, remember – astronauts reinvent the bazooka (“The good ol’ bazooka!” one of the astronauts says with a backslap to his pal) and defeat the mutated Neanderthals, and help restart human civilization on the surface for the Eloi. Oops. Sorry, wrong story. The horny women get the horny astronauts in the end, so everybody lives happily ever after. Except for the impotent guys, I guess.

Queen Of Outer Space (1958) in which ZsaZsa Gabor plays a Venusian scientist on a planet on which once again all the women are curvaceous, beautiful, and very horny. Except for the Queen, who is curvaceous and very horny, but mysteriously wears a mask. But even though Venus is the planet of love, there’s not a man to be found. The story begins when our brave, resourceful, and yes, once again, American astronauts, on board their rocket ship – which looks exactly like the one in World Without End – and on their way to a space station in orbit above Earth, are hijacked to Venus by a strange red ray, which turns out to be the Beta Disintegrator. The ship crashed into snow-covered mountains that look exactly like the snow-covered mountains into which the ship from World Without End end-crashes. Turns out the Queen hates all men, and she imprisons the astronauts. But she’s got a hard-on for the Captain. “A Queen can be lonely, too,” she tells the Captain. The Captain decides to take her up on her, uh, offer to “get information.” This makes ZsaZsa very jealous: “30 million miles away from the Earth,” says one of the astronauts, “and the little dolls are just the same.” Because she has a hard-on for our Captain, too. (No, his name is not James Tiberius Kirk.) Anyway, just as the Queen goes in for the face-suck, the Captain rips off her mask, and – OMG! Her face is burned and scarred and horribly mutated! “Men did this to me,” the Queen says with hatred in her voice. “Men and their wars.” Then she seductively turns to the Captain. “You said I needed the love of a man,” she whispers as she puts her arms around him. “If you will be that man, I will let you all go.” But the Captain is trying not to vomit. Dumb ass. Put a bag over her head and do it for the flag. So the Queen sends him back and aims the Beta-Disintegrator at Earth. Talk about a woman scorned! You really have to see this movie!

It really sucks when your parents are sick.

Here’s the truth. The only thing I really hate about women’s costumes in the comics is that I’m not buff enough to wear any of them.

Political diatribe for the day: Vote for Romney, and we really will be living in the world of American Flagg! (We’re almost there now.)

I can wait for the Garfield/Stone Amazing Spider-Man to hit DVD. I loved the Maguire/Duns Spider-Mans. Perhaps if TPTB had moved the story forward, merely replacing Maguire/Duns with Garfield/Stone, I would have more interest.

Just finished The Lost Wife, a heartbreaking, “based-on-a-true-story,” and beautifully written story about a husband and wife, both Jewish, separated by World War II. He gets out of Europe, she is first is sent to Theresienstadt and then Auschwitz. Highly recommended!

In the middle of The Hunger Games. Loving it. Have to recommend it to Isabel.



Get the Gringo Swag and More at Comic-Con International

Get the Gringo, the latest action-comedy starring Mel Gibson, will be making its debut on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download July 17, 2012

Before the film comes home, it will be making an appearance at SDCC at Fox Booth #4313, where attendees can pre-order the film and participate in numerous activities. Fans will also be treated to loads of cool swag, including an exclusive mini-poster where fans are tasked to find the ‘Gringo’s’.

In addition to the mini-posters, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will be hosting a few fun activities to promote the release, including photo-ops with Lucha libre wrestlers and sexy ring girls (on Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14, 2012).

Attendees can also take part in the #GetheGringo San Diego Comic-con social media experience. The ring girls will be carrying posters with an exclusive QR code and fans who scan the code, post photos of the wrestlers via Twitter (using #GettheGringo) or upload pictures to Facebook, will receive a voucher for a free taco from Lucha Libre Taco Shop in San Diego.

Fans are also be encouraged to ‘like’ Get the gringo on Facebook via: https://www.facebook.com/GetTheGringo


Written produced by and starring Mel Gibson, Get the Gringo is an explosive action filmed infused with dark comedy directed by Adrian Grunberg from a screenplay he co-wrote with Mel Gibson and produced by Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey and Stacy Perskie. Filmed in Mexico, the multi-lingual film also stars Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Jesus Ochoa, Roberto Sosa, Dolores Heredia, Kevin Hernandez, Fernando Becerril, Mayra Serbullo, Mario Zaragoza, Gerardo Taracena, Tenoch Huerta and Peter Gerety.

During a high-speed car chase with the US Border Patrol and a bleeding body in his back seat, Driver (Mel Gibson) violently crashes his car into the border wall as he tries to outrun them.  Driver survives the crash only to land inside a hard-core Mexican prison where he enters the strange and dangerous world of “El Pueblito.”  He finds unlikely guidance from a 10-year-old kid who shows him the ropes.

REVIEW: Mirror, Mirror

In December, I had the pleasure of teaching fairy tales to seniors and we explored how the basic stories have been told and retold around the world and through the ages. The core concepts remain vital and can withstand wildly varying interpretations. Before Walt Disney began cementing a single version of each tale in the global consciousness, they were adapted time and again based on the culture and need of the ages.

I was reminded of this all over again when prime time offered us both Once Upon a Time and Grimm, which were vastly different takes on some of the most beloved fairy tales. The former obviously owes a lot to its corporate masters, Walt Disney, but even so, the versions of Snow White, the Queen, Pinocchio, and so on do not identically match their animated counterparts. Grimm uses the fairy tales as a launching point and goes in a wildly different direction.

Similarly, there are the competing Snow White epics that were released this year. The clear winner was the box office smash Snow White and the Huntsman, which is already spawning a sequel despite having some of the worst storytelling gaps I’ve seen in ages. At the other end of the spectrum was Mirror Mirror, which opened first and flopped badly despite having Julia Roberts as the Queen. Now out on DVD from 20th Century Home Entertainment, Mirror Mirror suffers poorly in comparison with its competitor and worse, with its own trailers.

The trailers showed us a slyly funny interpretation of the classic story and promised more but what we got was something silly and over the top and not especially clever. Tarsem Singh once more shows us, as he did in Immortals, that story is secondary to imagery. Marc Klein and Jason Keller tell a story that makes somewhat more sense than The Huntsman but they fail to make any of the characters particularly memorable nor does Singh elicit interesting performances allowing the cast to rise above the material.

Instead, a particularly strong cast is wasted looking fabulous in utterly absurd costuming. Roberts flounces about, vain and petty, but without real motivation. Lily Collins is a prettier Snow than Kristin Stewart and at least gets to train before fighting but has so little of note to do. Nathan Lane heads a supporting cast that is entirely flat and unoriginal. Even the seven dwarves are stereotypical and not especially funny. Having Lord Stark, that is Sean Bean, play the King in a wintry land invites poor comparisons with A Game of Thrones.

The movie lies flat and remains not particularly entertaining nor does it surprise us even once. And that’s a shame since the story could be played nicely for laughs, poking some gentle fun at the many interpretations or psychological motivations but it attempts nothing so interesting. There’s no motivation for the Queen’s cruel rule or explanation offered as the nature of the magic mirror and her more staid persona within the glass.

On the other hand, the Blu-ray edition looks particularly nice, so the costuming and sets look swell. It’s great to watch at home along with excellent sound.

The disc comes with a bunch of perfunctory extras such as the five deleted scenes which are not missed, including the alternate opening. Looking through the Mirror (12:58) tries to make you believe the cast and crew really think they’re making a good film. The end credits are accompanied with an over-the-top Bollywood production number and I Believe I Can Dance (11:01) is an overlong look at how choreographer Paul Becker taught Collins, Mare Winning ham, Michael Lerner, and others to dance. The silliest bonus is Prince and Puppies (1:59) as real puppies review Armie Hammer’s romantic side. The most interesting featurette is Mirror, Mirror Storybook, a remote-controlled “storybook” version of the film.

Given the potential in the cast and the source material, and knowing there was a competing version also in production, you would have thought Singh would have risen to the occasion, making this film all the more disappointing.

REVIEW: Meatballs

I thought it was funnier. Meatballs looms large in the memory as Bill Murray’s first big film and a laugh riot along the lines of Caddyshack. It certainly has the right pedigree as it came from director Ivan Reitman and was co-written by Harold Ramis. The film was a hit when first released in 1979 and spawned several sequels and now it is making its Blu-ray debut on Tuesday from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

It has not aged well. The humor is mild, even for 1979, when Animal House rewrote the rules a year earlier. This PG-rated comedy features the counselors and kids at Camp North Star, a ramshackle summer camp. Despite a reporter telling us the camp charges $1000 a week, we have no idea where the money goes given the dilapidated bunks, grounds, and facilities. The kids aren’t required to wear camp uniforms and they don’t seem to be following much of a schedule.

Written by Ramis, Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, and Janis Allen, the characters aren’t well-defined archetypes or satirical portraits of the kind of people you would find at such a place. We have no clue about the kids and their backgrounds, or the counselors and counselors in training (CITs). It doesn’t appear to be a very large camp given each age range is represented by about four people each.

When I went to sleepaway camp in the early 1970s there were plenty of things to ridicule and mock and the film barely touches on any of them making it an empty and disappointing exercise that most certainly does not hold up well on repeat viewing.  Murray stars as the head counselor, Tripper Harrison, who meanders from activity to activity, with glimpses of the character that would grow up to become the star of Stripes, a far better collaboration with Ramis and Reitman a mere three years later.

There’s a sentimental storyline as he befriends Rudy Gerner (Chris Makepeace) the kid who has no friends and self-esteem issues. Of course, he goes jogging with Murray every day so when the big competition with another camp requires a marathon runner, you know who will race and who will win.  The story includes several teen crushes and romances which are more cloyingly sweet than laugh-filled raunch.

Of the No Name cast, Makepeace went on to a short-lived teen heartthrob career while Murray took the money and ran back to Saturday Night Live. The rest never aspired to much with the exception of Matt Craven, who now stars on NCIS.

The film’s grainy low-budget feel is retained in the Blu-ray transfer and doesn’t look much better on high definition. The sound is nice and Elmer Bernstein’s score is a welcome touch. Unlike the most recent DVD release, the 2007 special edition, the only bonus track we get here is the original commentary from Reitman and Goldberg. Now, if you’ve never heard this before, it’s worth a listen to understand that Murray’s participation was never confirmed until he arrived for work and an hour of sub-plots were jettisoned to make room for the Murray/Makepeace sub-plot. It was shot fast and the haphazard feel robs the film of any strength it could have possessed.

Overall, the movie itself and the Blu-ray release are remarkably disappointing.