New to DVD: 'Jack and Jill,' 'Footloose' and 'Game of Thrones'

' Jack and Jill'

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

For male comedians, the 11th commandment -- one of the missing ones on that tablet Moses dropped in "History of the World" -- is: "Thou shalt not pass up the opportunity to do drag." They all feel compelled to do so at some point, from Milton Berle through Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Dustin Hoffman and Eddie Murphy. Adam Sandler makes for a humorously grotesque woman, indeed, in "Jack and Jill."

He plays LA ad executive Jack Sadelstein, desperate to land the big Dunkin Donuts commercial, kicking off its bold new product-challenge to cappuccino: Dunkaccino. But Jack is equally desperate -- and much distracted -- by a need to survive his dreaded annual torture: the Thanksgiving visit of twin sister, Jill, who won't leave.

He's trying to promote Dunkaccino with Al Pacino, who is fully booked these days playing Shakespearean stage roles and having a post-midlife nervous breakdown. How can Jack get him for the Dunkin commercial? Taking sister Jill to a Lakers game provides the accidental answer.

This is director Dennis Dugan's eighth effort with Mr. Sandler and perhaps their best. As always, it includes their trademark gross-out flatulence scenes, Jewish jokes (Jill thinks "Skype" is something anti-Semitic), shameless product branding, and an obligatory syrupy PG ending.

While you're watching, see how many other pop-culture Sandler pals you can find in cameos here: Dana Carvey, Regis Philbin, Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Carey, John McEnroe, Christie Brinkley, Michael Irvin, Bruce Jenner and the Subway sandwich guy -- for starters.

-- Post-Gazette

' Footloose'

3 stars = Good
Ratings explained

It's been 27 years since Kevin Bacon played an outsider who danced out of anger, out of joy, to have fun and just because that's what teenagers do, in addition to listening to loud music.

Although some tweaks have been made -- to accommodate iPods, hip-hop and an audience accustomed to sterner stuff -- the reboot is remarkably faithful to the original.

"Footloose" shows the audience the fiery car-truck collision that kills five teenagers and spawns a curfew and ban on public dancing in the Southern town of Bomont, population 19,300. That is where a Bostonian, Ren (Kenny Wormald), finds himself after his mother's death and father's disappearance. The teen moves in with an empathetic aunt, uncle and cousins and suffers culture shock when pulled over by a cop for disturbing the peace by blasting Quiet Riot in his VW Bug.

Ren is disturbed by and drawn to Ariel (Julianne Hough), a preacher's daughter, wild child and sister of one of the boys killed three years earlier. She breaks curfew, proves to her older boyfriend that she's not a child and generally defies her parents, the Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) and his long-suffering wife, Vi (Andie MacDowell). Ren doesn't shy away from risk or danger, suggesting a road trip to a bar with legal dancing and, eventually, an actual school dance.

"Footloose" provides a platform for dance pros Wormald and Hough and updates a soundtrack that sold 9 million copies and once again will burrow into your brain and refuse to vacate the premises.

The Blu-ray extras go behind the scenes to show how the dancers had to tone down their professionalism to seem more like normal kids. Ms. Hough says she was allowed to cut loose a bit more -- with some "hair-ography -- in the country line dance scene. Director Craig Brewer and the producers talk extensively about how they tried to honor the original while adding more grit -- from the car accident, to the back story of Ren's mother, to the urban dancing at the drive-in.

-- Post-Gazette


' Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season'

3 1/2 stars = Very good
Ratings explained

The HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones," based on the book series by George R.R. Martin is anything but simple. Kudos to HBO Home Video for having the wherewithal to include a "Complete Guide to Westeros" feature on every disc of the first-season box set ($59.99 DVD, $79.98 Blu-ray). Lesser boxed sets would put such a useful feature on one disc; putting it on every disc takes away the need for shuffling discs in and out of the DVD player. Because odds are some viewers will be confused and will need to access this text-based feature that gives background on the different families, characters and lands featured in the 10-episode first season.

The series itself is fantastic, a complex but not too confusing epic of warring factions.

The 30-minute "Making of Game of Thrones" featurette includes interviews with Mr. Martin, producers and cast members about translating the book to the screen. But don't watch it until you've seen the whole first season -- it includes a lot of spoilers. "From Book to the Screen" rehashes much of the same material.

"Creating the Show Open" offers a 5-minute look at the design of the series' savvy opening credits that offer a primer on all the locations where the action takes place.

Seven of the 10 episodes also include commentary tracks.

The only major oversight in this box set is the failure to include the show's original pilot, directed by Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent"). That first pilot was mostly scrapped and several roles recast for the revised pilot that HBO aired and is included in this DVD set.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer


• "Immortals": One man (Henry Cavill) can stop a king (Mickey Rourke) from taking over his country. We will never know what it's like to live forever, but we can at least get a taste of what eternity feels like with this film. It's not surprising the movie is so bad because this script has all the depth of a manhole cover.

• "Like Crazy": This film from director Drake Doremus shows the complications, questions and hurdles that often accompany affairs of the heart. The film -- starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones -- shows that falling in love is easy. Staying in love takes lots of work.

• "To Catch a Thief": Hitchcock classic is on Blu-ray.

• "The Lion King" and "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride": Available on Blu-ray.

• "The Skin I Live In": Antonio Banderas stars in this psycho-sexual thriller.

• "Tom & Jerry: In the Dog House": The cat and mouse battle in 22 cartoons.

• "Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Brick Road": Strawberry and her friends retell the "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

• "Agatha Christie's Poirot Series 3": Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is on the case again.

• "Happily Divorced: Season One": Cable series about a divorced couple who live together, starring Fran Drescher.

• "Recoil": Danny Trejo stars in this story of one man's search for justice.

• "Hawthorne: The Complete Final Season": Jada Pinkett Smith stars in the medical drama.

• "M-I 5: Volume 10": The international spy drama's final series.

• "Transformers Prime: The Complete First Season": Includes 26 episodes of the action series plus bonus content.

• "America Goes to War": Eric Sevareid examines the war-torn years on the American home front during World War II.

• "Super Bowl XLVI Champions: New York Giants": A recap of the team's Super Bowl winning season.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers

First Published 2012-03-07 23:10:47