Note: To order any of the following films, click on the poster.
Monsters University is notable for one thing; it may be the fourteenth film in Pixar’s animated catalogue but it’s surprisingly the first sequel. This is where Mike and Sulley first met, at university. At first they’re rivals but as the story develops, the green, one-eyed monster and the blue, huge furry looking thing become friends, which, of course, is what led to the original Monsters, Inc. In truth, despite the film having both Billy Crystal and John Goodman’s voices back, not to mention the outstanding animation, the film itself is not as much fun as the first. Part of the problem is it’s simply not as funny nor as inventively thrilling. However, the uncritical target audience will love it. Think of it as a less scary Halloween special for younger ones. Plus, movie buffs will enjoy the hours of extras that come with the Blu-Ray; there’s actually an overload of information to be found, so while it may not reach the giddy heights of Monsters, Inc. it still remains light years ahead of many other animated movies around. Available in several different editions, including regular DVD, Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray.
Family Tree: The Complete Series consists of 8 episodes from the HBO series written by comedians Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock. These are short, thirty minute stories told in the now familiar faux documentary style. The humor is as dry as a bone and without a comedy track there may be many who won’t recognize the humor or find it funny, but for those who stick with it and get with the rhythm, Family Tree is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Irish comic actor Chris O’Dowd moves back to England and decides to investigate his family tree, a search that will eventually bring him to America. Look for the episode where he discovers his grandfather was most famous for being the rear end of a pantomime horse. I’m still laughing. Available on DVD.
Surprisingly, despite this being Halloween week, new releases for horror fans are in short supply. However, there is one gem released from the folks at Criterion and that’s the pristine copy of the black and white 1944 minor classic with Ray Milland called The Uninvited. The story was dramatized on radio at a time when you could hear radio plays, but the film became most notable simply because it was among the first Hollywood films to treat ghost stories seriously. Even director Martin Scorsese is a fan. It’s on his list of the scariest films he’s ever seen, and that’s recommendation indeed. Available on Criterion Blu-Ray.