COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Robert Downey Jr. (left) stars as Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. (left) stars as Iron Man

By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Iron Man 2” (PG-13) — Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark, the billionaire weapons inventor who moonlights as the superhero Iron Man. In this sequel, Stark faces two major challenges: He must find an antidote to the poisoning his body is receiving from the power supply in his chest, whilst thwarting the evil machinations of Russian genius Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), who blames the Stark family for his father’s death. The film has an awesome opening 30 minutes and the final battle between Iron Man and Vanko (and his army of Iron Man-inspired military robots) is a ton o’ fun.

The problem is the middle of the film. Not only does it drag, the reason is because director Jon Favreau was forced by the studio to shoehorn a bunch of scenes into the movie that’ll set up the 2012 “Avengers” flick. “Iron Man 2” could’ve been a solid summer action film if Favreau had been left alone. Sadly, it’s only a great half-movie.

“Party Down: Season Two” (Unrated) — “Party Down” is one of the funniest sitcoms you’ve probably never watched (which is probably why it got canceled). The show centers around the exploits of a Hollywood catering company and the hilarious challenges it faces at each event. The ensemble cast features Ken Marino (“The State”), Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch (“Glee”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) and Martin Starr (“Freaks and Geeks”). If you enjoy shows like “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office” or “Community,” then you definitely need to check this out.

“Ellery Queen Mysteries” (Unrated) — “Ellery Queen” is one of those classic TV series that I never thought would be released on home video — so imagine my surprise and delight. This 1975 series, created by Richard Levinson and William Link (“Columbo,” “Murder She Wrote”), stars the brilliant Jim Hutton as Ellery and David Wayne as his father, police inspector Richard Queen, as they solve crimes in 1947 New York. The show followed the same formula as the classic short stories, with every episode having Queen turn to the camera right before the final commercial break to ask the TV audience if they knew whodunit. Despite its brilliant writing and the endearing onscreen chemistry between Hutton and Wayne, the show didn’t catch on with the public and was canceled after only one season. It’s a shame, really, since “Ellery Queen” was just as much fun to watch as “Columbo.”

WORTH A RENTAL
“Get Him to the Greek” (Unrated) — British comedian Russell Brand reprises his character Aldous Snow, the debauched rock star from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Jonah Hill co-stars as the record company flack charged with transporting the besotted Brit from London to Los Angeles, where he is to perform a comeback show. Some of the scenes are hilarious, but when the film tries to inject some seriousness, it just falls apart. It’s an uneven film, but I would definitely recommend it as a rental — if only to see the gut-busting funny performance of P-Diddy as Snow’s record company exec.

TV SERIES
“Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment”
“Scrubs” The Complete Ninth And Final Season
“Rich Man, Poor Man” The Complete Collection
“Survivor 3: Africa” The Complete Season
“Survivor 4: Marquesas” The Complete Season
“C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” The Tenth Season
“Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”
“Top Gear” Complete Season 13
“Legend of the Seeker” The Complete Second Season
“Paranormal State” The Complete Season Four
“Midsomer Murders” Set 16
“The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries” Set 2
“Eden of the East” The Complete Series

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.

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