Recommendation of the Week:
The Shield: The Complete Series (DVD [What, no Blu-ray?] $159.95, lower at many retailers)
Vic Mackey isn't the first hardass cop to come down the line and smack miscreants into place, but he's definitely one of the most effective and most memorable. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Michael Chiklis in The Shield, then this has your name all over it. If you have ... well, your name is still on it. It's the complete series, filled with extras, and packaged to look like a nifty coffee table book, embossed with a copy of the misaligned badge logo from the opening of the show. Forget everything else, this is hands down one of the best cop shows ever created, and it captures the underbelly of Los Angeles perfectly. Some people would argue that Los Angeles is all underbelly. Hopefully that means there's plenty of Mackey to go around.
Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)
Serious Moonlight (1200 ($14.99) HD, 800 ($10) SD, to rent)
Serious Moonlight is a spunky little movie about a disintegrating marriage, and things slide in the direction of Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks. Meg Ryan comes off the back burner and does a great job in this movie, which also stars Timothy Hutton, Justin Long and Kristen Bell. Normally I'm not a huge Hutton fan, bet Ryan does such a good job that you won't mind that he's in it. Or maybe you love him, who knows. This movie was written by the fantastic Adrienne Shelly who wrote and directed 2007's Waitress, which starred Nathan Fillion and Keri Russell. Sadly, she was murdered before Waitress was released. This movie helps show off how snappy of a writer she really was.
Note: Serious Moonlight hasn't been released in theaters yet, hence the higher rental pricing.
Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)
The Royal Tenenbaums
He might not be the most caring and devoted father on the planet, but having Gene Hackman's Royal Tenenbaum as your father sure would make things exciting: BB gun wars, dogfights, rides on garbage trucks, etc. Heck, just being a Tenenbaum, or even a family friend, would be worth it. Wes Anderson always crafts such realistic fantasy worlds that somehow seem believable, even though they're extreme caricatures of real life. Most wanted place from this movie: that closet full of board games. Tenenbaums wasn't my favorite Anderson movie (that would be Bottle Rocket), but it's the one that has grown on me the most.
PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)
Modern Family: En Garde ($1.99 SD to own)
Don't get me wrong. I'm not a fan of Modern Family, ABC's comeback comedy vehicle for Ed O'Neil and a slew of other stars. Although, it does have Sofía Vergara in it. Which are two big reasons to tune in. But we digress. Actually this episode is recommended because it has a very special guest star: Nolan North. That's right, Mr. Nathan Drake himself is a featured guest on this episode, so if you've ever wanted to see what he looks like and how he can act, this is your chance. Sadly, he's not playing everyone's favorite ledge jumping, gun wielding fortune hunter, but the episode is about fencing. So you've got that going for you.
Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)
Pixarpalooza! Up, Monsters, Inc., and Cars ($45.99, $40.99, and $49.99 MSRP, lower at many retailers)
Next Tuesday is Pixar Blu-ray day, with releases of Up, Monsters, Inc., and Cars all arriving in stores at the same time. It's a smorgasbord of CGI. Up is hands-down the best of the bunch, with Monsters dragging up the rear. A lot of people consider Cars to be one of the weakest Pixar movies, but I have a soft spot for it because my Texas relatives are all obsessed with NASCAR. For me, Monsters just didn't hit the notes, so I rank it just behind Cars. Still, a semi-good Pixar movie is still ten times better than most of what's out there.
Up and Monsters are special four-disc sets that include the movie on Blu-ray, the movie on standard DVD, a disc full of extras, and a digital copy of the movie. Nice to have everything in one package! Just wish it didn't jack up the price so much. And couldn't they pack this all onto less than four discs? Blu-ray was supposed to save space! All three movies contain a ton of extra features ranging from commentaries to deleted scenes, and they'll all just make you wish that Toy Story 3 would just come out already. There's a teaser for it on the Up disc, and it's yet another reason why 2010 is going to be a wallet-breaker.
Cars is a Blu-ray re-release now available as a combo pack (Blu-ray + standard DVD) that also features a new 5.1 DTS-HD soundtrack, replacing the PCM version from the previous Blu-ray, and ports over all of the same extras. This new version also comes with two die-cast model cars: one of Mater and one Lightning McQueen. A couple of nifty little extras if you don't already own the movie. If you do, you probably don't want to double dip with this set unless you're dying for the new DTS sound.
What are you watching?