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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘Hairspray,’ ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ ‘Star Trek The Original Series: The Complete First Season’

See it:

Hairspray [buy it]. From my review:

These shows — on stage — are tourists traps, no matter how enjoyable and singalong-snappy they may be. They’re designed to be theme-park amusements for theatergoers who want a taste of the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd but wouldn’t want to know from Pinter if he paused to bite them on the ass. And their bright, bubbly, please-don’t-force-me-to-think-too-much attitude actually works much better onscreen. Oh, sure, there’s satire galore in Hairspray, about the wages of conformity and the price of small-mindedness, but it’s couched in bouffant cotton candy and spritely songs. And it’s all perfectly wonderful — I don’t want to sound as if I’m damning the movie with faint praise. It’s as good as entertainment for the masses gets… and it’s actually in a medium better suited for it than the Broadway stage.

See it:

Star Trek The Original Series: The Complete First Season [buy it]. It’s HD and standard DVD in one pack, it’s got new FX and a new high-def transfer, but mostly, it’s the entire season in one package. Maybe Santa will bring me this for Christmas…

See it… now that’s on DVD:

Live Free or Die Hard [buy it]. From my review:

Yet this is what they’re giving us here: Generic Action Movie Starring Bruce Willis Cuz You Loved Him 20 Years Ago. Sure, there’s some cool action shit we’ve never seen before: SUV versus elevator shaft! F35 fighter plane versus semi trailer! But any old dumb-as-a-post action movie these days can do that. Live Free doesn’t feel particularly, you know, Die Hardy. Bruce Willis looks exhausted, like he knows how tired action movies have gotten, and looks just a tad apologetic, as if he thinks that’s his and John McClane’s fault.

We don’t blame you, Bruce. Could be Hot Fuzz so perfectly satirized the past two decades of the Action Movie that it instantly ushered in the post-action era. Could be there’s nothing left to be done with the action movie at all. Could be it’s time to give it a rest for a while. Twenty years is a good run.

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