Fresh on Blu-ray: ‘READY PLAYER ONE’ and ‘SUPER TROOPERS 2’

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James Cole Clay // Film Critic

READY PLAYER ONE

Rated PG-13, 140 minutes.
Director: Steven Speilberg
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ben MendelsohnOlivia Cooke, Lena Waithe and Mark Rylance

Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE is a messy movie, filled with busy CGI and pop culture references galore that make you point and say, “Oh yeah! I think I know that thing.” Plus, there’s a ridiculous message about the way we consume media. It seems like this vomiting of intellectual properties would have been a faux pas, yet some how Spielberg made a film that got the fan and film community talking. This piece of work may be one of the more divisive pieces of filmmaking the legendary director has done in his career.

Taking place in a universe where resources are running dry, people are plugged into an alternate reality because life pretty much sucks and their literally stacked upon each other. (Hence the community in Cleveland, Ohio’s title, The Stacks). There lives a young guy named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who hangs out in the VR world known as the Oasis, which was created by an eccentric programmer named Halliday (Mark Rylance) with the purest intentions. It’s the place where the mass population goes to escape. 

Spielberg’s film is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. It’s a film with set pieces that move the story forward even if the destination doesn’t amount to anything insanely exciting. The journey is where there’s fun to be had. Since the movie has been out a few months, keep a look out for an extended sequence dedicated to the late-and-great Stanley Kubrick.

Additional Notes

  • Ben Mendelsohn plays the corporate villain in this film and his avatar has such a pronounced jawline; it’s definitely weird LOONEY TUNES sequel nightmare fuel. 
  • The uncanny valley is strong with this film
  • Gotta love Lena Waithe in this film; she’s what sells the film completely. 
  • The film is long, silly, but it’s well-intentioned and fairly fun in the process. 

Grade: B

SUPER TROOPERS 2

Rated R, 99 minutes.
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Cast: Jay ChandrasekharKevin Hefferman, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske

There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called 2002. The original SUPER TROOPERS movie by comedy team Broken Lizard did decent numbers at the box office, but over the years it hit cult status on home video. Classic quotes and pranks allowed these rude boys to rise and create a series of films. But that was a time when gross-out humor was all the rage. With SUPER TROOPERS 2, 16 years have passed and the world has moved onto other things that bring laughter (mainly on the small screen). There is bound to be an audience for this mean-spirited style of humor, with an alpha male-sized chip on its shoulder. The jokes are the same and there’s little room for growth, but maybe thats what they’re going for.

The troopers (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Hefferman, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske) are all back, and, this time, are unchecked by any opposing forces when they work on the Canadian border. Aside from a vibrant opener (featuring a solid cameo from Seann William Scott), the stupidity lacks any tack or humor that doesn’t allow these guys to be completely horrible excuses for human beings. And again, this may be the point, but to quote Kylo Ren, sometimes you gotta “let the past die.” This one deserves to be pulled over in a school zone and taken in for questioning. There’s your silly cop pun for the day.

Additional Notes

  • Tyler Labine is always so great; it’s a shame he’s stuck doing this turd.
  • Rob Lowe is beautiful.
  • Canadian mountee uniforms are actually kinda nice.  

Grade: D