By G. Michael Dobbs
In this week’s DVD review column, I’ll look at a fun new horror film and a fistful of television shows on DVD.
While the way that writer/director André Øvredal tells his story in the found-footage format similar to “The Last Broadcast” and “The Blair Witch Project” is not new, the story he tells is new.
A group of university students in Norway is trying to do a video production on the spate of recent illegal killings of bears. The government-approved hunters point the young video crew in the direction of a mysterious loner named Hans (Otto Jespersen) who lives in a very funky looking and smelling trailer.
They follow him up into the woods and witness for themselves what this guy really kills: trolls.
It seems that trolls as big as four-story houses are real and the Norwegian government has managed to set up a preserve for them. When these monsters break out of their area, Hans the troll hunter is called in to kill them or drive them back where they belong.
This is a deep dark secret and Hans’ boss is responsible for creating cover stories for the media to explain the damage done by the trolls.
At first, Hans tries to get rid of the students, but then he decides to let them tag along to the horror of his boss.
“The Troll Hunter” manages to be funny at times and then can quickly shift to frightening. A great example of this style is when the group is trapped in an abandoned mine that is the home of a group of trolls. They must endure being holed up literally with their way blocked by a flatulent sleeping troll. The humor turns to horror when one of the students panics and the trolls attack.
I love originality in movies and “The Troll Hunter” is one of the most interesting new films I’ve seen in a long time.
The version that is now available is dubbed, although I watched a subtitled DVD because I enjoy hearing the real voices of the actors.
I find it fascinating the way people watch television programs these days: on their computer through a number of different websites, recorded from their cable systems, streamed through Netflix, on demand from their cable systems and on DVD.
Is anyone actually watching television in the old school manner?
There are now dozens and dozens of series making their way onto DVD and I’ve written about quite of number of them so far. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a small pile of them.
So, let’s do a lightening round of comments.
I realize that sex sells, but I couldn’t imagine that “Holly’s World, The Complete Seasons One and Two” and “Kendra, Seasons Two and Three” would really make it to the tops of the sales charts.
The initial appeal of these two women was due to their status as Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends whatever that really means but now we get to see how they fare outside the walls of the mansion.
Take them away from the geezer in the pajamas and they are a lot less interesting. Ho hum.
My problem is I find both of them boring. Holly Madison is starring in a Las Vegas burlesque show – OK, she has to work, big deal! Kendra Baskett is married and a mother, as are many people.
The History Channel does have two of my favorite reality shows: “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers” and each show is out in a new season compilation.
What I like about each program is that I enjoy rummaging around tag sales and flea markets myself, looking for some odd artifact and here are folks who do this for a living. I learn a lot from the shows and even tolerate the drama between the various participants that is supposed to add some entertainment value. I could easily do without Chumlee, the “comic relief” of “Pawn Stars.”
“Top Shot Reloaded” is essentially a kind of sports show for The History Channel. Here we have a group of world-class marksmen and women who are challenged each week as they try to work their way to a $100,000 prize. If target shooting is an interest, this show is well worth watching.
Now a real television show to savor on DVD is Denis Leary’s magnum opus of “Rescue Me,” with the sixth season now available.
I like Leary’s work a lot and thought the series he created that preceded this one, “The Job,” was brilliant. “The Job” only lasted one season, though, and Leary has had far better luck with his hard-edged comic approach with “Rescue Me.”
In “The Job,” Leary was a troubled cop and here he is a New York City firefighter who is battling considerable person demons.
Because of the many characters and intersecting storylines, I’d recommend seeing previous seasons first just to catch up, but “Rescue Me” is superior television.
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