Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

September 20, 2013

Television invaded DVD this week with only one major theatrical release but two dynamite shows should make for excellent home entertainment.

“World War Z” — It had to happen. Take a great zombie novel and add major money and talent, courtesy of star/producer Brad Pitt, and watch the results explode on the screen. Well, they blew up alright. This film depicts a worldwide zombie epidemic, but zombie fans will snooze right through it, thanks to an action movie-styled approach that reduces the undead to CGI hokum. That said there are some great action set pieces here, but the only closeup of a zombie is laughable. They also jettison the novel’s multi-character approach and lose the one thing that made this particular story special.

“Arrow” — DC Comics is back on television with this excellent follow up to “Smallville.” Here, you get a mature take on the emerald archer who fights crime in a green hoodie. The show follows billionaire Oliver Queen after he is rescued from a five-year stay on a remote island following a crash. Turns out he developed some lethal skills while stranded on the island and is ready now to take back his city from the crooks and hoods who have made it unsafe for decent people. Good stuff that gets even better as series goes on.

“Bates Motel” — The young life of Norman Bates (the infamous serial killer of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”) is explored here, as well as his relationship with his protective mother. Give it a try and you’ll find a mature take on the material that pays homage to the film while telling a fascinating tale about the formative years of a future serial killer.

“Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven” — This belated sequel to one of the worst movies ever made is as bad as the titular pun. The film is manufactured on demand, so you won’t see it in stores. This is a good thing.