New releases available this week
The Blues Brothers 25th Anniversary Edition (Universal Studios Home Video)
Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman's modern-day revival of the Blues Brothers is less a stroke of comedy genius than a dose of karaoke night at Hooters. Fight off those thoughts and pop in this 1980 classic. John Belushi and Aykroyd, a couple of white-guy hacks when it comes to music, are pitch-perfect as Jake and Elwood Blues, hard-luck brothers on a mission from God. Even the car chases -- which, at the time, were required of all comedies not penned by Woody Allen -- set the smash-up standard for the genre. The extras here are of mixed value: There's an insightful documentary on the making of the film, from the genesis of the Blues Brothers to the quest for a permit to crash a car through the Daley Center's front window. But the tribute to Belushi is all fluff and flab. Pretty much like the Blues Brothers today. -- Jordan Harper
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season Four (Warner Home Video)
The Blues Brothers
Those waiting for Larry David's HBO anti-sitcom to jump the shark will have to keep sitting on their hands: Season four may be its finest yet. Schwag is purchased, "mulatto" is uttered, hookers are taken to baseball games, and somehow it all feels very real -- and very absurd. David's comedy genius (he's also co-creator of Seinfeld) stems from his total lack of shame: He gleefully portrays himself as petty, vindictive, and painfully neurotic. This bare-bones set features the episodes and nothing else, but with Curb Your Enthusiasm, that's enough. -- J.H.
Monty Python's Flying Circus: Michael Palin's Personal Best (A&E Home Video)
It seems A&E will extract every dollar it can from the Monty Python revival spawned by Spamalot's Broadway success. Along with this collection of sketches selected by Michael Palin, there are plans for a 16-disc superset this fall (to replace the evidently outmoded 14-disc set released in 2000). This disc shouldn't be mistaken as Palin's best sketches -- he doesn't even appear in some of them. But he does pop up in classics such as "Blackmail" and "The Cheese Shop." It's hard to say exactly whom Palin's Personal Best is for; certainly fans of the show have seen this stuff before. Also, beware of any disc that considers an interactive menu and scene-selection capability "special features." -- J.H.
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