Back to the ‘Futurama’

Brian Merlos

Film: 3 out of 5 stars

Extras: 3 and a half out of 5 stars

“Futurama: Bender’s Big Score”

20th Century Fox

When “Family Guy” returned after a three-year cancellation, the move drew cheers from scores of devoted geeks who had memorized the show’s catch phrases. And now, Matt Groening’s “Futurama” returns after a four-year cancellation in the form of a straight-to-DVD feature, “Bender’s Big Score.”

Though the plot of “Bender’s,” in which a group of naked aliens use spam e-mails to take over the world, is somewhat erratic, the strength of the show has always been its characters, not its plotlines. And though all the members of the 30th Century company Planet Express – from lewd, cigar-smoking robot Bender (John DiMaggio) to crass but earnest Fry (Billy West, “Doug”) – tend to occupy a similar moral low ground, the sight gags and quick dialogue exchanges are enough to keep fans of similar character-based shows (such as Groening’s most notable project, “The Simpsons”) entertained.

The disk’s special features range from an inscrutably tedious “Futurama math lesson” to a so-bizarre-it’s-funny “Hypnotoad” show, featuring nothing but a swirly-eyed toad that purportedly keeps viewers entranced. The highlight of these features is an “Inconvenient Truth” promo featuring an animated Al Gore, as well as the real one chatting with Groening. Never before have a “cartoon boy” and a Nobel Peace Prize winner kept such close company.

Typical horror film finds rare scares

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

“One Missed Call”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Warner Bros

Have you seen “The Ring”? Well, it seems those behind the release of “One Missed Call” certainly have. In fact, the movie has literally everything “The Ring” does. Something terrible that happened to a child a long time ago, a resulting curse, a foreboding phone call and a fixed period of bizarre hallucinations before the victim’s demise. Seriously, they could be twins.

Really, this shameless similarity can’t be blamed entirely on whoever is behind this version of the film, because like “The Ring,” it’s a remake of a Japanese film. However, unlike “The Ring,” it’s not a good movie.

Unlike the much creepier video tape featured in “The Ring,” scenes of demons being exorcised from cell phones just don’t pack much punch. But since it shamelessly rips off “The Ring,” it does maintain some of its inspiration’s better elements, including a cohesive plot and one or two actual scares – a rarity in modern movies like this.

Despite being panned by critics across the country, all is not as dark and bleak as some would make it out to be. Although it starts with a pretty preposterous concept, it turns into something almost watchable.

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