Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: For A Good Time, Call The Paperboy

Guess which one’s an Oscar winner

With lots of new films hitting DVD today, there’s something for every discerning fan of cinema.  Besides The Paperboy (pictured above) we’ve got new films with Jake Gyllenhaal, Patton Oswalt, Danny Trejo, and Olivia Thirlby.  There’s films about universal soldiers, imposters, fat kids, phone-sex workers, and samurais.  There’s warriors of witchcraft and witch’s brew, and even one of this year’s Oscar-nominated films.

The DVDs:
End Of Watch
The Paperboy
Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning
Nature Calls
Death Race 3: Inferno
Searching For Sugar Man
For A Good Time, Call…
Nobody Walks
The Imposter
Officer Down
Tai Chi Zero
Fat Kid Rules The World
Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai
Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft
Night Of The Templar
Derby Dogs
Hold Your Breath
Dead Sushi
Witch’s Brew
Zombie Ed

Streaming: Check out your choices here.

Can’t remember which one of these films is an Oscar-nominee?  Continue reading to find out.  Want to know why nobody walks?  Maybe it’s because fat kids rule the world, but you should continue reading just to be sure.  If you don’t really care and just want something to stream on Netflix, click the link above, but you’ll be missing out on a movie that gets the Dove Seal of Approval, despite featuring attempted vehicular manslaughter and scenes of people being covered in human excrement.  The choice is yours.

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End Of Watch

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star in this found-footage, documentary-style film about two L.A. cops. I remember seeing tons of ads for this flick when it was in theaters, but I couldn’t tell you one way or the other if people liked it or even if anyone saw it.  To be perfectly honest, I assumed it had flopped, but –thanks mostly to a relatively small budget of between $7 and $14 million- it turns out it didn’t.  It was #1 for its opening weekend, and with a total box-office take of $43 million, it more than made up its production budget, and critics and audiences (those that saw it at least) all seemed to like it.  So, how was it?  Is it worth watching?  The last Gyllenhaal flick I saw was Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, and that was terrible, so if this is anything like that, I’ll pass.


The Paperboy

Yes, this is the film (from the guy who made Precious) in which Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron.  If you’re not already sold, I’ll remind you that this is also the film in which Efron mimes jerking off to Macy Gray, he uses the N-word in ‘as nasty a way as you can imagine’, John Cusack jizz-stains his pants while staring at Nicole Kidman’s crotch, and speaking of her crotch, it gets more than one close-up during the film, including the aforementioned pissing scene.  If –somehow- you’re still not convinced that this will be worth your 107 minutes, I’ll point out that it also co-stars the always delightful Matthew McConaughey.  I’m not saying this will be a good film; in fact, it’s almost certainly terrible, but I don’t think we’ll ever see anything quite like this again, so I can’t wait to see it.  I feel it’s worth mentioning that the blu-ray is on sale for $12.99 at Target, because they clearly have no idea what they are selling.  God bless America.


Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning

Jean-Claude Van-Damme and Dolph Lundgren are back in this, the fourth installment in the official Universal Soldier franchise.  (There were two made-for-TV movies produced, one starring Gary Busey and the other starring Burt Reynolds, but they don’t count.) Like most folks ‘round these parts, I’d heard mostly good-to-great things about this flick -as in it’s pretty great for a late-period Van-Damme flick, and some say, just flat-out legitimately great, period. Well, when John Hyams, the writer/director of this flick, was kind enough to stop by the frotcast, I decided that my overall curiosity about this flick was enough for me to actually seek the film out and give it a watch.  Because I’m kind of anal about these things, this past week I tracked down all four Universal Soldier movies and marathoned them over the weekend.  To be fair, I’d heard that this fourth one pretty much stands alone, but I didn’t care.  It’s just how I am.  So after watching the twenty-year-old original (It was actually better than I remembered), its 1999 sequel (Utterly terrible.  Embarrassingly so), and John Hyam’s first Universal Soldier flick, the one from 2009 that rightfully ignores the sh*t from 1999 (pretty damn good, considering it’s straight-to-video), I finally sat down to watch this one.  In short, it’s graphically violent –the protagonist’s wife and daughter get shot in the head in the first couple minutes -and lots of fun.  (Redundant, I know.)  It’s very different from the previous movies.  For example, there’s a pretty strong Apocalypse Now vibe going on with Van-Damme’s character in place of Brando’s Col. Kurtz, but it fits the story.  Speaking of which, there really was no need to see any of the previous films.  I don’t regret seeing them (except for 1999’s Universal Soldier: The Return), but I do wish that I hadn’t skipped my daughter’s birthday party just so I’d have the full context when all those topless chicks got their tits shot off or when that guy punched apart a bowling ball.


Nature Calls

This is that Patton Oswalt/Johnny Knoxville ‘comedy’ that Burnsy declared to be the 10th Worst Film of 2012.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have not seen his picks for #9-1, so I won’t quibble with his rankings, but I have seen this, and it’s so very bad. Burnsy hits the nail on the head when he says the point of this flick was to make Rob Riggle scream as much as possible while child actors swear and make piss jokes.  The film is just not funny.  Which isn’t to say it’s ‘not funny’ in terms of being offensive, but rather it seems like it was made by people who don’t quite understand humor.  It reminds me of a little kid learning to tell jokes.  “Knock knock”  “Who’s there?” “Banana”  “Banana who?” “Aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana?”  They’ve got the form down, but the execution’s off.  There’s plenty that should work –the excessive profanity delivered by and to children, the gratuitous nudity, etc. –but it all adds up to nothing.  I don’t know, maybe I’m maturing in my tastes.  If so, I’ve come a long way since salivating over the thought of seeing Nicole Kidman piss on that guy from High School Musical two paragraphs ago.


Death Race 3: Inferno

Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames co-star along with a couple other people you might recognize (but not as much as you’d recognize Trejo and Rhames) in this straight-to-video action sequel.  The makers of the trailer felt it necessary to explicitly state that this is from the filmmakers who brought you Death Race.  Just chew on that one a bit.

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Searching For Sugar Man

Like last week, this week sees the release of another one of this year’s Oscar-nominated documentaries, and unlike the rest of ‘em  (which focus on such depressing topics like AIDS in the 1980s, sexual assault in the military, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict), this movie doesn’t sound horribly depressing to watch.  In fact, it sounds fascinating and crazy in a way that only documentaries can be.   Here’s the synopsis:

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. Long rumored there to be dead by suicide, a few fans in the 1990s decided to seek out the truth of their hero’s fate. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they found far more in their quest than they ever hoped, while a Detroit construction laborer discovered that his lost artistic dreams came true after all.

Wild, right?  Dude was a f*cking god in South Africa and he didn’t even know it. He’d been working construction in Michigan and he could’ve been banging hot South African chicks the whole time.  Think of the implications for other failed musicians.  I bet Lou Bega’s faking his own death right about now.


For A Good Time, Call…

This is that flick about the two odd-couple roommates who learn to be each other’s BFFs by running a phone-sex line together. As Vince rightfully pointed out, the movie looks pretty average, but it may be worth a shot on the strength of the director’s short film, The Saddest Boy In The World.  Of course, other than sharing a director, there doesn’t seem to be any common ground between that short and this feature, but how awesome would it be if there were?  The Saddest Boy In The World was absolutely wonderful, and if this movie has even a bit of that short’s black sense of humor it could become a cult hit.  Just imagine if they end up running a dual phone-sex line/suicide hotline service.  The sexy but hilarious scenes of auto-erotic asphyxiation-gone-bad practically write themselves!


Nobody Walks

I’ve seen this flick, and all I will say is there is actually a scene where the two main characters are watching video footage of some insects and one character mentions how interesting it would be to hear the insects’ heartbeats, and the other character replies that it would be more interesting to hear their heartaches. This exchange was not meant to be humorous. In short, this film was quite insufferable.


The Imposter

As you may recall, this is that documentary about a Texas boy who disappeared without a trace, only to turn up years later in Spain.  He is reunited with his family, but he looks totally different and speaks with an accent.  Based on the title alone, I’m guessing that this kid is an imposter. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this flick (Vince’s ‘A solid, entertaining documentary’ is probably the faintest praise I’ve come across) but pretty much everything I hear also urges me to just watch the flick as soon as possible, lest the twists and turns of the story get spoiled, so I’m just going to shut up and use this space to plug another documentary hitting disc today, Pina. It’s a cinematic tribute to the late modern-dance pioneer Pina Bausch, and it was one of last year’s Best Documentary Oscar-nominees. What’s more, it’s being released as part of the Criterion Collection, and the blu-ray edition is their first ever 3-D disc.  So, if you’ve been waiting for just the right Oscar-nominated, subtitled, 3-D dance film to come along, this is probably the one to seek out. Oh, sure, there’ll be others, but this one’s in the Criterion Collection, and that counts for something.


Officer Down

Stephen Dorff headlines this gritty cop drama that also stars several other people of varying degrees of celebrity: James Woods, Dominic Purcell, AnnaLynne McCord, Stephen Lang, Walton Goggins, Tommy Flanagan, David Boreanaz, and Soulja Boy.  Dorff plays a dirty cop who goes rogue in an effort to solve a crime while covering up his own crooked past. If you’ve read all that and assumed that this movie’s gone straight-to-DVD, you are correct, but to be fair, you should’ve come to the same conclusion as soon as you read ‘Stephen Dorff headlines’.

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Tai Chi Zero

Pretty much every week there’s at least one Chinese action flick hitting DVD, and pretty much every week I don’t bother featuring it because they all look the same.  They all take place during the such-and-such dynasty and they all star Chow Yun-Fat and they all look like they could be cool, but f*ck if I’ve got a damn thing to say about them.  On, the other hand, this flick doesn’t star Chow Yun-Fat and seems more like an Asian Scott Pilgrim flick (the trailer even says so), so I’m featuring it.  I still don’t have anything really to say about it, but at least I’m not making the tired ‘Scott Pirgrim’ joke that you’re all already thinking about.  Racists.


Fat Kid Rules The World

This film, about a suicidal fat kid finding hope and acceptance through joining a band, is the feature film directorial debut of Matthew Lillard. What a wonderful message: your physical health means nothing and your mental stability should only be rooted in the value placed on you by other people, regardless of –HOLY SH*T, THIS WAS DIRECTED BY MATTHEW LILLARD?


Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai

Takashi Miike, the director responsible for some of Japan’s most twisted films, has had some success of late by remaking classic samurai flicks.  He previously remade 13 Assassins, and now he’s remade 1962’s Harakiri.  If you couldn’t guess by the title, this film is about a samurai seeking to commit ritual suicide.  When others try to call his bluff, sh*t gets real because samurais need little provocation to start slicing and dicing.  Add to that Miike’s notoriety for gore in his films, and you’ve got a must-see flick. I can’t wa –HOLY SH*T.  MATTHEW LILLARD?  REALLY, MATTHEW LILLARD?


Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft

A couple of weeks ago I shared The Asylum’s Hansel & Gretel flick while taking them to task for not being more aggressive in their attempts to associate their film with this Friday’s theatrical release, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.  At that time, I promised that at least two more Hansel & Gretel flicks were coming out this month.  Well one of them, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Slayers was supposed to hit DVD today, but at some point it ceased to exist, which is fine because whatever it was, it never had box art, a trailer, or an IMDb listing, so it can go straight to hell. The other, Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft, actually does hit DVD today, and it is glorious.  Just listen to the talent involved: First off, there’s the director, David DeCoteau.  Yes, you’re remembering correctly, he’s the auteur behind the twinks in peril films, as well as the family-friendly holiday dog flicks starring Eric Roberts. Speaking of whom, guess what other film he’s in?  That’s right, it’s this one.  But he’s not alone, the all-star cast also includes Vanessa Angel and Cherie Currie (yes, I mean the real-life lead singer of The Runaways).  Now, I know what you’re wondering, who’s Hansel and Gretel?  Well sir, that really is the best part, because DeCoteau went for realism and cast actual siblings in the pivotal roles: Hansel is played by Vince’s favorite actor/punchline Booboo Stewart, and Gretel is played by his sister Fivel.  That’s right, his name is Booboo, and yet, he doesn’t have the stupidest name in his family.  His parents named his sister after a cartoon mouse (I’m assuming.  After all, her brother’s named for a cartoon bear), and it’s a boy mouse at that.  And they spelled ‘Fievel’ wrong.  You know what?  I’m not really being fair.  While their professional names are in fact, Booboo and Fivel Stewart, their parents aren’t at fault.  Booboo’s real name is Nils Allen Stewart Jr. and Fivel’s is Trent Heaven Stewart, so at least we can see why they go by Booboo and Fivel.  Also, and this is important, here is their father.  Make sure to check out the picture of his sweet braid.  Seriously.


Night Of The Templar

I could make David Carradine jokes until I’m blue in the face (because he’s in this flick), but I won’t. Instead I will just dare you to watch the first 20 seconds of the trailer and tell me you’re not in love with this movie.  My schadenfreude erection is so large it is causing me to lose blood-flow to my brain.

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Derby Dogs

Now I’m not going to lie: this is total f*cking goddamn bullsh*t. If you call your movie Derby Dogs,  if you put not one, but two adorable dogs on the box cover –and one of them is wearing goggles and driving a race car- you had better f*cking give me a movie about cute little dogs driving race cars.  Well guess what, folks?  As near as I can tell, there are no racing dogs in this movie.  It’s not even about dogs! It’s not even really called Derby Dogs, it’s actually called Kiwi Flyer.  It’s about some idiot kid in New Zealand who lies to his mother so he can beat Australians at some bullsh*t race because Australians are assh*les.  Seriously, the trailer seems pretty racist against Aussies, and that’s fine, except there are no f*cking dogs!  They even tease us with a dog bark sound effect, but no dogs.  F*ckers.  You think you can fool us into watching your bullsh*t movie just by putting a few dogs on the box cover?  I’m almost too mad to point out that this film has earned the Dove Seal of Approval, with a rating of 3 Doves.  Here’s Dove’s warnings: “SEX –A couple kisses; a husband playfully slaps his wife’s rear.  LANGUAGE –Name calling including slang for female genitalia; Butt-1; Dip Stick-1; Shut-up-1; Idiot is used several times.  VIOLENCE – A teen races in a car in anger to run down a boy but he is stopped and has waste thrown on his car and it gets on his T shirt; a kid punches kid; a kid takes a kid’s lunch and a man chases him; a man grabs a boy by the collar; kid loses control of a car; kid drops tire on man.  NUDITY – Cleavage; Bare midriffs. OTHER – The death of a main character and grief; a few people step in human waste; a boy knocks over a girl’s molecules in class; a boy lies to his mother several times but she confronts him with it; kids cheat in race; a teacher says that if you don’t win you are a loser; loan sharks.”  I have to admit, each week’s Dove warnings is like Christmas morning; I know I’m going to get something good, but I never know what it will be.  This week there are a few stand-outs.  First, dip-stick is a swear? Duly noted. Also, it doesn’t seem like Dove is giving enough weight to the fact that one of the characters tries to run down a boy in his car.  It’s like it’s all good because he gets sh*t on his T-shirt. That being said, I am a fan of the concern over the poor girl’s molecules getting knocked over, but only because it seems to get equal weight to attempted vehicular manslaughter. ‘Loan sharks’.  Nice, kind of out of left-field, and I like that.  Finally, what term for female genitalia do you think gets used in the name calling?  P*ssy?  C*nt?  I’d guess tw*t, but I don’t know if the Dove reviewer would even know that one. Maybe they just got confused when a character was named Virginia, what with those tricky Kiwi accents.  Either way, this movie has no dogs racing cars, so it can go straight to hell, even with the Dove Seal of Approval.


Hold Your Breath

Here we have one of the rare films from The Asylum that doesn’t seem to be a straight rip-off of an existing big budget Hollywood flick.  Wasting no time in squandering whatever good-will she might have earned from 30 Rock, Katrina Bowden stars in this movie that proves rip-off or not, films from The Asylum are insanely stupid.  This flick is about a group of friends who are tormented by the evil spirit of a serial killer because somebody didn’t hold their breath when near a cemetery.  For real.  Given The Asylum’s reputation for quality film making, I can only assume the movie doesn’t address the obvious questions regarding people attending burial ceremonies, let alone the fate of those responsible for the general upkeep of graveyards. I mean, would The Asylum really have us believe that Mexicans don’t need to breathe?


Dead Sushi

Look, I could go on and on trying to explain this movie and making fun of it, but nothing I say will be as funny or informative as the Engrish voice-over narration in the trailer for this horror comedy about killer sushi.  That’s right: killer sushi.  As in it jumps off the table and attacks people. Yes, it’s all very silly, but as I said, the trailer is amazing in its own right. So just watch it already; it ends with hot sushi-on-sushi sex, or as the trailer calls it ‘Sushi Erotica’. Because this film is classy like that.


Witch’s Brew

I give you this promise: no matter how bad the film, if the trailer includes a guy sh*tting out his own intestines, I will share it with you all.  Can you guess what happens in this trailer?  (A guy sh*ts out his own intestines.  You really should’ve figured that out.)


Zombie Ed

This movie looks terrible; the premise is stupid, the acting’s horrible, and the makeup is so lazy I could replicate it with cheap Halloween makeup from the grocery store.  But that’s just my opinion. Here’s the lone review for this flick from Amazon:

This is a funky,comedic yarn about a hapless geek named ED who becomes a Zombie…Get it ZOMBIE ED….You probably thought National Lampoon had gone nuts and did a Zombie College riff,Oh no …My fiend,Someone else -BRAIN DAMAGE released this one,So Ha ! At You.

There are hilarious set-ups to somewhat unusual situations for A ZOMBIE,Green issues-Salads with VEGGIES( not humans)-Groupies for the more handsome zombies-and protests FOR the equal treatment of zombies.

Drinking or smoke would probably inhance the viwing of this silly movie,But-It will get the job done on your funny-bone sober .

So, you know, maybe I’m wrong about this one.

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Also an Oscar winner. Just sayin’.

There are only a few flicks added to the Netflix streaming service worth mentioning this week.  First up is Dawn Of The Dragonslayer.  We’ve also got last week’s Oscar-nominated doc, 5 Broken Cameras, and finally, this week’s Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft.  So be sure to check those out.  If you need more things to watch, here are this week’s suggestions:

Shadowboxer

Before Precious and The Paperboy, director Lee Daniels made this film which sounds just as crazy as those two other flicks.  Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren (bathing above) play step-mother/step-son assassin partners who are also lovers.  If that’s not weird enough for you, Mirren’s character also has cancer, because why the hell not?  This co-stars Officer Down’s Stephen Dorff as the crime boss who hires them to kill his pregnant wife.  Rumor has it, Cuba Gooding Jr. only has 37 lines in the entire film.  I’m assuming that means dialogue, but with that synopsis, it could very well mean cocaine.

Death Racers

The Asylum may be disappointing us with their Hold Your Breath, but I’m sure we’ll all enjoy their Death Race knock-off, Death Racers.  The plot seems to be identical to the ‘real’ film, but The Asylum’s flick stars the Insane Clown Posse.  There’s also an Asylum knock-off of Universal Soldier called Universal Soldiers, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have Violent J or Shaggy 2 Dope in it. Would’ve been cool if it did though, because nothing says ‘elite military specimen’ like an overweight redneck in clown makeup.

13 Assassins

I mentioned this Takashi Miike samurai film earlier, and it really is fantastic. All you really need to know is that the major battle scene is approximately 45 minutes long. It’s glorious, and plenty gory, but not in that ‘watching this movie has scarred you for life’ kind of way that some Miike films can be. The only thing it lacks is the utter shock value his films sometimes have like the rising-from-the-cum title sequence from Ichi The Killer.  So the film’s good, but not perfect.

Audition

This is that Miike film that will scar you for life. If you haven’t seen it yet, and it hasn’t been spoiled for you, you should see it.  If you haven’t seen it and you think it has been spoiled, you should still see it, because it is probably more traumatizing than you imagine.  If you really hate your wife or girlfriend, get her to watch it with you because the first half of the movie plays out like a romantic comedy.  If you haven’t heard of this film before now, and really have no clue what I’m talking about, you’ve been living under a rock and should have to lap up vomit like a dog and stick needles in your eyes.

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