Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Piranha DD Does Not Get The Dove Foundation’s Seal Of Approval

By: 09.04.12  •  12 Comments

Rest in peace, Michael Clarke Duncan.

Calm down, I know the difference between Ving Rhames and the recently departed Michael Clarke Duncan.  This week we’ve got Piranha DD (and no, that’s not a typo), films from everybody’s favorite Jasons: Segel and Statham, flicks starring Adrien Brody, James Caan, Michael Madsen, and Tom Berenger, and even a movie with vampires.  What’s more, a string of Christian-themed DVDs brings us to the fascinating world of the Dove Foundation.  There’s even some lesbians and a girl in a wheelchair!

The DVDs:
Piranha DD
The Five-Year Engagement
Safe
High School
Woman Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day
For The Love Of Money
Amsterdam Heavy
Last Will
My Sucky Teen Romance
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts
Quick
Renegade
Civil Love
Pawn’s Move
More Than Chance
The Guest House

Let’s be honest, you read the banner caption and didn’t even realize that it wasn’t Michael Clarke Duncan.  That’s because you are racist.  Or a lazy picture-viewer.  Or you don’t bother with banner captions because you’re so eager to get on with the DVDs.  Well keep on reading then, bucko!  If you’re offended by my crass exploitation of a nice man’s untimely death, click here for the Netflix lowdown and skip the DVDs  altogether. (Do you really think that’s the only Michael Clarke Duncan-is-dead joke I make in this post?)

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Piranha DD

The original re-make Piranha 3D had been in theaters for less than a week when this sequel was announced.  Piranha 3D was surprisingly well received critically, so while not exactly expected, the announcement was less than surprising.  Of course, that didn’t make it seem like a good idea, but again, the ‘original’ didn’t seem like a good idea, so maybe a sequel could work. Who could say?  When it was announced that Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, the writing team behind Saw IV-VII, had been hired to write the script (with John Gulager, director of the Melton & Dunstan scripted Feast series, directing his first non-Feast feature), it seemed less likely that the sequel could match the ‘original’. In fact, Vince joked that it would be called Piranha 3DD – you know, because of the tits. Six months later, it was announced that the movie really would be called Piranha 3DD (you know, because of the tits), and I, for one, began to suspect that maybe this movie wouldn’t be very good.  When the first one hit home video, they appropriately dropped the ‘3D’ from the title on the 2D DVD. It wasn’t in 3D anymore, and that made sense.  With the announcement of the ‘3DD’ title, I began to wonder what they would do for the sequel’s DVD release.  They can’t just call it Piranha 3DD, because it’s not in 3D.  Just so, they can’t just drop that part and just call it Piranha, because there are already two movies called Piranha as it is, and one of them is the very movie this movie is a sequel to.  Would they go with Piranha 3DD: The 2D Edition?  That might be kind of funny.  Would they just call it Piranha 2 and drop the ‘3DD’, which seemed unlikely as ‘3DD’ was the crux of all of the film’s marketing?  As it turns out, they would decide to go with a choice so stupid, I hadn’t considered it: this film is now called Piranha DD, which as it follows Piranha, and not Piranha D, is completely stupid and shows just how little thought went into any aspect of this film.  (Of course none of this applies to the 3D blu-ray that is also out today, but still.  You shut your whore mouth.) Well, as you probably know, my instincts were correct: this film was awful and it rightfully bombed at the box office.  And yet, I’m happy it’s out on DVD because it gives me the chance to share one of my favorite YouTube clips, a short piece with Clu Gulager.  Piranha 3DD’s director John Gulager is the son of this revered character actor.  John puts his dad in all of his films, including Piranha 3DD.  I’ve included this clip of Clu Gulager below the usual trailer. Please take the six minutes or so to watch Clu speak about why he became an actor –he even name-drops his son John.  It involves some vintage footage from Clu’s childhood, and it would probably be considered NSFW by today’s standards, but it’s just so cool to see a legend of the cinema talk about his craft.  They really don’t make ‘em like they used to.


The Five-Year Engagement

This comedy from the Judd Apatow camp is now on DVD.  It’s one of the Jason Segel ones (as opposed to the Seth Rogen or Paul Rudd ones), and it co-stars Emily Blunt as the ‘legitimate’ actress playing the female lead (like Catherine Keener in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, or Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up). It also co-stars Chris Pratt and Alison Brie as the comedic best friend characters. It could just be me, but I feel like no aspect of this flick was trying very hard.  I don’t think I even heard of it until the trailer came out, and said trailer was pretty underwhelming.  Similarly, when the flick came out I was surprised because I don’t think I saw any TV commercials, etc.  And now it’s on DVD.  They’re really trying to hit-up that Bridesmaids association, aren’t they?  This is one of those flicks that should have fairly wide appeal (it’s a rom-com for her and its R-rated for him) but just so, it’s general blandness looks like it will be a while before I get around to bother seeing it. It’s not that I don’t want to see it; in fact, I do want to see it.  It’s just that things get in the way, new movies come out, and sometimes life’s complications just lead to missed opportunities and forgotten chances.  I will see it, but it might be some time from now.  It might be years, even.  Maybe as many as…three. I dunno, we’ll see. (Didn’t see that coming, did you?)


Safe

Jason Statham is a former Special Forces officer who finds himself tasked with protecting a young Asian girl from a bunch of bad guys.  That’s it.  Not only will I definitely watch this, this is easily the best looking new DVD this week.  I don’t care how often Jason Statham makes the same exact movie over and over, I love him and I love his flicks and I would make sweet love to him if given the chance, and so would you.  Because he’s Jason Statham.  They should’ve just called this movie Stath (of Stafe) and cut to the chase, as all any reasonable person needs to know is that it’s got Jason Statham holding a gun on the box cover.  He makes the same movie over and over and I watch them over and over and I won’t have it any other way. Want to know something funny, though?  I bet you didn’t even notice that the first sentence of this paragraph is actually the synopsis of The Transporter.  The real Safe synopsis substitutes ‘cage fighter’ for ‘Special Forces officer’ so, somehow, they’ve improved upon perfection.


High School

Yes, this is that god-awful looking stoner comedy that co-stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody as a corn-rowed, tattooed, drug dealer. Oh well, it’s his life, I guess. I do enjoy the Christian-Bale’s-Batman-voice thing he’s doing in the trailer.  This also has Michael Chiklis and Colin Hanks. God damn, I loved The Shield and Chiklis was fantastic on that show.  As for Colin Hanks, he probably got a lot of great Christmas and birthday presents as a kid. High School‘s main character is played by Matt Bush, who is also in Piranha 3DD, so it’s a big week for that guy’s grandma’s DVD player.

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Woman Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day

This is the second installment in the ‘eponymous’ (their word, not mine) Woman Thou Art Loosed film franchise.  To be honest, I had no idea that this film existed, and subsequently had no idea this franchise existed.  I’ve heard of the original, but I knew nothing about it, but that’s okay because this isn’t a sequel.  (That’s why it’s called Woman Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day instead of Woman Thou Art Loosed 3DD, which actually sounds like a movie I would watch.)  Anyhow, besides a pathetic attempt at name recognition (and the participation of Bishop T.D. Jakes, the author of the original film’s source novel) this movie is a stand-alone drama. It’s about a married couple’s relationship going to sh*t over the course of seven days after their six-year-old daughter is kidnapped.  I don’t know how this movie turns out, but if it were about a white family it sure wouldn’t take the cops seven days to find the little girl, I can assure you. It would’ve been called Woman Thou Art Loosed: Amber Alert.


For The Love Of Money

Let’s play movie bingo: How many disparate elements can one movie possess?  We start things off with the free space, ‘Based On A True Story’.  Next, we need to add a commonly used subject: organized crime.  But it needs a twist: Instead of the Italian Mafia or the Irish Mob, how about Israeli gangsters?  Perfect.  This already sounds weird enough, so we’re almost there.  Can the cast bring us on home for the win?  Let’s start with older actors.  Who’s in it and really shouldn’t be?  There’s Paul Sorvino, but he’s never been one to pass up a paycheck.  Who else can we find?  Jeffrey Tambor.  Again, yes, it’s weird to see George Bluth in a movie like this, but not weird enough.  James Caan?  As sad as it is to see Sonny Corleone slum it, Caan’s not really that surprising, given his career choices of late.  Maybe we should move on to the younger ‘stars’. There’s Edward Furlong, but let’s be honest, we all kind of assumed Furlong would be in this.  Who else can we find?  We’re so close to winning this game, we just need one more oddball casting choice.  How about Jonathan Lipnicki?  Yes, that’s right, the kid from Jerry Maguire co-stars with Edward Furlong and George Bluth in this true story about Jewish gangsters.  BINGO!!!!


Amsterdam Heavy

Admit it, while playing movie bingo with For The Love Of Money, you thought I’d point out that Michael Madsen would be in it.  Well, he’s in this instead.  He plays a CIA agent. I want Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour, Edward Furlong, Tom Sizemore, Billy Zane, Michael Clarke Duncan, Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr., Val Kilmer, Ray Liotta, Vinnie Jones, Ving Rhames, Tom Arnold, and Judd Nelson to star in a straight-to-DVD rip off of The Expendables.  They could call it The Real-Life Expendables.


Last Will

Tatum O’Neal stars in this low-budget thriller about a woman framed for the murder of her husband. His evil family sets her up so they can take her husband’s fortune. Tom Berenger plays the husband, and James Brolin plays the cop investigating the murder. Did you know that Tatum O’Neal’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for Paper Moon makes her the youngest person to ever win a competitive Oscar?  She was 10 at the time.  Shirley Temple received an honorary Oscar at age 6, so technically she holds the record for youngest Oscar recipient.  Shirley Temple’s still alive, by the way.  She’s 84-years young. Neither woman went on to any other Oscar nominations or wins, so I feel comfortable in saying that they both peaked early.  If you’re wondering why I’ve gone off on this Oscar trivia tangent, it was because I assumed you’d already been sold on the movie.  You know I said James Brolin’s in it, right? That dude’s a legend.

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My Sucky Teen Romance

This teen vampire flick wants to be the anti-Twilight.  It even says so in the official synopsis.  So instead of pandering to brainless young girls and sexless middle-aged women, My Sucky Teen Romance panders to Comic-Con geeks (“And who says geeky boys can’t be cute?” is an actual line of dialogue from the trailer). Hell, even Harry Knowles shows up as himself in this flick, because he is the ‘resident vampire expert’ at ‘SpaceCON’ and this film is about real vampires running amok during the convention.  Look, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that this film looks in any way good, but I will admit that it looks more competently made than most gimmicky horror comedies.  Plus, it’s written and directed by 19-year-old Emily Hagins, and that’s got to count for something.  I don’t mean to imply that female directors can’t make good movies or that teenage directors can’t make good movies.  I don’t mean to imply that at all.  I wish to state it explicitly.


Small, Beautifully Moving Parts

I want to punch every aspect of this awful looking movie right in its pregnant belly.  First there’s the title.  Besides being somehow both too wordy and perfectly forgettable, it’s too clever by half.  You see, Sarah, the main character, is fascinated by how things work.  She’s constantly taking gadgets apart to see the small, beautifully moving parts within.  When she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s more interested in the ultrasound technology than in what’s being ultra-sounded.  (For real, that’s part of the official synopsis.) You think eventually the title refers to her fascination with her tiny little baby? Either way, she starts out petrified, so Sarah does what any pregnant women would do, and goes on some soul-searching cross country car trip  to discover herself by re-connecting with her own mother, because nobody should be expected to just grow the f*ck up and handle their sh*t.  No, all of life’s problems are somebody else’s fault and how can she be a good parent unless she can make things right with her own mother?  You know what though?  All the stupid arrested development ‘my mommy didn’t love me and now I don’t know how to function’ bullsh*t isn’t even what bothers me the most.  What bothers me the most is the shot at 1:57 in the trailer.  Sarah is at some scenic spot and she holds up a photograph, and the photo lines up perfectly with the actual view –complete with cloud alignment and everything.  The thing is, it lines up from the camera’s perspective, and not the character’s , and that doesn’t make any sense at all, but smacks of the smug ‘aren’t we clever?’ film-making that plagues this entire piece of crap movie. If Sarah’s so fascinated by how things work why doesn’t she go on her journey of self-actualization, reconnect with her mother, and then get herself acquainted with an abortion vacuum? She could take it apart after it takes her fetus apart. At least then the film would have an unexpected twist.


Quick

There are three Asian flicks hitting DVD this week, and two of them are so similar to one another that I cannot tell them apart.  They both are of the large-scale, ancient dynasty war movie variety, and one is called Sacrifice, and the other is called White Vengeance, and again, they seem to be the same movie.  The third Asian film gets the featured spot not only because it looks different, but because its premise is so goofy, I had to share it.  Quick is Speed on a motorcycle.  This time the bomb’s in the helmet and the helmet’s on the passenger that of course happens to be riding on the back of the bike.  So to recap, there are three Asian DVDs, and if you got here by googling ‘Quick, White Vengeance Sacrifice’ I apologize that this completely non-racist movie blog wasn’t at all what you were looking for.


Renegade

Do you like family-friendly period films about gold mining?  Do you like Gossip Girl?  Well, Renegade (originally titled Mattie) is a family friendly film about gold mining and it stars Kaylee DeFer, who is on Gossip Girl, according to the Renegade synopsis. That synopsis also tells us that DeFer plays Mattie, a young woman who unwittingly marries a claim jumper, even though an honest man loves her and wants to marry her. I don’t care about any of that though, because this film was awarded 3 Doves from the Dove Foundation.  As it turns out, the Dove Foundation is a family values interest group that reviews movies on the basis of Christian morality.  The 3 Doves is their version of a three-star review (out of a possible five Doves).  So, good for you Renegade.  Obviously, the only criteria for the Dove Foundation’s review is subject matter, as the acting and production values are horrible.  Still, one could lose many an hour looking at reviews on the Dove Foundation website.  For example, in the five Dove review for The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, under the Content Description for Sex, it is stated that ‘Woman kisses a fish.’  The detail with which the Dove reviewer covered Brokeback Mountain almost makes me think this website might be an even better resource than Mr. Skin. In the Dove review for Alvin and the Chipmunks, they list ‘Buzz Kill’ under the objectionable language analysis.  The Dove review of The Passion Of The Christ (which does get a Dove endorsement –because horribly graphic violence is OK as long as it is Jesus getting tortured and not some topless whore) states that the film earns its R rating, but that the R stands for “Redemptive”.  I swear I’m not making any of this up.

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Civil Love

Speaking of Dove-approved Westerns, not only did this film get awarded the full five Doves, it even has the Dove seal of approval right there on the box cover!  Anyhow, this film is about a northern Civil War widow who takes in a wounded Confederate soldier. Obviously they fall in love.  Get it?  Instead of Civil War it’s Civil Love!  Needless to say, this looks about as well-made as Renegade, which is to say, not at all.  Plus a word of warning from the Dove Foundation regarding nudity:  ‘Man’s stomach and chest is seen as he is treated for a gunshot wound’.  For real, my web browser’s got a new homepage.


Pawn’s Move

Holy crap that’s a big Dove foundation seal of approval on the box cover.  They must really be proud of their five dove rating.  (I’m beginning to wonder what knocked Renegade down to only three Doves.  Was it because the star went on to such filth as Gossip Girl?)  Anyhow if you aren’t scared off by the graphic drug use in Pawn’s Move (‘Wine with a meal.’), you’re in for a treat because this is one of my favorite types of Christian films: the kind with a crazy, stupid plot and unbelievably inauthentic dialogue.  Jimmy works at a pawn shop, but he has to escape his gold-digging girlfriend (you can tell she’s no good because she looks like she’s on Jersey Shore), so after Jimmy wins the lottery he flees to some other small town and meets a good, god-fearing girl (you can tell she’s holy because she doesn’t wear much makeup, and also there’s a close up of her bible), but how can he reveal the truth to her without making his whereabouts known to the succubus he left behind?  Choice bits of dialogue from the trailer include:  On the subject of chess -“So have you ever played before?  The goal is to clear the way to the king.”  On the subject of Jimmy himself –“I’m just trying to move toward the goodness of God.”  (Oh, I get it now.  That’s why he says his name is Jimmy Pawn. Because he’s trying to move toward the King.  Just like a pawn.  Clever.)  On the subject of following God’s will: “To blame your failure on providence is to miss the point. To see the blessings you’ve got to move through the failures.”  And lastly, on dating: “I was trying to bless you.”  That’s the greatest Christian pick-up line since, “He is risen!


More Than Chance

Kelsey is a two-year old Russian orphan adopted by American parents.  Her dad shakes her so violently that she becomes a paraplegic. Her dad goes to prison, and Kelsey gets a new family that lets her know that, with God, anything is possible and she realizes her dream of becoming a paraplegic ballerina.  For real.  There’s even a shot of her in her f*cking wheelchair ‘dancing’.  This true story shows us that with God, nothing is left to chance.  It was all part of God’s plan that young Kelsey was born in a hellish orphanage, and it was also part of God’s plan that she, as a two-year-old,  would be beaten so severely that she loses the use of her legs.  Without those hardships, she would never become a ballerina, or a movie star.  That’s right, the real Kelsey plays herself in this inspiring drama that the Dove Foundation gave four Doves.  Now I’ve got nothing against a young girl finding religion amidst some truly horrifying hardships.  Just so, I don’t give a f*ck that she’s a wheelchair ballerina because, honestly, the thought of all the would-be ballerinas busting their asses only to be told, “Sorry, the role of The Swan has been given to Wheelie McJesus” is downright hilarious to me.  What bothers me is that -at best- there are people in this girl’s life who think her story is so inspirational (and not in a ‘power-of-the-human-spirit’ kind of way, but rather in the ‘ain’t-Jesus-amazing?-We-can-use-this-girl’s-tragic-life-to-get-more-converts’ kind of way) and -at worst- they know full well that she is being exploited like a dancing rolling monkey, and they don’t care because, hey, it’s for Jesus.  Obviously, the Dove folks love this flick.  Why wouldn’t they?  The general message is that if life gives you lemons, make a movie and give the profits to the church.  Of course the Dove Foundation does warn that ‘a girl shows disrespect to her mother’ but she ‘changes by film’s end’.  Jesus f*cking Christ, Dove!  How about a spoiler alert?


The Guest House

You know what I hate?  The scenes in porn where people aren’t having sex.  I don’t care about the ‘story’; if I did I would be watching a proper film and not porn. Just get on with the double-anal/double-vag penetration.  Maybe toss in some gag-reflex fellatio and some salad-tossing.  I’m easy to please, just stop pretending there is a plot.  I hate it.  You know what I hate more than that?  This film.  If the trailer is any indication, it’s a porno with all the sex cut out. Two young ladies discover their latent lesbianism –allegedly.  I’m not reading into the trailer what’s not really there, either.  The official synopsis is full of phrases like “this year’s guiltiest pleasure for lesbian movie lovers”.  Oh wait, I get it now. They must mean that the movie lovers are lesbians -which I’m not- and that probably explains this whole mix-up.  My mistake.  Proceed with your boring looking and poorly acted film about two women riding bicycles, singing poorly, and making heart-shaped handshakes that frame the sunset.  I’m gonna go back to jerking off while reading the Dove Foundation’s review of Hostel: Part II.  Dove warns us: “Kid spits in woman’s face.”  Yeah, that’s worth mentioning from a film that shows a dude getting his dick chopped off. Which, to be fair, Dove also mentions, but they say ‘male member’ instead of dick.  They’re classy that way.

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