Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Redemption, Or A Trip Into The Darker Aspects Of The Human Soul

By: 08.14.12  •  24 Comments

I swear I keep trying to use that 'FUTUREBEARD' picture from The Hunger Games, but FilmDrunk's servers keep putting this Hick pic up instead.

Well hot damn! After one hell of a long dry spell, we’ve finally got some DVDs that’ll make you wet. The biggie this week is The Hunger Games, which considering it’s based on a young adult novel, is really much better than it has any right to be.  Besides Jennifer Lawrence and her curvacious bow, there’s Hick, the delightful little indie flick pictured above, and The Raid: Redemption, that insane looking Indonesian action flick.  Those films alone should be enough to declare this week a winner, but there’s so much more. We’ve got Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, and even Danny DeVito.  There’s an Oscar nominated documentary, lots of films about murderers -both real and fictitious, some people buried alive, and some revolutionary zombies.  All that and also a movie that has such a NSFW trailer, I’m actually a little nervous about sharing it.

The DVDs:
The Hunger Games
Hick
The Raid: Redemption
Assassin’s Bullet
Breathless
Girl Walks Into A Bar
Kill List
Tonight You’re Mine
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
The Snowtown Murders
The A Plate
Coffin
Sophie And Sheba
Juan Of The Dead
Community College
The Life And Death Of A Porno Gang

Can’t guess which flick is about people buried alive? (It’s Coffin.)  Want to know which film has a NSFW trailer? (It’s the one with ‘Porno’ in the title.) Think it might include some bestiality?  (It certainly seems to.)  When you read, do you automatically skip parenthetical asides? (Not if you’re reading this sentence.)  If so, the only way to get answers to those questions is to keep reading on the next page.  If you think reading any more about this week’s DVDs will just result in some unwanted attention from law enforcement (oh, it will; things are gonna get mighty dark) then just mosey on over to the Netflix page by clicking here.

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The Hunger Games

First of all, let me make one thing clear: This DVD isn’t coming out today. Instead, it’ll be available on Saturday.  Occasionally movie studios choose to skip the usual Tuesday DVD release day for a ‘special event’ day on which their movie is the only one getting released.  Why do they do this?  F*ck if I know.  I’m sure there’s some business logic behind it, but it seems like just so much masturbation to me.  Our movie’s sooo great.  Everyone’s gonna buy it.  You’re gonna make a special trip to Target or Best Buy on a weekend just to buy it.  They even each sell their own exclusive editions.  Because our movie’s just soooo great.  In the past six months of writing this feature, I’ve previously stuck to my rule of NOT featuring these ‘special-event DVD release’ films because they were not available on Tuesdays with the rest of the DVDs.  The reason?  F*ck them and their stupid high-profile movie, that’s the reason.  Did any of you FilmDrunkards even notice that I never once covered Puss In Boots?  So why am I making an exception for The Hunger Games?  Well, there are a few reasons: For one thing, Vince’s controversial C- review and the 142 (and counting) mostly hate-fueled comments cracked me up.  For another, we’ve had kind of a dismal last few weeks in terms of new DVDs, and despite Vince’s mostly negative opinion, I think the movie is worth checking out.  Finally, there are only a handful of young actresses that FilmDrunk really gets behind (if you know what I mean).  While there are plenty of young starlets, only a few of them truly perk up on screen (if you know what I mean).  They don’t just settle for appearing on screen, they actually embody their roles –they get inside their parts, and in turn, we the viewers get to come inside of them as well (if you know what I mean).  These young actresses, these artists, have captured our hearts and our minds with their flowing femininity (Go Red Wings!, if you know what I mean). The problem is, sadly, that there are far too few young actresses who have the power to find the diamonds we keep in our armpits (even I don’t know what I mean).  In fact, it’s basically just two young stars:  The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence, and a young lady who I won’t be mentioning because she’s under-age.  You know who I mean. Best to just to move on to the next DVD.  *wink, wink*


Hick

Chloë Grace Moretz is a sexy nubile sensuous worldly teenage runaway, and Blake Lively is the sexy big-sister figure that befriends her. This is that movie all of you really want to see, but were also really really really hoping was a critical darling, so as to justify your wanting to see it.  Well, bad news perverts: Hick has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 0%.  ZERO! All 19 reviews were rotten.  Burnsy’s shared this blurb before, but here’s what the Los Angeles Times had to say:

Hick is part road movie and part coming-of-age story but mostly plays like some creepy-perv fantasia looking for mileage from the mature-beyond-her-years presence of young star Chloë Grace Moretz.

Sh*t, that’s not really helping things, is it?  You’ll just have to claim to your girlfriend/wife/case-worker that you’re a huge Blake Lively fan, I guess.  She’s got a solid track record, right? The Town was good and The Green Lantern was also a movie people have seen.  Plus, she’s 24 –solidly of legal age instead of only FIFTEEN YEARS OLD.  Jesus Christ, this movie has a 24-year-old as the older woman.  I’m…I’m fighting a losing battle, aren’t I?  You’ve already ordered the film, haven’t you?  And not for rental,  you’ve gone in for the actual purchase. You’re keeping it.  Well I hope it’s worth it.  Also, can I borrow it?


The Raid: Redemption

Thank god, here we have a movie for which our anticipation has been giving us all socially-acceptable erections. Plus, unlike Hick, the critics really like this film.  You do remember this one, right?  This is that Indonesian action flick about a special forces team trying to capture a ruthless crime lord holed up at the top of an apartment building.  The crime lord unleashes hell on the good guys and non-stop badass action ensues.  I just re-watched the trailer, and I think I just came. To recap, movies glorifying graphic brutal violence and seemingly indiscriminate killing = fine cinema and fun for the whole family.  Movies about the harsh realities of coming into one’s womanhood and being forced into an early adulthood = contemptible exploitative trash that no one should watch.  Violence =good.  Sex = bad.  Or at least, Violence = good.  Underage sex = bad. Even though most people discover their sexuality well before they turn 18.  BREAKING NEWS: Hick is Rated R for ‘disturbing content involving a teen, violence, drug use, language, and, drinking’.  IT HAS VIOLENCE!  WE CAN WATCH IT WITH IMPUNITY!  GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!


Assassin’s Bullet

I started out saying this was a promising week for new DVDs, and here we are already on our second ‘0% on Rotten Tomatoes‘ film.  Well, they can’t all be winners.  Unlike Hick, I imagine the critics are actually right about this one. Donald Sutherland (President Snow in The Hunger Games), Timothy Spall (Winston Churchill in Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Olympic Games), and Christian Slater (Winston Churchill in Churchill: The Hollywood YearsI’m not kidding) star in this action flick set in Bulgaria. Somebody’s killing the terrorists on America’s Most Wanted list, and somehow that’s a bad thing.  The US Ambassador brings an ex-FBI agent out of retirement to figure out who’s behind it. From the generic title to the generic synopsis everything about this screams mediocrity. The script is co-written by some dude named Hans Feuersinger –who isn’t Bulgarian, by the way.  He’s from Montana. This is his first screenplay.  Isaac Florentine is the director.  Most of his experience is in directing episodes of The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and it’s off-shoot series.  His previous films –as the box cover so sadly points out- include Undisputed II and Undisputed III.  I never even knew those existed, and I co-wrote and produced the original Undisputed.

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Breathless

And we’re back to awesome looking flicks!  Absolutely everything about the trailer for this movie makes me smile. I can’t decide if it looks good, bad, deliberately bad and therefore good, or what (are they serious about those accents?) but I do know I like what I’m seeing.  This film is a tongue-in-cheek neo-noir and I don’t want to spoil anything in the trailer by explaining the plot.  All I will say is that this film stars Gina Gershon, Ray Liotta, and Val Kilmer as David Crosby’s uglier, sweatier brother.


Girl Walks Into A Bar

So here’s the deal: this ensemble comedy stars plenty of people you’ve heard of.  There’s Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Robert Forster, Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson, and Danny DeVito, as well as a few lesser-known folks.  It has a convoluted plot about Carla Gugino’s character -a hitwoman (or is she?)- going from bar to bar to get back her stolen wallet, and in the process we jump from one quirky character she meets to the next.  The whole film is inspired by a scene in the director’s previous film, Elektra Luxx, which in turn was inspired by a scene in another one of his prior films, Women In Trouble.  You know what though, none of that really matters.  The truth of it is that this is ‘the first film with notable stars made expressly for the internet‘.  It’s true; the whole thing was produced as a feature for YouTube’s Screening Room.  You can watch it right now (if you’re in the U.S.).  Just click here.  It’s perfectly legal.  It’s also got to be a massive failure, because now they are trying to sell this flick -which, again, is still available immediately and for absolutely no money- on DVD.  And at $5 off the MSRP, now’s a good time to buy, too.  I can’t imagine this won’t be a top seller.


Kill List

Yet another DVD this week about a hitman. Jay, the hitman in this particular film, takes a seemingly simple job with a big payoff, but –as one would expect- things don’t go as planned.  I’m not sure how they don’t go as planned, though.  I think he might be going crazy or hallucinating or something.  All I know for sure is I want to see this movie. The trailer is definitely of the type that doesn’t articulate the plot but rather intrigues with the images. At least, it intrigues me with its images, and the critics seem to like it.  I’m kind of hesitant to dig up too much info on this film, lest I spoil it for myself.  I learned that lesson with Mrs. Doubtfire.


Tonight You’re Mine

Here’s the latest flick from David Mackenzie, the guy who gave us The Perfect Sense.  That was the one with Ewan McGregor and Eva Green falling in love while losing their five senses.  Anyhow, this dude is certainly prolific with his gimmicky love stories, as that flick hit DVD less than three months ago and we’ve got this new one out today.  This time around he has his main characters falling in love over the course of 24 hours spent at a music festival. The male half of the equation is played by some dude I won’t pretend I’ve heard of.  The female half is played by Natalia Tena, who –depending on where you are situated on the nerd-scale- you may recognize as either Tonks from the Harry Potter flicks or as Osha from Game Of Thrones.  For me, she’s Rachel the Prostitute from last week’s delightful Bel Ami.   As you surely assumed, they start out hating each other, but by the end of the movie they are in love.  Oh, and also they are handcuffed together.  For real, that’s the gimmick.  Somehow, nobody at this festival manages to have any tools to remove the cuffs.  Or cars to go obtain tools.  Or phones to call police.  Or any common sense whatsoever.  The only way I would buy this premise is if the music festival was the Gathering of the Juggalos.  Not only would I buy the premise, I would buy the DVD.  Talk about a wasted opportunity.

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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

This Oscar-nominated documentary concludes the Paradise Lost series of films by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.  These films chronicle the saga of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, also known as The West Memphis Three.  They were put on trial for the murder and mutilation of three boys, but SPOILER ALERT: they didn’t do it.  They were still found guilty though, and were also imprisoned for 18 years, and Vince does a much better job covering this info here.  The point is, their eventual exoneration owes a great debt to the previous films in this series (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations).  If the filmmakers weren’t committed to using their art as a tool for justice, these poor men would still be in prison (with Echols on death row).  In fact, this third film had originally been conceived, shot, edited, and premiered as another installment featuring the men in prison and covering their  seeming futile fight for freedom. When the news of their exoneration became known the film was delayed to include their release, etc. This was considered a big victory for film-making, as well as for the many celebrities who had called for the release of The West Memphis Three. And that’s the real tragedy, folks.  Ass-hat celebrities who did little more than click ‘LIKE’ on the ‘Free The West Memphis Three’ facebook page now feel empowered. These idiots have gotten validation –almost by accident, mind you- that not only are their opinions valid, but powerful. All they need to do is keep making movies about whomever they think is being wrongfully persecuted.  It was at this point in this paragraph that I was going to make a joke about looking out for the inevitable sequel to Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired, but I had the good sense to see if there actually was such a thing and lord help us, there is: Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out. Look for it soon.


The Snowtown Murders

What the hell?  Last week it was Christianity this and Jesus that, this week it’s all hitmen, murderers and death.  What does it say about me that I’m way more interested in this week’s films than last week’s?  Anyhow, this flick is about Australia’s real Snowtown murders (also known as the Bodies in Barrels murders). I’ll leave the grisly details to this Wikipedia link. This movie actually looks pretty well made, and in a Paradise Lost-esque bit of art-affecting-life, many of the details of this case remained confidential until a judge released them so they could be incorporated into this film.  It’s not freedom for the wrongfully imprisoned, I know, but that’s why I said ‘-esque’.  Plus, it seems pretty clear that these people are guilty.  As compelling as the trailer for this is, I’ve always been a little wary of true-crime serial killer flicks.  They just seem to often times glorify the killers, and they are certainly always exploiting the real-life tragedy.  I hated that Charlize Theron movie, Monster, for that very reason.  It made her out to be some kind of anti-hero. What, we’re supposed to sympathize with her because she was hit by the ugly stick? If they wanted my sympathy, they should’ve left Theron’s looks intact.  I still would have hated it, but at least I would’ve jerked off while I hated it.


The A Plate

This low-budget ‘comedy’ has nothing to do with real-life murder, torture, or mutilation, and that’s why it’s getting mentioned right now. Unfortunately, it also looks god-awful.  The short version of the synopsis is that some douche-bag car salesman wants to take over the car dealership (The A plate is the dealer’s plate, evidently) but bullsh*t crappy movie contrivances get in the way.  The actual synopsis is about a million words long and it does nothing to actually sell the movie. All you really need to know is that it’s a movie about car salesmen (they’re worse than serial killers, amirite?) and that the cast includes Priscilla Barnes who you will remember as Suzanne Somer’s replacement on Three’s Company.  Or, if you’re a little young for that, she’s the chick with the third nipple in Mallrats. She ends up eating the third nipple, as you may recall. Those are the highlights of her career, and she is the highlight of this film. Congratulations, all around.


Coffin

Kevin Sorbo and his special lady friend get buried alive by a guy who thinks he’s Scarecrow from Batman Begins.  The only way they can get free is if the lady friend’s husband pays Scarecrow a ransom.  This film required two directors (because there are two people in the coffin, see), and their names are Derik Wingo and Kipp Tribble.  I honestly think this whole thing is some kind of long-form Tim & Eric sketch. I mean, this can’t be real, can it?

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Sophie And Sheba

Sophie is a ballet dancer and Sheba is her pet elephant.  Sophie’s parents sell Sheba to the circus, so Sophie goes to get her back, but ends up joining the circus, too.  She knows the environment isn’t good for Sheba, but Sophie’s met a boy and now she’s stuck between doing what’s best for her pet…or doing what’s best for her heart.  Now that’s what I call a real Sophie’s choice.


Juan Of The Dead

Originally assumed to be revolutionary dissidents, zombies are taking over Cuba.  Juan decides to strike it rich by becoming a professional zombie-slayer for hire. It’s capitalism at its finest- he’s literally profiting on the demise of his fellow man!  I’m sure there’s supposed to be some overt political allegories there, but damned if I’m going to ruminate on them.  It’s a horror comedy with a jokey title, so I’m not gonna over think it.  For f*ck’s sake, the tag line is ‘He’s Havana Killer Day’. Any social commentary has to be an afterthought.


Community College

The official synopsis concludes with the following sentence:

Fans of Workaholics and Parks and Recreation will relish Community College!

For real, that’s it.  It’s a movie about friends hanging out –at a community college-and that’s it for the sitcom name-dropping.  They don’t mention any other sitcoms, just those two.  It’s not as if there’s another sitcom that is also about friends getting into wacky hijinks while at community college that they could’ve mentioned.  To be honest, that example of ineptitude about sums this one up.  This is surely a failure of marketing.  The only question is if the failure belongs to the people behind this film (and make no mistake, this film looks AWFUL), or if the failure is with the marketing for that other, unnamed sitcom.  Oh, all right, I’ll name it.  It’s The Office. At any rate, it doesn’t seem to have a single damn thing in common with Parks & Rec, and the inclusion of that show while excluding Community just baffles me.  For real though, this movie looks so bad.  So, so bad. They use the phrase ‘it’s sure to leave you with a barrel full of ha-has‘ in the trailer.


The Life And Death Of A Porno Gang

Man, I don’t know what’s going on in Serbia, but it can’t be good.  You remember hearing about A Serbian Film?  Well, there’s quite a bit of contentious debate about whether that flick or this one is more intense.  While A Serbian Film is considered more sadistic, this one seems to have more realistic (as in possibly authentic) depictions of depravity.  Anyhow, this is about a Serbian filmmaker who takes to traveling around the countryside with a kind of pornographic sideshow, hence the title.  At some point, the filmmaker starts making snuff films, too.  Look, I don’t know what to say about this flick other than I don’t ever want to see it.  The super-duper NSFW trailer is more than enough for me.  Real or fake, it doesn’t matter.  I think I saw an old lady getting pissed on, and I know I saw some farm animal getting its c*ck sucked. If I’m wrong, please somebody correct me. I do so desperately want to be wrong about that.  I debated even sharing it, but ultimately I figured that if Synapse Films can release it, Amazon can sell it, and YouTube can show the trailer, I can share it with all of you. Dive right in.  The horse(?) cock is at 1:10, if you’re interested.  What a week it’s been for new DVDs.  We started by ogling underage girls and ended with bestiality/snuff videos.  In other words, it’s a typical Tuesday here on the internet.

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This picture has nothing to do with today's Netflix suggestions, nor do I care.

Val Kilmer aside, there’s Netflix business at hand. As history has shown us, Netflix is always a few weeks behind the DVD new releases. As such, here are the ‘new’ Netflix films: Bathory, Albert Nobbs, Bad Ass, A Little Bit Of Heaven, and Alien Origin. For this week’s added-value suggestions, each film has not one but two actors from this week’s DVDs –and they aren’t ever from the same movie! Again, please share your suggestions for other Netflix options in the comments, but please don’t mention a movie I’ve already mentioned in this post –it makes us both look like assh*les.

The Poker House

JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND CHLOE GRACE MORETZ IN THE SAME MOVIE!  I repeat: JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND CHLOE GRACE MORETZ IN THE SAME MOVIE! This film, directed by Lori ‘Tank Girl’ Petty and written by Petty and David Alan Grier (what the f*ck?) is a dramatization of Petty’s teen years.  None of that really matters, though because JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND CHLOE GRACE MORETZ ARE BOTH IN IT.  Also, it’s Rated R for ‘language, and disturbing content involving a minor including rape, sexual content and drug/alcohol abuse’.  LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE OUR WINNER!

Margin Call

The Hunger Games’ Stanley Tucci and Girl Walks Into A Bar’s Zachary Quinto star in this Best Original Screenplay Oscar-nominated flick.  It’s basically about the financial collapse of 2008, but fictionalized so as to avoid the burden of accuracy.  It’s an okay film, especially if you understand all the Wall Street lingo the characters throw around.  It’s all ‘run those numbers again, dude’.  ‘Dude, I ran them twice already –we will be broke by the opening bell!’ ‘Did you tell Simon Baker?’ ‘No, Demi Moore told Jeremy Irons and now Kevin Spacey’s pissed!’ I won’t lie, I didn’t exactly understand all the technical jargon.

Powder Blue

Hick’s Eddie Redmayne and Breathless’ Ray Liotta star in this film that is infamous for Jessica Biel’s role as a stripper.  That’s right, you’re remembering it now, this is the one where she shows her tits.  Anyhow, this film from writer/director Timothy Linh Bui –you’re not reading this anymore, are you?  You stopped after the word ‘tits’, I know.  I could write anything here and no one would even notice.  One of my favorite movies of all time is Nothing But Trouble, and it’s streaming too, but I’m afraid to mention it, because everyone else in the world –including those people who actually made the film- absolutely hate it.  But I love it.  First DVD I ever bought.  True story.

The River Murders

Assassin’s Bullet’s Christian Slater and Breathless’ Ray Liotta star in this flick about a detective who becomes the prime suspect in the very case he’s investigating.  You see, the FBI uncovers his personal association with all the victims. Now I don’t know why he wouldn’t remove himself from the case in the first place, but it’s a dumb movie and it needs its plot-contrivances to survive.  I’m even betting the real killer is his partner, or the FBI agent or Ving Rhames, because he’s in this too.

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