Last summer’s blockbusters are this fall’s DVD releases and this week we get Man Of Steel, but as always there are plenty of other new DVDs and they are all just as worthy of our attention. We’ve got killer whales and racing snails. We’ve got movies with Paul Rudd and Russell Brand. We’ve got violent kids and idiotic adults. We’ve got drunk Irishmen and deported Jamaicans. We’ve even got a movie about simultaneously saving Santa and curing cancer. You don’t see ambitious shit like that everyday!
Man Of Steel
I Declare War
Dealin’ With Idiots
A Country Christmas
I could make a lot of claims about the wonders to behold on DVD this week, but I’m pretty sure all I need to say is this: one of these movies includes real, non-simulated, full-on footage of a hand-job, so continue reading to find out which one it is. (It may surprise you to know that it is not Grabbers.)
I’d just like to point out that despite Vince’s generally positive “B” review of this movie, the critics mostly disagreed and in fact consider 2006’s Superman Returns to be the better film. Yikes. Of course a movie like this is pretty much critic-proof because it’s SUPERMAN; everybody’s gonna see it no matter what other people think of the film. Just so, everybody’s going to form their own opinion about it and even then that opinion won’t matter because it made enough money that Warner Brothers is already underway with the sequel, which everyone is going to see anyways because it’s called Batman Vs. Superman, which is like calling your film Broken Box Office Records: The Movie. Add in the fact that everyone seems to have an opinion about Ben Affleck playing Batman and it’s actually kind of nice that –whether or not you like the results- it really does seem like director Zack Snyder and his cohorts are actually trying to make decent, well-received films when they could very easily pull a Batman & Robin or a Superman IV: The Quest For Peace out of their coke-bloated asses. Those two films were so terribly written, lazily acted, and just flat-out poorly made that they killed their respective franchises. For a while, anyway. And that’s really the point: As long as movie studios have the rights to make films about Superman or Batman or Spider-man or any other ‘man’ they will –and all while still saying a big “f*ck you” to a stand-alone Wonder Woman film. Quality simply doesn’t play into it. So if you hated Man Of Steel, maybe you’ll like the inevitable next version better. At this point, Superman and Batman (and Spider-man, and James Bond…) really are immortal. Even expensive failures like Green Lantern are bound to show up again sooner or later, and that’s just the way it is and none of this is just my attempt at avoid any specific discussion about Man Of Steel and in turn admitting that –once again- I haven’t seen the big movie that everyone else has already seen and forgotten about. No, that’s not what’s going on here at all.
Guess what? I actually have seen this movie about orcas living in captivity that end up attacking/killing humans –and I still won’t be saying too much about it. The only thing I would add to Vince’s “A” review is that there’s some stellar footage of a male killer whale getting his truly massive dick jacked off. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. (Seriously though, the movie is excellent and will make you think twice about going to SeaWorld.) Luckily, there are a couple of other lower-profile docs that are also on DVD today, so here are a few brief thoughts about each: Buffalo Girls –this documentary follows the careers of two young female athletes who are part of Thailand’s underground Muay Thai boxing circuit. They fight to provide much needed money for their families, and if they make it to the championship and win it could change their lives forever. Also important to note, the two girls are only eight years old. Serious warning: as a parent, I find the trailer included below hard to watch. Eight-year-olds, dude. Road Trip For Ralphie (available Wednesday) – Two Canadian super-fans of A Christmas Story spent two years off and on traveling to each of the film’s shooting locations, culminating in a visit to the 2006 grand opening of the A Christmas Story museum, housed in Ralphie’s ‘actual’ house in Ohio. They decided to film their journey and –for some reason- think other people want to watch them geek out over finding old props and tracking down filming locations, all while creepily reciting dialogue from the movie. I don’t even like watching the vacation videos made by people I know, let alone seven-year-old vacation videos made by complete strangers depicting their journeys to the exotic locales known as Toronto and Cleveland. Still, it looks easier to watch than A Christmas Story 2, but then so does Buffalo Girls.
Ryan Reynolds gives voice to a snail that wants to become a race car. What’s worse is that the little f*cker succeeds. He races –against cars- in the Indy 500. Why? Magical nitrous oxide or some shit, that’s why –and I’m just assuming he wins because why wouldn’t he? This is a terrible message to send to our kids. It was already a lie when we were kids and adults told us we could grow up to be anything we wanted to be, now we are telling kids that their ambitions and dreams need not even be tethered to the bounds of reality? Look, it was highly f*cking unlikely that I would grow up to be an astronaut or a Supreme Court judge like I was always being told, but technically it wasn’t impossible. Now kids see shit like this and they think they can just decide they want to become the Golden Gate Bridge or the mole next to Obama’s nose and it’ll just happen because it worked out for the damn snail with the sexy voice. I keep my kids’ hopes and dreams in check, I can tell you that. My three-year-old daughter started gymnastics a few weeks ago and she’s already asking if she can be in the next “old lympics”. I told her no, because even if she wasn’t way too fat and uncoordinated, real Olympic gymnasts always finish their milk and they never smear their shit down the side of the toilet bowl when they slide their befouled ass off the seat and down along the exterior curve of the porcelain. Judge me all you want, but you haven’t seen her in action; she really is a terrible gymnast.
Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch star in this indie comedy about a couple of dudes repairing and repainting a road in the middle of nowhere in 1988. Some people are calling this a return to form for director David Gordon Green, who got his start with critically-favored low-budget indies such as George Washington and All The Real Girls, but in more recent years has cranked out the studio comedies Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter. I liked Pineapple Express and Your Highness a lot, but I must say I loved George Washington. It’s the film Beasts Of The Southern Wild wanted to be. As for Prince Avalanche, if you asked me to watch an indie film about road workers that is also an adaptation of a little-seen and less-known Icelandic film, I’d say I pass. However, you tell me that it’s from the guy who directed George Washington, and I begin to get interested. If you then tell me that it stars Paul Rudd, at that point I’d add it to my must-watch list. Then if you tell me Paul Rudd is sporting a sweet moustache, I would point out that you really should’ve started with that bit of information. Who can resist Paul Rudd’s moustache? I know I can’t. How great would it be for Rudd to star in a Doug Henning biopic? The idea excites me so much, I might even pay money to go see that movie in a theater.
Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, this film is about a young girl who questions her Christian upbringing after getting burned in an accident and then takes a taste of the sinful life by heading to Las Vegas and hanging out with Russell Brand. Where Paul Rudd with a moustache can get me to watch anything, Nick Offerman without a moustache is not enough to get me to watch this. Maybe if he had the moustache I would feel differently, but he doesn’t and I don’t. Bald and clean-shaven, he looks like he could either be David Koechner’s brother or maybe Sir Topham Hatt -if he, well, took off his hat. Offerman’s head and facial hair aside, this movie just looks terrible. Of the things Diablo Cody’s written, I’ve only seen Juno and it made me want to punch every pregnant teenager on the planet. What a terribly annoying protagonist. You got pregnant and probably just f*cked up your entire life, maybe you should stop being such a smart-mouthed c*nt to your father? Shut up with the impossibly clever sarcastic comments to him –and everyone else- and just sit still until you’re ready to birth that baby and give it to Jennifer Garner. What’s that? What about your feelings? What about your happiness? Who f*cking cares about you? You’re a teenage girl with a stupid name, a goddamn hamburger phone and a penchant for singing out loud and unbidden in public places; you deserve to be miserable. I’m just assuming the young lady in Paradise –named Lamb, of course- isn’t any better. She probably rejects her judgmental parents and church only to discover that the secular world isn’t any better, and ultimately she decides that there is a God who loves her, and she loves God back, even if she doesn’t quite understand why She lets bad things happen to good people. Or something like that. Look, I’m not the one who insists on sharing their thoughts on religion; no, in this instance that status is reserved for the former stripper who likes for people to call her Diablo.
Greta Gerwig is radiant as Frances, a woman in her late twenties in contemporary New York trying to sort out her ambitions, her finances, and, above all, her intimate but shifting bond with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Meticulously directed by Noah Baumbach with a free-and-easy vibe reminiscent of the French New Wave’s most spirited films, and written by Baumbach and Gerwig with an effortless combination of sweetness and wit, Frances Ha gets at both the frustrations and the joys of being young and unsure of where to go next. This wry and sparkling city romance is a testament to the ongoing vitality of independent American cinema.