FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD & Blu-ray: Free Birds For The Dallas Buyers Club

Still feeling depressed about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death? Did you lose money on the Super Bowl?  I can’t really help you with either of those problems, but I can share this week’s new DVDs, and that’s got to count for something, right?  It’s a pretty even mix of offerings this week; besides the multiple Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club, we’ve also got an appropriately big, dumb Hollywood action film, a couple romantic comedies, an animated film for kids, a documentary, a few independent films, a thriller, and even a Danny Glover movie. Who doesn’t like a little Danny Glover now and then?

The DVDs:
Dallas Buyers Club
Escape Plan
About Time
Free Birds
Baggage Claim
Cutie And The Boxer
Romeo And Juliet
Mother Of George
A Case Of You
The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete
From Above
Scorned

Besides Dallas Buyers Club, there’s another film in the above list nominated for an Oscar this year. There’s also a movie co-starring Brendan Fraser and Vince Vaughn.  Think they might be the same movie? Continue reading and you’ll get that question -and several others nobody has actually asked- answered. I even mention my grandma!
Dallas Buyers Club

In the running for six Oscars, including nominations for biggies such as Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, Dallas Buyers Club is the latest high-profile, high-prestige film that makes all your Christian conservative family members feel okay about watching an AIDS film because the main character is straight. My mom hasn’t been this excited about AIDS-related entertainment since she sat us all down to watch The Ryan White Story in 1989. Her opinions aside, plenty of critics and Academy voters (obviously) liked the movie as well, so you might want to check this out regardless of your religious inclinations or political leanings.  Of course, not everyone thinks this movie is the greatest thing since Milk –FilmDrunk’s own Heather Dockray certainly had some complaints. So, like always, form your own opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s art and all that. Love it, hate it, or skip it to watch Magic Mike again, there is one thing I’d like to think we can all agree on about this film: there really ought to be an apostrophe in that title.  I won’t say where exactly, but damn it, there really ought to be one.


Escape Plan

Oddly enough, this film, starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a couple of ‘roided out geriatrics busting out of prison, did not get as much critical acclaim and awards-season attention as Dallas Buyers Club, and I have to say I am shocked.  Sure Stallone and Schwarzenegger are basically playing the same character they’ve been playing for decades, but isn’t that the point? These characters have to learn how to escape not only from prison, but from their former selves as well.  It’s beautiful, really. I’m not saying they deserve Oscars for their work, but what about some of their co-stars, like Vinnie Jones or Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson? The man is using his real name so you know he’s delivering a serious and moving performance.  Also, no love for the screenplay?  It was a collaborative effort between one of the co-writers of Mirror Mirror and one of the co-writers of Road House 2: Last Call –so clearly these guys are serious masters of the craft. And don’t even get me started on the Oscar snubbing of costume designer Lizz Wolf. The obvious choice for prison uniforms is D.O.J. orange, but she went with the daring choice of thin black stripes against a grey backing.  There’s only one word for that revelation in fabric: Transcendent.


About Time

This is that romantic comedy/drama involving time travel and starring Rachel McAdams.  No not the Woody Allen one, the one with the Irish guy. Yes, I know Eric Bana’s Australian; I’m not talking about that movie, I’m talking about the one from the writer/director of Love Actually.  In this one the male lead is that friendly-looking ginger fellow –I think he played one of Ron Weasley’s brothers in a few Harry Potter movies. Are we all thinking of the same movie now?  Good. Jesus Christ, Rachel McAdams makes a lot of these time-travel romance flicks, doesn’t she? I wonder why that is.  Something to ponder as you sit next to your wife/girlfriend watching this instead of Escape Plan.


Free Birds

Speaking of time travel, Free Birds is an animated family film about time-traveling turkeys.  For real. They go back in time and change history by serving Chuck E. Cheese pizza instead of turkey  at the first Thanksgiving.  No shit.  This was a real movie that really played in theaters, too.  Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, and George Takei all provided their vocal talents.  If that’s not strange enough, how about this: it’s co-written and directed by the guy who last directed Jonah Hex.  That other co-writer? Scott Mosier, who is also producing.  On the off chance you don’t recognize Mr. Mosier’s name, he’s Kevin Smith’s pal, long-time producer, and podcast co-host. Best of all, this movie has the Dove Seal of Approval!  It’s like we’re playing shitty movie mad-libs.  Respected critic The Dove Foundation loves Free Birds, a 91-minute commercial for Chuck E. Cheese, from the people that gave you Jonah Hex and Jersey Girl, and starring Dan Fogler.   For real though, Dove’s Four Dove review has provided me with three of my all-time favorite content warnings to date.  Under ‘OTHER’ they include “A character says he is ‘The Great Turkey’” and simply, “time travel”.  Even better, under ‘SEX’ they provide only this warning: “Two turkeys kiss.

At least they were both turkeys, am I right?


Baggage Claim

Let’s start this one out with the official synopsis:

Determined to get engaged before her youngest sister’s wedding, flight attendant Montana Moore finds herself with only 30 days to find Mr. Right. Using her airline connections to “accidentally” meet up with eligible ex-boyfriends and scour for potential candidates, she racks up more than 30,000 miles and countless comedic encounters, all the while searching for the perfect guy.

Oh, I get it!  She’s a flight attendant and her past relationships are her emotional baggage and she’s reclaiming them!  Clever!  You think they came up with the title first, and devised a plot to fit it, or do you think they wrote the plot and had an epiphany regarding the title? I hope it was the latter and the original title was I’m Just A Girl Willing To Abuse My Professional Privileges And To Lie To People I Formerly Cared Enough About To Date And Am Willing To Date Again In The Hopes Of Pressuring Them Into Marriage Because I’ve Only Now, 30 Days Away From My Sister’s Wedding, Decided That The Only Way I Can Be Happy Is To Be Married Too.  Sure, I Could’ve Gotten A Jump On This Sooner And I Don’t Really Know Why I Waited Until The Last Month Of My Sister’s Single Life, But I’m Such A Narcissist That I Can’t Stand The Thought Of My Sister Enjoying A Particular Type Of Happiness Unless I Too Get My Share Of That Particular Happiness, Which Again, I Define As Being Legally Bound To Someone Whom I Couldn’t Even Approach Honestly, But Instead Manufactured ‘Chance’ Meetings With Under False Pretenses And -Hopefully- Will Never Know They Married Me Because I Tricked Them.


Cutie And The Boxer

Again, we start with the official synopsis:

Once a rising star in the ’70’s New York art scene, 80-year-old “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara is prepping for his latest show, hoping to reinvigorate his career. His wife and de facto assistant, Noriko, seeks her own recognition through her “Cutie” illustrations, which depict their chaotic 40-year marriage. CUTIE AND THE BOXER captures two lives united by a dedication to art-making for a touching meditation on the eternal themes of love and sacrifice.

I don’t have much to say about this one other than it’s one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Documentary, and I bet Ushio and Noriko have a pretty kinky sex life.


Romeo And Juliet

This November Baz Luhrmann’s classic film turns 18-years-old, so the powers that be decided to reboot it.  This time they’ve taken the bold approach of setting the reboot in the past.  (I’m no historian, but to me it looks like the Shakespearean era.) Anyhow, this time Romeo’s some British dude whose last non-TV role was as Miley Cyrus’ love interest in LOL, Juliet is that girl who got Oscar-nominated for the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, and the director is an Italian man whose last feature film was about a guy dying in a car wreck and coming back to life as a dog.  It was from 1995, and the guy was played by Matthew Modine.  To be fair, the dog movie, Fluke, did get two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert, which is an endorsement Romeo And Juliet did not get.  I’m not saying it should’ve, of course, but Jesus Christ, it seems like it’s been years since they last gave it to any movie.  Was Fluke really that great?


Mother Of George

Best known for playing Michonne on The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira stars in this indie drama about a Nigerian immigrant living in Brooklyn who is desperately trying to conceive a child with her husband. I’ve seen the film, and I’d recommend it.  I found the story compelling and Gurira’s performace was fascinating, at least to me who has only otherwise seen her beheading zombies.  My only real complaint is with the cinematographer’s pathological refusal to use traditional framing and composition.  That being said, if you don’t mind watching entire scenes of dialogue shot from the neck down, check this movie out.  It gives a nice glimpse into a world that –to me at least- is totally foreign.  I don’t mean Nigerians, mind you, but rather the lives of the infertile. After two kids conceived with minimal forethought and no effort, my wife and I barely have sex at all anymore; she says its just too risky because I am such a masterful love-maker.  Take that, all you infertile losers!


A Case Of You

Just take a moment to imagine how amazing it would be for Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage to star in a movie together. Personally, I could see them making a really great road trip film and an even better buddy cop comedy.  Well the good news is that they have made a movie together, kind of.  What I mean is that they are both in this movie –although I don’t know if they even have any scenes together.  Still, it’s probably worth a viewing, right?  Probably not –it stars Justin Long as a guy who lies about himself in a facebook profile in the hopes of impressing a girl and now must become the man he pretended to be if he wants to keep her.  If that’s not bad enough, Justin Long co-wrote this movie.  So if you were wondering, the answer is yes, Justin Long is the mastermind behind an elaborate blackmailing scheme that has ensnared several Hollywood actors including Dinklage and Rockwell.  Also appearing in order to keep their sordid lives secret: Sienna Miller, Even Rachel Wood , Busy Philipps, Vince Vaughn, Scott Adsit, and Peter ‘Ralphie from A Christmas Story’ Billingsley.  Brendan Fraser’s in the movie as well (with billing over Rockwell, to boot), but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have to be blackmailed. He’s long been very open about his involvement with NAMBLA.


The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete

I could summarize the plot of this movie.  I could share the official synopsis.  I could mention the director and some of his previous films that you’ve probably seen.  I could congratulate this film on its 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  I could highlight the cast which includes several well-respected actors and even an Oscar winner.  I could do all of those things.  Instead, I will simply point out that among those cast members are two former American Idol contestants, and both of them got their names above the title.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions.


From Above

The tagline on the box says “Love Is A Force Of Nature.”  The critics’ blurb says “…Incredibly Memorable and Spiritually Uplifiting.”  There’s horses and rainbows and Danny Glover looking to the heavens.  Was there any doubt this movie would get the Dove Seal of Approval?  Well, as it turns out, Dove has not reviewed this movie.  Is it because the spiritual awakening isn’t exactly a Christian one?  Is it because the director‘s previous works include two Playboy videos?  Yes, probably.  Still, that leaves me with not too much to say about this movie so instead I’ll let you in on a little secret I’ve heard from two independent sources about Danny Glover: Since at least 1997 he has refused to learn any dialogue and instead has each line fed to him via an earpiece.  I know that doesn’t sound that interesting or exciting, but I sincerely believe that it’s true and it beats the hell out of most of the Danny Glover trivia on his IMDb page. Stuff like, “His maternal grandmother was a midwife.” Yeah? So what?  Mine won a cow-milking contest at the age of 16 and is still embarrassed 76 years after the fact because the prize she was awarded was a two-piece bathing suit. True story.


Scorned

If you were wondering if the people tasked with cutting the trailers for terrible-looking thrillers starring Billy Zane and AnnaLynne McCord think ‘From The Director Of Leprechaun’ actually counts as a selling point, the answer is yes.

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