There’s not a whole lot of really exceptional DVDs this week, but at least there’s some variety. If Taken 2 isn’t your thing, there’s also the newest Woody Allen movie, the latest horror flick about demonic possession, and even an Oscar-nominated documentary. There’s flicks about porn stars and soldiers, activists and the Outback, lesbian monarchs and rich Italian men just looking for love. We’ve even got a film co-starring everyone’s favorite Scientologist, Danny Masterson!
To Rome With Love
Won’t Back Down
5 Broken Cameras
The Chicago 8
Wake In Fright
Farewell, My Queen
30 Nights Of Paranormal Activity With The Devil Inside The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
A Secret Promise
Streaming: Check out your choices here.
Want to know which film is about demonic possession? Continue reading. Want to know which film has Danny Masterson, so you can make sure to avoid it? Continue reading. Want to know more about 30 Nights Of Paranormal Activity With The Devil Inside The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Why? It’s obviously one of those awful pop-culture reference spoof movies. If you think you’ve seen quite enough of this week’s DVDs, feel free to click the link above for the streaming suggestions, but you’ll never find out which flick is about a porn-star named Cherry.
Liam Neeson is back and this movie really should’ve been called Taken, Too or Retaken. I don’t know; I still haven’t seen the first one. I’ve got nothing against it; I just haven’t bothered to watch it yet. Not that it matters –plenty of people saw it and also saw this, the sequel, that Taken 3 has already been announced. Who’s going to get Taken Next? (Seriously, that would be a better title than Taken 3 or its inevitable mutation into Tak3n.) So in summary, it doesn’t matter that nobody seemed to actually think this movie was anything but awful, it still made gobs of cash and probably will make even more money on DVD, so Neeson’s got a franchise on his calloused Irish hands. Good for him. As for me, I’ll get around to catching up with these just as soon as I stop thinking of the school bus in Forrest Gump every single time I see the word ‘taken’:
Woody Allen has made at least one movie a year since 1982, and this is his film for 2012. It’s an ensemble comedy about people in Rome. These people are played by Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg (the Woodiest Allen surrogate since Jason Biggs), Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, and a bunch of foreigners who aren’t as famous as Roberto Benigni. It doesn’t matter that by all accounts the movie isn’t very good because nothing but death will stop Woody Allen. He cranks ’em out like you or I take dumps. He drops ’em and forgets ’em. He gives less of a f*ck about his finished films than anyone; when 2011’s Midnight In Paris was up for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at last year’s Oscars, he didn’t even show up. It won Best Screenplay, by the way. And that’s the beauty and frustration with Woody Allen movies; they’re like the 007 flicks. If you don’t like this year’s, there’s always next year’s, and maybe it will be better. Or it won’t. Nobody seems to really care because Allen doesn’t and he still takes home accolades often enough to not sweat the critical flops. And this was certainly one of them. So feel free to watch it or skip it, nobody cares. Allen’s already forgotten about this film and probably has already forgotten this year’s upcoming flick, Blue Jasmine, which co-stars Louis C.K., who is much better than Jesse Eisenberg -which is an important distinction to make so I don’t have to end this sentence with ‘C.K.’ and wonder if it is acceptable to use the period after the K as the period on the sentence or if I need to have two periods right next to each other.
Inspired by actual events, in this film two determined mothers will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner-city school. With such an awards-baiting premise as that, combined with a cast headlined by Oscar nominees Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal (with support from Oscar-winner Holly Hunter), it’s a little surprising that this movie got relatively little promotion and that the critics hated it. Of course, the writer/director’s the same guy who wrote and directed Beastly, that modern-day Beauty and the Beast flick that starred one of the Olsen twins, the chick from High School Musical who leaked those full-frontal pics of herself, and that dude who played The Kid in Magic Mike, and it starts to make sense.
Another true story, this horror flick stars Kevin Bacon’s wife and the guy who played The Comedian in Watchmen. Yes, this looks like all the other countless demonic-possession horror flicks that get cranked out several times a year, but in fact, this one couldn’t be more different. You see, the demon comes from Jewish folklore instead of Christian mythology. No priests here, folks. Instead they’ve got Matisyahu, that Chassidic reggae rapper guy, who evidently is no longer Chassidic, as he has shaved his beard and dyed his hair blonde. So, Jewish Chris Martin. Like I said, couldn’t be more unique. Still terrible, but uniquely so.
This newly Oscar-nominated documentary is the story of Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer who bought a camcorder to record his son’s birth, but ended up documenting the clash between his fellow Palestinians and the Israelis encroaching on their village. Spanning five years, the film is structured around the destruction and replacement of Burnat’s camcorders as he films the struggle. Given its Oscar nomination, featuring this doc was an easy choice, but it is only one of many new documentaries hitting DVD today. Some of the others: Detropia –This documentary is about how soul-suckingly awful it is to live in Detroit. Living in Detroit sucks; nobody needs a documentary to tell them that. RoboCop already told us. The Other Dream Team –Remember the 1992 Olympics and the U.S.’s crazy basketball team? Well this is about the team from Lithuania. They got shirts from The Grateful Dead. Riveting stuff, that. China Heavyweight –Chinese peasants learn to box. I’d make a joke about the Righteous Harmony Society, but I don’t think enough people would get it. An Inconsistent Truth –GLOBAL WARMING IS A LIE! WHY ELSE WON’T AL GORE COME OUT AND SPEAK TO THE GUY WITH THE CAMERA CREW WHO IS STANDING OUTSIDE HIS HOME? WAKE UP LIBERAL SHEEPLE! Battle For Brooklyn –Some guy tries to stop the construction of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn because he hates basketball and Jay-Z. Spoiler alert –he fails. Beyond Pollution –This is a doc about the BP oil spill from a few years ago. If you didn’t already know, it was a big f*cking mess and oil companies are evil. There, I just saved you 91 minutes.
If you’re like me, the only time you’ve heard anything about this movie whatsoever is when Josh shared Mr. Skin’s Top 10 Nude Scenes of 2012 and this film’s nudity took #1. So, sure, we’re all gonna watch it, but what’s it about? Well, it’s about an 18-year-old girl who runs away from her alcoholic mom and abusive step-dad to start a new life with her best friend, played by Dev Patel -that guy from Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. She starts doing porn, and the matriarch of the porn world is played by Heather Graham – who we are all picturing naked on rollerskates right now. (Thanks Boogie Nights!) There’s also a really sleazy lawyer character out to exploit the girl, and he is played by James Franco. A film mostly known for its ‘award’-winning nudity, with James Franco dick-nosing all over the place, and co-starring the guy from The Last Airbender? I don’t like to use the phrase ‘Oscar-snubbed’, because that’s presuming I know better than the Academy’s voters, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. This film was not Oscar-snubbed.
Bow Wow’s going AWOL from his National Guard unit and that guy who used to be on Fringe has to decide whether or not to help him, all while trying not to get caught by President Grant from Jonah Hex, the bounty hunter from Arrested Development, and Liev Schreiber’s brother. Yeah, that sentence just happened.
The trial of the Chicago 8, a group of anti-war protesters accused of conspiring to instigate riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, is one of those points in history for which the importance of that event is often lost on the generations too young to have witnessed it as it happened. Making a movie based on the actual court transcripts and starring Thomas Ian Nicholas and Danny Masterson is not the way to make that importance more clear. If anything, I’m beginning to think that President Nixon was one righteous motherf*cker.
I’ll be completely honest: while I don’t think it looks at all like a good film, watching the trailer for this flick absolutely makes me want to see it. It looks like just the type of ambitious sci-fi/action flick that train-wrecks in wonderfully entertaining fashion. It’s about evil alien beings (or something) that hide in corporate logos –I think. Watch the trailer, and you’ll see the actual logos are weird creatures attached to consumers like some grand drunken statement about the dangers of capitalism. Like I said, wonderfully bat-shit. Plenty of people flock to movies that are far dumber looking, and this one could’ve made some bank on its weirdo concept alone. It’s therefore kind of ironic (in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word) that this flick was marketed so poorly that nobody saw it.
This Australian flick from the early ‘70s was almost lost forever; after being nominated for the Palme D’Or at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, the U.S. rights were sold. Opening in a few theaters and not performing well, the film was pulled altogether and largely forgotten and therefore has never been re-released to theaters or released on home video -until now. (It’s interesting to note that this is the case despite being fairly well seen and remembered in its native country. When it comes to cinema, only the U.S. matters, I guess.) Beginning in 1996, a quest was begun to find the original negative and soundtrack. That search ended in 2004 when they were found in Pittsburgh of all places, and in a bin full of stuff slated for incineration later that week. Anyhow, the movie was restored and re-screened at Cannes and now you can see it too. It’s about a school teacher named John Grant and his nightmarish time in an outback town called Bundanyabba. I’ve seen the film and –as an American- it will confirm all of your basest assumptions about Aussies. Practically every single character (Grant somewhat excepted) is loud and sweaty, with horrible teeth and –with absolutely no hyperbole- constantly drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol. Just when you begin to wonder when they are going to go kangaroo hunting, they go kangaroo hunting. (Which includes running them down in old cars and then cutting off their balls, because why not?) Needless to say, yes, there is quite a bit of hand-to-paw kangaroo combat as well. It’s really worth seeing assuming you don’t mind the fact that none of the kangaroo-related violence was simulated. There’s even a non-disclaimer (so, a claimer?) after the movie stating that kangaroos were very much harmed in the making of this film. So, check the flick out, especially if you –like me- hate kangaroos. I just don’t trust those jumpy, pouch-having mofos.
Diane Kruger, the German actress from National Treasure who also played the actress/spy in Inglourious Basterds, plays Marie Antoinette, who evidently was a lesbian. Learn something new every day, I guess. Let them eat pie, am I right?
This one’s for those people who were turned off by the polished, sophisticated humor of A Haunted House. It’s funny because there are characters from other movies like Bane from Batman, and Abraham Lincoln from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He’s sure as sh*t not from that gay-ass Lincoln movie. My parents made me see that on Thanksgiving and it was boring as sh*t, yo. Like, we get it, old white dudes hate slavery. Oh, and also there’s that goth chick from that Dragon Tattoo movie. You know what, actually? That flick was pretty boring, too. Took like forever for her to show us her tits, but it was pretty cool what she did with that dildo to that guy. I told my buddy Donny that I liked that part and he was all like, “I bet you did, because you’re a f*ggot.” F*ckin’ Donny. He should be making these comedy movies. He took a marker and drew a face on his sack once. Showed it to everybody, even his grandma who’s on oxygen. Hilarious. Just like this movie. If you like funny sh*t, you’ll like this. Trust me, I know comedy.
Yes, that’s Danny Trejo on the box cover. Yes, that’s the only reason I’m sharing this movie this week.
Oh my, where to begin? This is a Dove Foundation approved documentary about the African-American Conservative movement. I suppose that’s as good a place as any to start, so here’s some thoughts from Dove’s 5 Dove review: SEX –It’s stated that some rap songs promote promiscuity. LANGUAGE: A man says he was called “ni*ger” as a boy; H-1; H (as a place)-1; Crap-1. VIOLENCE: “Bloody Sunday” is referred to and historical footage features police officers with Billy Clubs, people fleeing and being carried off; fires and smoke; talk of Martin Luther King’s assassination; a conservative black man says there was a time he would have led conservatives to the gallows; a comment about 1500 black babies being aborted every day. DRUGS: It’s stated some rap songs promote drug usage. NUDITY: Some young men show boxers by wearing pants low in the back. OTHER: A man says he believes the Tea Party is racist; a comment from black man about the angry white people; a black man asks an angry black man what makes the angry whites worse than he is and he says, “They are the enemy”. Heady stuff for a Dove review. (I do love the distinction between hell as an expletive and Hell as a place.) The trailer’s pretty amazing, too. The basic premise of this film is that members of the black community are “shackled” to a new form of slavery through dependence on handouts from the government and other so-called charities, when in fact these programs and services are expressly intended to keep them convinced that they are being oppressed by white folks through dependence. In short, the only racial division that still exists is the one claiming there is a racial division. (Huh?) Similarly, it accuses liberals of deliberately using certain terms and ideas -like reparations- that invoke a time when our nation was more racially divided, in an effort to keep black Americans from “forgiving in order to move forward” –to paraphrase Dove’s review. All this from a documentary called Runaway Slave that is about modern-day Harriet Tubmans who are forging a new Underground Railroad. Hmmm. My favorite part about all of this is that the YouTube page for the trailer I’m including below -the trailer for this anti-handout documentary that urges people to stop relying on the help of others and work for themselves- explicitly solicits donations from the trailer’s viewers in order to finish the film and “spread our message to the heart of freedom-loving Americans everywhere.” They even make sure to state that your donation would be tax-deductible. I’m speechless.
In a premise befitting the crappy romantic comedy that this is, a billionaire pretends to not be rich and falls in love with that chick from Say Anything…. Will she still love him when she finds out that he’s not who he says he is? Of course she will; she’s finding out he’s not a poor nobody and actually a super-rich guy. That’s how love works.
I’ve watched the trailer for this flick at least 1000 times now and I still have no idea what the hell is going on in it. What I do know is that David ‘Champ Kind’ Koechner plays a pastor with a gun and this movie is not supposed to be a comedy and he’s trying to legitimately act in a serious role. It’s jarring. It’s like catching your grandfather jerking off. Somewhere, deep down, you know he’s done it at some time or another, but you never thought you’d have to, you know, be an eye-witness to it. At first you’re confused and repulsed, but after a moment, you realize you just want to see the whole thing play out because, while strange and off-putting, you know you’re never going to see anything like it again, so you’d better pay attention.
As near as my lazy ass can tell, none of our featured DVDs -from this week or weeks past- have been added to Netflix instant streaming since last week’s list, so isn’t it extra nice of me that I still dug up four suggestions inspired by this week’s DVDs? Yes, yes it is. I am a wonderful person and these are all wonderful suggestions.
This flick is supposed to be one of Woody Allen’s classics. Released in 1979, it was nominated for 2 Oscars. Allen plays Isaac, a divorced New Yorker dating a girl in high school. Coincidentally, 12 years later, at age 56, Allen’s real-life relationship with 19 year old Soon-Yi Previn (the lady next to Lindsay Lohan in the picture above, and daughter of Allen’s ex) came to light. I’d say this was a case of life imitating art, but Manhattan’s in black-and-white, so I don’t think that could be the case. Those people in that picture are clearly in color.
World Trade Center
Both of the stars of Won’t Back Down, Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal are also in this Oliver Stone picture. There’s no better way to spend your time on a cold January night than by spending two hours ruminating on the collapse of the World Trade Center.
This flick stars The Possession’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan and co-stars About Cherry’s Lili Taylor. It’s about a guy who is like the transporter in those Transporter flicks, but instead of a car he walks or something. Jesus, you don’t think I actually know, do you? I’ve never seen so much as a trailer for this movie, but it stars two actors from this week’s DVDs and also has Mickey Rourke in it, so I thought I’d bring it up. If you’d rather watch World Trade Center, you go right ahead, but the only crazy guy in that flick is trapped under a goddamn building the whole time and barely acts crazy at all.
About Cherry’s James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in this film that Vince reviewed and gave a ‘B’. As you’ll recall, Ginsberg was a famous beat poet and the publication of his poem ‘Howl’ resulted in an obscenity trial in 1957. This film is about that very same poem and trial, but you should’ve figured that because the movie’s called Howl. What else would it be about, some other thing he wrote that wasn’t called ‘Howl’? Jeez Louise, would you just think for once? At least you knew what World Trade Center was about.