With choices ranging from The Artist to Bikini Spring Break, there’s plenty to discuss about this week’s new DVDs. Besides this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, there’s Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street, some mythological gods, Julia Roberts, and Eddie Murphy. There’s Catholics and Sikhs and WWE wrestlers trying to act. There’s even a movie about -get this- zombies! What’ll they think of next? All that and the most befuddling box art I have ever seen.
21 Jump Street
Wrath Of The Titans
A Thousand Words
The Perfect Family
Oranges And Sunshine
Best Laid Plans
Bending The Rules
Bikini Spring Break
You want to find out which one has that brain-breaking box art? For that, my friends, you’ll have to keep reading on the next page. (Hint: it’s not Bikini Spring Break -that one’s pretty much what you’d expect.) If you couldn’t care less about such outdated trappings of physical media, click here for the Netflix instant streaming round-up.
21 Jump Street
I have to be honest, nothing about this movie sounded the least bit worthwhile to me. First off, it’s based on a crappy TV show I never bothered to watch because, even as a kid, I knew it was crappy. Also, it was supposed to be the pet project of Jonah Hill. Now, I like Jonah Hill just fine as the foul-mouthed sidekick in movies, but that doesn’t mean I give the slightest hair off of a squirrel’s nutsack (you decide for yourself if I mean a scrotum or an actual baggie of delicious nuts) what movies he wants to make. Your job, Mr. Hill, is to be fat and profane. That is all. Lastly, they cast Channing Tatum. For the longest time, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about Channing Tatum unless I inferred it from Burnsy’s version of C-Tates. This movie sounded horrible. Then a few strange things happened. Jonah Hill got nominated for an Oscar. Obviously there isn’t a definite correlation, but maybe he is more than just a triple-chin that says ‘f*ck’ a lot. Also, the trailer came out, and it looked…actually pretty good. C-Tates was still C-Tates, but he seemed right for the part. Finally, Vince reviewed the flick and gave it a very favorable ‘B+’. So I never bothered to go see it because I really don’t follow through with things. It’s like that time my neighbor asked me to keep an eye on his. Anyhow, if you –like me- really want to see this but for some reason still haven’t, it’s on DVD now. Just so you know.
I never got around to seeing 21 Jump Street, but I saw this –before it won the Best Picture Oscar, no less. Aren’t I special? Anyhow, as I’m sure you will recall, this is that silent film with that dog. It’s a damn good thing it’s silent, too, because the woman next to me when I went to see this film was eating an apple. Seriously, she was wearing a leopard-print vest and pulled an apple out of her purse. Who sneaks in an apple? She crunched on that red motherf*cker like it was her last meal. But whatever, it was a silent movie so it wasn’t like I was missing the dialogue. Then, when she was left with just the core, she tossed it in front of us and it hit a lady in a wheelchair. Completely unrelated, but also completely true: with five minutes left in the film, another lady in my theater completely freaked out and had to be removed. Oh yeah, the movie. So anyways, it’s an entertaining –if totally gimmicky- little flick and you could do worse with your movie choices. It won an ass-ton of Oscars if that matters to you.
Sam Worthington battles the same monsters he battled a few years ago in Clash Of The Titans, but this time he has a different haircut. Actually, I don’t know if they are the same monsters; I’ve never seen the first film. I haven’t heard great things about either of these movies, but they have to be good, right? Why else would IMDb tell me that Clash Of The Titans 3 is in development? Look, I could write more about this, but I’d really hate to give it more thought than the people who actually made this flick. I mean, just check out the music choice they made for the trailer.
Speed and Blown Away. Dante’s Peak and Volcano. Armageddon and Deep Impact. Every once in a while movie studios produce films with essentially identical plots and decide to release them at essentially the same time, leaving the viewing public to decide which film sucks, and which film sucks but sold more tickets. This year that phenomenon was based on that gem of the public domain, Snow White. First out of the gate was Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, and it was an instant flop. Does that mean the reasonably successful Snow White And The Huntsman is the better film? Of course not, it just means that the cat ladies and cat ladies-in-waiting who keep buying tickets to the Twilight movies will also buy tickets to any other piece of crap Kristen Stewart is in. For the rest of us, regardless of our feelings about Snow White And The Huntsmen, we simply were not going to pay to see Mirror Mirror; not because the idea of Phil Collin’s hairy daughter as ‘the fairest of them all’ is laughable, but because Mirror Mirror has promo photos like this. Even drag queens think this movie needs to tone it down.
With every word Eddie Murphy speaks, one of 1,000 leaves falls off of a magical tree. When the last leaf falls, the tree and Murphy will die. In the spirit of this movie, I too will choose my words carefully: F*ck. No.
Last week Draft House Films released The FP, and this week they’re offering this Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee. I could try to summarize the plot, but I suspect it’s just easier to re-direct you to Vince’s ‘A-‘ review. However, if I could cherry-pick one of Vince’s sentences, it would be this one:
If I’m honest, I think I might have preferred a movie that delved more into the minutiae of cattle hormone racketeering with a backdrop of Fleming-Walloon cultural tension to the tragic, extended cattle-as-masculinity metaphor that is Bullhead, but it’s a little unfair to fault a movie for not being a better movie that I just now invented in my head.
The good people at Draft House Films quoted Vince’s The FP review on the packaging for that film; I have no idea why they passed him over for the Bullhead packaging. Maybe next time, tiger.
Vince’s Note: ;-(
Rob Lowe coaches a team of all-Sikh hockey players. It sounds like the perfect film, I know. Unfortunately, the text in the lower-right corner of the box says, “Featuring performances by Drake and Ludacris.” In all seriousness, I looked up the main actor in this flick because I was sure I’ve seen him before. Turns out, besides writing and starring in this, his only other credit is ‘camera supplier: casting’ for a movie called Bollywood/Hollywood, so as it turns out, I guess I’m a racist. What can I say? I can’t help that all Canucks look alike.
Kathleen Turner plays an extremely devout Catholic who is in the running for her church’s Catholic Woman of the Year award, but to win she has to prove she has the perfect family. Problem is, her daughter’s gay and her son is played by the always useless Jason Ritter. I’m sure by the end of the movie she learns to embrace her gay daughter and recognize that while awful, Jason Ritter was the best actor this production could afford. After all, they spent all the money to get Richard Chamberlain to play the priest. That’s great casting on two levels: one of his most beloved roles was as a priest in The Thorn Birds, and he’s gay in real life. You just can’t pass that type of casting perfection up. What bothers me (besides Jason Ritter), is the concept of this ‘Woman of the Year’ award. I’m no Catholic, but wouldn’t it make sense to give that one to a nun?
Emily Watson stars as Margaret Humphreys in this true tale about the Home Children scandal. For we Americans, in the late 80’s Humphreys blew the whistle on the practice of relocating poor British kids to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and a few other places as well. The kids were told their parents were dead, and the parents were told that the children they were giving up would stay in the U.K. Why were these kids lied to and deported? It was cheaper. To be perfectly honest, I bet this movie sucks. It’s got to be depressing as hell, and it’s so Oscar-baity, I imagine it would’ve gotten some press if it deserved any. If it were worth watching, it would have long ago been praised as a searing drama about one woman’s struggle to find justice for thousands of poor souls. It would be on critics’ best of the year lists, etc. Instead, it’s getting dumped on DVD two years after it was made. In fact, the only reason I’m including it is because I’ve always thought that Emily Watson looks just like Sylvester P. Smythe, Cracked magazine’s answer to Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman, and I wanted to share that opinion.
Stephen Graham and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje star in this British gangster flick. You may recognize Graham as Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire but did you know he’s the ‘Tommy’ that The Stath is always talking to in FilmDrunk articles? It’s true. Akinnuoye-Agbaje (who should just call himself Triple A) was Mr. Eko on Lost and Adebisi on Oz. So if you’ve seen both of those shows you know he has a fondness for shaking his big brown stick at people. Anyhow, this flick is a gritty re-telling of Of Mice And Men. If your tastes in British cinema run towards the lighter, stupider looking fare, this week also sees the release of The Decoy Bride, a romantic comedy in which David Tennant is supposed to marry Alice Eve, but he accidentally marries Kelly Macdonald. Of course Eve is a bitch because she’s blond and American (at least her character in this is American) and of course Macdonald is a frumpy wallflower because she’s Scottish and isn’t blond. Of course David Tennant looks like a plucked chicken, because he always does, but women don’t care because he was the Doctor Who for a while, and nothing moistens panties like long-running British sci-fi shows.
This week we’ve got two (two!) new movies starring WWE ‘superstars’. I don’t follow pro-wrestling, and I’ve never heard of either of these guys, so if they aren’t superstars, I apologize. Bending The Rules stars Edge (?) as Blades, a cop who likes to bend the rules and Jamie Kennedy is the D.A. determined to put a stop to Blades’ wacky brand of New Orleans justice. For the love of Christ, everything you need to know about this movie is that it co-stars Jamie Kennedy as the straight man. What’s sad is that if you watch the trailer you see many character actors you recognize from much better films and TV shows, and you just know they are in it for the money. Which means there was money. Which means they should’ve done better than Jamie Kennedy. He’s like Ashton Kutcher’s spazzier twin brother; he’s an annoying douche who shouldn’t be on screen trying to be funny and surely shouldn’t be on screen trying to not be funny. P.S.- The other WWE ‘superstar’ is Raven, and his movie, Sleeper, looks to be the lesser film because they don’t even have dialogue in the trailer. The actors’ mouths are moving, but the editor of the trailer deemed it best to just cut out the actors’ line readings, lay over some music, and hope for the best. Oddly, they left in ambient sound effects, so they had to actually actively remove the dialogue, not just cover it up with the music. P.P.S.- Ashton Kutcher really does have a spazzy twin brother.
The Asylum’s branching out. As near as I can tell, this isn’t a rip off of any current Hollywood flick. At first I figured it would be a horror flick similar to Piranha 3DD, but based on the trailer, it isn’t. Instead it is just girls in bikinis during spring break. They do the usual car wash thing, complete with washing each others’ asses. So, nothing truly original, but at least they’re being straightforward about what the film is. It co-stars Robert Carradine who most people still know primarily from Revenge Of The Nerds. The Carradines are Hollywood royalty: Robert’s father is the legendary John Carradine, and his brothers are Keith and David. Keith won an Oscar, and David has been a legend since the days of the Kung-Fu TV show. Robert was always kind of the runt of the litter, I guess. How psyched must he have been when David killed himself through auto-erotic asphyxiation? Unlike Robert, I don’t stand in my brothers’ shadows. That being said, I totally want at least one of them to go out that way. Sibling rivalry’s a complicated thing, man.
You watch the trailer for this indie thriller and it looks like it has potential: the acting’s not terrible, and the whole thing has a modern noir feel, like Fargo without the comedic quirkiness. It’s a snowy crime drama, and those can be fun. Then, you keep reading this synopsis because you want to know what the actual god-damned plot is, and you realize why they avoided mentioning it in the trailer. It makes no f*cking sense: Arthur and Monique are small time crooks. A heist goes bad and Monique gets killed by a security guard –leaving Arthur to raise Monique’s daughter. Meanwhile, Arthur and the daughter move into the flat above the security guard’s family’s home, so Arthur can plan his revenge on said security guard. WHAT THE F*CK? First of all, if you plan on robbing a place, you accept the risks. It isn’t the guard’s fault your dipsh*t girlfriend got capped, it’s her fault for trying to rob the place on his watch. Second, once she died in a failed robbery, the cops would investigate, and look into her background and Arthur wouldn’t just walk off with her kid. Lastly, due to that investigation, Arthur probably wouldn’t be around to rent the flat above the guard, as he was her partner in crime. Lastly, why bother with the flat at all? Just shoot the bastard like he shot your special lady friend. I’d be a rich man if only I had a nickel for every time I’ve had cause to write that last sentence.
Here’s a fun exercise: watch the trailer (Warning, there are boobs. Naked boobs.), and then tell me what the box-art could possibly have to do with the movie it’s ostensibly advertising. The trailer, which seems to adhere to the official synopsis, seems to be about a stand-up comedian who squandered his fame on drugs and whores and now has to work his way back to the top. OK. Fine. Whatever. But look at that box cover. Who are all those people? What have they got to do with anything? Why are they adults in the background, but children on the camera’s view-screen. Is it a magical camera? Seriously, I want to know what thought process led to this box cover. It isn’t as if it deceives in a manner that would trick anyone into watching the film. If anything, it makes the movie look worse than what it actually is. Nobody at all ever at anytime would look at that box cover and think that the movie looks interesting. It has somebody giving somebody else bunny ears on it. TWICE! I’m fascinated by this. It’s obviously (and poorly) photoshopped. That means thought and time went into this. They had to search for children that could resemble the adults! This was somebody’s great idea. There are seven people (not including the kids) on the cover, and 12 names above the title. Who are the five people who get billing without the picture? Where are they? It isn’t as if the art-director was afraid to clutter up the image. Plus, who looks at this cover, but isn’t interested until they read the names and is ultimately swayed by one of those five extra names? I need answers, damn it. We’re through the rabbit-hole, people.
It sounds strange to say it, but with so many ultra-low budget grindhouse flicks coming out each week, it’s nice to see the Troma brand on this one, because that means quality. They went all out with this one, too. It comes in a four disc, limited edition, numbered collector’s set. You get a blu-ray copy, a DVD copy, a second DVD of special features, and finally a CD copy of the soundtrack. That much content shows a certain confidence in the film, I think. My only complaint, really, is why is this getting released today and not, you know, closer to Father’s Day? (Update: Even more confusing, this film’s release has been delayed until July 31st.) Either way, I’ve been giggling at Troma flicks since high school and this one will probably make its way into my blu-ray player sooner or later. What can I say? I like well-made grindhouse flicks (whatever that means), and I’m a sucker for special features. If you’re targeting me as your audience, this is how you do it.
On the other hand, we’ve got Zombiefied. Whereas Father’s Day gives you a promising looking film in an edition packed with supplemental material, this horrible looking movie takes another route entirely. At the time of this writing you can buy Zombiefied for $9.95 on Amazon. Also releasing today is Infected: The Making Of Zombiefied, available at Amazon for $14.95. That’s right, not only are they charging extra for the behind the scenes documentary, they are charging more than the price of the actual movie. And it’s not Amazon that’s pricing it that way, those are the MSRPs. Who thought this was a viable business model? Was it the guy responsible for the C’mon Man box art? Plus, after watching the trailer for Zombiefied, I can’t imagine anyone buying the film, let alone buying the doc, let alone paying MORE for it. How are these idiots even organized enough to produce a movie, manufacture DVDs of the movie, and get the DVDs listed for purhcase on major retailers’ websites? In all honesty, you’d be better off watching one of these other new releases: All Dark Places (great DVD cover, awful trailer), Identical, Parasitic, Toxic Lullaby, Tied In Blood: A Bone Chilling Ghost Story, Nina: Crazy Suicide Girl (way to spoil the ending), Don’t Fall Asleep, and Daddy’s Home, which co-stars Joe Estevez. Who knew that Charlie Sheen wasn’t the black sheep of the family after all?
With all the quality and variety found in this week’s new DVD releases, there seems to be only one of the featured films also streaming via Netflix, and it’s The Decoy Bride –which actually wasn’t really featured at all. I’m sorry. As usual, there are a few older DVDs that we’ve previously mentioned in this feature that have finally made it to streaming: Stags, Silver Tongues, and Battle Royale. As usual, here are a few more flicks chosen as substitutes for some of the new DVD releases:
Before director Michel Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin won their Oscars for The Artist, they worked together making this James Bond-spoofing spy flick. It was popular enough for them to make a sequel, OSS 117: Lost In Rio, which is also streaming. Even if the French humor doesn’t translate -and with scenes like the one pictured above how could it not?- they’ve got to be better than the Austin Powers sequels, right?
Mirror Mirror looks dreadful; nobody’s disputing this. However, that doesn’t mean there was never hope: director Tarsem Singh is known as innovative visual stylist, and while Mirror Mirror looks like Lisa Frank had a coat-hanger abortion that went bad, this movie is pretty widely recognized as being his best film, both in terms of visuals and in storytelling. It’s about an injured 1920’s stuntman and his attempts to trick a little girl into stealing him morphine. For real.
The Golden Child
What’s so sad about films like A Thousand Words is that there was a time when Eddie Murphy made good movies. I can’t honestly say The Golden Child is one of those good movies, but I sure loved it as a kid. Eddie Murphy is tasked with finding a young boy believed to be the ‘chosen one’ by some Tibetans. The boy’s been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. Besides Murphy during his comedic prime, you get all manner of freaky sh*t that gave me nightmares as a kid. There’s a snake-lady and a flying demon and even a dancing soda can. A very scary soda can doing a very spooky dance, I assure you.
Between Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed this film starring Adam Sandler. This is why trash like That’s My Boy is so aggravating; we can see what Sandler’s capable of, even while pretty much still playing his usual type of character. Anyhow, Oranges And Sunshine’s Emily Watson plays Sandler’s love interest. It’s a great little flick, even if she does look like a cartoon janitor mascot from a defunct humor magazine.