There’s only one really big movie hitting DVD this week, and it’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. If you’ve already seen Channing Tatum and his friend The Rock play army, rest assured there’s still plenty of new stuff hitting your local purveyor of physical media. We’ve got damsels in distress and superheroes. We’ve got con artists and investment bankers. We’ve got dying tigers and aging lesbians. We’ve even got a movie that’s currently rating a full 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, it truly is a great week for DVDs, especially if you’re really into old, Oscar-winning actresses starring in movies you’ve never heard of.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Assault On Wall Street
A Night For Dying Tigers
The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh
An Awkward Sexual Adventure
55 & Older
Streaming: Check out your choices here.
Curious which movie snagged that 100%? Continue reading and you’ll figure out which one it is in no time. Don’t know what a rushlight is? It’s a type of candle. That one’s a freebee. Continue reading and you’ll see that candles don’t ever get mentioned again in this post. As always, you can use that streaming link above to skip right to the Netflix suggestions, but if you do you’ll never know why it is scientifically verifiable that black licorice is terrible.
The Joes are back in this amazing sequel. Well, some of them are back. I’m pretty sure it’s just two of them, actually. The point is, Channing Tatum and the guy who spent a good chunk of the movie in a ninja helmet are back to fight the villains, who to be fair, have a slightly higher returning-actor ratio. (There’s three of ‘em.) I guess the mummy from The Mummy and Darth Maul and that one guy from Brazil –the movie, not the country- are more committed to completing the epic story begun by the first film then a certain Wayans brother I could name. Luckily, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock goes by his real name when it’s a prestige picture, I guess), and Bruce Willis have stepped in to class up what might otherwise be a shameless cash-grab sequel of a mediocre film that’s sole selling point was nostalgia for a television show which was itself created only to sell toys. No, we are instead gifted with a cinematic joy that was created with only the purest artistic intent: The director is the same auteur who gave us not only Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, but also that Justin Bieber documentary. Also, as you surely know, the film was delayed for months so that Channing Tatum’s role could be fattened up in light of his rising status as an A-list movie star –a feat that can only be achieved when working from the most finely crafted and thematically complex scripts. Obviously, the powers that be were insistent upon making the best film possible without concern for financial matters, and their gamble paid off as this sequel was number one at the box office for its opening weekend, and even happens to be Bruce Willis’ best opening ever. It’s nice to see that once in a while ticket-buyers know that there’s more to movies than blatant pandering to test-market trends and brand familiarity, and knowing is half the battle.
Three life-long friends go off together to an island on a girls’ weekend getaway, but their fun turns to terror and they must fight for their lives when their paths cross with some crazy war vets. Just last week FilmDrunk featured a post by guest contributor Alex Horton that used this film –and specifically its portrayal of veterans- as a basis for dissecting the trend of showing vets to be unstable and violent, and that post covers the topic -and this film- far better than I could here. In short, Mr. Horton asserts that the crazy vet stereotype has become so pervasive in our entertainment that it is affecting how vets are treated in the real world. For her part, Black Rock’s director and star, Katie Aselton, stresses that the film was made with no deliberate desire to besmirch veterans, and that people should see the film before they pass judgment. Well, I’m neither a vet nor have I seen the film (although Alex is and has, so his criticisms certainly remain valid) so I’ll refrain from passing judgment either way. On the one hand, not being a vet I can’t say how they are treated by the larger community, be it good or bad. Just so, having not seen the movie, I can’t say if I think it is being unfair in its portrayal of veterans or not. I can only say that I’d like to think that I –personally- am smart enough to not have my beliefs shaped by the entertainment I consume, and instead I form my own opinions based on personal experience. For instance, I probably would never see this movie regardless of the bad guys being vets because the women should’ve known better about going to this island in the first place. I mean, it’s called ‘Black Rock’; it’s right there in the title. If there’s one thing a lifetime of personal experience watching movies has taught me, it’s that no person, place, or thing can be any good if it can in any way be described as ‘black’. That’s just science.
With the success of Lucasfilm’s The Marvel Avengers, DC Comics is trying to cash in by creating their own all-new super team –the Justice League- and giving them this straight-to-DVD cartoon debut. Whereas the big budget film from summer 2012 dazzled us with well-known superheroes like The Iron-man and Captain Amazing, this pathetic film’s sorry stable of ‘super’ heroes has such newly-created duds as Flash (a guy who gets his power to time travel by running in a magical red track suit), and Aquatic Man, a dude who –and this has got to be the stupidest super power ever- speaks with fish. Apparently Flash runs around the Earth so fast that he reverses time (a concept stupid enough that it would never be in any theatrically released comic book film) and in the process creates a butterfly effect and the new reality is worse than the old one so Flash has to ask Bat-Man to help fix things. I know Bat-Man and his uncle Super-Man are the only real comic characters DC has, but do they really need to shoe-horn them into every piece of crap they create? What’s next, a live-action Bat-Man/Super-Man crossover film? Where’s the artistic integrity? No wonder Hearth Ledger refused to return for The Dark Night Rising.
Some guy from that new Dallas reboot and some girl from that Teen Wolf TV show play con artists in a small Texas town and Beau Bridges is the straight-to-DVD actor who resents his younger brother Jeff for being a beloved Oscar-winning pop-culture icon who only gets cooler and more popular with age. Also stars Aidan ‘For the last time, I’m not Tony Goldwyn‘ Quinn.
Dominic Purcell headlines a cast that also includes Edward Furlong, Clint Howard, and of course, Eric Roberts in this modern day revenge tale from writer/director Uwe Boll. Purcell’s character is just an average guy until the evil bankers take all of his money and ruin his life, so he gets a bunch of guns and shoots everyone on Wall Street or something. At this time I feel it is necessary to share the final words of the official synopsis:
ASSAULT ON WALL STREET is excoriating look at the American financial system that is sure to stir up plenty of Occupy-esque sentiment.
If by ‘plenty of Occupy-esque sentiment’ they mean batshit 9/10 reviews on IMDb, praising the film for having guns similar to Heat’s and for inspiring people to think about what one man ‘could really do/accomplish when everything that matters fades away’, then yes, it has stirred up such sentiment. I always knew the tides of change would be inspired by a movie co-starring Eric Roberts, I just always assumed the movie would be A Talking Cat!?!.
[See Also: Josh Kurp’s short interview with Mr. Boll himself.]
Julia Stiles, Taye Diggs, Melissa George, and some guy I’ve never heard of star in this drama about how married people hate each other or hate their friends or something. The trailer tries to be mysterious and intriguing but it just comes off as boring, so here’s the slightly more helpful synopsis:
In this darkly comedic drama, two couples reunite over two incendiary evenings where anything can happen. Grace and Carlo are a newly married New York couple who visit their old friends Sharyl and Joel in their huge Midwestern home. Despite their wealth, the hosts are in a bitterly destructive marriage. A few years later, the couples reunite in New York, only to find tables turned.
I once reunited with an old friend only to find tables turned. Apparently he had gotten really into feng shui and the previous table orientations weren’t right for energy flow or something.
Oscar-winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star in this dramedy about an elderly lesbian couple who flee to Canada in order to get married, and in so doing, avoid the nursing home. This movie is currently rating a full 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I’d like to say that I’m full of thoughtful analysis about what a critically well-received film covering topics such as gay rights, elderly independence and modern health care means for the power of cinema to shine a light on marginalized subjects, but it would all be bullshit. The only actual thoughtful analysis I’ve got is how ‘cloudburst’ really ought to be the term used when an old lady with a giant white bush squirts. I mean, we’ve got to call it something, and ‘gushing grannies’ is too broad a description, as a simple google image search will show you that many so-called grandmothers do NOT have fluffy white pubic hair. I’m truly doing the lord’s work.
Maggie Grace stars in this film about a 25-year-old woman who returns to the small town she left years before, only to find that the people and problems she tried to forget were waiting for her return. She befriends an Alzheimer’s patient (played by Academy Award nominee Hal Holbrook) who -unlike the main character- probably has no trouble at all forgetting the people and problems of his past. I mean pants, not past. He has problems with his pants. In the trailer, there’s a scene where he isn’t wearing pants, is what I’m trying to say.
Jack’s prison sentence begins in 24 hours, so he summons his family together for a farewell dinner. As is so often the case with familial get-togethers, there’s laughing, crying, and even some choke-sex. You know what there doesn’t seem to be any of? Tigers. At least I couldn’t find any in the trailer. Not even any regular-colored ones.
As always, there are plenty of terrible horror films hitting DVD this week, but this one gets the featured spot simply because it co-stars six-time Oscar nominee/one-time winner, Vanessa Redgrave. Granted, the trailer just seems to feature her in voice-over, but that’s still more than any of the other zombie, ghost, and serial killer flicks have to offer this week. The movie itself is just your basic haunted house flick, but it’s a haunted house flick with an Oscar winner, so it will appeal to that subset of straight-to-DVD horror fans who like their crap to have a tinge of prestige. It’s kind of like willfully eating a handful of shit just because the person holding the shit in their hand won an Oscar 35 years ago. Sure it seems like a bad idea, but if you’re hell-bent on eating a handful of shit and all of the other handfuls of shit are just being held by Oscar-less nobodies (and strangely enough, they are all Canadian, which means the shit is just a little bit different from what you’re used to -maybe a little nuttier, but not unpleasantly so). It really makes you think, you know?
Speaking of piles of Canadian shit, this comedy from our neighbours to the north is about a dude who hires a stripper to help him increase his sexual know-how in order to win back his ex-girlfriend. She has him do things like perform cunnilingus on a cantaloupe and he gets his crotch forcibly shaved by that Indian dude from Chuck. I’m just assuming that in the process he falls in love with the stripper and realizes that his ex-girlfriend is a bitch. That’s what happens to me every time I stop at One Eyed Jack’s in British Columbia. (Although if you go just south of the border into Washington, you can get a damn fine cup of coffee.) For what it’s worth, the same IMDb reviewer that gave Assault On Wall Street 9/10 stars gives this film the full 10/10, so you know it’s good.
Brian and Kim need a new place to live and they think they’ve found it when Brian’s grandmother dies and leaves him her house. No, it isn’t haunted, but there is still a problem: it’s in a seniors-only community. The young couple chooses to move in anyway, and so they put on grey wigs in order to look old and fit in. For real. They just put on wigs. That’s it. The wigs don’t even fit their heads. Inexplicably, Brian keeps wearing the wig at work, which sets up a painfully unfunny gay joke. Normally I don’t include movies that only come out on blu-ray (let me repeat: this is on blu-ray and not available on DVD), but if ever there was a film that required the full high-def picture and surround sound to be truly experienced, this is the one.
For this week’s Netflix Instant suggestions, I decided to focus on the two supporting actresses in Katie Aselton’s Black Rock. You’ve seen them both before, and you may even know their names, but neither Lake Bell nor Kate Bosworth has quite broken through into mainstream celebrity –and that’s despite snagging such high-profile roles as Lois Lane in Superman Returns (Bosworth) and Wagon Witch #2 in Shrek Forever After (Bell). Anyhow, even if you know them and their bodies of work very well, here are four films (two each per actress) that you may have missed:
According to IMDb, this is Lake Bell’s first acting credit. Also of note, this 2002 film was the runner up for that Project Greenlight reality competition created by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. So, yeah. This film’s claim to fame is its not winning a reality competition. Not surprisingly, this film is also the sole credit for writer/director Brendan Murphy. Anyhow, it stars David Strathairn and Nicky Katt and it has something to do with deaf people, so you can probably watch it and feel good about yourself because I really feel like if it were mocking the deaf we would’ve heard about it by now. Or not, because you know, the whole deaf thing. So we wouldn’t have necessarily heard about it, but we would’ve been made aware of it, one way or another. Oh, I get the title now. That’s clever.
Our second Lake Bell suggestion sounds very similar to Black Rock. In this film from 2008, Bell plays one half of a married couple vacationing at a lake house who find themselves being menaced by a creep played by Clifton Collins Jr. Unlike the troubling portrayal of veterans in Black Rock, this film has the social sensitivity to make its psycho an ex-con instead. I’m all good with that because the only ex-con I know really well just so happens to be crazy. For real, he’s nuttier than a Canadian turd. As it happens, he’s also -coincidentally- a vet, so I guess the whole thing kind of cancels itself out. Look, just watch the movie; you probably get to see Lake Bell topless and all without any of that anti-vet propaganda guilt.
Our first Kate Bosworth suggestion is this martial arts/western hybrid from 2010. Although I very distinctly remember the ad campaign for this film (think of Geoffrey Rush saying ‘Ninjas…damn’ in a terrible American South-Western accent), I don’t know of anyone I’ve met who has actually seen it. That might be because it looks like it was filmed in a green screen music video booth at a Six Flags, but then again, it might be because I don’t go around asking people if they’ve seen strange movies that flopped three years ago. Either way, Kate Bosworth plays Lynne, a woman with a tragic past. What past tragedy befell her? F*ck if I know; I just said I haven’t seen the movie. Jesus. She was probably accosted by a vet or an ex-con or something.
This 2011 film isn’t just a relatively recent Kate Bosworth film you haven’t seen, it’s a Ellen Barkin/Ezra Miller/Ellen Burstyn/Demi Moore/Thomas Haden Church film you haven’t seen, and it’s written and directed by Barry Levinson’s son if that spices up the sauce for you. I kind of want to see this, if only to see Ellen Barkin and Ellen Burstyn on screen together. The only thing better would be if there were a movie in which Bill Paxton and Dermot Mulroney played buddy cops trying to catch partners-in-crime Bill Pullman and Dylan McDermott. Also, because f*ck it, I’ve gone off topic a bit, throw in our pal Kate Bosworth as the woman in the middle. Like she’s Paxton’s daughter and Mulroney’s wife, but she’s also cheating with Pullman while McDermott watches from the foot of the bed, because that seems like something his character would do.