There are a lot of new DVDs this week, and The Watch (pictured above) is just one of them. There’s also the latest Pixar flick and the latest Oliver Stone film. There are films starring Christopher Walken, John Travolta, Chris Rock, and Sean Astin. There are vamps and vampires, dark horses, devil’s angels, British thieves and British prison guards. We’ve got two Dove Foundation-approved films, and one of them even stars an Oscar-nominee. It’s an exciting week to watch films on DVD -especially if you don’t limit your viewing choices to this week’s admittedly mediocre new releases.
2 Days In New York
The Queen Of Versailles
Amazing Love: The Story Of Hosea
Comes A Bright Day
A Beer Tale
3 Times A Charm
Vampires: Brighter In Darkness
One of this week’s movies has a loose tie to The Beatles. If you want to know which one, continue reading. Curious which Oscar-nominee is making Dove-approved films now? Continue reading. Want to watch a movie right this very second?
Click here for the Netflix suggestions, but if you do, you’ll never find out which film involves a cannibalistic drug lord -unless you come back and read the article after you’ve watched your Netflix movie, in which case, we’re all good. But seriously, why the rush?
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill (medium-sized for this flick), and that black British dude from that British sitcom I’ve never bothered to check out star as three suburban dudes who start a neighborhood watch, only to discover that the neighborhood is in the midst of an alien invasion. Hilarity ensues? As usual, that’s up to you, the viewer, to decide, but with only 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics didn’t think so. The movie also failed financially, as the worldwide box-office take wasn’t even quite enough to match this film’s production budget. So why did we all stay away? Was it because the premise felt insensitive after the Trayvon Martin shooting? Was it because this opened the week after The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters, and everyone who wasn’t scared of getting shot at the movies went to see Batman do his thing instead? Or did it have nothing to do with our nation’s greater gun-control debate? My personal theory: People only like to see Ben Stiller in movies with ‘Focker’ in the title. It’s funny because it’s almost like saying ‘f*cker’; if you aren’t careful, somebody might even think you ARE saying ‘f*cker’ and you’d have to explain to them that you said ‘Focker’ and then you’d both just laugh and laugh –unlike you’d be doing if you watched this R-rated flick where they probably don’t even employ the fine art of profanity-based wordplay because they can just say whatever vulgar swear words they want. Lazy motherfockers. (See? Funny!)
Look, nothing I write about Brave matters. You all know what it is, and you all know if you want to see it or buy it or whatever. That being said, I wanted to commend Disney and Pixar for actually releasing this DVD today and not on a Friday. They know it isn’t their best work, and they aren’t acting like it is a home-video ‘event’. Good job, Disney! Anyhow, here are some of the other stellar films that are coming out today but aren’t quite home-video ‘eventy’ enough to get their own paragraphs: Saints & Soldiers: Airborne Creed –this indie WWII flick actually looks surprisingly polished and competently made. It’s a shame, therefore, that it actually came out yesterday. Who do these assh*les think they are? It’s not like yesterday was anything special; I didn’t even get any mail, for f*ck’s sake. Nitro Circus: The Movie – Hey who wants to see Jackass, but with all the homoerotic stunts cut out? Yeah, me either. Painted Skin: The Resurrection –The trailer for this Chinese film includes a dude sword fighting a bear. No, the bear doesn’t get a sword, and that’s why I’m not featuring this film on its own. Heathens And Thieves – A low-budget western starring Patrick Swayze’s brother Don. For real. The Point Of Regret: A Killer Unleashed – It just wouldn’t be Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming without at least one mention of a sh*tty horror flick with an unnecessary colon-and-subtitle, now would it?
Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, and John Travolta star in this Oliver Stone flick about two drug-dealing best friends, their shared girlfriend, and the Mexican cartel that kidnaps the girl in order to strong-arm the friends into doing business. The drug-dealing BFFs decide to take her back by force instead. To be honest, I can’t decide if this movie looks pretty good to me or if it looks like I would just get a headache watching it. I guess I’m going to find out though -this film is R-rated for ‘strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout’. And that’s the theatrical cut; the DVD’s unrated. Look, I’m not promising that the graphic sexuality and nudity involves Blake Lively and Salma Hayek playing with each others’ breasts, I’m just promising that I’m going to find out and I’ll report back. You’re welcome.
There are two ways you can look at this film. On the one hand, it’s the director and star of Clueless reuniting for another comedy that analyzes the current social zeitgeist, or you can see it as a sad, straight-to-video* attempt at re-obtaining professional relevance for a woman in her 60s who hasn’t had a movie in theaters since 2000’s Loser (‘starring’ Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari), which stars a 36-year-old actress whose last high profile role was playing Batgirl in Batman & Robin 15 years ago and is therefore also trying to re-obtain some professional relevance. Also, let’s not forget it’s a rom-com about vampires. That’s really all I had to say.
*Opening in one theater less than two weeks before the DVD release date = straight-to-video. In fact, it’s worse.
Co-writer/director/star Julie Delpy gives us this sequel to her 2007 film, 2 Days In Paris. Normally I don’t approve of seeing sequels before originals (just so, prequels shouldn’t be seen before originals), but I had the chance to see this flick, and even though I’d never seen 2 Days In Paris, I decided to watch it. Why? F*ck you, that’s why. I don’t have to justify myself to you. It’s not like I watched the third Matrix movie without having seen the second one. It’s a romantic comedy about some French chick, and she’s even divorced from the guy in the original flick, with a completely new guy now and he’s Chris Rock, so I watched it, and you can get off my back. Jesus! Anyhow, French woman Julie Delpy lives with Chris Rock and their children in their tiny New York apartment. Her father, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend come to visit for a few days. Will Rock be able to tolerate their stinky Frenchness? Well, to be fair, I really didn’t feel like I needed to see the first movie in order to follow this one. The reason? It’s just one big cliché. The old Frenchman gets detained at customs for trying to smuggle sausages and cheeses into America. He even has them taped to his fat man-breasts. There are jokes about him never showering and wanting to masturbate, and there’s one scene in which he tickles Rock with a feather while cooing ‘Peter Fonda’ over and over while giggling. You know, the usual French people are dirty and creepy tropes. I did enjoy one part of the movie though, and the rest of this paragraph is a minor spoiler, so be warned. Delpy’s character is an artist and she’s selling her soul to a mystery buyer as a performance piece (speaking of clichés), and the mystery buyer ends up being Vincent Gallo. As in, he plays himself. And just so, he portrays himself exactly as you’d assume a guy who sells his sperm for $1,000,000 should be portrayed. He ends up in a physical altercation with Delpy and I’d like to think he didn’t realize he was in a movie. So was it worth watching? Well, I just said the highlight was a cameo by Vincent Gallo –who, by the way, ends up getting shat upon by a bird as a consequence of bad karma (speaking of clichés), so no, it is not worth watching. At least I didn’t see the original –I bet it’s even worse.
Todd Solondz, the writer/director who gave us Happiness, a film that includes this scene:
and this scene:
now gives us Dark Horse, a film that prominently features Christopher Walken in a bad wig. That is all.
Remember this flick? This is the story of David and Jackie Siegel, the ultra-rich Floridians who were building a 90,000 square-foot home when the stock market tanked, and they lost their fortune when it did. Vince’s review gave the film a ‘B+’. It looks really good, especially if you’re into seeing undeserving rich people suffer. By the way, if the name David Siegel sounds familiar, it might be because he’s the guy who threatened to fire his employees if Obama won. (To his credit, it seems he gave them raises instead, but still, f*ck him.) If your schadenfreude dictates that you bathe in the disappointment of those who maybe don’t deserve universal and undying scorn, Make Believe hits DVD today as well. This was that doc about teen magicians. I’ve seen it, and it is definitely part of the ‘odd-subculture doc’ genre Vince said he likes when he first wrote about it here, but even better, all these poor kids are in competition with one another, so you get to see their hopes and dreams get dashed right before your eyes. In fact, some of them really bungle their tricks during the competition, so you can literally see the moment their aspirations die. It’s delicious.
Rachael Harris plays Linda, a frumpy Christian woman whose husband won’t have sex with her because she’s barren and sex is only supposed to be for procreation. The husband suffers a stroke while donating sperm and Linda discovers that despite their beliefs, he’s been donating sperm and fathering children as a result. She seeks out his oldest kid, a greasy ex-con named Raymond. Obviously Linda and Raymond form a bond because that’s how movies work. The only question is whether the bond is a parent-child relationship or a sexual one. Not that those are mutually exclusive. At least that’s what my foster dad always said to my sister.
Look everybody, it’s Eddie Griffin in whiteface as a redneck!
Oscar-nominee Sean Astin plays Stuart, a church youth group leader leading a weekend camping trip for teens Steve, Carrie, Cooper, Ashley, and Gameboy (yes, really). Apparently Ashley’s a c*nt, and the other teens can’t stand her, so to teach them all a lesson Stuart shares the biblical story of Hosea, a dude who married a whore named Gomer (yes, really). Gomer ends up having three kids that aren’t Hosea’s, so he divorces the bitch. Eventually she becomes a slave and he buys her freedom, because despite everything, he still loves her –because God told him to love her. I’m guessing the point Stuart is trying to make is that they are all supposed to love Ashley despite her being a c*nt, and maybe just maybe she’ll put out. (Not really of course, this is a Bible movie, after all, but a boy can dream.) Despite there not being an official Dove Seal of Approval on the box, you know Dove loved the ever-living sh*t out of this flick, giving it 5 out of 5 Doves. That being said, they were a little put off by the near-constant discussion of prostitution, adultery, and divorce. It all gets a pass, though, because it’s in the Bible. They also didn’t like it when a girl (let’s assume it’s Ashley) ‘says she hates church stuff but we learn she has had a difficult upbringing’. To recap, God wants men to marry prostitutes and he wants women to realize that if they stray from their men they will end up as slaves. I can’t imagine why Ashley, or any female, would hate ‘church stuff’.
Imogen Poots co-stars in this British jewelry store heist flick written and directed by Paul McCartney’s son-in-law. The lead actor is a young Brit by the name of Craig Roberts, who previously starred in Submarine, a British film written and directed by Richard Ayoade, who is that British black dude who co-stars in The Watch. Obviously, I have nothing of substance to say about this film, but back when I began writing this feature I gave Vince a solemn promise that I would take any opportunity to mention Imogen Poots, because her name sounds like a very proper English fart.
Bo Duke, Six from Blossom, and George from Go On (If you, like me, don’t watch Go On, he’s also the magical negro in The Hudsucker Proxy. If you haven’t seen The Hudsucker Proxy, you should; it’s one of the Coen Brothers more underrated films. Speaking of this guy, I actually met him once. His name is Bill Cobbs, and should you ever meet him, try to mask your disappointment that you’re meeting him and not actually meeting Bill Cosby like you naturally assumed you would be -Mr. Cobbs doesn’t take it well) star in this flick. Unlike Amazing Love: The Story Of Hosea, the good people behind Lukewarm know that the Dove Seal of Approval sells DVDs, so let’s see what Dove’s got to say about this film (4 out of 5 Doves): ‘SEX: Kissing by a couple; a couple is living together but decide they need to do the right thing and get married; a man comes on strong to a woman who is planning to be married. LANGUAGE: A man is called a “Jesus Freak” and the man who says this refers to the “Stupid church”. VIOLENCE: Several men beat up a man just because he is a Christian but the Christian man forgives them. DRUGS: Several drinking scenes as a man owns a bar and we see people take whiskey shots and drink and one man is seen at the toilet from becoming sick; a man drinks and drives; a few characters drink while riding in a van; drinking of vodka; beer drinking; a man who is drinking strikes a pedestrian and the pedestrian is killed; a man becomes sick outside of van after drinking. OTHER: One man says he believes in evolution and God isn’t real; a man says he is “spiritual” and is not an old-fashioned Christian but he repents later on; the “imaginary man in the sky” is mentioned. NUDITY: Mild cleavage.’ Where’s the line between mild cleavage and moderate cleavage? I think my kids are ready for mild cleavage, but I’d hate for them to see some moderate cleavage simply because Dove and I aren’t on the same page when it comes to quantifying cleavage.
Some dude is on his way to meet his pen-pal paramour in lady prison. Another dude finds him freezing by the side of the road and picks him up. They talk, and realizing that the first dude hasn’t actually met his girlfriend or sent her a picture, the second dude decides to show up instead and take over the first dude’s life, because nothing’s sweeter than some ex-con poon. This movie looks pretty good, actually –despite every character needing to take a shower. This is the latest in the ‘thriller-set-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-during-the-dead-of-winter’ sub-genre that exists because everybody really loves Fargo. I’m officially dubbing this sub-genre ‘neige noir’. Adjust your lives accordingly.
“Hey, would you look at that? This film’s set in Colorado. I live in Colorado. The trailer prominently features The Left Hand Brewing Company. I’ve almost taken that brewery tour a couple of times. I should feature this movie, despite it looking awful and being about a couple of brothers who have the last name ‘Frankenstein’. F*ck it, it gets a mention.” -My thoughts while watching this trailer.
This based-on-a-book-based-on-true-events British flick is about an Iraq War vet who returns home and becomes a prison guard (or ‘screw’ in wacky British slang). He finds out that the corrupt guards are arguably worse than the inmates, and that the experience of prison –even as a guard- might be even more horrible than his time in Iraq. How can he maintain his sanity and morality while navigating this evil environment? Spoiler alert: by using his experience as fodder for a shocking but best-selling book that he then adapts into a screenplay for a movie that he produces about his experiences. It’s really quite obvious, actually.
Most deliberately ‘grindhouse’ flicks are awful. This latest one may also be awful, but at least it shows some promise. First there’s the synopsis:
A one-eyed vigilante with a dark past has vowed to change his ways, trading his machine gun for a yoga mat. But when he encounters a beautiful young mother in deep trouble with a cannibalistic drug lord and his evil goons, he realizes that justice must be served. Teamed up with his smooth-talking Native American hipster sidekick, our hero rides into the bad ass brawl of the century.
Second, there’s the trailer. It’s hit-and-miss with the humor, but to be honest, that any jokes ‘hit’ at all puts this film above most of the competition. It co-stars Tara from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and if you’re a Buffy fan, that might be enough to get you to watch. If your tastes are more discriminating, I’d like to point out that this film’s writer/director has appeared on 27 episodes of MANswers. Every writer/director should be so lucky. You can’t buy experience like that, and you sure as sh*t won’t learn it in any fancy film school.
Some dudes come into possession of a coffin that lets the person inside of it experience existence as a ghost. (Wait, isn’t that true of every coffin?) What first seems like innocent fun messing with the very nature of life and death and the supernatural world, actually turns out to be a dangerous encounter with the very nature of life and death and the supernatural world. Obviously, this film is inspired by true events.
Interesting choice of title for a writer’s first screenplay and a director’s second feature.
Everybody knows that Obama is the Antichrist, but what this movie presupposes is, maybe he isn’t? What if the Antichrist is actually the first successful human clone -because the DNA used was Jesus’s, harvested off of the shroud of Turin? (Thanks a lot, Obamacare.) In all seriousness, I would watch the hell out of this movie; the Antichrist kid’s dialogue in the trailer is simply fantastic, and the child actor’s delivery of said dialogue is delightfully wooden. My only complaint is that they changed the title to Devil’s Angel from the far superior original title, I’m Not Jesus Mommy. For real.
I was hesitant to include this pick because I initially couldn’t determine if it was a movie, a TV series, or a movie cobbled together from episodes of a failed TV series, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter because the trailer totally took me by surprise, and therefore I decided to share it. It starts out looking like a low-budget, poorly acted vampire flick with cheesy special effects, but then it suddenly shifts into soft-core gay porn, and you realize that it’s kind of like Twilight if the vampires were gay. So, it’s exactly like Twilight, is what I’m saying.
Not a whole lot going on in the world of streaming this week, but what there is actually shows some substance: as far as back-catalog picks go, Netflix has added The Pact, High Ground and The Flowers Of War. More interesting perhaps, is that two of this week’s new movies are also streaming –and both look watchable in their own unique way. First up is that teen magicians doc, Make Believe, and having seen it, it’s definitely worth your time. Also up is that clone antichrist flick Devil’s Angel. Better still, it’s streaming under its original title, I’m Not Jesus Mommy. That one should be hard to resist. If you need even more to watch, check out these flicks:
This is that British flick written and directed by Richard Ayoade (that black dude from The Watch) and starring that little fella from Comes A Bright Day. As near as I can figure, this film is basically Rushmore set in England. The critics like it, and I’ve heard good things in general, so it’s probably a safe watch. Unfortunately, Imogen Poots isn’t’ in it, but some actress named Elinor Crawley plays a character named Abby Smuts –so it certainly has its quota of British-sounding names.
Amy Heckerling’s Vamps doesn’t look that great, but it would be unfair of me to not acknowledge that her film Clueless is streaming. Personally, I’m not that big of a fan, but Clueless certainly has its defenders -regardless of my feelings. You want to know which other Heckerling film is streaming and that also has its defenders? Look Who’s Talking Too. This time Roseanne voices one of the talking babies!
2 Days In Paris
Just like Clueless, it would be unfair of me to not mention that this film –the predecessor to this week’s 2 Days In New York– is streaming. Just like Clueless, this film is probably not that great despite having its fans. You know what? I’d rather re-watch Look Who’s Talking Too than watch this or Clueless. I just can’t get enough of that white-hot sexual chemistry between Kirstie Alley and John Travolta.
Life During Wartime
Dark Horse writer/director Todd Solondz’ most infamous film is 1998’s Happiness, and as a result, most people have at least seen or heard about the clips I shared from it earlier. But did you know Solondz made a sequel to Happiness in 2009? Life During Wartime revisits the lives of the Happiness characters, but with an all-new cast playing the parts. Paul ‘Pee-Wee Herman’ Reubens (pictured above) takes over Jon Lovitz’ role from Happiness. Just so, Michael K. Williams now plays Philip Seymour Hoffman’s part. I haven’t seen this yet, so I don’t know if their character still calls up women while jerking off, but I will say that if he does, his penis is probably significantly bigger than it was before. Because he’s a black dude now. Jesus, do I have to spell out everything?