Well friends, it’s an absolutely crazy time for new DVDs. With both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Tuesdays, the whole Tuesday release schedule has been messed up. We’ve got a ton of movies coming out today, but there’s also a handful coming out this Friday, but don’t worry because I’m covering all of them. Besides Total Recall and the latest Clint Eastwood flick (as an actor if not director), we’ve got flicks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Richard Gere. We’ve got Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey’s ass. There’s the latest Resident Evil flick, that movie about college singing groups, and so much more. There’s sleepwalkers and motocross bikers and paralyzed guitarists. We’ve even got evil robots and the latest flick from Spike Lee!
Trouble With The Curve
Premium Rush -available Friday, 12/21
Arbitrage -available Friday, 12/21
Killer Joe -available Friday, 12/21
Resident Evil: Retribution -available Friday, 12/21
The Good Doctor
Sleepwalk With Me
Red Hook Summer -available Friday, 12/21
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet
Forced To Fight
Fred & Vinnie
The New Republic
Streaming: Check out your choices here.
Holy cow, that’s a lot of movies hitting DVD this week. But wait, there’s more! Three flicks have decided to buck the trend of coming out when people are actually shopping, so here’s a quick breakdown of the three movies coming out in the next two weeks as well: The people behind the abysmally reviewed Bradley Cooper flick, The Words, have tried to bury it by releasing it on Monday, December 24. They are right to do it, and we should honor their desire to have their movie forgotten. Instead of seeing that, hold out for another week until Monday, December 31st. New Year’s Eve sees the release of Looper. I thought it was great, and Vince’s review gave it an ‘A-‘. If that isn’t your cup of tea, Cosmopolis comes out on New Year’s Day. Vince’s review gave it a ‘C’, but it’s from David Cronenberg, who is awesome, so who gives a f*ck what Vince says? He hates everything, Looper excluded. If your New Year’s resolution is to watch less DVDs, click on that streaming link above to go straight to your Netflix resolution loophole, but to be honest, you’ve chosen a very strange resolution, and you could still read about the DVDs, even if you never plan on watching them. Hell, I don’t plan on watching most of them either.
Here’s the thing about remakes: In this day and age of DVDs and instant streaming, I simply don’t see the point in getting upset about them. It’s not like this year’s Total Recall will replace the original. You can still buy it, rent it, etc. Plus, as the original film was itself a none-too-faithful adaptation of a written work, it’s arguable that this version should be seen as a new adaptation of the story, and not a remake of the film. Except that it tries very hard precisely to be a remake of the film. They lifted the title from the movie (which differs from the title of the original story) and even promoted it as also featuring the three-breasted hooker –an element from the original film that had no bearing on the plot, but was only there to make full use of that film’s R rating. And here she is again, but not topless this time –as this film has the generally more-profitable PG-13 rating. I don’t know, maybe she’s topless again in the unrated director’s cut that’s included on the blu-ray. That’s really all this has ever been about, isn’t it? When they announced they were making this flick, the fans of the original were OK with the elimination of Mars from the plot –but they demanded their third breast. So, take it or leave it, three breasts and all, but please don’t say this –or any remake- ‘raped your childhood’. Let’s be honest, if your childhood was anything like mine, that distinction goes to your Uncle Pat. You know, in hindsight, I don’t think he really did forget to bring a sleeping bag when he took me camping.
Clint Eastwood is an old and ailing baseball scout, Amy Adams is his no-nonsense businesswoman daughter, Justin Timberlake is the young-buck scout/former player that Adams will fall in love with and that Phillip Phillips song plays over the trailer. Will Adams and Eastwood be able to tell each other how much they love one another? Will Timberlake’s charm work on both of them? Can a woman have a career and love? Did anyone else just find out that this Phillips guy is last spring’s American Idol winner, and that ‘Home’ is the song the show wrote for him to perform as his hit single? I’ve heard this song playing everywhere, and I had no idea until right now when I checked the spelling of that guy’s stupid name. Are there really that many people still into American Idol? Does Eastwood know about this? It seems like the kind of thing he wouldn’t approve of.
Premium Rush –available Friday, 12/21
A corrupt cop chases a bike messenger carrying a valuable delivery through the streets of Manhattan. Just as Trouble With The Curve seems like a Lifetime original TV movie that snagged better actors and therefore a major theatrical release, so Premium Rush seems like a straight-to-DVD action flick that somehow cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon and so too got bumped up to a theatrical release. Of course, as its worldwide box office total of $30,675,802 doesn’t quite match its $35 million budget, this movie probably should’ve actually been a straight-to-DVD release. Maybe if they had kept the rush to a more modest budget, things would’ve worked out better. Reasonably-Priced Rush if you will. I know I would’ve watched that, if only because I love a good bargain.
Arbitrage –available Friday, 12/21
Richard Gere is a successful businessman who of course has been participating in some illegal business dealings while also cheating on his wife (Susan Sarandon) with a younger woman whom he accidentally kills in a car accident that he then tries to cover-up because this is a movie and he is Richard Gere. Tim Roth shows up as the tenacious cop with a ludicrous accent who knows Gere is guilty –he only needs to prove it. Will the snooping cop cause Gere’s big business deal to fold? Will Gere’s illegal business practices come to light? Will I force a gerbil joke into this paragraph? Does that last sentence count?
Killer Joe –available Friday, 12/21
Oscar-winning director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist, To Live and Die in L.A.) directs this film in which Emile Hirsch owes some cash to some bad people, so he hires dirty cop/hitman Matthew McConaughey to kill his mother, Gina Gershon, for her insurance. He can’t pay McConaughey up front, so he “gives” McConaughey his sister as collateral. As you might assume, the plot’s progression leads to scenes of McConaughey’s bare ass, as well as him sexually degrading Gershon with a piece of fried chicken. Oh, spoiler alert, I guess. This flick was NC-17 in theaters, but they’ve edited it down to an R so the DVD can be sold in stores like Best Buy. Luckily there’s still ‘unrated’ (meaning the original NC-17 version) editions of the film on DVD and blu-ray for those of us who like to see full bush (and I do mean full). In a move that kind of makes the R-rated version pointless, Best Buy has the unrated version on sale this week. It’s even in their print ad. Makes a great stocking stuffer, especially if your loved one likes fried chicken.
Hey everybody it’s Channing Tatum in a high-school reunion movie! That he produced! Starring all his Hollywood besties: Rosario Dawson! Justin Long! Christ Pratt! Aubrey Plaza! Plus other people you may recognize like: Mrs. Channing Tatum! The son of the guy who directed The English Patient! The Mexican dude from Drive! The white guy from The Hurt Locker who isn’t Jeremy Renner! The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s sister! The black dude from The Hurt Locker! The guy from Office Space! The gerbil from Richard Gere’s ass! (HAH! I snuck it in just when you weren’t expecting it. Just like Gere did with that poor gerbil.)
Resident Evil: Retribution –available Friday, 12/21
I won’t pretend that I know a damn thing about these zombie movies based on a video game series I’ve never played. Hell, I even had to look up which one this flick was in the film series. (It’s fifth.) But, hey, at least in so doing I found out a fun piece of trivia! According to IMDb: “As of 2012, Milla Jovovich is the only actor to appear in all five films.” Huh? Is that going to change at some later date? I’m guessing there’s some confusion about what trivia is. Trivia –in this sense- is supposed to be an interesting or unique fact about the film. This ‘trivia’ is just a poorly worded statement. Assuming there will be at least one more Resident Evil flick, and as Jovovich is the only actor to appear in all of the existing five films -even if she doesn’t appear in the sixth installment, no other actor has appeared in all of the prior five, so they wouldn’t get to make a claim on the ‘appearing in all the films’ crown, now would they? (Now that was a poorly worded statement.) Also, I’m simply fascinated by the ‘as of 2012’ bit. Is there a chance that she might be edited out of one or more of these films sometime in the future? Will they do a reverse Star Wars and instead of digitally adding characters to the movies, they will instead erase the main character completely? If they like copying Star Wars so much, are they gonna make prequels, too? It could be just Jovovich –or the absence of Jovovich– just living her life before the zombies came. It would be really pointless and stupid. It would fit the existing series perfectly.
I for one look forward to the day when we can all look back and laugh at how lame it was that movies and TV shows about college and high school singing groups used to be a ‘thing’.
That one guy from How I Met Your Mother writes/directs/stars in this, his second feature film, the follow-up to the annoyingly titled Happythankyoumoreplease. This one’s about a sensitive dude who goes back to his old college and falls in love with one of the current students. I haven’t seen How I Met Your Mother, nor have I seen Happythankyoumoreplease, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever see this, but I can tell you one thing: if Zach Braff ever meets this guy in person, he is going to try to kick his ass. It will be an awkward scuffle; neither fellow will fight very well, and both will end up hurting themselves more than they hurt their opponent. It will end with them sitting on the floor, side-by-side, one man nursing a split lip while the other keeps rubbing the bruised hand that he scraped against the wall while going in for a poorly timed punch. They will talk, and realize that they have way more in common than they had previously realized. Braff will share anecdotes about Natalie Portman on the set of Garden State, and Radnor will talk about how he decided to name the female lead in Liberal Arts ‘Zibby’. Eventually they will agree to exchange contact information, only to realize that they have the same e-mail and cell numbers. Because, you see, they were the same person all along. Fin.
Orlando Bloom plays a young doctor who becomes infatuated with a teenage patient, so he pulls all sorts of shady stuff to keep her sick and under his care. I’ve seen the movie and it’s surprisingly not bad. Of course the plot doesn’t hold up to any amount of scrutiny, but I enjoyed seeing how things progressed for Bloom’s character. The trailer’s misleading, though; it makes it seem like a suspense/thriller and it really isn’t. Incidentally, the girl’s played by Elvis’s granddaughter. For real. The actress, Riley Keough, is Elvis’s granddaughter. Her mom is Lisa Marie Presley, which means that at various points in her life, this woman has had both Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage as her step-father. Talk about a charmed life: besides being temporarily fathered by two of the more eccentric celebrities to ever exist, she has to live with the knowledge that millions of people plan entire vacations just to visit her grandfather’s grave. The only people who plan vacations to visit my grandfather’s grave is my family. We just like to make sure the old rat bastard is still rotting, you know? Funnily enough, both he and Elvis died on the toilet. In summary: decent flick.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia co-writes and co-directs this film inspired by his comedy routine of the same name. It’s about a stand-up comedian who sleepwalks. Obviously. Burnsy was pretty excited to see this, and the trailer does show some promise, but I can’t help but think it’s a bad move to use a title that is basically encouraging your audience to fall asleep.
Red Hook Summer –available Friday, 12/21
Wait, wait, wait. Spike Lee’s latest ‘joint’ is hitting DVD the same week as Clint Eastwood’s flick? Do they both know about this? They do have a history. Anyhow, not to spoil anything (actually, it’s a pretty big spoiler), if Miracle At St. Anna was Lee’s response to Eastwood’s Flags Of Our Fathers (saying that black people fought in WWII as well as white people), Red Hook Summer could be seen as Lee’s response to Eastwood’s Mystic River, saying that white people aren’t the only ones who can be pedophiles. Sounds like a fun flick.
I’m not going to try to hide it: this film is being featured this week for two simple reasons: First, there were exactly twenty movies I was considering for featured spots, so I decided to just go ahead and feature them all, and second, it has the Dove Seal of Approval! This flick earns a respectable –if not stellar- 3 out of 5 Doves, which is really something because that approval rating is for all ages; none of this ages 12+ bullsh*t. Of course, there are the usual concerns. Such as “SEX: Boy/girl holds hands. LANGUAGE: Butt. VIOLENCE: Silly humorus violence such as a girl hitting boys several times with tennsi balls, once in the groin; boy hits his dad in the hand with a wooden mallet; car runs over a boy’s foot. NUDITY: Cleavage; many grossly hairy men in a shower are seen from the waist up; butt cracks on men in changing room; boy loses his swim trunks diving into a pool, nothing is seen by anyone including the audience. OTHER: Boy admits to peeing in a pool; band called “Loaded Diaper”; boy washes hands with urinal sanitizer; boy lies to father; boy accidentally calls 911.” All seems pretty standar —Wait! What? Did that just say ‘butt cracks on men in changing room’? How the hell does that pass with 3 Doves? This is the same organization that regularly criticizes films for having characters say ‘Butt’ –in fact they criticized this very film for it- and yet, we get to see butts? Is there some Biblical precedent I don’t know about? Does this have something to do with Balaam’s ass? Because I always thought that was about a talking donkey.
There’s a movie coming out on DVD today called Bro’ and there’s a movie coming out on DVD today called Hermano. One of these films co-stars Danny Trejo as a drug dealer. Guess which one. You might be surprised to learn that the film with Trejo in it is Bro’ and not Hermano. Of course, you might not be surprised if you already noticed that Trejo is front and center on the Bro’ cover to the left of this paragraph. If you noticed him and still guessed Hermano, your stupidity is matched only by your racism. If that last sentence described you, check out Bro’ –it seems like your type of film. You do like neck tattoos and motocross, right?
This documentary is the story of Jason Becker – obviously. Becker, a once promising rock guitarist, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told to expect the end of his music career. Rather than give in to his failing body, Becker used cutting-edge technology to compose music in a way that is truly inspiring and impressive. By which I mean the act of composition despite total paralysis is inspiring and that the technology used is impressive. The music sounds like sh*t, but what do you expect from a guy who used to be in a band with David Lee Roth?
Shane Slavin was once a legend in the underground fighting circuit, but he gave it up to make his wife and son happy. His younger brother upsets a crime boss played by RoboCop, so Shane must step back into the arena to pay off his brother’s debts and protect his family. Now I know that this is a fairly standard plot for these types of movies, but just once I’d like to see the protagonist say, “My brother? He’s an assh*le. Kill ‘em. I don’t give a f*ck,” and then go on about his day. Also, as someone who is the youngest of five brothers, can we just once not have the younger brother be the family f*ck up? Not only is it a tired cliché, it’s simply not accurate. Just look at me: I’m a part-time movie blogger. I’m living on top of the world.
Fred Stoller –a character actor and comedian that you may or may not recognize- plays Fred and somebody who isn’t really named Vinnie plays Vinnie, in this indie comedy about two sad-sack friends living together in Fred’s sad apartment, trying to find meaning in their sad lives. Sure sounds funny.
After a harrowing snowmobile accident, a young couple is stranded in the woods and must survive while waiting for help to arrive. Events take a turn for the worse after the disappearance of Emma’s boyfriend, leaving her on her own not only to battle the elements, but also to elude a mysterious hunter who is tracking her through the forest.
Yes, I know that this sounds pretty typical for a low-budget thriller, but the mysterious hunter is played by Noah Segan, who I quite enjoyed as Kid Blue in Looper, and this film was shot in Colorado, where I live, and the director’s from Colorado too, so I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about this one. So in conclusion, my critical response to a film is positively affected by my being able to say, “Hey! I’ve been there!” I should probably never live in New York or Los Angeles.
Set in the near future in a city called New Angeles, this film is about David, a blogger that is being pressured by the government to spy on an anti-government extremist group. David must decide where his loyalties lie and with which faction he truly aligns. Will he aid the extremists or will he protect himself and sell them out? Well, he’s a blogger; I’m guessing he’s going to go with whichever option doesn’t require him to put on a pair of pants.
It’s the 23rd century and the androids have become self-aware and are turning on the humans. Thanks a lot, Obama.
Before you get your hopes up, no the original Total Recall isn’t streaming and the above picture has no greater context for anything I’m about to share. I just feel like it’s important to honor cinema’s trailblazers and as we’ve already seen 2012’s three-breasted hooker, it was only appropriate to pay tribute to the original as well. As for movies that actually are streaming, this week’s Sleepwalk With Me is streaming, as is The Babymakers from a few weeks ago. If those don’t perk up your three nipples, here are some other suggestions that are all inspired by this week’s new DVDs. For no reason whatsoever other than to amuse myself, I have also limited my selections to films starting with the letter ‘B’:
I won’t pretend that I’ve heard of this movie before today, but it is streaming, stars Trouble With The Curve’s Clint Eastwood, and it starts with the letter ‘B’. This 1971 film was made back when Eastwood was seen as the type of guy who could ‘beguile’ the students at an all-girls’ school. Which, oddly enough, is what this film is about. It’s from Don Siegel, who directed Dirty Harry, so hopefully it’s also pretty bad-ass. Either way, it fits all of my criteria for this week, so you’d damn well better watch it.
Bringing Out The Dead
This Martin Scorsese flick co-stars John Goodman, who is in Trouble With The Curve, even if I didn’t mention him in my write-up. This is the one with Nicolas Cage as a whacked-out EMT. It’s not Scorsese’s best work, nor is it Cage’s, but it is still a pretty fun watch, and I mentioned Cage in my coverage of The Good Doctor, so it seemed worth suggesting , so you’d damn well better watch it.
Premium Rush’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this high school noir flick from Rian Johnson, who also gives us JGL in Looper on DVD in a couple weeks, which co-stars The Frozen’s Noah Segan, who is also in this film. Some people are bothered by this flick’s stylized and artificial dialogue, but I wasn’t. If you’ve seen enough noir, you recognize the style, and if you haven’t seen enough noir, Brick is a decent place to start, so you’d damn well better watch it.
Premium Rush’s Michael Shannon co-stars in this film directed by Killer Joe’s William Friedkin and written by Killer Joe’s screenwriter, Tracy Letts. It’s about a man and a woman convinced that the government is placing insects in its citizens. I hear that this flick is pretty F’d up, if not quite to the level that Killer Joe is supposed to be, so if you’re too ‘chicken’ to watch Killer Joe (see what I did there? Because there’s that sex scene with the fried chicken, remember?), this is a slightly tamer alternative, so you’d damn well better watch it.