FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Dr. Seuss’ Cornucopia Of Christian Cinema

It’s Tuesday and therefore it is time to examine this week’s new DVDs. First off, there are brand new 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-rays of Full Metal Jacket and Spaceballs. To be perfectly honest, that’s where your attention should be this week.  As for my attention, both of those films have already been on DVD/Blu-ray (in previous editions) for a while so they aren’t really considered new, and therefore won’t be mentioned in this post again. As for truly new DVDs,  obviously there’s The Lorax, but there’s also Robert Pattinson, Bob Marley, Vinnie Jones, and several new Christian flicks.  There’s a Wizard of Oz movie that doesn’t seem to have a wizard or take place in Oz, there’s some sexy sisters, and a sequel that really isn’t.  All that and all your favorite comic book heroes and villains -assuming you like Thor, Spider-man, and Bane.

The DVDs:
The Lorax
Bel Ami
Marley
Girlfriend
Blue Like Jazz
Yellow Rock
The Liquidator
Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale
After The Wizard
Mary Marie
Loving The Bad Man
The Rally
Youth Of Christ
Knock Knock 2
Devil Seed
Heroes & Demons

Aching to know which flick has Vinnie Jones in it? Want to know what Loving The Bad Man is all about?  Keep reading to find out.  Otherwise, the Netflix picks are here, but realize that they won’t bring you any closer to the Lord.
The Lorax

Here’ the latest film-adaptation (about which Vince correctly predicted that Fox News Business would whine about liberal indoctrination of America’s innocent children) of a classic Dr. Seuss book.  If you’ve ever read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, it only takes watching about 9 seconds of the trailer to realize this is not really an adaptation of that book.  (And yes, it takes 9 seconds to get past the green ‘The Following Preview…’ screen and the studio logos.) But, of course, if they were really trying to adapt the book, they would do it in 2-D, use hand drawn animation, and it would be only about 25 minutes long.  In other words, it would be the adaptation kids got 40 years ago. Oh well, such is the state of the modern family film.  There’s no use whining about it; as this –like so many kiddie-flicks before it- made money, the process will repeat, and I don’t really mind.  There’s always the original books, and besides I’ve never been too precious about Dr. Seuss anyway.  I was more of a Berenstain Bear kid, myself.  That being said, there’s no denying Dr. Seuss is THE legend of late-20th Century children’s literature.  Parents and children will be reading his work (in one form or another) until the end of time.  So let’s give the film adaptations the treatment they deserve: Just like with the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales, let’s start making Seuss movies that are all gritty re-imaginings of the original material.  Just think, there could be The Cat, a disturbing horror flick in which two latch-key kids contend with a demonic ghoul hell-bent on consuming their souls –except nobody else believes he exists.  Or I Am Sam, about a psychotic stalker hell-bent on being ‘friends’ with a guy by insisting he eat Sam’s rotten culinary concoctions –OR ELSE! How about, Horton, a sobering drama about a young man with a kind heart (and disfiguring elephantiasis) who has learned that his kind heart means nothing to a world that can’t see past his disturbing looks.  Left utterly friendless, he considers a dandelion to be his only companion, talking to the ‘people’ who live upon it, who of course, only he can hear.  Or maybe The Turtle King, which would be about a crazy turtle-worshipping cult, and their leader, who sits on piles of his followers.  Okay, maybe they don’t all translate, but you get the idea.


Bel Ami

Look, I’m a huge Cronenberg fan.  Huge.  To the point where if I see one of his movies and am not totally blown away (M. Butterfly), I assume the fault lies with me, and not the film. So back when it was announced that the lead in Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis would be Robert Pattinson, I immediately switched my feelings on R-Pattz from ‘Eh, don’t care.  At least he’s not that alpaca dude with the overly-aggressive blink’ to ‘Robert Pattinson is one of the finest young actors working today’.  The thing is, besides that one Harry Potter movie he’s in (and I don’t’ even remember him in it), I’ve never seen any Pattinson films.  None. So, having the chance to see Bel Ami this past weekend, I decided to pop my R-Pattz cherry, and the film was surprisingly not that bad.  It’s based on an 1885 Guy de Maupassant novel about Georges Duroy, a poor French dude scheming and f*cking his way up through Parisian society.  In fact, they should’ve called this If You Piss Off Robert Pattinson, He Will F*ck Your Wife And Take Your Job. For real, that’s pretty much it.  What can I say?  The straight-forward simplicity of that plot made me smile.  As for the performances -and Pattinson’s in particular, well, all I will say is that you get a few quick shots of Christina Ricci’s breasts, and let’s leave it at that.


Marley

Kevin Macdonald directs this documentary about Bob Marley.  I’m sure you all know Macdonald as the director of The Eagle, that delightful Channing Tatum flick from last year, but don’t hold that against the poor guy: he’s also an Oscar-winning documentarian. That being said, I have no actual interest in this movie.  Watching the trailer, I was kind of gleefully shocked at how much of the Bob Marley persona seems to have informed the clichés of reggae music, Rastafarianism, and Jamaican culture. So, to be fair, I guess he was immensely influential, at least.  It was just strange to see a real life Ras Trent…and he was black!  I kid, I kid.  Like I said, the trailer’s more than enough for me to begin losing interest, but the other new documentary on DVD today is 13 Families – Life After Columbine.  Given the recent tragedy in Aurora, CO (a suburb of Denver- where I live), and now this past weekend’s shooting in Oak Creek, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee –where I lived before I moved to Denver), I think you’ll agree that a doc about some dude playing music and getting high while talking about peace and love is just a bit more appealing at the moment.


Girlfriend

June 28, 2011.  For FilmDrunk readers, it was a day like any other. The morning links post had cute animals and stupid looking hipsters. We all read with fascination Shia LaBeouf’s claim that he slept with Megan Fox.  Surely this wasn’t just an attempt to lure us to that night’s midnight premiere of Transfromers 3, was it?  (And what an innocent time it was when we could look forward to midnight premieres…) Vince shared a trailer for a new movie with Mickey Rourke called The Immortals.  It looked like 300 with Mickey Rourke, so it was sure to be box-office gold. But then Vince posted a slideshow of new movie posters and everything changed.  On the 17th slide, just after some posters for a Footloose re-imagining, there it was. A poster (and trailer!) for Girlfriend, a film starring Jackson Rathbone (a dude most known for being in Twlight and The Last Airbender) about a girl getting sexually involved with a young man with Down’s Syndrome. CRAZY. Even crazier?  Twilight McAirbender wasn’t even playing the guy with Down’s. This movie looked amazing. It still does. 1 year, 1 month, 1 week, and 3 days.  The long wait is over. You’re welcome.


Blue Like Jazz

Based on a popular memoir, this true story (Oh Lord, here we go) is about Don, a young man disillusioned with his conservative Christian upbringing.  He flees Texas and ends up at Reed College in Portland, one of the most liberally progressive campuses in America (according to this film’s official synopsis).  It is at Reed College that his eyes are opened to the larger world beyond the one of his church, and he must figure out what he believes about life, faith, and his own place in the world.  This is the first of several films hitting DVD today that are either explicitly Christian productions or at least deal with Christianity as part of their subject matter.  This one looks infinitely better-made than the other ones, but that doesn’t mean it looks good.  It basically means that they managed to get Alex from Lost and some dude from True Blood to be in it.  Which doesn’t mean it looks bad, either.  It just is. The most interesting thing about this flick is that when funding fell-through, a Kickstarter campaign was begun and it raised over $300,000. As a result, the film’s director, Steve Taylor, called and thanked all 3300 people who donated at least $10. Good for all of them, I guess.  For me, the title alone stinks of pseudo-philosophical pretension, and if you watch the trailer all the way to the end, you’ll see that it is.  Which is to be expected from the author, who has subsequently written a book called A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, which is a memoir about his experiences adapting his memoir into a screenplay.  I’m not even kidding.  I can’t wait for the screenplay adaptation about that, and the subsequent memoir about writing THAT screenplay: Looking Beyond The Infinite Tomorrow, which is a title I just made up, but could totally work.


Yellow Rock

Here we have this week’s obligatory low-budget western.  As usual, it stars a mostly washed-up but once promising actor, Michael Biehn. These movies can sometimes be fun, and this one at least looks slightly-better produced than most, but there’s just no way of really knowing if they are worth the time and trouble to seek out and watch.  So I did some research.  Yellow Rock is directed by Nick Vallelonga, who is also an actor.  His two most recent acting credits are FDR: American Badass! And Jersey Shore Shark Attack, so that’s a draw.  Yellow Rock’s co-written Lenore Andriel, who is also one of the actors in the film (she plays the redheaded doctor lady in the trailer).  Again, no help there.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I turned to the official synopsis, which concludes with:

Ultimately, divine justice is met ~ leaving the Black Paw Tribe to live once more in peace…until…the next white men came.

Besides the bizarre use of a tilde and the troubling…excess of…ellipses, I’m pretty sure that sentence just spoiled the whole movie, so I think I’ll pass on this one.


The Liquidator

Vinnie Jones co-stars in this Kazakhstani action flick.  For real, it’s from Kazakhstan; the trailer’s poorly dubbed into English and everything.  As for the actual flick, it’s about a bodyguard avenging his brother’s death, and in the process he uncovers a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of government. I’m pretty sure that is the synopsis of every third sh*tty action movie I come across writing these DVD posts.  I wish I could say I was surprised Vinnie Jones is in this, but I’m not; after his being in Hijacked, Cross, and Age Of The Dragons, it’s almost like he was taking over for Danny Trejo in the ‘actor who will be in literally any movie’ department while Machete Kills was in production.  Of course, Jones probably needs to take any role he can get.  His last truly mainstream film was 2009’s Year One.  Yeesh.  I must admit, I am kind of curious to see this, if only because everything I know about Kazakhstan I learned from Borat.  Also, because the original title was Likvidator.  I’m not joking.


Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale

This Taiwanese action film recounts the Wushe Incident of 1930.  Basically, Japan had tried to colonize Taiwan, but the Seediq people of Taiwan weren’t having it and fought back, killing over 130 Japanese, including women and children.  In turn, Japan sent in thousands of troops, the Seediq retreated into the mountains, resorted to guerilla warfare, and carnage ensued.  Regardless of the harsh realities of the actual historical conflict, this movie looks bad-ass.  Primitive tribal warfare vs. modern military technology (or at least, modern-to-the-era technology).  I love it.  Besides the U.S. theatrical cut, which clocks in at 154 minutes, there’s also the international version, which is an ass-numbing 276 minutes.  I’d go for the longer cut; there’s a pause button, so what’s the harm? It’s just a shame that they are using history as an excuse to rip off Avatar.


After The Wizard

So you want to make a low-budget family-friendly flick that has enough brand-recognition/brand-confusion that will lead gullible kids and confused grandparents to drop money on your flick.  How do you do it?  First of all, find something in the public domain.  How about the Wizard of Oz?  Yes, but that can be expensive; all the sets and costumes needed for creating Oz, which is to say nothing of the monkeys and flying munchkins.  OK, how about an original story set after The Wizard Of Oz.  You could call it After The Wizard, and have it set in present day America –no fancy sets or costumes needed, just retain the old reliables, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, you know the drill.  Well, that could work…but even those costumes are pretty complex.  They don’t have to be.  Just rub some cheap silver makeup on a dude’s face and glue some other sh*t on some other dude’s face. Give one of ‘em a gray jacket and the other some straw and you’ve got two of the big three.  What about the Cowardly Lion?  F*ck ‘em.  Say he died of tail cancer or he was too chickensh*t to come to Kansas or whatever. Nobody liked that pussy anyway.  Can we still put him on the box cover?  You know, to help sell the film?  F*ck yes. Nobody’ll know the difference.


Mary Marie

When their mother dies, sisters Mary and Marie decide to finally give in to previously unspoken urges and start f*cking each other.  The scissor sister’s lives are upended when a naïve but handsome young farm boy enters their lives and comes between them…in bed.  (Not really.  In the trailer he’s obviously on one end of the bed with the sisters, not in the middle.)  Either way, this is not a porno, but it is this week’s winner.  Two things I wanted to share:  Parents, this is what happens when you try to give your kids similar and cutesy names. Don’t do it. Also, here is the lone piece of IMDb trivia for Mary Marie:

Davy Jones from the band The Monkees provided a set house and housing for the crew on Mary Marie. He was originally going to be the guest singer in the bar scene but decided someone who had never had the spotlight should get the chance.

How f*cking crazy would it be if you were watching this sexy sexy flick and all of a sudden Davy Jones shows up as the crooner in the bar?  That would be even stranger than his scene in Goldberg – P.I.


Loving The Bad Man

If you can’t get Kirk Cameron to appear in your for-Christians/by-Christians flick, get the next best thing: Stephen Baldwin!  To be fair, it looks like Baldwin is playing a scary, tattooed prisoner (I’m also guessing he’s a white supremacist. Baldwin, I mean, not the character) and nobody would ever buy Cameron in the role, but still. Really though, that’s neither here nor there because he isn’t even the titular bad man and therefore is not deserving of any more of our loving attention.  The actual plot is about Julie, a young conservative Christian who gets raped and and as a result, pregnant.  She keeps the baby (because she’s pro-life, naturally) but finds it difficult to forgive her rapist.  She decides to start visiting him in prison, with the hope that knowing him as a human being -and not just a monster- will help her forgive him and hopefully serve as a witness to him, in turn bringing him to Christ.  Just so, he could be a loving God-fearing father to their child, and maybe they’ll even get married, fulfilling God’s obvious plan for them all, and proving that even rape can be God’s gift.  It makes sense, too.  What could be a greater gift for two people?  She gets the severe mental and physical damage of rape –with all its lingering trauma, plus an unwanted pregnancy, plus the physical, mental, and financial burden of parenthood.  He gets 10 years in prison, plus all the stigma attached to being an ex-con.  Oh, also the shower ass-rapes. (Courtesy of Stephen Baldwin.  Presumably.) Why wouldn’t all that be part of God’s plan?  It makes more sense than for them to just meet normally, because if they did that, nobody would learn nothin’.  To be fair, not all of that is explicit in the trailer, but it isn’t exactly not in the trailer either.  To recap, forgive your rapist –as long as the rape was hetero.


The Rally

You ever hear of Kenneth Copeland?  He’s one of those televangelists that preaches the prosperity gospel.  In short, he claims that God blesses good Christians with material wealth when they donate money to Christian ministries. Ministries like his, for example.  It must work, too, because just look at how rich he is! So, just send him all your money (his private airport needs it…for Christ), and you too will be blessed.  It’s in the Bible.  I’m not sure where, but it probably isn’t near that part about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to go to heaven (Matthew 19:24), but it’s in there. Anyhow, good ole whiter-than-rice Kenneth Copeland is in this movie and he plays some sort of ethnic mob boss.  For real, I’m not even sure what else is going on in the trailer because my brain just kind of explodes.  I can’t tell if the mob boss comes to Christ, or what, because Copeland is playing an ETHNIC MOB BOSS!  For comparison’s sake, also check out this clip below of him plugging the movie. Besides the totally baffling transformation from Southern televangelist to ethnic criminal-type, there’s something that is sincerely confusing me: at about 34 seconds in, does he say, “We have believed God for one million souls off this film”? He goes on to say that with the ‘Spanish over-dub’ they claim “a million souls in Spanish, praise God…in Latino“.  What the f*ck does any of that mean?  Is he saying that this film has brought/will bring a million non-believers to Christ (two million when including the fer’ners)?  If so, my first thought is that God doesn’t do things just because Copeland says so.  Who can say a million non-believers will ever even see this flick?  Personally, I think it’s doubtful.  Also, isn’t that limiting God?  What if five million non-believers saw it and wanted to convert –would God prevent it because Copeland didn’t aim high enough?  If this is how it all works, well, I believed God for 200 souls off this post.  Also, 200 comments.  Make it happen, Jesus!


Youth Of Christ

Most Christian films are produced under the misconception that non-believers will see the film and be brought to Christ.  Of course that never actually happens.  If a non-believer even watches these films it is to mock the horrible acting and lack-luster production values.  The vast majority of these films are watched by Christians who like to be reassured that they are God’s chosen, and that they are serving him by watching a Christian film and not any of that Hollywood trash.  With that in mind, I give some credit to this film for seeming like its target audience isn’t non-believers, but rather apathetic Church youth group members.  So why am I sharing it with all of you?  It’s not like I expect a lot of Christian youth groups to be scouring FilmDrunk for movie night ideas.  It’s simple really: I’m fascinated by a brief moment in the trailer.  Specifically, :57-1:02.  Just watch that bit, and nothing else.  No context is needed nor should it be wanted.  In other Jesus news, also newly out on DVD today is Jesus Fish.  I’ve watched the trailer several times and the whole thing is so poorly produced and acted that I can’t tell if it really is a by Christians/for Christians flick or if it is mocking by Christians/for Christians flick.  Either way, it looks terrible.


Knock Knock 2

Remember Knock Knock?  Of course you don’t.  Anyhow, Knock Knock was a horror film from 2008, and this is Knock Knock 2.  Make no mistake, however; this is not a sequel.  In fact, besides the title, they have absolutely nothing in common. Knock Knock 2 is a found-footage flick (admit it, you knew it would be) that was originally called 1666.  Lionsgate bought the distribution rights and decided to rename it Knock Knock 2 and hopefully benefit from the name recognition for a movie that nobody saw and nobody remembers.  Hell, the original Knock Knock wasn’t even a found-footage flick.  Crackerjack work, there Lionsgate.


Devil Seed

Alexandra visits a psychic and ends up getting possessed by a demon.  Sequel to the 2008 cult classic Knock Knock.


Heroes & Demons

Chris Hemsworth, Andrew Garfield, Tom Hardy, Michael Sheen, and Kirsten Dunst are all in this movie.  And you’ve never even heard of it.  Thor, Spider-man, Bane, Tony Blair, and uh…Kirsten Dunst are all in this movie.  All of ‘em.  And yet, it isn’t on a single one of their IMDb pages.  In fact, Heroes & Demons doesn’t even have an IMDb page. What the holy living f*ck is going on?  The official synopsis is no help:

Six strangers encounter a series of life-altering situations that change their lives forever. They must take a stand and decide whether they will fight for what is right against overwhelming odds, or survive by whatever means necessary. With everything on the line, the sides of good and evil will be drawn.

The YouTube description says ‘New and star-driven title that can be a Box-office in every market.’ Is that even English?  Anyhow, I’ve come to the conclusion that the six strangers are strangers because they aren’t even in the same movie.  You see, I think this is actually six completely separate short films that were clumped together and sold as one film.  For example, I’m willing to bet Chris Hemsworth’s scenes are actually from the short film Ollie Klubershturf vs. the Nazis, which was written by Prometheus scribe (and FilmDrunk reader) Damon Lindelof.  This website seems to confirm it.  I think Tom Hardy’s scenes are from Perfect.  I think.  Also, how weird is it to see a skinny Tom Hardy? He’s the doctor at 1:28. There’s also boobies shortly thereafter.

By now you Netflix fans should know the drill: while none of today’s new DVDs are streaming, there are a whole bunch of flicks newly added that we’ve covered in previous weeks’ DVD guides. This week there are even some truly worth watching. We’ve got From Time To Time, Last Days Here, Redemption Road, Bounty Hunters, The Hunter, God Bless America, and Hit So Hard. You decide which ones you want to see. As usual, I’ll throw out a few more suggestions of flicks that share actors with this week’s DVD releases, and please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. Netflix has a big catalog, and I can’t cover all of ‘em. (Especially since I like to occasionally suggest movies that I know are sh*t.)

Matilda

The Lorax isn’t Danny DeVito’s first foray into family films. Before voicing that little orange tree-hugger, he directed and starred in this Roald Dahl adaptation.  I haven’t seen this flick, but you usually can’t go wrong with Roald Dahl (I said usually, Tim Burton), and if nothing else you get to see Frank Reynolds in a family film. At any rate, if you haven’t already, start reading Dahl’s short stories for adults.  Also his novel, My Uncle Oswald. It’s about a dude harvesting top-shelf jizz.  For real.

The Last Airbender

Having seen Lady In The Water and The Happening, I find it hard to believe that this M. Night Shyamalan flick (pictured –mostly- above) could be any worse than those two films.  It co-stars Girlfriend’s Jackson Rathbone, not that his involvement should be seen as an endorsement.  However, if it co-starred that dude from Girlfriend with Down’s, well, I’m guessing we’d all have the 3-D blu-ray by now.

Slap Shot 2: Breaking The Ice

It’s important to remember that Loving The Bad Man’s Stephen Baldwin didn’t sacrifice his Hollywood career for Christ.  Clearly, his career was already dead. This shamelessly uncalled-for ‘sequel’ came out in 2001, several years after his career high roles in The Usual Suspects (1995) and Bio-Dome (1996). I’m not kidding, by the way.  I f*cking love Bio-Dome.

The Terminator

Remember when I called Yellow Rock’s Michael Biehn ‘a mostly washed-up, but once promising actor’? I was basically referring to this flick.  If you haven’t seen it, what the hell is wrong with you?  If you have, admit it –it’s what you’re gonna end up watching anyway. Or if not, it’ll be those new Spaceballs or Full Metal Jacket blu-rays.  We all love the classics, I guess. Still, it makes me wonder what the hell my mother was thinking letting me watch The Terminator and Full Metal Jacket when I was a kid. I was five when I saw Full Metal Jacket -and it was in the theater.  It was awesome.

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