FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Mark Wahlberg Undercover, Jake Busey vs. Underground Nazis

Hot dog, are there a lot of new movies this week! Besides Marky Mark, there’s Halle Berry, Michael Shannon, a Slytherin, some British Jews, several abortions, two movies about abortion, the latest from the prolific folks at The Asylum, and a Norse god waiting for mass transit.

The DVDs:
Contraband
Dark Tide
The Innkeepers
Pariah
The Wicker Tree
Albatross
Night Wolf
Return
Reuniting The Rubins
Some Days Are Better Than Others
One Kine Day
The Scarlet Worm
11-11-11
Nazis At The Center Of The Earth
Of Dolls And Murder
The Theatre Bizarre
The Fields
Wreckage
Planet Of Vampire Women
Thor At The Bus Stop

There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so get reading on the next page.  Click here to jump to the streaming suggestions.


Contraband

This Mark Wahlberg flick opened in January, a month notoriously known as Hollywood’s dumping ground for crap that the studios know will suck.  With that in mind, this one’s yet another generic action flick where Wahlberg is coaxed back out of retirement and against his better judgment for one last job.  Things don’t go according to plan and blah blah blah.  You want to know a secret?  I’ve just described Wahlberg’s 2007 film, Shooter.  Oh well, same basic generic plot, same bland actor, same difference.


Dark Tide

This movie opened in theatres less than a month ago.  You may have missed it; there was barely any promotion.  Honestly, that choice surprises me.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a 45-year-old actress-in-a-bikini thriller from the director of Blue Crush?  How could they not sell this?  Plus, she’s an Oscar winner. They don’t just give those to anybody.  In all seriousness, with as much obviously putrid crap that they do advertise to death, what kind of clusterf*ck must this movie be to get released with next to no promotion?


The Innkeepers

Yes, the trailer and description (a haunted hotel) look perfectly generic.  Yes, it has no real stars to speak of.  Why then, do I want to see this?  Is it because it is from Ti West, director and writer of the critically acclaimed The House Of The Devil?  Is it because this film itself has a decent Rotten Tomatoes score of 77%?  While those points help, they aren’t the real reason.  The real reason is that this is Ti West’s IMDb profile photo.

At this point, I’m voting for him for president.

Pariah

Speaking of Rotten Tomatoes, this film rates at 96%.  The critics loved this movie, and why wouldn’t they?  It’s about a black Brooklyn teen embracing her lesbianism.  As this is a serious drama and not a porno, what could they criticize?  Anything they would say would just make them look bad.  Even Armond White joined the rank and file in singing its praises.  As for me, I’m sure it truly is a well made and thought provoking film that would move any viewer.  I’ll probably never see it though, because it looks boring as hell.


The Wicker Tree

Remember The Wicker Man?  No, not the Nicolas Cage version; the 1973 British original.  Well this is a ‘reimagining’ of that film.  That’s code for re-make, by the way.  Sure the names are changed, the setting is different, and the wicker is in a different shape, but it is never the less a remake.  It has the same writer/director and Christopher Lee plays essentially the same part.  The original really is an excellent film, and the Nicolas Cage version obviously has its guilty pleasures, so what purpose can this movie possibly serve?  I’m stumped.


Albatross

Felicity Jones and Jessica Brown Findlay star in this movie about a rebellious teen, her new introverted friend, and the affair the rebel has with the other girl’s father.  Everything in the trailer plays out pretty much as you’d expect, which is to say nothing like real life.  In real life, the older man would be super creepy and obviously a sexual predator, turn this scandal into fifteen minutes of fame, and then struggle to keep the attention by staging a breakup with the younger girl and then by staging a reunion.  If they weren’t going for realism, why didn’t the filmmakers go for popularity by having the two teen girls hook up?


Night Wolf

This one is this week’s werewolf flick.  Surprising, I know.  The only thing that makes this one stand out is the presence of Tom Felton.  For those of you who don’t recognize the name (and to be fair, none of us really should), he played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.  I bet everyone calls him Draco, including his parents, and always will.  That must suck, but f*ck him.  Not because he wasn’t any good in the Harry Potter saga, but simply because anyone who would choose this as a viable career move after playing a fairly prominent role in one of cinema’s most successful franchises deserves nothing but everlasting contempt.  Shame on you, Draco, shame on you.


Return

This indie flick about a veteran’s struggle to adapt to ‘regular’ life after war goes against our usual expectations.  I say this not because the vet is a woman, but because her husband is Michael Shannon.  Seriously, could you imagine being in Afghanistan or Iraq and your fellow soldier’s pining for that crazy motherf*cker? I wouldn’t trust her with a weapon.  Plus this movie would have us believe he’s raising their kids as a single parent while she’s away.  There is no way he could so much as drop those kids off at school without getting arrested.  For Mad Men fans, watch the trailer for a taste of blue collar Roger Sterling.  That guy’s versatile!


Reuniting The Rubins

This unremarkable looking British dramedy is chock-full of British people we Americans know from better films and TV shows.  Timothy Spall (the rat-dude from Harry Potter) wants to please his mother (Pussy Galore) by reuniting his kids for the Passover Seder.  Also features James Callis (Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica) and the dude who played Dave on The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret. Before you watch the trailer, a word of warning: Goldfinger came out 48 years ago and Ms. Galore is now 84 years old.  Adjust your boners accordingly.


Some Days Are Better Than Others

For real, who actually wants to see this movie?  It’s the latest in the never-ending series of indie flicks that are 90 minutes of navel-gazing assholes saying things that they want to sound profound and aren’t.  Oh wow, you just want to connect with another human being?  Guess what, so do most people.  Stop collecting vinyl and vintage cereal boxes and grow up.  The first time I saw this trailer I thought it was a sketch from Portlandia (Carrie Brownstein stars in both), but nope.  It’s a real film.  If you want to see this, say so in the comments so I can make a list of asses I need to kick.


One Kine Day

The trailer looks dumb and the title is awful, but the synopsis shows promise: 19-year-old Ralsto knocks up his 15-year-old girlfriend and they decide on ‘getting da kine’ which is code for an abortion.  To pay for ‘da kine’ Ralsto tries drug dealing and cock fighting.  I would watch that movie.  The thing that bugs me though is that this dude’s clearly got a skateboard, and I’m pretty sure the technology known as ‘stairs’ have made it to Hawaii, so there’s really no reason for ‘da kine’.  I hate when movies ignore the obvious correct choice for a character to make just to contrive a plot line.


The Scarlet Worm

Speaking of ‘da kine’ (I’m sorry.  I’ll stop now), this low-budget western is about a gunslinger taking out the proprietors of a brothel that performs abortions on the pregnant whores.  I won’t say that this movie looks really all that good, but it certainly looks better than Cowboys And Indians, a ‘family friendly’ western that also comes out today.  I’m including both trailers, because The Scarlet Worm might actually be somewhat entertaining, and the portrayal of Native Americans in Cowboys And Indians is just as racist as you’d hope.


11-11-11

Some dude is haunted by the recurrence of the number 11 surrounding tragedies in his life.  He sees this as a sign and that everything will come together on November 11, 2011.  Is it a message of good or evil? (I’m guessing evil.) As the trailer so helpfully points out, this is from the same guy who directed Saw II, III, and IV (they omit Repo! The Genetic Opera).  The best part about this movie is that they were beat to the punch by The Asylum, which released 11/11/11 on video over a week before this film’s theatrical release last fall. I’m sure they duped the one person who was seeking this flick out.


Nazis At The Center Of The Earth

Here we have yet another one from The Asylum, but, as far as I know, this one’s a rarity: a film that isn’t a blatant knock-off of a current Hollywood effort.  The title says everything you need to know.  If you are still on the fence, I will point out that it stars Gary Busey’s son Jake (who must have the most wonderful anecdotes), and Dominique Swain, who is still best known as Jeremy Irons’ underage lover in the 1997 version of Lolita.  Who could’ve guessed that playing a 14-year-old sexpot wouldn’t translate into an illustrious acting career?


Of Dolls And Murder

This documentary explores our cultural fascination with murder; specifically, it highlights a series of doll house dioramas depicting murder scenes.  But wait, it gets better! They got John Waters to narrate the film. If you aren’t already clicking on the trailer, I don’t know what more I could say.  Vince has said more than once that he wants Fred Schneider to follow him around and narrate his life, but I would go with Waters.  Or he could be my sassy gay dad, just like mom always wanted.


The Theatre Bizarre

This is the latest in a sub-genre that’s often a bit uneven, the horror anthology film. The Theatre Bizarre actually has a decent pedigree with directors you might’ve heard of contributing vignettes, namely Tom Savini and Richard Stanley.  The trailer goes a long way towards selling the movie too.  It has Udo Kier, who almost always improves whatever otherwise awful thing he’s in.  If you’re still not sold, I’ll point out that the trailer’s fairly NSFW with a few shots of things like eyeballs getting stabbed and achilles tendons getting sliced.  You know, the usual.


The Fields

Oscar winner Cloris Leachman co-stars with Tara Reid in this crappy horror flick that seems to be a mixture of ripping off Children Of The Corn with a liberal dose of ‘real-life’ horror by invoking the Manson family, all the while of course depicting an allegedly true story.  Think about that.  Frau Blücher and Bunny Lebowski.  These women have been fortunate enough to take part in two of the most beloved comedies in film history.  I guess my point is that both Young Frankenstein and The Big Lebowski are readily available, so don’t bother with this.  I’m sure it’s laughable, but probably not intentionally so.


Wreckage

A group of twenty-somethings’ car breaks down.  Meanwhile a serial killer escapes from prison.  Any guesses where this one’s heading?  Yup, it looks completely generic and predictable.  Even the title is totally forgettable.  The only thing that this has going for it is Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse on Breaking Bad.  God damn, how great is that show?  I honestly don’t think that this dude can show up in anything without everyone’s brain wandering to Breaking Bad.  I would end up watching this whole movie wondering when Walter White would show up, and being genuinely confused when he doesn’t.


Planet Of The Vampire Women

Here’s the weekly amateur horror/comedy effort.  I gave this one the featured spot because it seemed to maybe have the correct dose of self-awareness. I don’t know why, but the puppet at 22 seconds into the trailer somehow endears the whole thing to me.  If you want alternatives, this week we’ve also got Death And Cremation, Blind Turn, Ms. Cannibal Holocaust, Indemnity: Rage Of A Jealous Vampire, and Fetish Dolls Die Laughing, which almost took the top spot because the killer in that one is the tickle monster.


Thor At The Bus Stop

This is one of those titles that as soon as I read it, I knew I’d end up using the DVD as my closer for the week. The fun part is, I totally want to see this movie.  I’m not even sure what it’s about, but within the first ten seconds of the trailer, a kid gets thrown out of frame by a guy in a trench coat.  Plus, you know, there’s Thor.  At a bus stop.  Just watch the trailer.  I’d rather watch a million movies like this than ever watch Some Days Are Better Than Others even once.  Now this is how you make a profound indie film about people trying to connect with one another.

Albatross (pictured above) seems to be streaming this week. So is The Way, that  Emilio Estevez movie that hit DVD a while back. In addition to those choices, here’s some suggestions that have, as usual, been inspired by this week’s new DVDs:

The Fighter

Instead of Contraband, watch this Mark Wahlberg film (assuming you haven’t yet).  He pretty much plays his usual character, but Christian Bale and Melissa Leo totally earn their Oscars playing Wahlberg’s brother and mother.

The House Of The Devil

As I understand it, Ti West got the inspiration for The Innkeepers from the actual place at which the cast and crew stayed while making this movie.  True or not, this movie has Tom Noonan as a Satanist and a voice cameo from current it-girl, Lena Dunham.  What more could you ask for?

The Missing Person

If seeing Michael Shannon as a seemingly normal husband and father in Return just seems wrong to you, check him out in this modern day film noir as a private detective.  It co-stars fellow Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, who’s not Amy Adams.  I bet she gets that a lot, and it must drive her crazy.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

I won’t claim that Darren Lynn Bousman’s 11-11-11 looks at all watchable, but I’ve seen enough clips from this, his stupid looking horror musical that it might as well be time to watch the whole thing. Yes, Paris Hilton’s in it, and that should be reason enough to skip it, but at least it’s free, and, like me, you’re probably curious.

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