FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Red Lights Cast Dark Shadows Against The Iron Sky

After a fun-filled week with The Avengers, Klown, and Vampire Dog, this week was bound to feel like a let-down no matter what new DVDs there were.  Of course, when the major release this week is Dark Shadows, it’s safe to say the week doesn’t just feel like a let-down -it really is a let-down. That doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff to talk about though.  We’ve got flicks co-starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver,  and even Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener.  There are movies about vampires, psychics, serial killers, cult leaders, Nazis, demonic clowns, lake monsters, and aliens.  Can you tell it’s October? All that and some Viagra thieves.

The DVDs:
Dark Shadows
People Like Us
Red Lights
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
Grassroots
Hard Times
General Education
Chained
The Lady
The Hole
Sound Of My Voice
Scents And Sensibility
Iron Sky
Hypothermia
Killjoy Goes To Hell
Atomic Brain Invasion

Jason Biggs stars in one of today’s new DVDs.  If you want to know which one it is -so you can avoid it- continue reading. If you find Mr. Biggs to be a delight, well, continue reading to find out which movie you’ll want to seek out.  Of course you can always just click here for the Netflix suggestions, but then you’ll never know what movie has Biggs wearing a wacky bear suit.
Dark Shadows

Yesterday Vince wrote that Hollywood had discovered the secret to box office gold: put Johnny Depp in a ridiculous costume and have him make silly faces.  When I read that, I thought to myself, “Yes, but what of Dark Shadows, wasn’t that a massive bomb?”  As it turns out, that depends.  Domestically Dark Shadows made $79,727,149 –on a $150 million budget.  Ouch.  Even at almost $80 million, that’s a bomb.  But as I said, that’s domestic.  It made $159 million in foreign ticket sales, making it a hit if you ignore advertising costs.  The point is, Vince’s comment rings true, which is really sad because nothing about this seems good.  Vince eviscerated the flick in his ‘D’ review, and rightfully so.  Having only seen the trailer, I could tell that at least 70% of the movie was going to be ‘Heh.  The ‘70s.  What the hell was that about, right?’ and the other 30% was going to be the usual Tim Burton-and-Johnny Depp-rubbing-their-pale-dicks-together frot session.  (The term predates the podcast, people.) Still, things could be worse.  If IMDb is to be believed, the screenwriter, Seth Grahame-Smith –of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter infamy- is currently writing Beetlejuice 2. Now this would normally be the point at which a ‘raping my childhood’ comment would get made, but I won’t do it. I loved Beetlejuice ever since I first saw it at the theater on Easter Sunday in 1988. It’s not that I welcome a sequel, but I have a soft spot for Michael Keaton, and the dude really needs the work.


People Like Us

They don’t really seem to like you all that much, actually.


Red Lights

Robert De Niro plays a world-renowned psychic and Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy, and Elizabeth Olsen co-star as paranormal investigators who specialize in debunking the likes of De Niro. Obviously, the investigators set their sights on De Niro’s psychic character, but things don’t go smoothly for them, or else there wouldn’t be a movie. The title refers to the ‘red lights’, or tricks that the investigators can pay attention to that will reveal how the hoax is perpetrated. Watching the trailer, there sure seems like there could be a lot of scenes with literal red lights in this movie.  How much do you want to make a bet that the whole movie is based upon some bullsh*t twist and when you re-watch it you’ll know that every scene with a red light is really Murphy’s dream or something?  Or that Weaver and De Niro are actually the same person or that De Niro’s character isn’t really blind –oh yeah, he’s a blind psychic, by the way. Or maybe the twist is that De Niro really is a psychic and the paranormal investigators are all dead people –but they don’t realize it.  They could be all like, ‘Where are the ghosts, De Niro?’ and he’d be all, ‘Look in a mirror, motherf*ckers’ and then they’d be all ‘We did, and there’s nothing there, you ass’ and he’d be all ‘that’s because ghosts don’t have reflections’ and they’d be all like ‘Woah’ and then there’d be a montage of all the scenes with red lights and we, the audience, will realize that the gimmick totally works throughout the whole movie, but then we’d begin to wonder how the f*ck De Niro knew they didn’t have a reflection, ’cause he’s blind, but then we realize that this is from the same writer as Apartment 143the worst film of 2012-and then it will all make sense. Horrible writers write horrible films, and that’s the big shocking reveal.


Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding

Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth Olsen star in this utterly predictable dramedy about a hippie grandma, her uptight attorney daughter, and their teenage daughter/granddaughter who teaches them that love and family can help us get past our differences.  I’d say I swear that I’d seen this before, but I would never watch a movie like this, so instead I’ll say I’ve seen this trailer before, because I’ve watched the trailer for We Are The Hartmans, which is another movie coming out today.  It’s the exact same movie, except with Richard Chamberlain playing Jane Fonda’s role.  Fonda and Chamberlain used to be A-list stars and top shelf sex symbols. Thirty-some years later, and this is their careers. So if you’re an A-list actress who tries to be overly political, take note.  (I’m looking at you, Angelina Jolie.)  Just so, if you’re an A-list actor and still-closeted gay man, take note.  (I’m looking at you, Ryan Gosling.  That’s right, I said it.)


Grassroots

Jake Gyllenhaal’s dad directs this true story starring Jason Biggs, who is wearing a bear costume on the box cover.   Yup, it’s gonna be that kind of a week for DVDs.


Hard Times

Click here and take a good long look at the box cover.  It’s magnificent, no?  It might be my favorite box cover ever.  The bearded nun, the sheep, the horribly lazy photoshopping -is there any way the movie can live up to that majesty?  Probably not, but –and I’m being completely serious- I totally would watch this movie.  Stolen Viagra contaminating a town’s water supply?  Genius.  The non-stop erection jokes alone make this flick worth seeking out, and that’s something I haven’t said since Casualties of War started playing on HBO back when I was a kid.


General Education

When Levi fails senior science, he has to go to summer school –which he has to keep a secret from his parents for some reason. I imagine the experience leads him to learn more than just science.  Maybe he learns about himself?  Either way, from the tether-ball based humor, to the raccoon costume to the sister-mime (?), this movie just screams ‘quirk-fest in the Napoleon Dynamite vein’. It was funny the first time, but that’s it -by which I mean the second time I saw Napoleon Dynamite I realized how sh*tty it actually was. All of these imitation flicks over the past eight years are just embarrassing. Comedy has evolved.  I mean, where are the dudes dressed as nuns or the erection-afflicted clergymen?


Chained

This is that movie from David Lynch’s daughter about a serial killer and the teen boy he keeps as a chained-up slave.  Vincent D’Onofrio –doing his Edgar voice from Men In Black– is the serial killer, and I haven’t heard of the actor playing the boy, but his headshot is suitably Lynchian. You know, it’s funny, ‘the story of a serial killer and his chained up boy slave’ could very well be the synopsis for any number of sh*tty straight-to-video horror flicks and I wouldn’t give a crap about ever seeing them, but put Private Pyle in the killer role, invoke the name of David Lynch –if only by familial association- and it becomes my most anticipated DVD this week.  Fun fact: I just mistyped ‘most’ as ‘moist’.  I seriously considered leaving it as originally written.

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The Lady

Luc Besson directs and Michelle Yeoh stars in this biopic about Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. This Burmese politician (who met with President Obama and received the Congressional Gold Medal just last month) –HOLD ON. WAIT A SECOND.  Luc Besson?  As in the guy who directed La Femme Nikita, The Professional, and The Fifth Element?  That guy? The guy who produced and co-wrote The Transporter movies, Lockout, and Taken?  That’s the guy we’re talking about,  the French Michael Bay?  Seems so. Are you sure?  I mean, does he even hit his usual beats, like are there any British dudes trying to rescue Asian women from their evil captors? Yes actually, now that you mention it.  Oh, okay.  Makes sense now. If you like your Asian films with a different slant, check out another of today’s new releases, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, starring Jet Li.


The Hole

A couple brothers and the girl from next door discover a hole in the brothers’ basement.  What’s in the hole?  What’s coming out of the hole? Where does the hole lead?  How’d they convince the neighbor girl to come look at the hole in their basement? So many questions. This film is directed by Joe Dante, who directed the awesome Gremlin films, the pretty okay The ‘Burbs and Matinee, and the unfortunate Small Soldiers and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. So his involvement doesn’t really clue us in to the quality one way or another. That being said, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this kid-friendly (PG-13 kids at least) horror flick for years, because this flick actually played in foreign countries a couple years ago.  Why the delay here in the states?  I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it was mostly due to a general cautiousness about advertising a film about people going into basements and looking at young boys’ holes.  Probably why it isn’t in 3-D anymore, too.


Sound Of My Voice

There’s a freaky-ass cult in town, and Peter and Lorna decide to infiltrate the group, secretly film their doings, and expose the cult leader for a fraud.  But what if the cult leader isn’t a fraud?  What if she really is from the future and really is the savior?  It seems like Peter starts to believe what he’s hearing, and that’s not gonna fly with Lorna.  Plus, what happens if the cult finds out he initially joined with malicious intent?  That’s the general premise of this reasonably well-reviewed indie flick.  You know, I’ve never thought about it before, but if I had access to time travel technology, I’d totally go back in time and start a cult. You could just live like a god –because you kind of are one. Just tell people some future sh*t, blow their minds, and lounge around.  That’s way easier than trying to assassinate Hitler or meet your childhood self or jerk off while spying on your parents conceiving you -you know, the usual time travel clichés.


Scents And Sensibility

This adaptation of Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters updates the classic tale of the Dashwood sisters by moving it to the modern day and eliminating all those pesky sea monsters.  In a bold choice, this film shoe-horns in a subplot about a sweet smelling lotion created by one of the sisters, and thus justifying the punny title -the creation of which undoubtedly served as the genesis for the entire project.  Sure it looks awful, but it has the prestigious Dove seal of approval (four Doves out of five) so let’s get on with the awesome warnings! SEX: ‘A driver yells “Nice coconuts” to a girl dressed in a gorilla suit with a coconut bra; kissing by couples; it’s revealed an engaged man got another woman pregnant.’ VIOLENCE: ‘A man grabs a girl by the arm and another man punches the man.’ DRUGS: ‘Talk of medicine which a girl has to take to survive.’  OTHER: ‘A man is arrested for fraud; a man lies to the girl he is engaged to and goes out with another woman; it is learned that an engaged man got another woman pregnant; a character lies about her real last name; a character lies to his girlfriend more than once; a character cleans a toilet and some of the contents splashes on her.’  The obvious winners this week are the talk of medicine or the toilet cleaning, but it’s clear the reviewer has some issues about an engaged man knocking up another woman, as it gets mentioned twice.  Would it be better if he weren’t engaged?  What if he had knocked up his fiancée instead? Where’s the moral clarity, Dove? At least all the kissing was by couples and none of those group-kissing events I’ve been hearing so much about.


Iron Sky

Everyone knows that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing (and that The Shining is his confession of doing so), but what this film presupposes is, maybe he didn’t? Yup, this is that Nazis in space movie that was partially crowd-funded.  It looks like goofy fun, but at the same time it certainly looks like a trailer-length joke that might not be able to justify a full feature. Timo Vuorensola, this film’s director, has two directing projects in the pipleline.  The first is Paris I’ll Kill You –a film that also lists The Hole’s Joe Dante as one of the directors, and I Killed Adolf Hitler, a film about people going back in time to kill Hitler.  I swear to all that is good and holy, I had no knowledge of either of those facts when I began writing this paragraph, let alone when I mentioned Joe Dante or using time travel to kill Hitler earlier in this article.  I’m really freaked out right now.  Writing about space Nazis is supposed to be fun; instead I’m breaking out into a cold sweat and am seriously considering changing my comment about masturbating while watching my parents bang, but if I did that, then this sentence wouldn’t make any scents sense, and we’d be in the midst of a paradox, so I’d better leave it, but by leaving it I’ll probably end up traveling back in time to watch my parents getting busy and I’d end up never getting born because I would probably shoot my wad all over my parents, thus interrupting their coitus and also my own conception, so how’d the cum get on my dad’s back, huh?  HOW’D THE CUM GET ON MY DAD’S BACK? Masturbation-based time travel just isn’t worth it, I tell you what.


Hypothermia

Michael Rooker stars in this low budget horror flick that looks like Jaws on ice.  Or rather Jaws under the ice.  It’s about some creature that snags people while they are ice fishing is what I’m saying. Now the obvious question is why not just get off the damn ice? The obvious answer is because then there would be no movie, and nobody wants that.  If you’re curious what type of creature is under the ice, watch the trailer.  Just before the two minute mark they show the monster; it’s a guy in a suit, and it’s not very impressive.  In fact, it’s so bad I half expect the movie to end with Rooker catching the creature, and then pulling off its mask only to find out it was Old Man McCallister all along.  He would’ve gotten away with it, too, if not for those pesky ice fisherman and their mangy dog.


Killjoy Goes To Hell

Hey everybody, there’s a new Killjoy movie! Yeah, I haven’t heard of Killjoy before, either.The internet assures me that this is the fourth film in the Killjoy series, and I don’t doubt it. I know nothing about the first three films, but I’ll give this one some credit for being at least a bit original.  Instead of the usual monster movie, this one examines what happens to the monster after the heroine survives and gets away.  As you should’ve assumed from the title, this monster –a demonic clown named Killjoy, naturally- goes to hell where he must stand trial for not being suitably evil.  His only chance of exonerating himself is to get the girl who got away to come and serve as a character witness. For sh*tty straight-to-video horror flicks, that’s some next-level thinking. I commend the filmmakers for their attempt at doing something different, but I will never watch this movie.  Too. Many. Damn. Demon. Clowns.  It’s like the Gathering of the Juggalos, but less frightening and with better dental hygiene.


Atomic Brain Invasion

Alien brain creatures have crash landed on earth, and they’re coming for Elvis Presley.  Like last week’s FDR: American Badass, this is one of the rare ultra-low budget flick that actually shows a semblance of craft, passion, and humor. It’s an obvious homage to 1950s alien invasion flicks, and to be honest, the effects are more-or-less on par with the films from that era. I also found it strangely endearing when the trailer lists a bunch of names nobody’s ever heard of under the heading, “With A Galaxy Of Stars”.  None of those people are stars, and none of them will be.  Except for the Hispanic dude playing Elvis; that guy’s got some talent.  I barely even noticed that he wasn’t white, and that’s normally the first thing I notice about people.

There’s an absolute ton of flicks added to Netflix this week, so without further ado: Lovely Molly, Brother White, Klown, Keyhole, Headhunters, Cat Run, 4.3.2.1, I Kissed A Vampire, The Innkeepers, L!fe Happens, Rosewood Lane, Get The Gringo, The Tall Man, Below Zero, Redemption: For Robbing The Dead, Columbus Circle, The Broken Tower, and Shuffle are now streaming. Holy crap, that’s a lot of movies, and some of them look good, too. Still, I know you won’t be satisfied unless I throw out four more, so here you go:

Donnie Brasco

When Johnny Depp isn’t too busy putting on makeup and being whimsical with Tim Burton, he occasionally puts out a great performance in a good movie.  In this he plays an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the mob and it’s a true story.  Al Pacino’s in it too, and he also keeps things relatively low key for a change. From the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  Not kidding.

Abduction

Taylor Lautner (pictured above) proves he can’t carry his own film –which should surprise no one, as he can’t act- with this massive dud. Sigourney Weaver appears in this flick to prove Red Lights isn’t her worst movie.

Hisss

Chained writer/director Jennifer Lynch also wrote and directed this flick about a dude with brain cancer who tries to capture and mate with a shape-shifting cobra woman, because doing so will cure him and make him immortal.  One of Ms. Lynch’s more main-stream films, actually. In related news, David Lynch raises f*cked up children.  Not that anyone should be surprised by this.

Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

This is the movie that made Hypothermia’s Michael Rooker a genre star. It has a reputation for being deeply disturbing; in fact, it’s cited as one of the films that led to the creation of the NC-17 rating. If you’re a horror fan and you haven’t yet seen it, you should. It’s kind of required viewing at this point.  If you’re not into watching 90 minutes of innocent people getting realistically murdered on screen, you should still watch it –it’s actually only 83 minutes long, so stop being such a pussy.

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