The Dark Knight Rises is out today on DVD and Blu-ray and nothing else matters. Still, I know most (all?) of you have seen it and might want to know what else has come out today, so I’m back, providing you with all you need to know when you ultimately decide to just watch Batman again anyway. Other flicks you won’t actually be watching this week include new films from Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugh Jackman, and two films with Jennifer Garner. We’ve got movies that will make you laugh (if Meryl Streep trying to fellate a banana is funny to you), movies that will make you cry (if you are a little kid) and Beasts Of The Southern Wild, a critical-darling that Vince wasn’t very fond of. There are films about butter and psycho Santas and professional athletes who believe in magic. There’s super elves, some spooky VHS tapes, and even a Christmas movie with a talking dog!
The Dark Knight Rises
The Odd Life Of Timothy Green
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Last Ounce Of Courage
A Vampire’s Tale
The Magic Of Christmas II
Streaming: Check out your choices here.
One of these flicks stars a dude from Jackass as a superhero. The only way to find out which one it is is to continue reading. Another one of these movies has vampires in it. You might assume it’s A Vampire’s Tale, but you can’t be sure unless you continue reading. If you want to know which film makes little kids cry -you guessed it, continue reading. If you want to make me cry, just skip all the DVDs and go right to the Netflix streaming suggestions. There’s a link right above this paragraph, if that’s how you want to handle things. For my money (literally), you’d be much better off just clicking the ‘Continue Reading’ link that’s just below this paragraph. You’d get to the streaming suggestions eventually, and there’s no reason to rush.
While certainly the best movie hitting DVD this week, the latest Batman flick is also the film about which I have the least to say. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, and we’ll probably all see it again. I liked it a lot, other people not so much. (I still haven’t seen The Avengers, though.) Anyhow, here are some of this week’s other less well-known and less noteworthy new DVDs: Wild Horse, Wild Ride –this documentary is about 100 people competing to tame wild horses in only 100 days. To clarify, each person gets one horse and 100 days, it’s not like they are all just thrown in to a big arena with wild horses and they have 100 days to collectively get their sh*t together. Just so, it isn’t like each person gets one horse and one day for a cumulative total of 100 horses and days. I just didn’t want anyone reading this to get the impression that this film looks at all worth watching. The Dog Who Saved The Holidays –this TV movie is yet another dog-centric Christmas flick, and a third sequel, to boot. Who could forget 2009’s The Dog Who Saved Christmas, 2010’s The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation, or 2011’s The Dog Who Saved Halloween? If you were wondering, yes, Dean Cain is back as Ted Stein. Fred 3: Camp Fred –If you don’t know who or what Fred is, you are a happier man than I. Or more to the point, you have nieces and nephews with better taste than I. The Whale –Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds executive produced this boring documentary about a whale, which Reynolds narrates. They used to be married, but now they aren’t. That’s how bad this movie is: it actually ends marriages. The Day I Saw Your Heart –The French chick with the movie theater in Inglourious Basterds stars in this French flick about French people. Despite the title, this film is not about heart surgeons. Lorenzo & Monica –an African-American couple go on a crime spree robbing stores in the hopes of becoming rich and famous. Because that’s how black people become rich and famous. A Pornstar Is Born –NOBODY WANTS TO SEE PORN STARS TRY TO ACT, EVEN IF THEY ARE PLAYING PORN STARS IN A SEMI-FICTIONALIZED STORY ABOUT THEIR REAL EXPERIENCES. WHY IS THIS SUCH A TOUGH CONCEPT FOR PORN STARS TO UNDERSTAND? Ron Jeremy appears because of course he does.
When I saw that this movie was hitting DVD today, I realized that -while I had definitely heard of it- I could recall exactly nothing about it. So I pulled up the trailer and began to watch. Here’s what I found out: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star in this rom-com-drama (cromedy?) about an older married couple trying to rekindle the romantic spark in their marriage. Steve Carell plays their couples’ therapist and Elisabeth Shue appears as an actress whose career has seen better days. It’s from the same director as The Devil Wears Prada. I was all set to make some lame and easy joke about this being tailor-made for FilmDrunkards and then they featured corgis in the trailer, and I realized I wouldn’t be joking.
Remember this one? This is that film that started out as Black List script that uses a town’s butter-sculpting contest as an allegory for the 2008 Democratic Primaries. Still don’t remember? That might be because it only played on 90 screens (always a sign of quality). It stars Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Ashley Greene, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Wilde, Kristen Schall, and Rob Corddry. You still don’t remember? I know how to get you to remember this movie: this is the one with Olivia Wilde performing a strip-tease for the dad from Modern Family. Now you remember.
Speaking of Jennifer Garner, she also co-stars in this Disney flick (based on a story by Frank Zappa’s son Ahmet) that will make your kids cry. She and that guy from Warrior who didn’t get to go on to play Bane play a childless couple who try to cope with their childlessness by writing down all the amazing traits their child would’ve had, putting that list in a box, and burying it in their garden -because that is what well-balanced people suitable for child-rearing do. The next day, there’s a kid in their house calling them Mom and Dad, and embodying all the traits they had hoped for in a child. Guess which trait they forgot to write down? Immortality.
Yes, the film that Vince and friends discussed in last week’s Frotcast, and that only yesterday Vince tore apart in his ‘C-‘ review is conveniently out on DVD today. As a result of so much thorough and recent coverage of this flick on this website, I haven’t got a lot to say. Like most people, I had heard nothing but good things about this until I read the Frotcast breakdown and saw that Vince didn’t like it, but so what? Vince hates everything. But then, I listened to what he actually had to say and read his review, and damn it, he makes some compelling points. Of course, the film does get some defense in the comments section of his review, so maybe your take on the flick won’t be the same as Vince’s. As I haven’t seen it (but probably will eventually), I have nothing more to contribute at this time. Instead I will list the characters’ names from Beasts Of The Southern Wild and you try to guess which one I’ve made up: Hushpuppy, Wink, Jean Battiste, Walrus, Little Jo, Miss Bathsheba, LZA, Joy Strong, Winston, Peter T, Peter R, T-Lou, Dr. Maloney, Sgt. Major, Open Arms Babysitter, and The Cook. Did you guess which one was fake? It was Peter R. Obviously.
Hey, they’ve remade 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night, and this time the psycho Santa’s got a flamethrower! I’m in.
Yes this is that terrible looking ‘a-magic-basketball-granted-a-kid’s-wish-to-have-Kevin Durant’s-talent-and-as-a-result-Durant-loses-his-talent-and-now-they-have-to-figure-out-how-to-switch-back’ flick that co-stars James Belushi and the guy who is supposed to play Axel Foley’s son in the Beverly Hills Cop TV show thing. But did you know it is from the same director that gave us Malibu’s Most Wanted, Big Momma’s House 2, Deck The Halls, and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son? Or did you know that Thunderstruck co-stars Robert Belushi, Jim’s son? Yeah, you thought it looked terrible before, but you had no idea just how terrible it really was. Now you know, now you know. You’re welcome.
Stay with me kids, things are going to get a little convoluted: Wee Man, the midget from Jackass, stars as one of Santa’s elves, sent to help out some kids rescue their dad –played by Sean Astin’s younger brother- from a bunch of bumbling criminals that have kidnapped the dad in order to rob their house of the super amazing technology the dad invented. The head criminal is the creepy dude from Re-Animator, by the way. The only way to stop the criminals is for Wee Man to become Elf-Man, a Christmas-themed superhero. Cocaine must really be something, you guys.
When Vince first shared this flick’s poster and trailer, he praised it for being about a haunted video tape and not being about a creepy kid/possessed person or a haunted house. Well I’ve seen this flick, and guess what, Vince? It’s not about a haunted tape at all. It’s an anthology flick of creepy footage allegedly found on video tapes, and guess which horror clichés show up in at least one of the vignettes? So, yeah, this movie was disappointing, but what anthology film isn’t? Obviously, some parts are better than others, but the whole damn film is hurt by their insistence of using found-footage. Even the framing story is found-footage and I don’t think I’m asking too much when I say I wish the filmmakers (each vignette has a different writer and director) should’ve tried a little harder to justify their chosen conceit. For example, the whole film (minus the framing story) is supposed to be things found recorded on VHS tapes and one of the vignettes takes place entirely as a webcam chat. Not a bad idea, but the whole time I was watching it I was wondering why anyone would bother transferring it to VHS. In fact, the best vignette not coincidentally also happens to be the only one that was written with VHS in mind, and therefore set in 1998. Most annoyingly, they set up the framing story as a search for a specific VHS tape among hundreds of them. The characters, and therefore we the viewers, know nothing about this tape other than ‘we’ll know it when we find it’. So with each passing vignette, you expect that it is all leading up to a culminating tape that ties the whole film together, but no. Instead we just get another vignette –with no thematic or logical reasoning in how they are ordered in the film, by the way- and the credits. The framing story gets abruptly ended in the most obvious and unsatisfying way possible, and you’re left wishing you hadn’t bothered watching any of the film, even if a couple of the vignettes would’ve been good as stand-alone short films. There’s an already-shot sequel, too, but as -SPOILER ALERT- everyone in the framing story of the original dies at the end of this first film, I can’t imagine it will clear anything up. That being said, I will definitely be watching it: two of the directors they’ve brought on for round 2 (called S-VHS this time) are the dudes behind Hobo With A Shotgun and The Raid: Redemption. So just when I think I know myself, I watch a found-footage horror flick –a genre I almost always hate-, I find that sure enough, I mostly hated it, and yet I’m still super psyched for the sequel. I haven’t been this confused about myself since that time I discovered I didn’t enjoy sounding. I mean, it seems like a good idea, but it just wasn’t for me. It was all right at first, but it just ended up leaving me feeling hollow.
The Hemingway family has eight hours to resolve their differences or else the family company will be dissolved and the proceeds given away, as per the last will and testament of the recently deceased family patriarch. Will they be able to learn to love each other for the love of money? Or will the deadline come and go, and the fortune will go with it? The dad from Growing Pains is in this, as is the giant court bailiff from Night Court, and one of those broads from Dallas even stops by, and this would’ve been an amazing TV movie in 1987. Alas, it’s not 1987, and the trailer for this makes me feel awful about myself. Not because I need to make peace with my family (to be clear, we are estranged, but comfortably so) but because I know enough about the guy who played Bull on Night Court to notice that they misspelled his name. I was f*cking ten when that show ended. What the hell was I doing watching so much damn Night Court?
This Greek film is about a group of people who start a business in which they impersonate the recently deceased in order to help the loved ones of those deceased folks grieve. Watching the trailer for this flick from Greek writer/director Giorgos Lanthimos, it’s pretty obvious that this is the same guy who gave us the Oscar-nominated freakshow that was Dogtooth. Both films have the same unique style of weird sh*t going down, you know? Also, the trailer explicitly says, “From The Director Of The Academy-Award Nominated Dogtooth” like 5 seconds in, so that helps clarify things, too.
First, the synopsis:
Bob Revere (Marshall Teague), a small-town war hero, is heartbroken when his own son Tom loses his life defending America. Tom left behind a son of his own named Christian, and 14 years later, the young boy and his mother move back to the small town to be with their family for the holidays. Christian disconnects with his grandfather Bob, as they both are going through the pain of losing a dad and losing a son. When Christian is threatened with school suspension for bringing his bible to school, Bob notices that his country is headed in a dangerous direction and that freedom itself is on the line. Encouraged by his grandson Christian, who asks “what did his father die for?”, Bob finally takes a stand for his beliefs and finds himself jailed for putting up the town’s Christmas tree and refusing to take it down. In this beautiful story of love and forgiveness, they discover a way to unite and to make a difference in their community by claiming their freedom and standing up for their rights.
A true Christian patriot named Christian Revere? Who gets suspended for bringing a bible to school? A guy who gets jailed for putting up a Christmas tree? You know what all that means, right? It means the Dove Seal of Approval! 5 out of 5 Doves, mother*ckers! Their warnings: “VIOLENCE: Archive footage of a soldier shooting a rifle; an explosion hits a group of soldiers; it’s mentioned a man hit a trip wire during the war and as he reflects blood is seen on a man’s face. DRUGS: Cigar smoking in a few scenes; wine with meal. OTHER: The fight for religious freedom; Christianity is attacked in is right [sic] to use religious symbols’ the song “Silent Night” has the words changed for a play but there is an about-face with this problem near the end of the movie; death and grief; a few family tensions between a grandfather and his grandson.” It’s worth mentioning that the villain is played by Fred Williamson, a legend of 1970s black cinema. It’s also worth mentioning that Chuck Norris and Mike Huckabee really love this movie. (Definitely watch the interview below. Their hyperbolic bluster is breathtaking.) For me, I’m just glad that someone has finally made a film that shows just how hard it is to be white and Christian in America. It’s about time somebody started looking out for our constantly suppressed right to do things like put up Christmas trees and carry Bibles!
In July 2012, three filmmakers entered Longfellow Asylum to shoot a documentary. Their footage was found. They were not.
You know what, V/H/S? I take it all back. You were amazing.
Last year The Asylum gave us 11/11/11, their unique ‘homage’ to 11-11-11, that horror flick dud from the guy who made Repo! The Genetic Opera, and Saw II, III, and IV. This year The Asylum gives us 12/12/12. Is it a sequel or are they now ripping off themselves? I don’t know. It’s The Asylum, I don’t think they even know. The plot is almost exactly the same for the two flicks: in one the antichrist is born on November 11, and he will bring about armageddon on his birthday in 2011, and in the other he’s born on December, 12, 2012, and everyone starts to die because he’s the antichrist. I’m guessing they’re already shooting 13/13/13 because that’s the sort of crazy sh*t they do and I don’t think they’ve really given this -or anything- much thought.
If you had ‘Vampires’, ‘Cowboys’, and ‘the dude who played Pinhead’ in this week’s sh*ttiest looking new horror DVD pool, you win. Sorry everyone who had ‘Zombies’, ‘Cowboys’, and ‘Chris Kattan’, that movie already hit DVD five years ago.
I’m going to start at the ending, by spoiling the movie with the official synopsis:
With a group of children gathered around her on Christmas Eve, Ambra recites the story of her special Christmas in an orphanage, as a young child, when she meets “Santa”. As we travel back in time, accompanied by “Domino The Adopted Doggie” as our host, we find that lessons learned in the past, are still true today. As the story unfolds, we follow two young boys, Mike and Johnny. They live and grow up in an orphanage, and soon turn to a life of crime. They have a chance meeting with Ambra during the commision of a robbery, and she convinces them unknowingly to turn their life’s around by her kindness. Twenty five years later, Danny and Ambra are the loving parents of an adopted baby girl, Gabby. To their surprise, Ambra is now pregnant, and they are both excited to bring a baby boy into their loving family. They will soon have the best of both worlds. “The Magic Of Christmas” is a lesson to us all that “You have to make your own luck”.
Okay, so far so good. Here’s where things get confusing: This is The Magic Of Christmas II. What’s The Magic Of Christmas, then? Well, it’s a 25-year-old, 30-minute short film about a little girl who catches a burglar dressed as Santa in her orphanage. She thinks he’s Santa and her kindness convinces the burglar to change his ways. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole The Magic Of Christmas, if you will. That little girl was played by a child actress named Ambra Michelle, and now this sequel(?) has an actress named Tamara Chandler playing a character named Ambra and they actually reuse the entire original short in this sequel, as one of the flashbacks. But the actress in the sequel is now playing the actress –not the character- from the original. Which is to say nothing of all the other clips of kids dancing and whatever else going on in this film. In short, I have no idea what the f*ck is happening; I’m just glad they had the good sense to make this an official straight-to-video Christmas flick by literally painting the prerequisite talking dog over the preexisting footage. Take note crappy filmmakers: this is how you do found footage.
It’s been a couple weeks since I last shared some Netflix suggestions and as a result, there are an absolute ton of movies that we’ve discussed in the past and are now streaming. So here they are: Casa de mi Padre, Monster Brawl, Home Run Showdown, Madison County, Freak Dance, The American Dream, Like Crazy, Golden Winter, The Invisible War, Silent House, Take This Waltz, Hugo, Snowman’s Land, Strippers vs. Werewolves, The Hole, Sand Sharks, Young Adult, and General Education. If -somehow- your thorough but eclectic tastes mean that you’ve already seen each of those films, here are my personal suggestions for this week:
Long before he gave us The Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan made Following, his debut feature. It’s about a young writer who follows random people around London in hopes of finding inspiration for a novel. As this is from the same guy who gave us Memento and Inception, I’m guessing the plot is a fairly simple and straightforward meditation on regular peoples’ daily lives. Then again, the Criterion Collection edition of Following that comes out next week includes a chronological edit of the film as a special feature, so maybe not.
This horror classic from 1985 stars Jeffrey Combs, the character actor who is degrading himself as the head burglar in Elf-Man. Loosely based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, this film is about a med student successfully reanimating dead bodies. Oh yeah, this is also that flick which includes a scene in which a severed head performs oral sex. They mentioned it in American Beauty, so you know it’s quality.
Dogtooth (pictured above)
I mentioned this Greek Oscar-nominated film earlier when discussing writer/director Giorgos Lanthimos new film Alps, and –especially as a streaming option- it really is worth checking out. Yes, it makes almost no sense, but that’s not because the characters are all doing insane things like hunting cats and beating each other with VCRs; the reason it doesn’t make much sense is because nobody is speaking English. Turn on the subtitles and you’ll be fine.
This film has nothing whatsoever to do with this week’s DVDs, but it hit DVD last week and I was too busy traveling 1100 miles just so my kids could barf all over my grandmother’s 90th birthday party to share it with you, so I’m making amends by sharing it now. This is that break-dancing-dogs-save-the-doggie-rec-center flick that we’ve all been waiting for since Vince first shared its poster and trailer with us in August. It’s funny really: this week’s streaming suggestions include an undisputed classic of the horror genre, an Oscar-nominated film, and even a Criterion Collection-approved feature from one of today’s hottest directors, and yet this is the only film I really believe any of you will be streaming this week. Congratulations on your impeccable taste.