If you thought the long holiday weekend would translate into a lazy Tuesday for DVD releases, you were mistaken. It’s another big week, chock full of choices for your viewing pleasure. We’ve got modern-day Shakespeare and at least two psychotic kids. We’ve got hockey enforcers and pastors and porn stars. We’ve got a movie called Memorial Day actually released on Memorial Day (almost). There’s even an ex-president going up against the undead. All that and no vampires or werewolves.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Man On A Ledge
The Aggression Scale
Valley Of The Sun
The Yellow Wallpaper
Take Me Home
Colin Hearts Kay
Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies
To Fetch A Predator
If none of the above titles intrigues you, well, you probably just have good taste. Even still, keep reading on the next page and bask in the glow of your own smug superiority. If your DVD player’s broken, click here for this week’s Netflix streaming suggestions.
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of a Shakespeare play most people know nothing about. Normally I cringe at any attempt to modernize Shakespeare, but this looks pretty good to me. Of course, most of the time, modernized Shakespeare means making an awful romantic comedy that bears no resemblance to Shakespeare’s original work, save for some anachronistic character names. Or it is the umpteenth version of Hamlet, Macbeth, or Romeo & Juliet, which have all become clichés by virtue of over-exposure. The Bard’s got a pretty deep catalog, and this flick earns points just because I don’t already know the story. Plus, it looks fairly violent and bad-ass. They didn’t even have to credit Shakespeare in the advertising. In fact, if they hadn’t, it might’ve helped sell some more tickets.
This is the flick in which Tilda Swinton is the parent of a demented kid named Kevin. It had a lot of Oscar buzz, but ultimately went nomination-less. While fairly complimentary, Vince’s review ultimately gave this film a “C+”. Vince basically says that while the film has a lot of elements that are to be commended, he found the final result lacking. I have to admit, that verdict kind of bummed me out. This was one of those movies that I was (and still am) really looking forward to. Unlike Vince, I have kids and I’ve certainly considered the possibility that they could grow up to be monsters. I’m not saying that there’s any cause for alarm, but at the same time, they aren’t exactly saints. I mean, it’s totally normal for a four-year-old to sneak into his parents’ bedroom each and every goddamn morning and just start oinking at them while they sleep, isn’t it? [Vince’s note: Should your kids become monsters, I pray that you don’t just mope around your house like a zombie for a whole f*cking movie.]
Watching the trailer for this film, I couldn’t help but think that it seemed like one of those fake trailers from Tropic Thunder. The whole thing is just so stupid. Based on the trailer, Sam Worthington plays a wrongfully convicted escaped con who steps out onto a twentieth-story ledge to serve as a distraction while a team of other people infiltrates a bank or something to prove that the man on the ledge is innocent of the crime for which he went to prison. Even if he was innocent before, he’s now guilty of wasting tons of city resources, money, and police man power. For what? To prove he’s an asshole. Plus, this has got to be the laziest title of any widely released film this year.
Well, I guess Man On A Ledge is not the laziest title after all. Amanda Seyfried plays a young woman whose sister gets abducted and the Seyfried character totally knows it was the same guy who kidnapped her last year, but she totally got away, and she’s the only one who can find her sister because the cops won’t listen and she totally knows the killer’s secret, but she only has 12 hours before the killer kills her sister and oh my god, it’s so terrifying, because like, what would you do, you know, and plus like, totally no one will help her. Here’s the thing, if she knows the killer’s secret, why wait a year to tell the cops? Also, this whole flick seems like the work of Donald Kaufman in Adaptation, and I predict that Seyfried will turn out to have been the killer the whole time. You can tell she has a split personality. You can just see it in her eyes.
Seann William Scott stars as a lovably dopey guy who becomes a successful semi-pro hockey enforcer. I don’t know much about hockey, and I know absolutely nothing of the true story on which this film is based, but I liked this flick. Let me be clear, it’s no Slap Shot, but it has its simple charms. For one, Scott isn’t playing a variation on his smart-ass Stifler character. In fact, he’s kind of the anti-Stifler, and he comes across as a much better actor as a result. I’m not saying Scott’s going to start getting dramatic roles or anything like that; it’s just kind of neat to see him doing something a little different. On the other hand, it has Jay Baruchel as a constantly barking dog of a best friend. He instantly annoys with his hyperactive and hyper-annoying characterization. As he co-wrote the screenplay, you’ve got to wonder what he was thinking. Still, the movie’s worth a rental, if only to see Eugene Levy playing Scott’s father. I’m betting he just wandered onto the set, thinking it was another American Pie flick.
James Cromwell stars in this movie about a WWII vet and his grandson. The grandson discovers his grandfather’s old footlocker and asks about the souvenirs within it. Grandpa agrees to share the stories of three souvenirs, as chosen by the boy. These stories inspire the boy to subsequently enlist and serve in the Iraq war. My grandfather was a WWII vet, and he too shared his war stories with his grandchildren. He was fond of showing us a big fat scar on his abdomen and he would always tell the same story about how a Japanese soldier stuck him with a bayonet. Despite the grave injury, he overtook the Japanese soldier, and managed to turn the bayonet back on his attacker, killing the man and keeping the blade as a souvenir. My grandfather died five years ago and at his wake, we grandkids remembered that story fondly. My grandmother took the opportunity to tell us that, in fact, the scar was from an appendectomy. Still, the old goat could spin a tale.
There are two types of movie trailers: the kind that advertises the movie by showing some clips and basically letting the viewer know about the plot, and the kind that forgoes any actual information about the movie and instead attempts to use sight and sound to evoke the feel of the movie. Many times the second type is the more effective trailer; it doesn’t spoil anything and the viewers who see it are often intrigued and curious to learn more. The trailer for this film is of the second, artsy-intrigue variety and the film looks OK as a result. It’s obviously about some home invasion or something like that. Unfortunately, the flick seems way more interesting once you hear the actual plot: Ray Wise (from Twin Peaks, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, and thousands of other shows and movies) is a mob boss who sends a group of killers to ‘send a message’ to some people he believes stole from him. When they arrive at the thieves’ home, however, they have to deal with Owen, a violent tween with a penchant for booby traps. You guessed it; it’s an R-rated Home Alone, and doesn’t it sound worth watching now that you know what it’s about?
Speaking of Ray Wise, he co-stars in this Christian flick about a an associate pastor at a mega church who leaves to accept the call as head pastor for a small, poor black congregation. Get it? It’s called Brother White, because while the congregants are African American, their new pastor is white! Who says Christian films can’t be funny as well as uplifting? Besides Wise (and how versatile is his willingness to accept a paycheck? You think the producers of this flick have seen the scene in ‘Tim & Eric’ in which he coaches the young boys shitting all over Eric Wareheim?) the cast includes Victoria Jackson, Jackée, Bruce Davison, and Reginald VelJohnson. If you’re betting that the trailer has some blatant racism, you’re right, but since it’s of the rhythm-free white guy vs. sassy black lady variety, it’s somehow OK.
A carjacking changes the lives of four teens. Depending on the resource you consult, the actual running time of this thriller is either 95 or 93 minutes. That pretty much sums things up, don’t you think?
This Slovenian film is about a police detective who becomes obsessed with a suicide case. The body was completely naked, except for a watch stopped at 9:06. If you like movies about people shaving themselves head-to-toe, then this is the flick for you. (That being said, there’s totally some dude-bush in the trailer, and it’s on a corpse, I think.) In all honesty, the trailer looks pretty good. If I’m being honest, though, I’ll just wait and see if they remake it with American actors.If nothing else, that trailer won’t have the poor syntax and awful spelling of the English-language title cards in this trailer. If you can’t wait and really want to see the Slovenian original, I bet it’ll make a good double feature with 96 Minutes. I don’t think the two films have anything in common, I just think their titles are kind of similar.
It’s the same old song: a former porn star moves into his parents’ retirement community and when the truth of his past comes to light, everyone is scandalized. At least they’re scandalized until his fresh perspective helps them remember that life is worth living. Or something like that. If you’ve seen one of these you’ve seen ‘em all. It’s like Cocoon, if Steve Guttenberg was a porn star. Co-Poon, if you will. To be honest, I’ve never seen Cocoon, so I’m just guessing here. Either way, Valley Of The Sun’s director/co-writer is a dude by the name of Stokes McIntyre, and if that isn’t a porn name, I don’t know what is. Actually, I do know what is: Strokes McIntyre.
As near as I can gather, this movie is about a family that moves into a remote country house after their old house burns down. At the new house, the one lady thinks she sees the little girl who died in the fire at the old house. Despite what the trailer claims, none of this has much at all to do with the 1892 story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. That story is about a woman whose husband locks her in the attic and she begins to hallucinate about the yellow wallpaper on the walls. I could be wrong about all this; it isn’t as if I’ve ever heard of the story before, and if I am wrong, I blame Wikipedia, my sole source for this information. Either way though, who decided The Yellow Wallpaper was a good title? Has anyone really heard of this story, and if so, does it scream out for a crappy adaptation? They should’ve just called it Crappy Gothic Horror Flick With A Bunch Of Actresses You’ve Seen Before, But You Don’t Know Where From. Or at the very least, The Haunted Yellow Wallpaper. I’d see a movie called The Haunted Yellow Wallpaper, although I would probably watch the whole film wondering if the big twist was that it was just ghost piss on the wall.
Here we have a possibly romantic dramedy about a cab driver and the woman he’s driving from New York to California. The journey does not go smoothly, because this is a movie. But among the bumps in the road, perhaps they discover some profound truths about themselves, and each other? F*ck me, does this look dreadful. Who is this movie for? Seriously, who is the target audience? It isn’t a rom-com, and it isn’t a drama, necessarily. It just looks boring. So boring. Also, bullshit. She fell asleep in the cab and just said, “Ah f*ck it, let’s go all the way to California.” Bullshit. And he hears “just drive” and crosses state lines? Did he know she wouldn’t freak out? How did he see this playing out? I don’t ask for a lot in the trailers for stupid movies I’ll never actually watch, but this is just insulting.
A coming-of-age teen flick that seems to have been written and directed by someone who knows nothing of actual teenage existence. Or competent filmmaking. The trailer’s just fascinating, though. It has the feel of a foreign perception of American teen life. Like in the first shot, is that girl in a glass coffin? Why is she offering the kid a cupcake? What the hell is going on? Or the line “I don’t always see my step-sister” which is laid over a shot of a girl walking in slo-mo while a kid lusts after her. What is that about? The highlight, though, is the critic’s blurb, “Repretory pick!” The official synopsis is all about the “adventurous young men” losing their innocence. Then it goes on about divorce for some reason. Plus the box art looks like a completely different film then the one in the trailer, but it’s not; the kids are wearing the same clothes in the photo that they wear in the movie. I’m like the Sherlock Holmes of shitty cinema for noticing that.
Here’s another flick with an artsy and vague trailer that would do better to be more explicit about the plot. The trailer kind of hints at things, but it should just come right out and say that the main couple in the film go from town to town, creating false identities just to f*ck with the people they meet in the cruelest ways they can imagine. Eventually, just messing with peoples’ minds and emotions isn’t enough and they raise the stakes, until things get out of control. This stars Lee Tergesen, who will always be Tobias Beecher from Oz, as far as I’m concerned. Have you seen that show? It was terrifying. If that’s what prison is like, count me out.
Colin hearts Kay, but I hate this trailer. Everything about it makes me angry. Colin is so annoying, and I don’t mean he annoys the other characters. He annoys you, the viewer, because he talks directly to the screen. While being surrounded by black-on-white line drawings, because he’s a cartoonist. Other characters reference the animations around them. Yup, it’s one of those movies that is so self-satisfying in its own fart-sniffing that the even have him shitting hearts. He shits hearts. HE SHITS HEARTS. And we’re supposed to find this funny and charming and endearing. The trailer starts with a ‘box of love’ and ends with him shitting hearts. I’ve decided that the title refers to the shit-hearts. It’s a scat film, and not even one of the better ones.
Hello Lonesome tells three intertwining tales of people finding love and giving love. Wow, an independent film about the search for love, I’ve never seen that before. This has got to be a masterpiece! You know what though, while it doesn’t look that good, it might not be that bad. I’m probably just being generous after the hate-fuel that is Colin Hearts Kay, but this has a small amount of promise. That promise is the first ten seconds of the trailer. The rest of it looks completely stupid, but that first 10 seconds should be in every indie comedy about love. Plus, points for using that image on the box cover. The box cover says absolutely screams ‘gay porn’ and that might confuse some potential viewers, but at least it’s original. It certainly got me excited. I mean it aroused my interest. I mean I got curious. Ahh, damn it, just watch the first 10 seconds and leave me alone.
Most weeks, I use these last few slots to showcase the latest in ultra-low budget, shockingly amateurish horror flicks. This week, for whatever reason, there just aren’t any of those movies coming out. So instead, I’m showcasing this ultra-low budget, shockingly amateurish Christian message film. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know why there aren’t way more of these being made; Christians will eat this shit up. They have no discernment when it comes to religious entertainment. If your film is about going to church or finding Christ, they will buy it. They don’t care if it looks like, well, this film. They are just so convinced that “Hollyweird” is Satan’s tool and that by buying these films they are sending a message to the California heathens that there is money to be made with Christ. I know a lot of these people, and I’m not kidding. They even think Mel Gibson’s current troubles are proof that he is doing God’s work because the devil is attacking him extra aggressively. Anyhow, I guess this movie is about dads and sons going to church together.
Once again, The Asylum makes the subtlest of changes to a big-budget Hollywood flick, and once again, it’s sadly debatable that the cheaper knock-off will be the better film. It isn’t that I think this looks good and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter looks bad; it’s just that I think they are fairly identical in their absurdity. I have no idea if I’ll ever even see either of these movies, but the fact that I can’t definitively say that I wouldn’t kind of speaks volumes about me. You know what? I lied. If I’m being honest, I will totally see these films. I guess I’m just an old-fashioned history buff.
I was going to feature this one a few weeks back, but at the last minute the DVD release was delayed until today. I have no idea what caused the delay, but it sure as hell wasn’t so they could expand their advertising. There isn’t even a trailer. Instead, the writer/director has uploaded the “final unfortunate scenes” (his words, not mine) to YouTube. Needless to say, they won’t make you want to see the previous unfortunate scenes that led up to the provided clip. If, somehow, you are anxious to see this, the official synopsis claims that this is ‘Hitchcockian’, and that it will ‘thrill you with a smile’. Full frontal nudity and violent sex are guaranteed. Plus, the main character is named Fritz Handsome. (Get it? Like Chris Hansen. Hilarious.) What’s really sad is that I know I just helped them sell a few copies. Sometimes you people really disappoint me.
Another week full of
awesome new flicks on DVD, another week without any of them available via streaming. At least Netflix has added a few of the films we’ve previously featured such as Air Collision, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch, and King Of Devil’s Island. As usual, here are a few streaming ideas that loosely relate to this week’s DVDs:
Coriolanus’ Ralph Fiennes gets lots of credit as a serious, classically trained actor and for good reason. On the other hand, he co-starred in this Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy. Not for nothing, but his version of The Avengers is also streaming.
Unlike in We Need To Talk About Kevin, Tilda Swinton doesn’t have a lot of screen time in this awesome film. That being said, she’s still in it, so it counts. Plus you can see Nicolas Cage as Donald Kaufman describing his film, The 3, and you’ll totally get the reference I made to Adaptation in my write-up for Gone.
Wet Hot American Summer
I didn’t mention her before, but I assure you, Elizabeth Banks is in Man On A Ledge. She’s also in this cult comedy from the same people who went on to work on Wanderlust, Reno 911, Childrens Hospital and Stella. It’s also the flick that gave us the delightful Paul Rudd bird-flipping GIF you see at the top of this page.
Earlier I praised Seann William Scott’s performance in Goon. Just so -but in an entirely different way- here’s another film in which he isn’t playing Stifler. It’s from the guy who made Donnie Darko and it is completely bat-shit insane. I wouldn’t call it good, but it is definitely bizarre.