FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD & Blu-Ray: Star Trek Into Tyler Perry’s Darkness

Obviously, Star Trek Into Darkness is the big DVD this week, which gives us at least one more chance to use that screen-grab above of Alice Eve from the movie.  In addition, we’ve got a movie Tyler Perry liked so much he decided to put his name above the title, even though he didn’t write, direct, or star in it. Besides those two offerings from big Hollywood, we’ve got plenty of smaller-budget fare including two Oscar-nominated films, a movie starring everyone’s favorite dead Glee actor, a musical starring one of Saturday Night Live‘s most celebrated former cast members, and  last but not least, we’ve even got films starring Danny Trejo and Gary Busey.  What’s more, several of these movies don’t look half bad.  Or half of them look severely bad.  I get confused.

The DVDs:

Star Trek Into Darkness

Peeples

Blood

Love Is All You Need

Chasing Ice

War Witch

Hammer Of The Gods

Sisters & Brothers

Wish You Were Here

The Last Keepers

Frankenstein’s Army

How Sweet It Is

The Contractor

The Hostage Game

Astronaut: The Last Push

Lizzie

Don’t know which Glee cast member died?  Continue reading and you’ll find out.  Want to know which movies snagged Oscar nominations?  You could research each film listed above and you’d figure it out eventually, but it really is easier to just keep reading because I’ll point them out along the way.  Just so, I may or may not liken one or more movies to having sex with a menstruating woman. Is one of those movies How Sweet It Is?  There’s only one way you’re going to get that question answered, so head to the next page and let’s get on with it.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Kirk, Spock, Harold, and even Simon Pegg are all back in this sequel to the prequel/reboot smash hit from a few years ago.  What wacky adventures will the gang get into this time?  Well, as is so often the case, you’ve all probably seen this already and I haven’t, so allow me to share my completely uninformed opinion of this movie, complete with spoilers.  Actually, I’m pretty much only going to discuss spoilers, so if you are so spoiler-phobic that you are afraid I will spoil a movie I haven’t even seen, move on down to the next new DVD.  (I discuss -at length- both picture frames and other peoples’ family vacations.) Still here?  Good.  So what’s the deal with the whole Khan thing?  Before the movie came out, J.J. Abrams and everyone else involved kept so coy about everything. Didn’t Benedict Cumberbatch’s character have some pseudonym like ‘John Harrison’ or something when the movie was being promoted?  I don’t know for sure, because now IMDb only lists his character as Khan. Is that even a spoiler, and if it is, why doesn’t anyone seem to care?  I’ve seen people get bent out of shape because AMC released a promo pic for Mad Men and the titular men had sideburns, which spoiled the big facial-grooming twist of the latest season.  But for this ‘spoiler’?  Nothing. Since Star Trek Into Darkness hit theaters, I’ve seen at least five casual matter-of-factual acknowledgements that Cumberbatch is Khan, with one coming from the man himself, and another coming from Paramount in the act of advertising this very DVD.  What happened to the mystery?  If it is a ‘spoiled’ plot surprise, why keep spoiling it, and why aren’t people getting pissy? It seems to me that, for the most part, when something worthwhile might get spoiled, people tend to keep the secret.  Like when The Sixth Sense came out and it was all the rage; it took years for people to relax about giving the surprise away.  Plus there’s that whole section of society who don’t want to know anything about anything, but refuse to actually watch what they don’t want spoiled in a reasonable time frame.  I know someone who still has the 2004 Oscars ceremony on VHS because she is waiting to watch it until she sees all the Best Picture nominees (which would be movies from 2003) and she can’t bring herself to watch Mystic River because of the whole children-getting-raped plot point.  It’s been almost ten years and she is still aggressively cautious about not having those Oscars spoiled, and not the movies themselves necessarily, but the award ceremony itself.  So, again, what of Khan?  If it is a spoiler, it can’t be that big of one because nobody gets upset when it’s mentioned anymore, and if it isn’t, then f*ck J.J. Abrams for acting like his movie had some big amazing plot twist/character reveal that would make Trekkies shit their pants. Wouldn’t it have been more enticing to just say “He’s Khan, nerds.  Order your tickets now“? Or is the secret that he isn’t Khan, and this is like some double-reverse switchback spoiler?  Maybe by saying he’s Khan it sets me up to be blindsided when I actually watch the movie and find out that, as it turns out, through a wormhole or something involving Alice Eve in her underwear, the movie reboot of a TV show I never watched has a neat twist where I still don’t care. It just seems strange to me that nobody gets pissy about having this thing in particular spoiled, at least when there was so much speculation about who Cumberbatch was playing before the movie came out.  I guess I just can’t anticipate what ‘matters’ to people. I never seem to grasp what’s important when it comes to anyone besides myself.  That’s probably why social services took my kids from me last week, but that’s a story for a different overly-long tangent. Maybe I’ll share it in a couple weeks when Iron Man 3 hits DVD, because I haven’t seen that one either.  I was too busy spending time with my asshole kids, fat lot of good that did me.

Peeples

I’m instituting a new rule for this column: if a movie has ‘Tyler Perry’s’ or ‘Tyler Perry Presents’ above the title, I will base all of my analysis of said DVD based solely on what can be learned from the box cover or from whatever prior knowledge I’ve unfortunately obtained.  As for this box art, the first thing we can learn is that Tyler Perry doesn’t waste money on photoshop lessons.  Just imagine if the three actors tried to pose for this picture.  David Alan Grier and Craig Robinson would have to be holding the picture frame out in front of themselves so Kerry Washington could get in front of them, but since their heads appear to be all the same size, the two men would then have to jut out their necks and squeeze their heads alongside Washington’s, all while Grier leans away from the frame and Robinson leans into the frame while also squeezing his already jutted out neck down into his shoulders so as to fit with the other two actors within the frame’s borders. Speaking of that frame, it tells me that these characters are all insufferable idiots because everyone I’ve ever met who has chosen to use that prop in their family portraits are insufferable idiots.   Why hold a frame in the picture when that picture will itself get framed?  I know a family that does this every year; they pose this way (all crammed together, holding an empty picture frame around their bloated selves). It’s six people spanning three generations, and they are all wearing identical outfits.  Not matching –identical.  Not coincidentally, they also vacation together every year and always do the same thing –a Disney cruise.  Yes, they wear identical outfits on the cruise, with the exception of a few personal touches, like the dude in his mid-30s who always wears a cubic zirconium stud earring and a chain with his frat’s Greek letters on the outside of his shirt –which again, is the same shirt everyone else is wearing. Why yes, he did get kicked out of the police academy and works ‘loss prevention’ for K-Mart, however did you guess?  As for the film, I’ve seen An American Carol, a ‘spoof’ movie made by and for right-wing conservatives, in which David Alan Grier appears a modern-day slave, and this choice of role seems to be an even sadder decision for the actor to make.  Not because of Tyler Perry’s involvement, but because of that damn picture frame.

Blood

Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Brian Cox, and Stephen Graham star in this British crime flick about a family of cops who cross the line. Bettany and Graham play detectives and brothers, sons of Cox’s retired police chief. They try to force a confession and end up (presumably) killing the suspect, and then they have to cover-up their crime while under suspicion by a fellow cop played by Strong.  This is one of those movies that looks like it could be good, but you kind of figure that if it actually were any good, you’d probably have heard about it before its DVD release, and I for one haven’t heard of it before now. I guess it’s kind of like period-sex: if you know about Blood in advance and are looking forward to it, you probably will have a good time.  On the other hand, if Blood is a complete surprise upon its release, you’ll probably still push through it, but you won’t enjoy things as much as you might have if you’d just skipped visiting the old Redbox altogether for the next several days.

Love Is All You Need

Pierce Brosnan stars in this Danish rom-com about an angry widower who finds love again when he meets his son’s future mother-in-law, an unhappily married hairdresser who has lost her hair due to cancer treatments. This is director Susanne Bier’s follow-up to her Academy Award-winning In A Better World. That film also featured widowers and cancer, but strangely, was not even a comedy, let alone a romantic one.   Now I know you’re all expecting me to make another menstruation reference about now, but I’m not going to.  It would just be extra words to pad this paragraph, and those words would have an irregular flow to them because it would be a forced attempt and it would cramp my style, so I simply won’t rag on this film by stooping so low.  Period.

Chasing Ice

Once again this week, we’ve got two relatively high profile documentaries hitting DVD and once again I’ve decided to grace only one with the high honor that comes with getting a box cover image next to this paragraph.  Obviously, the winner is a documentary called Chasing Ice, which tells the story of the planet’s melting glaciers, as observed by National Geographic photographer James Balog and his time-lapse cameras.  The runner-up is We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks, from Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney.  It is the story of WikiLeaks, in case you skipped past the subtitle. It was a tough race this week as both films have very high Rotten Tomatoes scores, but Chasing Ice’s 96% beat We Steal Secrets’ 95% by an entire 1%.  Ultimately the tie-breaker came down to simple prestige: Chasing Ice is an Oscar-nominated film, and the WikiLeaks doc is not.  Or at least not yet. As it came out this year, I suppose it could be nominated for this year’s Oscars. But of course it might not, and Chasing Ice definitely was nominated last year, so Chasing Ice is clearly the better documentary, if based solely on it being an Oscar nominee.  Of course it was nominated for Best Song but that still makes this an Oscar-nominated documentary, and what greater acclaim can a documentary achieve?  I mean, besides actually winning.  For Best Documentary.  Honestly, it must be really frustrating to spend literally years in a dangerously cold and naturally hostile environment in order to make a film that you sincerely hope inspires people to change the way they treat the planet, only to have the film industry say, “Great job! We really liked that song sung by Scarlett Johansson, but not as much as we liked that new Bond theme from Adele.” Oh well, at least Chasing Ice can embrace the fact that it’s won my little arbitrarily chosen and entirely inconsequential contest of which movie gets their trailer embedded below this sentence.  Enjoy it guys, you’ve earned it!

War Witch

Speaking of recent Oscar nominees, this Canadian film -about an African girl who tries to escape her life as a child soldier with the help of an Albino- was filmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is inspired by a real story that took place in Burma. It went on to get Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, but it lost to Amour, an Austrian film directed by a German dude and set in France. Obviously, the Academy equates quality with the number of different countries involved in a film’s production. How that Jackie Chan version of Around The World In 80 Days from the same director who gave us Zookeeper and Here Comes The Boom didn’t fare better at the 2005 Oscars I will never know.

Hammer Of The Gods

Like Blood, this is another British film that looks like it could hold promise, but might be hurt by the fact that I’ve never heard of it until now.  Unlike Blood, the trailer for this looks actually quite bloody -like the movie could very well be 99 minutes of delightfully non-stop swords-and-axes gore. To be honest it looks awesome, even if I haven’t heard of it before today. So to go back to our previous analogy, I guess I’d now say that unexpected period sex can be a surprising delight, as long as it involves lots of dirty, sweaty dudes going at each other.  Wait, obviously that one doesn’t work.  Hmm.  Unexpected period sex can be a surprising delight if it includes eye-gouging, decapitated horses, and medieval gimp masks?  Yes, I think we’ve got it.

Sisters & Brothers

Many people were shocked and saddened by Cory Monteith’s fatal drug overdose a couple months back. Of course every cloud has a silver lining, and the death of the Glee star (or more accurately, the inevitable but morbid increase in the dead man’s notoriety) has given us a chance to see his performance in this Canadian film, which until today had been shelved and forgotten after screening at a couple Canadian film festivals in 2011. As for that silver lining?  It has nothing to do with this terrible looking film; it just seemed like something you’re supposed to say after mentioning that someone young died horribly and by their own terrible choices.

Wish You Were Here

Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer (the non-zombified love interest from Warm Bodies) play two of four friends who go to Cambodia on vacation in this Australian thriller.  Of the four, only three return, but those three each know something about the disappearance of the fourth, and blah blah blah you get the picture. Here is yet another film that doesn’t look wholly terrible, and might even be good –if not for it getting seemingly no press whatsoever.  There are a few main differences, however, between this film and Blood and Hammer Of The Gods: first this one’s Australian and not British, and second, this one actually has a respectable –if not quite exceptional- 72% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite a bit higher than either Blood or Hammer Of The Gods received.  So how does this inform our ever-evolving analogy?  Well, as Australia is known to be ‘down under’ and this film is critically deemed the best, I guess things down under are better than bloody things elsewhere.  So…unexpected anal sex is typically better than unexpected period sex? I don’t know if that’s quite true; it at least depends on where you are in the equation in regards to both who the one not expecting the sex is, and whether or not it is their anus. I think I might have to make a flow chart just to sort this out.  (And no, that wasn’t another menstruation reference; I’m way too classy for that.)

The Last Keepers

If you glanced at that box cover and had The Last Keepers pegged as this week’s Dove film, I wouldn’t blame you.  It has everything Dove looks for in a box cover: a generally golden hue, the disembodied heads of formerly famous actors staring off into the distance (along with one of the girls from Girls to lure in the hip kids -for Christ), and an Ark of the Covenant-looking box shooting what may very well be the loving glow of the Holy Spirit all over the place.  Unfortunately, there is one crucial detail missing –the Dove Seal Of Approval. You must be wondering, what’s not to approve of?  Well, they aren’t Christians at all. In fact, they’re witches. That golden light coming out of that box that they are all so happy to be bathed in might as well be Lucifer’s cum –which would be a great band name, and I would argue, an even better cocktail.

Frankenstein’s Army

Yes, the Nazi-monster idea has been done to death, as has the found-footage style, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think the creatures in the trailer didn’t look a little bit cool. That being said, there’s no need to worry –even though I’ve heard almost nothing about this but still think it looks kind of entertaining, I won’t be trying to force it into my increasingly ludicrous deviant-sex analogy.  Why?  Mainly because this film is from The Netherlands, and my grasp of geography is way too poor to figure out where that would be in relation to the bleeding British vagina and the Australian anus.  Plus, I know I’ve already gotten the NSA’s attention just by mentioning that WikiLeaks documentary earlier, and I’d hate to write anything that could be misconstrued to make me look like some kind of a menstruation-obsessed, sexually deviant weirdo who also sexually fixates on Nazi horror flicks. I’ll leave that hobby to my mother, thank you very much.

How Sweet It Is

Given that this is a mobster comedy/musical starring Joe Piscopo, I’m guessing not that sweet.

The Contractor

Danny Trejo stars in this cautionary tale about the dangers of hiring ‘undocumented laborers’ to do work around your house.  Again, you’d think with a message like that, this would be a shoo-in for snagging Dove’s Seal of Approval, but nope.  I can’t say for sure what turned Dove off, but it was probably the scary Mexican with the big knife on the box cover.

The Hostage Game

Look, Phil Spector, that HBO movie starring Al Pacino wearing hilarious wigs and Helen Mirren hits DVD today, but –as it’s HBO- it kind of falls into the grey area between TV and movies, so I decided to sneak it’s mention in here because The Hostage Game is a shitty straight-to-video thriller starring Corey Haim and that’s all there is to say about that.  There’s no way that The Hostage Game is any good. It stars a guy who died three-and-a-half years ago and I can only assume it’s getting released now in the hopes of cashing in on Corey-confusion (Core-fusion?) what with Corey Feldman making headlines of late.  So, regardless of your feelings on Corey Haim or The Hostage Game, just know that Phil Spector is also out on DVD.  I’ve seen it and it’s boring as all hell –depsite Pacino’s over-acting and impressive wigsmanship- but it’s still probably better than The Hostage Game.  What I really want to see is Al Pacino star as Corey Haim in a biopic about the Coreys.  Robert De Niro would be Feldman, obviously. Throw in Helen Mirren as well, I don’t care.  She could be a License To Drive-era Heather Graham.

Astronaut: The Last Push

Hey, did you see that trailer for Gravity?  That shit looks amazing, right?  Well this is just like that, except instead of amazing visuals and cutting-edge special effects there’s stock footage and Sega CD–esque CGI, and instead of Sandra Bullock there’s some black dude.  Oh, and George Clooney is now Kevin from The Office. Looks pretty sweet.

Lizzie

The synopsis:

ON AUGUST 4TH, 1892, ANDREW JACKSON BORDEN AND ABBY DURFEE BORDEN WERE BRUTALLY MURDERED WITH AN OLD HOUSEHOLD HATCHET. THE BLOWS OF THE MURDER WEAPON WERE SO VIOLENT AND NUMEROUS THAT THEIR FACES AND SKULLS WERE UNRECOGNIZABLY DISFIGURED. ALTHOUGH ACQUITTED, IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT THE DAUGHTER, LIZZIE BORDEN, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SAVAGE EVIL ACT.

THE PRESENT DAY LIZZIE ALLEN SUFFERS FROM AN EXTREME CASE OF CHILDHOOD AMNESIA WHICH NOT ONLY LAYS DARK HER CHILDHOOD MEMORIES BUT ALSO HER RELATIONSHIP OR LACK THERE OF, OF HER PARENTS THEMSELVES. WHEN LIZZIE DISCOVERS THE NEWS OF HER FATHERS DEATH SHE INHERITS THE HOUSE SHE ONCE LIVED INAND THEREFORE A NEW PLACE TO LIVE.

BUT AS SHE BEGINS TO SETTLE IN SHE STARTS TO GET A GLIMPSE OF HER CHILDHOOD MEMORIES ALONG WITH CLUES AS TO WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN THE BORDEN HOUSEHOLD IN 1892. WE FOLLOW LIZZIES JOURNEY AS SHE ATTEMPTS TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE TWO AND STRIVES TO REACH HER OWN SANITY AND HAPPINESS WHILE DOING SO

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