Some weeks there are only a few new DVDs to discuss, and some weeks there are a few too many. I try to keep things at 16 featured films. Sometimes there are only 12, but sometime there are 20. Well, this week -for whatever reason- there are SO MANY new DVDs, and almost none of them look legitimately watchable. I decided to feature the ones that star people I actually recognize as at least semi-known actors, and I noticed that all of these movies -every single one of them- stars or co-stars a popular(ish) TV actress. I’ll point them out as we go along. Also, just to illustrate the bounty of sh*t we have this week, I’m offering an alternative new DVD for every one I feature. There really were that many films hitting DVD today. I’m sorry in advance, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
The Featured DVDs:
On The Inside
The Deep Blue Sea
Age Of The Dragons
Bathory: Countess Of Blood
The Love Guide
The Girl From The Naked Eye
Dreams From My Real Father: A Story Of Reds And Deception
Want to know which new DVDs get mentioned but aren’t featured? Want to know which TV actresses are in these flicks? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to keep reading on the next page. If you’ve correctly gotten the idea that none of these movies are any good, click here for this week’s Netflix suggestions.
We’ll start with this one because I’ve actually seen it. Luke Wilson plays a puffy failure at life (so, he plays Luke Wilson) and Samuel L. Jackson plays a foul-mouthed, well-dressed, violent son of a bitch (so, he plays Samuel L. Jackson). Sam Jackson kinda sorta abducts Luke Wilson, and then starts killing people left and right. Meanwhile, Luke Wilson bitches at him while making almost no attempt to escape. (Is it because they are actually the same person? I won’t spoil the movie for you, but let’s just say no, they are not.) Look, I could easily write 10,000 words about how many nonsensical details this movie has, but they all fell into the massive plot holes created by this flick’s awful script. I could go on and on about how nothing made any sense, but I won’t, because this movie is an absolute blast to watch –and that is entirely because of how bad it is and how little it works as a story. It’s almost as if Uwe Boll tried to make a David Lynch film. Trust me, I’m not over-selling this. Jackson knows he’s in a sh*tty flick and he does not give a f*ck; he chews scenery like it’s bubble gum. It’s like he knew that this would have its meager theatrical release opening against The Avengers, so he just has fun. It’s one of his most Sam Jacksony performances to date. Luke Wilson does that Luke Wilson thing, where he disappoints his parents and causes people to start forgetting that Owen was the Wilson brother who tried to kill himself. But for realsies, they actually cross to the wrong side of the railroad tracks just before Jackson starts killing people (on screen at least) and when he leaves a dude only partially dead, all three of them (Oh yeah, Peyton List –Jane Sterling on Mad Men- joins them for a while. Why? Why the hell not!) leave the body IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD while they all –together- calmly go looking for a phone to call for help, even though they all KNOW that Jackson attempted to kill the guy. And that was the most logically satisfying scene in the movie. Alternate suggestion: Deadtime. Just as Wilson and List don’t try to run the hell away while screaming their heads off, the characters in this movie know a killer is in the building because they find a freshly mutilated body, and yet mutually decide to leave the corpse at their feet. SO THEY CAN CONTINUE RECORDING A ROCK ALBUM.
Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of the Olsen twins, which counts for including her among TV actresses, by the way. She was in their TV movie, How The West Was Fun) stars in this haunted house horror flick. How stupid does this look? Let me count the ways. 1.) It is based on a ‘true story’. 2.) It is a remake. 3.) With a gimmick that they don’t even follow. The trailer clearly states: ‘Presented as one single film take…’ in other words, it was shot like any other film: various shots were filmed and then edited into a single piece of cinema. To be fair, the original flick actually was shot as one single film take –so they claim. They also boast that it was shot over four days. So assuming that they did in fact shoot one single take and that it somewhere exists in some 96 hour long form, they still cut it down to a reasonable length, so it too fails at its own gimmick. Not that any of that matters, because that was the original, and this is the remake. What’s really sad is that this is easily the highest-profile film hitting DVD this week. You know there’s a new Batman movie playing in theaters, right?Maybe tonight’s not the night to just sit at home, you know? Alternate suggestion: 100 Ghost Street: The Return Of Richard Speck. Or maybe it’s called 100th Street Haunting (The Ghost Of Richard Speck), it’s from The Asylum and they can’t seem to decide which title they prefer. Either way, it’s a ghost story, it’s gimmicky (found footage, natch), and by name-dropping Speck, they get the ‘inspired by true events’ badge (as long as they share this article on Facebook and Twitter). Here’s what bothers me: why would Richard Speck be haunting his crime scene? Don’t ghosts haunt the place where they themselves died? Either way, you know about the Richard Speck prison video? That is truly insane.
Nick Stahl stars in this flick, so it’s time for a Nick Stahl death-watch update. As I’m sure you all recall, in May Stahl went missing and everyone expected him to be found dead. A few days after that news broke, he was found alive and he checked into rehab, but less than a month after that, he left rehab against the recommendations of his caregivers and was later spotted (again) in the always pleasant Skid Row section of L.A. Then nobody had seen or heard from him since June 14th. That all changed this past Saturday when he resurfaced and re-entered a drug treatment program. Now to the more cynical members of the FilmDrunk community, this may seem like the sadly predictable pattern of an addict who keeps refusing help. They see Stahl as an unfortunate victim of the Hollywood machine. To them, it’s only a matter of time until we can start using Nick Stahl in our tasteless punchlines just as we’ve used David Carradine, Heath Ledger, Brad Renfro, and Jonathan Brandis before him. I, however, disagree. I think it was all an elaborate marketing stunt for this flick which has Stahl’s character stuck in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Things go crazy -as they tend to do- so he has to fight to protect fellow head-case Olivia Wilde (former star of such TV shows as House M.D. and The O.C.). Meanwhile Tariq from The Roots fulfills the obligatory all-knowing black man role. Despite the potential for Meeting Evil-level tasty terribleness, this just looks blandly terrible. Alternate suggestion: The Tested. Just as Nick Stahl’s character in On The Inside accidentally revenge killed the wrong person, the main character in this film, a cop, accidentally guns down an unarmed teen. Plus, ?uestlove is in it. Just kidding.
Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (who starred in Page Eight, a TV movie from last year) stars alongside Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in this most British-sounding of films. Weisz’ character is trapped in a passionless marriage to a judge. She begins an erotic affair with Loki, a former RAF pilot, but their illicit love leaves her ‘emotionally stranded and physically isolated’. Oh, and it’s based on a play from the 1950’s, too. On the one hand, the critics gave this a solid 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, but on the other hand, it sounds awfully boring. Also, I don’t think it got any advertising here in the States. What the hell is that? She’s an Oscar winner who is known to do the occasional nude scene (this flick is rated R for ‘sexuality and nudity’) and he’s Loki. You could probably sell a few tickets on those facts alone. If the world ever expects Americans to rise above our love for prurient and violent trash, well, give us a chance! We like other stuff, too. Sure, you may have to sell it to us on the basis of tits and super-villainy, but we could very well come out of the experience more enlightened and open to greater works of art. Alternate suggestion: Werewolf Fever.
Stephen Dorff –who is kind of like that guy at the party that you don’t hate, but you still wish hadn’t shown up- stars in this gimmicky action flick. Dorff plays Jeremy Reins, a Secret Service agent locked in a box in the trunk of a car. Terrorists are responsible, of course, and America is under assault. There’s a timer in the trunk as well and every time it reaches zero some new form of torture will befall Reins…unless he helps them find the location of the President’s secret bunker. I have to be honest, while this sounds like Buried 2: Cruise Control, I kinda fell in love when they released a swarm of bees into his box. I think this could be dumb fun, and this week, that’s all we can hope for. This flick co-stars Chyler Leigh from Grey’s Anatomy. In this movie she’s either Dorff’s sister or wife or something, but in real life she’s the actress I’ve never heard of but really hoped was on a TV show so I could keep up this game of mentioning TV actresses in every single DVD write-up this week. 113 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy more than qualifies her, I’d say. Alternate suggestion: The Abduction Of Jesse Bookman. Jesse Bookman is a detective who gets abducted. I’d call that close enough.
Noomi Rapace stars in this Norwegian horror flick that was originally titled Babycall. You surely remember Rapace as the lead in Prometheus, but did you know she was the girl with the dragon tattoo in the orginal Swedish film adaptations of that book series? Did you know that the second and third film adaptations were intended to be TV movies, but after the theatrical success of the first film, they got bumped up to getting their own theatrical releases? Or did you know that they ended up making extended cuts of all three films and showed them as one long TV miniseries? None of that has anything to do with this movie, but by now you should be able to figure out why I am mentioning it. To put it simply, I mention it to avoid talking about this movie because it looks awful. Rapace plays a young mother who keeps hearing horrific things on her child’s baby monitor. Needless to say, when she checks on her kid, nothing’s the matter. Is she crazy or are there really ghosts? Personally, I’ll wait for the English language remake that might as well still star Noomi Rapace anyhow. Alternate suggestion: I Spill Your Guts, because it too was originally entitled Babycall.
Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones star in this obvious rip-off of Wrath Of The Titans. My god, just compare the two box covers. Delicious. At least that’s what I assumed was the case. Blatant box-art thievery aside, this film is not a quick-and-dirty attempt to cash in on a bigger Hollywood film. No, sir –this film aspires to be so much more. It’s -I sh*t you not- an adaptation of Moby Dick with a white dragon taking the place of the white whale. Awesome. Glover plays Ahab, Jones plays Stubb, and Sofia Pernas plays Rachel, in this one of her only two film credits. All of her other work has been in television, such as her stint portraying Marine First Lieutenant Gabriela Flores in Engaged, a two part episode of NCIS. But c’mon: Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones in a straight-to-video adaptation of Moby Dick with dragons. It’s almost too perfect. Alternate suggestion: Atom Nine Adventures, because it too is an unexpected adaptation of classic literature. This family-friendly 50s-style sci-fi flick is inspired by the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days Of Sodom. I assume.
Anna Friel (Chuck from the underrated and sadly canceled Pushing Daisies TV series) portrays Elizabeth Bathory, a real-life Hungarian countess who was convicted for torturing and killing 80 girls (one witness claims the actual number of victims to be closer to 650, but this was the around 400 years ago and I don’t know if they had discovered counting yet. Other people claim it was only 4 victims. The point is, Bathory liked to kill young girls). She was known to bathe in the victims’ blood, as well. If you only know Friel as the cute-as-a-button Chuck, brace yourself for the trailer. Besides playing a serial killer, she also shows her tits. For real, they are right there in the trailer. You can see ‘em right now. Kinda like seeing your sister’s ta-tas, isn’t it? Not that that ever stopped me. Alternate suggestion: Butterfly, because it too is about a psychotic female who likes to torture and kill. But who cares, right? You’ve already skipped on down to the tits. Hell, they’re right there in the YouTube window image, you don’t even have to watch the trailer.
I won’t pretend that I’ve heard of anyone in this Israeli Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee, but it was time for a palate cleanser, and this is also the only film this week that might be good, assuming you equate Oscar nominations with quality. For me, I realize that it is often a joke (Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close gets a nom for Best Picture while Drive doesn’t), but I genuinely like to track down the best foreign film nominees, if only to see what the best of the rest of the world looks like. That being said, it is kind of a joke that a film like this gets lumped into the same category as Bullhead, and In Darkness. The only thing they have in common is that they no-speaky-the-English. But they do it very well, I guess. Anyhow, this flick is about a father and son who are also bitter rivals as professors. The son is to be awarded the Israel Prize –which sounds like I should make a joke here, but I’m not touching it– but the father is mistakenly contacted as the winner. Seeing his father’s joy, does the son reveal the truth and shatter his father’s dreams, or does he let his father continue to think he has won when he really hasn’t? Wackiness ensues. For real, I want to see this; it speaks to me. My father and I were in constant competition to see who could disappoint my mother more. Well, he’s dead and I’m not so I am the bigger disappointment, I guess. At least that’s what Mom says. Oh, this also stars Edna Blilious as ‘The Costume Designer Lady’. She’s been in 18 episdoes of Sabri Maranan, which I’m assuming is an Israeli TV series. This just continues to confirm my theory: film actresses have usually done some TV work as well. Alternate suggestion: My Way, a South Korean war movie. It looks nothing like Footnote, but both have subtitles and those words on the bottom of the screen are all anyone will be looking at anyways.
Faizon Love and Wesley Jonathan star in this ‘urban’ stoner comedy. No, I don’t know who Wesley Jonathan is either. You may recall that Vince gave this flick its own post back in April, but just to refresh your memory: Bud is a stoner who still lives with his mother, Mary Jane (such clever writing!). He and his stoner buddies accidentally smoke the local gang leader’s stash. In an effort to replace it, they accidentally (lots of ‘accidentally’s in this plot; that’s always a sign of quality writing) create a strain of super weed. Just like in Footnote, wackiness ensues. Faizon Love is the biggest star in this flick (such clever writing from me as well!), and he plays a character named Big Shitty. For real, that’s his name. Plus I don’t have to put in an asterisk in place of the ‘I’ because it’s a proper name. If you are somehow interested in this film –even ironically- I would like to point out that they hired this guy to impersonate Tommy Chong. Which means Tommy Chong wouldn’t appear in this flick. That’s saying something. I’ve seen that old pothead show up in Sunday School Christmas pageants. He even played the innkeeper one time. Anyhow, Bud’s mom (Budz’ mom?) is played by Luenell, who most people recognize from Borat, but she also had a four episode arc on Californication. Alternative suggestion: Theatre Of The Derganged, because segments of this horror film were directed by Creep Creepersin. As you may recall, Creepersin is part of the Happy Madison family of assh*les, and with characters named ‘Mary Jane’ and ‘Bud’ in a pot movie, Budz House might as well be a Happy Madison flick. Except for, you know, all the black people playing the characters instead of Jews.
Parker Posey stars as a new-age guru/reality TV host in this independent feature. When a family of chicken farmers agree to be the focus of Posey’s program…you know what? Who gives a f*ck, this looks awful. Now I know Posey has her fans (Josh Kurp over at Warming Glow, for one), and I like her well enough in the Christopher Guest movies, but I just don’t see what Parker Posey fans see. I think she’s too…something. You know what? It’s probably her overbite. Either way, I challenge any Posey fan to watch this trailer and not think a little less of her. “You’ve been doing a lot of cock-a-doodle-dos, and not a lot of cock-a-doodle-don’ts” Are you cock-a-doodle-kidding me? I’d rather watch my mother run a lice-comb through her 66-year-old bush (Happy Birthday, Mom!) than watch this movie. Also, I know what you’re thinking and I agree, Posey’s current guest stint on Louie hardly qualifies her as a TV actress. That’s why I’m happy to report that Kathryn Erbe is in this as well. Or as more discerning TV viewers call her, Detective Alexandra Eames from Law & Order: Criminal Intent. 144 episodes. Alternative suggestion: The Corridor. Five friends on a male-bonding trip out in the woods discover a corridor of light that consumes and transforms them like so much new age horse hockey, just like The Love Guide. Of course, the corridor turns them all evil, but at least they don’t say sh*t like ‘cock-a-doodle-don’t’.
This heart-warming independent feature is about a young girl who believes the only way to bring back her father who recently left her family is by winning the science fair. For real, that’s the plot. Sure there’s some boring sh*t about raspberries responding to touch and I’m sure it’s all a metaphor for human relationships, but that’s all second to the fact that there is a character who is smart enough to potentially win a science fair, but stupid enough to think that it will cause her dead-beat dad to come home. Then again, what do I know? The character does look she comes from one of the ethnic backgrounds that my xenophobic racism stereotypes as putting academic achievement before all else, so maybe it would bring her dad back. Nothing’s going to bring my dad back –a fact my mother likes to remind me of every time I ask why she says I’ll never be as good a man as he is. Awkward personal revelations aside, this flick co-stars Bella Thorne from the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up!. If you need more TV actress involvement, Alison Brie’s in this too. She’s on Pan Am and The Big Bang Theory, I think. Alternative suggestion: Zombie Undead, because just like the little girl in Raspberry Magic wishes her loved ones would come back, these zombies came back…from the dead. Or not, as they are undead. So, I’m not really sure they are even zombies. Confusing title, that.
Jacob from Lost (or one of Jackie Treehorn’s thugs if you’re into the whole references from quality entertainment thing) plays an ex-con who is kept from seeing his young daughter so he passes the time by striking up a relationship with a damaged-goods redhead. She gets into trouble with little Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot (all grown up, of course) and I’m sure the ex-con has to put his parole at risk to help her out. This is another flick that takes the crossing-to-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks thing literally, as it’s pretty much the centerpiece of the trailer. Oh well, I’m sure it’s a good flick because the redhead is Alicia Witt, and after 87 episodes as Zoey Woodbine on Cybill, I can only assume that she only takes on the very best film projects. Alternative suggestion: Victory Day, because the box covers for both films show people pointing guns towards the left (the shooter’s right).
David starts an affair with a mysterious older woman. Meanwhile, he has to deal with his new annoying gay neighbor, Jason. Meanwhile, his sister Nancy is being stalked by two different men: one’s her boss and the other’s a church deacon. Meanwhile, David’s co-worker has to deal with her lazy husband, his pet goat, and also there’s a ‘trailer park hitman’ in the mix. Yeah, I have no idea what any of that means either. What I do know is that Nancy, the stalked sister, is played by Jodie Sweetin who spent her childhood playing Stephanie on Full House. She’s spent her adulthood addicted to meth and breast-augmentation surgery, but that’s neither here nor there. As for the movie, the only way I could remember which one it was among the rest of this week’s far too many new DVDs was by calling it Pert Titty in my notes. I’m a classy mother*cker. Alternative suggestion: Invisible Ink, because I truly did keep getting these two movies mixed up while preparing this column. As an added bonus, I’m going to include the trailer for this one as well because the line deliveries are so bad that it seems like they cast the entire film with ESL students. It’s really quite fascinating.
When the hooker he loves is murdered, Jake follows the clues to avenge her death by finding her killer. Everything you need to know about this generic flick is summed up by one styalistic choice used by the trailer. Knowing that the whole thing is an exercise in unoriginality, the trailer reduces every character to a type that is literally put up against a freeze-frame of the characters. There’s The Driver, The Girl, The John, The Barfly, The Pimp, The Dealer, and The Cop. If there’s anything else you need to know, it’s that while she only appears in one scene in the trailer (and doesn’t even get to speak) the box cover makes it seem as if Sasha Grey is the female lead; perhaps she’s even the titular girl from The Naked Eye. She isn’t, by the way. They just knew she was the most marketebale name involved in this flick, even if she only has a bit part. In fact, she doesn’t even get one of the freeze-frame designations. Of course, what would they say, The Porn Star Who Likes To Get Punched During Sex? Alternative suggestion: Mourning Wood. This ultra low budget and extremely unfunny looking horror comedy is about sex-crazed zombie-like humans who transfer their sickness by spraying cum on their victims. Trust me, it’s not even worth watching the trailer, it’s just bad. That being said, for whatever reason, seeing people getting doused in gallons of semen reminded me of Sasha Grey, hence the pairing of these two films.
Ho. Lee. Sh*t. The official synopsis, in its entirety:
At age 18, Barack Obama admittedly arrived at Occidental College a committed revolutionary Marxist. What was the source of Obama’s foundation in Marxism? Throughout his 2008 Presidential campaign and term in office, questions have been raised regarding Barack Obama’s family background, economic philosophy, and fundamental political ideology. Dreams from My Real Father is the alternative Barack Obama “autobiography,” offering a divergent theory of what may have shaped our 44th President’s life and politics. In Dreams from My Real Father, Barack Obama is portrayed by a voiceover actor who chronicles Barack Obama’s life journey in socialism, from birth through his election to the Presidency. The film begins by presenting the case that Barack Obama’s real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party USA propagandist who likely shaped Obama’s world view during his formative years. Barack Obama sold himself to America as the multi-cultural ideal, a man who stood above politics. Was the goat herding Kenyan father only a fairy tale to obscure a Marxist agenda, irreconcilable with American values? This fascinating narrative is based in part on 2 years of research, interviews, newly unearthed footage and photos, and the writings of Davis and Obama himself. Dreams from My Real Father weaves together the proven facts with reasoned logic and speculation in an attempt to fill-in the obvious gaps in Obama’s history. Is this the story Barack Obama should have told, revealing his true agenda for “fundamentally transforming America?” Director Joel Gilbert concludes, “The ‘Birthers’ have been on a fool’s errand. To understand Obama’s plans for America, the question is not ‘Where’s the Birth Certificate?,’ the question is ‘Who is the real father?'”
I’m gonna leave this one without comment, except to say that the voice-over actor portraying Obama is Charlotte Rae, who played Mrs. Garrett on Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts Of Life. (It seems as plausible as any other claim made regarding this ‘documentary’.) I suppose that I should also say that you might enjoy checking out the Amazon.com 5-star reviews for this movie. Those people seem like they’ve got it figured out. I might also mention that you might enjoy watching this video of Alex Jones endorsing the film. Alex Jones, by the way, has accused Obama of staging the massacre at the midnight Batman showing in Colorado, so you know he’s a smart guy and wouldn’t say crazy sh*t just to get attention. But, as I said, no comment from me. Alternative suggestion: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, a documentary about the world’s greatest sushi chef. If he even is a chef. I mean, we just don’t know. Is he even really Japanese? Who is his father? Where is his culinary school certificate? Wake up, people!
With the quality of this week’s new DVDs being less than stellar, maybe it’s a blessing that none of them seem to also be available through Netflix instant streaming. Of course, there’s always some older DVDs trickling into the stream, and this week there are two of them you might actually watch: the probably fake documentary Snow On Tha Bluff, and the definitely fake Mutant Girls Squad. If you’ve already seen those fine films, here are a few streaming flicks that star some of the TV actresses we’ve discussed this week:
The Next Three Days
On The Inside’s Olivia Wilde (jiggling above) is in this. I didn’t know that before now because I’ve never seen this and she isn’t in the trailer, but IMDb says it is so. This is that one where Russell Crowe tries to break Elizabeth Banks out of prison. I’d like to think that Banks and Wilde have a sexy prison shower scene, but I have to assume that if that were the case, I would’ve heard about it by now.
The Constant Gardener
The Deep Blue Sea’s Rachel Weisz won an Oscar for this movie. This is one of those movies that I know I’ve seen, and I think I liked, but I can’t really remember anything about it, except that Weisz is naked in it, but also pregnant, so take that into account. I’m only mentioning this because last week I mentioned celebrity penises and I want to keep things balanced.
Just as I had no idea Olivia Wilde was in The Next Three Days, I had no idea that Anna Friel, the star of Bathory: Countess Of Blood, was in this flick. The plot: Bradley Cooper takes smart pills that cause him to get a haircut and Robert De Niro doesn’t like it. I think. I haven’t seen it (obviously) because it never looked that great to me, but I might now because -after this week’s DVD selections- I’m thinking I should relax my standards just a bit.
Alicia Witt, the redhead in Joint Body, has a small part in this anthology film from the mid-90s. I’ve always liked this movie, but I know that most people don’t. I don’t really see the problem with it; Tim Roth gets to do a pleasant kind of slapstick shtick and the writer/directors (including Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez) get to mess around with ideas that wouldn’t adapt well into a full-length feature film. Tarantino adapts a nifty Roald Dahl short story while Rodriguez’ short became the inspiration for the Spy Kids films. All four of them. And counting. OK, let me change that a bit: They get to mess around with ideas that they shouldn’t adapt into full-length feature films. At least Tarantino showed restraint, and that’s not something that gets said very often.