Welcome back to This Week In Discs!
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Woochi is a wannabe wizard whose antics reveal him to be an egotistical, womanizing ass, but while he plays at being an all powerful magician his over confidence leads to a fight he can’t win. Evil creatures and competing wizards defeat him, frame him for murder and trap him in a picture, but he’s reluctantly released 500 years later when the creatures show up in modern day Seoul. He’s the city’s best hope, but he’s also pretty busy ogling the short-skirted women of today’s Korea..
This Korean blockbuster is a fun mix of martial arts action and laughs, and that’s exactly what should be expected from the writer/director of The Thieves and Tazza: The High Rollers. It runs a little long and some of the creature CGI leaves much to be desired, but it’s still a damn entertaining flick. The second half in particular is lots of fun. Shout! Factory has loaded the Blu with special features too. [Blu-ray extras: Making of, deleted scenes, featurettes]
Pitch: Kung fu superheroes? Yes please…
What’s It About? A stolen coin and counterfeit money indicate traditional crimes and criminals, but what’s happening here involves anything but. Dark magic spills across the land leading to a veritable army of the monstrous, and it soon becomes obvious that the only ones strong enough to hold back the night are a quartet of reluctant heroes who have fighting skills and magic of their own.
Why Buy? Prolific director Gordon Chan’s latest martial arts period piece is his best in some time, and while that alone isn’t saying much the end result is the same. This is an exciting, visually appealing action film that manages some thrilling fight sequences alongside some creative and often impressive effects work. Like too many Asian films it runs a little long, but it’s never dull and instead finds some fresh angles on familiar character types. The sauna scene featuring a dozen non-nude lady fighters is just icing on the already very cool cake. [Blu-ray extras: Making of, deleted scenes, trailer]
Pitch: It’s like Swimfan but with balls…
What’s It About? Scott is a popular high school soccer player who finds himself the subject of unwanted female attention, but before you call bullshit just know that he’s really focused on his footwork. Bess has developed a crush on him, but she’s too shy to face him directly and resorts to secret admirer notes instead. But is she also the one striking out violently against competitors for his affection and threats to his success on the field?
Why Rent? The plot here is so generic as to be successfully summed up by its one-word title, and there’s not a whole lot of variation from a half dozen other films featuring that word in the title. But familiarity aside, Malik Bader’s movie offers something new in the form of a legitimate mystery as to who’s responsible for the misbehaving. It’s well-acted and written, and even if the reveal won’t leave you necessarily surprised it remains a solid-enough little thriller. [Blu-ray extras: Making of]
Pitch: 150 minutes of hairy “fun”…
What’s It About? 1972’s The Suckers is billed as a softcore redo of The Most Dangerous Game, and that’s essentially true. A group of goofballs head out to the middle of nowhere to meet up with some big game hunters, but they’re surprised to learn that they themselves are the prey! Uh oh! Time for sex! 1971’s The Love Garden is a far more simple tale about a love triangle between a writer and two lesbians. Uh oh! Time for sex!
Why Rent? Fully half the joy of these releases is seeing what lost gems upstart label Vinegar Syndrome will discovered next, but that excitement comes with the understanding that not all gems are worth discovering. This particular set is a mixed bag as the first film features some (probably unintentional) laughs and some third-act action as the hunt ensues. Be warned though as there’s also a fairly ugly rape. The second movie by comparison is a slog, and even though the sex is far more explicit it doesn’t improve the experience. [DVD extras: None]
Pitch: I’d make a happy ending joke, but with all these dead whores laying around I’d feel disingenuous…
What’s It About? A mad man is killing massage parlor girls based on the seven deadly sins, and incompetent detectives are hot on his trail.
Why Rent? This is a tough one to recommend, and were I doing so based solely on the film itself I would probably lean towards an Avoid. But Vinegar Syndrome has done such a fine job (and shown Herculean effort) in bringing this incredibly obscure title into the HD world that it’d be a shame if no one gave it a chance. As sleazy serial killer thrillers go this one gets the sleazy right but drops the ball elsewhere. The kills aren’t exciting, the cops are idiots and there’s never anything even remotely resembling suspense. The car chase is pretty okay though. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Original release and longer re-issue, outtakes, trailer]
Pitch: May just be the
best worst only Canadian porn film you’ll ever see…
What’s It About? A female scientist creates a man from unused body parts to satisfy her sexual needs, but he’s unable to get an erection for some unknown reason. She brings in her cousin, Sexcula, to see if the renowned succubus can get a rise out the guy. Throw in an Igor-like assistant intent on screwing a naked fembot and a horny gorilla intent on screwing Igor, and you have the makings for I don’t know what.
Why Rent? Hardcore porn wasn’t legal in British Columbia until 1978, so what did you do if you wanted to produce something in 1974? Bury it obviously. Rumors abounded though regarding this horror/comedy/porn hybrid, and just recently those rumors were confirmed when a film copy of the movie was found in a basement. Impulse Pictures’ release is pretty much the first true public unveiling, and fans of WTF will most definitely want to give it a watch. It’s far from sexy or well made, but it’s most definitely entertaining. [DVD extras: Trailer, liner notes]
Pitch: With a view of the English coast…
What’s It About? Rebecca (Eva Green) returns to the small English village where she grew up and reunites with her childhood friend Tommy (Matt Smith). They strike up an intense love affair, but when he dies in an accident, she makes a controversial decision. An embryonic clone of Tommy is placed inside her with the intention being that she’ll give birth to him, raise him like a son and then take him again as her lover. Or something equally icky anyway.
Why Rent? Green delivered a one-two punch of low-key sci-fi dramas, and while I prefer Perfect Sense (by a wide margin) there are some intriguing elements to be found here too. It’s a slow-moving movie, but Green keeps things sexy while the script finds some engaging conversation starters in its look at the ethics of cloning. Check out my full review here. [DVD extras: n/a]
Pitch: Apparently not even gory deaths sexy Japanese ladies can make baseball interesting. What is wrong with me…
What’s It About? Jubeh (Tak Sakaguchi) accidentally killed his father with a fiery baseball pitch, and he swore off the game ever since. That didn’t stop him from a life of crime though, and when he winds up in a juvenile detention center run by a sadistic Nazi sympathizer he’s forced to take a stand on the pitcher’s mound once more. What?
Why Avoid? Sushi Typhoon is a bit of a mixed bag as a production company, and that’s putting it kindly. Too many of their films rely almost exclusively on cartoon action, bathroom humor and terrible CGI. Sadly, this title is no different. There’s little of interest here story/character-wise, and while there are a couple cool practical effects bits so much is done via cheap CGI that the scenes lose all value. [Blu-ray extras: Short, making of, interviews]
Skip it and watch Dead Sushi instead.
Pitch: Well, one out of three anyways…
What’s It About? Three strangers (Seth Green, Harold Perrineau, Michelle Trachtenberg) arrive at a bar to meet an ex (Katee Sackhoff), but when she finally arrives with her fiance (William Baldwin) the evening takes a surprising turn. It seems she’s interested in more than a simple night of catching up with friends.
Why Avoid? It’s always sad to see a solid cast go to waste, and it’s even worse when the film’s premise is equally promising. Director Shawn Piller’s movie starts strong thanks to its premise and actors, but it fizzles out early as it becomes clear that nothing is happening. The ending seals the deal by making everything that came before it fairly inconsequential and pointless. [DVD extras: Documentary, commentary]
Skip it and watch Sexy Beast instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and review material was unavailable:
Bad Kids Go to Hell
Boss: Season Two
Gate of Hell (Criterion)
Hyde Park on Hudson
Naked Lunch (Criterion)