Last week saw a record 634 DVDs get released unto the world, and we managed to cover half of them in our little column here. Thankfully this week’s schedule features a far more manageable number of titles. Many of them are smaller films that you probably missed during their brief theatrical windows (if they got one at all) including the sweet Dear Lemon Lima, the bloody Stake Land, the unstoppable pimp filled Streetwalkin’, and this week’s Pick, The Music Never Stopped.
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Fifteen years after a teenager (Lou Taylor Pucci) leaves home following an argument with his father (JK Simmons), his parents receive word that their son is in the hospital. He was struck down by a brain tumor shortly after leaving home, but while the tumor was surgically removed he’s been uncommunicative and unable to make new memories ever since.
Now a father and son will attempt to reconcile across that fifteen year divide through the only language the young man can understand… music. This true story from the writings of Oliver Sacks is a small film with a huge heart. Pucci and Simmons are both fantastic, the soundtrack is a who’s who of seventies hits, and the film as a whole is a heartwarming reminder of the importance of loved ones. (See? I’m not a cynical bastard all of the time.)
Pitch: “What an oddly beautiful and bittersweet little film this is…”
Why Buy? A young girl in Alaska suffers a series of defeats starting with her boyfriend dumping her while they enjoy some ice cream cones. Life goes downhill from there as she starts at a new school and attempts to find a way to win him back, and clearly, the answer is the school’s annual Snowstorm Survivor Challenge. This is a delightfully sweet but honest coming of age tale set in the exotic, faraway land of Alaska, and it used that landscape and culture to the fullest. The acting is loose and fun, the script is witty without being quirky, and director Suzi Yoonessi lets the characters fall and fly on their own without ever condescending to their age or the film’s genre. Check out my full review here. It’s Kate Erbland approved!
Pitch: “Now listen here you beautiful bitch, I’m about to fuck you up with some truth…”
Why Rent? An egotistical, over the hill baseball player (Danny McBride) heads to Mexico after screwing things up in his hometown in season one. I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t a fan of this series at first. It was simply too much McBride for my taste, but a year later saw him with less exposure elsewhere and therefore more palatable on TV. That or my expectations lowered. Either way, this past season was pretty damn funny, and while McBride is entertaining, the biggest source of laughs for me is Steve Little as Stevie Janowski. I don’t know if that guy is actually mentally challenged or if that’s just his shtick, but goddamn does he make me spit up my beverages.
Pitch: They lull you in with a Steven Seagal-like title…
Why Rent? Three brothers fight for Algeria’s independence in their own ways and places, but fate brings them all to Paris for their final revolutionary conflagration. This film suffers from pockets of dullness that drag the narrative down, but they’re quickly forgotten when the action and historical drama clash and create knowledge explosions throughout. That just sounds silly, but the point is the film entertains with some well staged action and enlightens with a look into an aspect of world history hardly known by American audiences. Most of the actors are unrecognizable, but Jamel Debbouze stands out as the more morally corrupt of the siblings.
Pitch: Illiterate vegetarians need not apply…
Why Rent? The apocalypse has come in the form of a vampire scourge that knocked the country and the world back to their far more primitive roots. I won’t lie, this was one of my least favorite films from last year’s Fantastic Fest. The ingredients were all there and everyone I know seemed to enjoy it, but it just felt cheap and silly to me. But I decided to give it a second chance on DVD, and I liked the damn thing. The narration and Kelly McGillis remain the two weakest links, but the vampire and human brutality works better on the small screen. Director Jim Mickle’s monsters are vicious, evil, baby-killing motherfuckers. Check out Adam Charles’s full review here.
Pitch: If you’re curious what Academy Award winner Melissa Leo’s golden globes look like, this is the movie for you…
Why Rent? A teenage girl named Cookie (Melissa Leo) runs away to the Big Apple with her younger brother and immediately becomes a prostitute. With a name like Cookie it was pretty much a foregone conclusion though wasn’t it? She loves her pimp, Duke, but when he flips his shit and sets in motion a murderous chain of events she decides that maybe she should rethink the whole hooker thing. My favorite movie about a streetwalker dealing with a madman remains Angel, but once the violence starts in this one it becomes one long chase scene through a NYC night. And seriously, you’ve never seen a pimp more indestructible than Duke.
Nothing I’d avoid this week! Hurrah!
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost
Least Of These
Pie In the Sky: Series 5
Strigoi the Undead
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?