DVDs I Bought This Week!

Like Charles Foster Kane, Gordon Gekko, and Victor Mancini before him, FSR’s regular DVD columnist Brian Gibson has seen the limits of excess… and he has paid the price. Years of snorting DVDs, mainlining Blu-ray discs, and fornicating with pop culture figurines in back alleys has finally caught up with him. He’s currently in entertainment rehab and debt counseling, and even worse, his mother has cut up his credit cards and cut off his allowance. Dark times indeed. We wish him a successful and speedy recovery, and in his absence, please allow me to share my DVD recommendations with you this week. (And yes, I always pay cash.)

Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD.

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Caprica

Pitch: All the melodrama of “Battlestar Galactica” but without those annoying action scenes…

Why Buy? I’m a completist, and I love “Battlestar Galactica.”  This means that in addition to the DVD series box sets for the show I need to pick up all the ancillary TV movies and spin-offs the producers can dream up and pump out.  Luckily “Caprica” is actually pretty good.  It has interesting characters and mysteries, quality acting and production, and Eric Freaking Stoltz!.

Blu-ray? No

Hellraiser: Boxed Set

Pitch: Everyone needs their own portal to hell…

Why Buy? Do you need any reason aside from the picture above?  The DVDs are in a LeMarchand Cube for christ’s sake!  How sweet is that?  There was a similarly packaged import set a few years ago, but the design was shoddy and it looked incredibly cheap.  Sadly this release only contains the first two films (and the Blu-ray debut of the original) with several extra features, but it’s still pretty damn cool.

Blu-ray? Kind of… 1/3 anyway

The Wrestler

Pitch: See the film that garnered Mickey Rourke an invite to Wrestlemania 25!

Why Buy? This is a borderline Rent instead of Buy for the simple reason that the movie really isn’t that great.  It’s good… just not really good.  (Regardless of Cole Abaius’ slobbering review here.) The story offers nothing new, but what makes it worth purchasing is Mickey Rourke’s stellar performance.

Blu-ray? Yes

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Glass: A Portrait of Philip Glass

Pitch: Add a little culture to your DVD collection…

Why Rent? My first exposure to Glass’ spare but powerful music was his score for Clive Barker’s Candyman.  It’s brilliant, eerie, and beautiful.  He’s scored several films (sometimes being the best thing in the movie) including The Truman Show and Koyaanisqatsi, has released many more albums and operas, and is an oddly fascinating artist.

Blu-ray? No

The Nuns of Saint Archangel

Pitch: Until the director’s cut of Doubt hits stores, this is the hottest nun DVD of the year.

Why Rent? Nunsploitation.  Need I say more?  Yes?  Okay… it may not be the dirtiest or most perverted or most violent of nunsploitation flicks, but it still has dirty, perverted, and violent nuns.  And the story is pretty good too.

Blu-ray? No

The Poker Club

Pitch: Very Bad Things can happen at Stag parties and poker games…

Why Rent? Johnathan Schaech plays brilliantly effed up villains, but he plays even more intriguing good guys… he just never seems completely honest and trustworthy.  He co-wrote this suspenseful and unpredictable thriller, and even though the characters are often highly annoying it’s easily worth a rental at least.

Blu-ray? No

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Dante 01

Pitch: Let’s see what kind of film we can make on a budget of fifty euros…

Why Avoid? Marc Caro c0-directed Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, both darkly entertaining movies, but his solitary return to filmmaking reveals that maybe Jean-Pierre Jeunet only invited him along on those early films because Caro’s dad owned the camera.  Caro has an eye for the occasionally interesting visuals, but his storytelling abilities seem non-existant.  Combine that with an ultra low budget, a slow pace, and lofty ideas that go nowhere and you have ninety minutes of your life better spent playing frisbee or reading a book.

Blu-ray? No

Into the Blue 2: The Reef

Pitch: From the director of Critters and Mr. Holland’s Opus

Why Avoid? Has this question ever been more rhetorical?  The original film was pretty shitty, but it was populated by some interesting actors and Jessica Alba’s bikini-clad body which made it worth watching once.  Once.  The sequel has no actors at all as far as I can tell so it has to rely solely on the promise of hot flesh.  There are plenty of boobs on display, but the movie makes the mistake of also showing Audrina Partridge’s face which seems to have hit the titular reef some time ago.

Blu-ray? No

Notorious

Pitch: For the fat, lazy-eyed thug in all of us…

Why Avoid? Kevin Carr calls the film “a bit of a puff piece” (review here) but I think he’s being too kind.  As produced by Sean Combs with heavy influence from Biggie Smalls’ mother this movie is pure glamour.  Smalls is shown early on acting mildly thuggish, but the scenes aren’t presented with the condemnation they deserve so they come off as a combination of cool and necessary.   I’m admittedly no fan of rap anyway, so the movie needed more than the man’s music to stand out.  Call me when the Better Than Ezra biopic gets released.

Blu-ray? Yes

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DVD's I Bought This Week


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