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.
Pitch: Three mobsters on a road trip…
Why Buy? This is a forgotten film from the eighties that is now getting a second chance thanks to Criterion. Unlike some of their stuffier releases, The Hit is fun, smart, and beautiful entertainment. Superior performances by all three leads cap this film about life, death, and the mind games in between.
Pitch: Van Damme laughs, cries, and acts his way through a cinematic mea culpa.
Why Buy? Funny, engaging, emotional, surprising… Both JCVD the man and the movie are all of these. As I said in my original review (here), forget Mickey Rourke… Van Damme’s performance in this comedy/drama/bio amalgamation is the true rebirth from last year. (Only to throw it all away by passing on The Expendables!)
Pitch: Revenge, innocence, good, and evil are all in the eye of the beholder.
Why Buy? The first two-thirds of this movie are undeniably intense and unrelenting, but the final thirty minutes are… divisive, frustrating, and ambiguous to say the least. I have issues with the finale (review here), but they’re not nearly enough to overwhelm the power of all that precedes it.
Pitch: Even ugly bitches need a place to stay the night.
Why Rent? There’s nothing special about this kids movie but nothing truly annoying either. It’s straight-forward entertainment for the pre-teen crowd, animal lovers, and pervs (Kevin Carr’s review here) who enjoy ogling young ladies.
Pitch: Erotic obsession, 1970’s Japanese style…
Why Rent? The movie is most definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy serious stories and storytelling by (and for) adults then this may be right up your anus. It’s alternatively beautiful and grotesque, sexy and painful, sweet and violent… and very, very dirty.
Pitch: Nothing But The Beckinsale…
Why Rent? Writer/director Rod Lurie’s The Contender is one of the best political thrillers of the past decade, and it accomplishes that feat without a single murder, gunshot, or chase scene. Lurie’s latest film is equally engaging and entertaining, and it also features a strong, female lead in Kate Beckinsale. Mmm Beckinsale. She gives one of her best performances here (not counting any of the roles that featured her leather-ensconced bosom).
Pitch: Ron Jeremy’s penis is hungry for your face.
Why Rent? Sound scary doesn’t it? Well, Jeremy’s giant, face-eating penile member aside, this straight to DVD flick isn’t actually scary at all. But it is a mildly humorous and short dick-load of fun.
Pitch: Party crashers from beyond…
Why Rent? Right upfront, this movie pales beside the Korean original (A Tale of Two Sisters). Not even close. Comparing apples and kimchi. And yet… it’s actually a pretty good movie and easily one of the few good Asian horror remakes. Kevin Carr wasn’t too thrilled with it (review here), but the effects, the jump-scares, and the bikini shots make it worth a rental.
Pitch: Let’s celebrate the worst parts of the feminine mystique!
Why Avoid? Because it’s crap maybe? Even though Kevin Carr inexplicably enjoyed it (review here) there’s no way I’d recommend this film to anyone. Hathaway slums, Hudson outdoes even her usual shite (quite an achievement), and women come across as selfish, petty, unlikable manipulators.
Pitch: For guys with serious issues…
Why Avoid? Some of you may think this title would have been a lock for one of my “Buys” (Mr. Abaius) but you’d be sorely mistaken. I truly enjoy sex and naked ladies, and I’m a fan of cinematic gore and violence… but this isn’t a peanut butter cup. These aren’t two great tastes that taste great together. Plus these chicks are fugly.
Pitch: While Kim Basinger was out, she made a shitty movie.
Why Avoid? Ridiculous actions, acting, casting, characters, decisions, dialogue, directing, ending, plot, writing… Some unintentional laughs and a great trailer though.
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