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Rob Hunter loves movies.  He also loves working as an English teacher at a school for wayward girls in Seoul, South Korea.  These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs.  So join us each week as he takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs.

A quick (and fairly obvious) disclaimer:  The main purpose behind this column is to highlight the various new DVD releases each week.  The division of the titles into Buy, Rent, or Avoid categories is based on many things… the quality of the movie or show, the quality of the extra features, and the replay value of the content overall.  The common thread here is that all of these criteria are based on Hunter’s opinion.  If you agree, great.  If you disagree, great.  He’s just letting you know what was released, not what to do about it.

Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD.  And don’t forget to check out Neil Miller’s hilariously titled This Week In Blu-ray column for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!

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dvd-theclassThe Class

Pitch: These little French bastards should be tossed into District 13 where they’ll either have to learn parkour or die trying.

Why Buy? This Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film really impressed me when I first watched it this past May (review here), and it’s just as compelling and engaging the second time around. A Parisian teacher and his class meet throughout a semester, and they all walk away with gains, losses, and lessons learned.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

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dvd-alientrespassAlien Trespass

Pitch: A one-eyed monster invades a small town… and half of the people reading this just thought about a giant schlong.

Why Rent? This homage to alien invasion flicks from the fifties was made with a very small budget and a lot of heart. Director RW Goodwin clearly loves the genre and style and the cast is game for some old-school film-making as well. Terrible effects, but intentionally so…

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurettes

dvd-apresluiApres Lui

Pitch: A woman endures the death of her son by “befriending” her son’s friend… good thing her dog didn’t die.

Why Rent? Catherine Deneuve is often remembered solely for her stunning beauty, but people need to remember that she’s also a damn good actress. She’s quite good here as a grieving mother and a lonely woman, and drama fans should find time for this one.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

dvd-areyouservedAre You Being Served? The Complete Collection

Pitch: Retail jobs are filled with abuse and absurdity regardless of which side of the Atlantic you happen to live on.

Why Rent? There are almost seventy episodes of this show in the set and I’m obviously not recommending you rent them all.  But give the first couple of discs a try and see if you don’t see the humor in this classic British sitcom. It’s not one of my favorites, but it still offers some fantastic characters, fast dialogue, and plenty of laughs.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes

dvd-iloveyoumanI Love You, Man

Pitch: I refuse to mention the term coined previously but used endlessly to describe this flick about a guy looking for a guy friend.

Why Rent? Robert Fure felt it was “a pretty sweet, relaxed buddy flick” (review here), and while I wouldn’t go that gay I would agree the movie had some laughs. Sadly, it was no where’s near as funny as I hoped or expected. Thankfully the DVD extra features make up for that deficiency with some very funny deleted/extended scenes and outtakes. Watch the flick then watch these extras and you’ll get your money worth.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes

dvd-paris36Paris 36

Pitch: Lady Di was thirty-six years old when she died in the Paris car crash. This film has nothing to do with that.

Why Rent? I’m no fan of musicals (I can count the ones I like on one hand), but something about this pseudo-musical just clicks. It’s a charming and vibrant love story about a group of oddballs in pre-war Paris that simply feels good. Give it a try and maybe you’ll be as surprised as I was.  Or not.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

dvd-tigerstailThe Tiger’s Tail

Pitch: Catch a tail by the tiger, take the horns by the bull. A bird in need is a friend indeed, so pull the eyes over the wool.

Why Rent? Brendan Gleeson gives two strong performances here as a ruthless and rich Irish businessman and his doppelganger. The movie has some things to say about the class divide in Ireland, but it also works as a straight-forward little thriller. (Bonus points for the person who recognizes that pitch.)

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

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dvd-17again17 Again

Pitch: The opposite of Big. In every possible way.

Why Avoid? Kevin Carr’s thoughts on the flick include mentioning Zac Efron’s complete lack of chest hair and calling him an “androgynous man-child” (review here), and while that’s all Carr requires to recommend a movie I have slightly higher standards. The plot is recycled from half a dozen movies from the eighties, Efron has no personality, the comedy isn’t funny, and Matthew Perry is barely in it.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? None (but if you really want some Efron extras the Blu-ray is the way to go)

dvd-9021090210: The Complete First Season

Pitch: Kids you won’t like doing things you’ll never do in a place that doesn’t really exist.

Why Avoid? Not a fan of the ‘teen drama’ genre. Although if I was there are much better options available like Privileged and Gilmore Girls. And yes I realize those are probably more ‘teen dramedy’ but you get the point.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentaries, featurettes

dvd-donkeyxDonkey X

Pitch: Donkey from the Shrek films demands respect by any means necessary including protests, violence, and bow ties.

Why Avoid? This is the first of two cheap knock-offs of animated blockbusters this week. Sure the story’s substantially different, but look at that damn donkey! Looks just like Eddie Murphy doesn’t it?

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? None

dvd-giganticGigantic

Pitch: Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, and Zach Galifianakis have all had better roles this year alone. Watch them instead.

Why Avoid? Some highlights from Cole Abaius’ review (here): “a middle schooler can make quirky characters, but it takes talent to give them depth… You named your main character Happy Fucking Lolly… Somehow, you’ve managed to create a film with no story that has plot holes… A piece of art that has no soul, no heart, and has to make up for it by using flashy misdirection.”  You get the idea.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurette

dvd-beerpongRoad Trip: Beer Pong

Pitch: Maybe if it had hot chicks playing beer pong with their bajangos…

Why Avoid? Seems like there’s one of these every week doesn’t it? A sex comedy that’s far from sexy and even farther from funny. (Hey editor, please confirm my usage of ‘farther’ instead of ‘further.’)  Seriously, these guys aren’t even trying.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes

dvd-whatsupWhat’s Up: Balloon To The Rescue!

Pitch: An old man, a precocious child, and a flying balloon house… hmmm, why does that sound familiar?

Why Avoid? Too easy to knock this for being a cheap and inferior knock-off of Pixar’s last movie, so instead I’ll just share the official synopsis: “Packed with magic and eye-popping animation, the movie takes off with a bang when the brilliant, but befuddled Dr. Crumb discovers a magical stone that turns his house into a hot air balloon. The discovery allows Crumb – and his trusted brainiac companions – to pursue a heroic career of monster-chasing. But soon, the criminal-minded Jean-Pierre hatches a particularly diabolical plan which sends this airborne voyage into a new level of turbulence! Without the magic stone, will the scientists crash land, or will they be able to save the world by using their own ingenuity?”

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? A miniature replica of the brass balls required to produce such an incredibly blatant rip-off

Click below for more:

DVD's I Bought This Week

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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