Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves digging through dumpsters for cans and bottles to recycle. 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.
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!
Pitch: You’ve seen these. You love these. You should own these.
Why Buy? A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown are two classic animated specials that belong in every home. Sure, they’re old fashioned and part of a bygone era, but both of them are near perfect slices of holiday pie. (And that’s family pie, not sexy pie.) The set also includes Charlie Brown’s All Stars, You’re In Love Charlie Brown, He’s Your Dog Charlie Brown, It Was a Short Summer Charlie Brown. And no, I’ve never seen any of those either.
Extra Features? Vince Guaraldi profile
Pitch: This isn’t your father’s Cop Rock…
Why Buy? This season finds a couple regulars MIA but it still manages to be quite funny. It’s a taste issue, I understand, and if you make it through an episode of the show without laughing once then I obviously wouldn’t advise buying this set… but I would advise a CT scan because something isn’t right in your head. Even if the regular cast doesn’t appeal to you, the roster of guest stars is impressive and often hilarious… Patton Oswalt, Rainn Wilson, Jonah Hill, and many others.
Extra Features? Commentaries, featurettes
Pitch: It’s a pre-retirement Equalizer! (Love that show…)
Why Rent? Assassins with a conscience are a dime a dozen these days, but “Callan” takes it’s time developing the title character played by Edward Woodward and makes for an effective exploration into the secretive world of British Intelligence. (This is actually the show’s third season, and the first in color, but being released as Set 1 for some reason.)
Extra Features? Woodward biography, trivia
Pitch: If knowing is half the battle the other half must be a really good toupee…
Why Rent? Nicolas Cage is the shell of a once-interesting actor running on a string of really bad movies, but this one is the exception to the Cage rule. (That of course being the correlative ratio between his hair piece and the quality of the film itself.) I’m no fan of the movie’s ending, but the film manages to build and maintain suspense fairly well and includes two absolutely fantastic action set pieces involving mass transit.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes
Pitch: Cinematic recycling done right…
Why Rent? This is where bad movies (used to) go to die. You can skip through the film intros since the jokes there are of varying quality, but the commentaries during the movies are chock full (sp?) of comic goodness. The movies themselves offer some unintentional laughs as well.
Extra Features? Featurettes, mini-posters
Pitch: See the beginning of a franchise that will now never be…
Why Rent? The concept here of teens with crazy extra-sensory powers is a good one and should have provided a lot more entertainment than Push delivers. That said, the movie is still pretty cool at times. Worth a rental for some minor action scenes and for managing to make Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans look talented and likable. Neil Miller says “just try not to think too hard about it” (review here) and you’ll find some light and harmless entertainment.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes
Pitch: Makes Drag Me To Hell look like a horror film…
Why Rent? I know I trashed the movie in my original review (here) and I stand by that… but it’s worth a rental for three reasons. The practical effects are very cool and a nice change from the usual CGI. Odette Yustman looks damn fine in her underwear. And it’s definitely one of the funnier movies of the year.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes
Pitch: The long-awaited sequel to Evil Bong!
Why Avoid? Come on now, do I need to elaborate? Two best things about this DVD? The cover quote that says “In 3D, if you’re stoned!” and the presence of the Poontang Tribe in the movie itself. Oh, and Tommy Chong is in it too.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Billy Ray Cyrus plays a guitar and it saddens Heather Locklear…
Why Avoid? Hasn’t Billy Ray already caused enough damage via his spawn Miley?
Extra Features? Alternate ending, featurette, bonus song
Pitch: Remember how annoying “Absolutely Fabulous” was? This is worse…
Why Avoid? This US remake of the Australian hit is, not surprisingly, unnecessary and unfunny. Both Selma Blair and Molly Shannon are more annoying than entertaining, and thankfully we won’t see a season 2.
Extra Features? Commentaries, deleted scenes, gag reel
Pitch: A 23-minute show with a ninety-minute running time…
Why Avoid? This starts out as an interesting little film about greed, twisting loyalties, and mistrust, but soon devolves into a Twilight Zone-ish mess. It would have worked much better in the half hour format of that TV show, but as a movie it fails to maintain suspense or interest. Had potential but squandered it. Also features one incredibly obvious bad guy in disguise.
Extra Features? Featurette, interviews, photo gallery
Pitch: This octenegarian kicks ass… when she’s not dancing in the strip club…
Why Avoid? As brilliant as this concept sounds.. ahem… it’s super cheap, poorly choreographed, and simply lame.
Extra Features? None
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What are you buying on DVD this week?