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Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

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Discs Section: Pick of the Week

disc himalayaHimalaya

A remote Nepalese village suffers a loss when their leader dies on a trek, but as the time approaches for another salt delivery two men struggle for the top position. Tinle is old but has led before, while Karma is younger, brasher, and insistent that the gods play no role in their lives. They both head out on competing treks, but only one can take control of the community.

This French film from the late ’90s is a gorgeously-photographed look at a people and a region seldom scene in today’s world. “Today” is a tricky word though in regard to this film in that the movie could take place in 1999 or 1919 or anytime in between. Far from old-fashioned, it shows rivals battling for respect alongside the clash between new and old beliefs, and it reaches some wise conclusions. And again, it’s beautiful to look at too.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, trailer]

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disc ninja 2Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear

Pitch: “One hell of an old-school fight film.” Neil Miller, Film School Rejects…

Casey Bowman (Scott Adkins) is a master martial artist with a beautiful wife and a baby on the way, but bad guys threaten to destroy it all when they invade his home intent on evil acts. He takes the fight to them before learning to control his rage with the help of a friend (Kane Kosugi), but the ne’er-do-wells just keep coming.

Adkins isn’t nearly as big a star as a man with his action chops should be. His acting skills still need some work, bu he’s an incredible fighter with a variety of moves and wickedly-fast punch/kick/flip speed so it’s incredibly easy to forgive him. Director Isaac Florentine is pretty much in the same ass-kicking boat in that he has room to grow as a filmmaker while being head of the class when it comes to shooting action.

[DVD extras: Featurette, interviews, behind the scenes]

disc sisterSister

Pitch: White is the coldest color…

Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) and Louise (Léa Seydoux) are siblings living off the kindness of strangers. Granted, most of the strangers don’t know they’re being kind when Simon treks up to the mountain’s ski resort and steals tourists’ expensive sporting goods. He supports his sister this way, but his actions have consequences and soon the two are heading towards even greater trouble.

Ursula Meier‘s film offers not only beautiful scenery in both the Swiss mountains and the lovely Miss Seydoux, but it also presents a richly believable sibling relationship that’s equal parts sweet and testy. There’s great chemistry between the two, and the film’s drama and honest suspense is strengthened because of it.

[DVD extras: None]

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disc cassadagaCassadaga

Lily is a deaf art teacher who runs away from the tragedy of her sister’s death to recuperate in the small town of Cassadaga, but her grief leads to a short dabbling into the occult which opens a door to even more terror. While not a full success, this little horror thriller earns points for moving beyond the norm to include ghosts, a serial killer, multiple red herrings, and a mildly unconventional lead.

[DVD extras: None]

disc don jonDon Jon

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and directed) is obsessed with his body, girls, cleanliness, and family, but none of it compares to his love of online porn. Then he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and he realizes there just might be something even better. Not funny enough to be a good comedy, not interesting enough to be a good drama, the only thing of value here is Brie Larson‘s brief and nearly silent supporting role. Skip it and watch Short Term 12 instead.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes]

disc hell babyHell Baby

Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb are expecting a bouncing baby boy, and the evil spirits that populate their home have a little something to say about nature versus nurture. This comedy/horror flick is severely lacking in both halves of that genre equation, but there are still enough laughs here to make a watch worthwhile for fans of the cast which also includes Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Michael Ian Black, and more.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel]

disc nightmare cityNightmare City

A military cargo plane lands and out pours a gaggle of radiated people with murder in their eyes. They also have a hankering for the red stuff, and soon they’re leaving a trail of bodies across town. Umberto Lenzi‘s zombie-like tale lacks the punch of bigger and better films, but there’s some good fun to be had here thanks to the bloody bits and a wacky sense of humor.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interview, trailers, booklet]

disc ritualRitual

A couple is stalked by members of a cult, but the setup drags on and the execution is uninspired. After Dark Originals are hit and miss when it comes to the quality of the various entries, but I’ve liked more than I haven’t. Sadly, this dull and icily-paced thriller falls into the latter camp. Skip it and watch Race With the Devil instead.

[DVD extras: None]

disc sanitariumSanitarium

Even with the success of the V/H/S films and the popularity of Trick r Treat, horror anthology films still aren’t as common as they should be (or used to be). This direct to DVD one isn’t up to their level of creativity and scares, but it offers mild genre thrills all the same. The cast is fun too including Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Englund, and John Glover‘s hair.

[DVD extras: None]

disc shaolin warriorShaolin Warrior

I’ve seen better looking films shot on cell phones. Skip it and watch Force of Five instead.

[DVD extras: None]

disc sweetwaterSweetwater

A pioneer woman (January Jones) is forced into a corner of vengeance when her husband is killed by a twisted preacher (Jason Isaacs). Lucky for her an equally twisted lawman (Ed Harris) is on her side. Jones still isn’t much of an actress, but she’s at her most impressive here (and not just because she also goes topless). It’s a slight film in many ways, but Harris’ performance and some copious bloodletting make it one worth watching.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Discs Section: Also

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and review material was unavailable:

CBGB
Inappropriate Comedy
Last Love
Love Marilyn
One Direction: This Is Us
Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 1
Wolf Blood: Season One


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