Welcome back to This Week In Discs!
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Nitro Circus is a group of friends who routinely perform dangerous stunts for their own entertainment, and the roster includes folks with names like ‘Street Bike’ Tommy, ‘Special’ Greg Powell and Arron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham. They’re like the Jackass crew, but instead of stapling frogs to their nut sacks or seeing who can fart the biggest fireball these guys (and one gal) do actual stunts involving motorcycles, cars, modified Big Wheels and more. It’s a massive difference, because instead of wanting them to get hurt you’re wanting to see them succeed. They also truly appreciate each other before, durring and after the stunts as opposed to trying to humiliate each other on camera. This is a fun and suspenseful watch, but as a reminder Pick of the Week status doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a recommended buy, just that it’s a release worthy of attention. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, interview]
Pitch: Pixar let a woman co-direct! And the result is their least critically acclaimed original release…
Why Buy? Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a teen princess scheduled for betrothal, but her free spirit and burgeoning independence lead to an act of rebellion with dramatic consequences. Pixar’s latest wasn’t as beloved as many of its predecessors, but even if the depth is lighter than expected it still manages to deliver some stunning animation and rollicking adventure. I could listen to Macdonald’s voice forever, and that combined with the beautiful visuals and Patrick Doyle’s score make for an entertaining sensory experience. The 5-disc set includes the film on Blu-ray and DVD, a bonus Blu, a digital copy and a 3D Blu, and it’s absolutely loaded with a solid assortment of special features. [Extras: Short films, featurettes, extended/alternate scenes, commentary]
Pitch: Funniest scene in the movie? Napoleon is a Ziggie Piggy…
Why Rent? Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buds who make up in enthusiasm what they lack in smarts, but when a mysterious man (George Carlin) in a phone booth appears to send them back in time they know exactly how to use the past to protect their future. Look, you know the movie, and odds are you kind of like it. This was actually my first viewing though, and I gotta say… it’s ridiculously light on both content and comedy. Fans will want to pick up the Blu for the new special features, but if you’re new to the film give it a rent first. You may find it to be more than a little dated. [Extras: Featurettes, episode of cartoon]
Pitch: Not to brag or anything, but I’ve met Imogen Poots and I didn’t laugh once at her wonderfully entertaining name…
Why Rent? Sam (Craig Roberts) has big dreams and a small reality, but when he meets Mary (Imogen Poots) he decides it’s time to take a chance. Unfortunately that lands him right in the middle of a hostage situation along with her and her boss. Timothy Spall and Kevin McKidd co-star in this mostly single-location, offbeat film, and fans of the cast will want to give it a chance. Writer/director Simon Aboud can’t quite nail the tone though, and the result is a film that spends time as both a comedy and a drama without really committing to either one. Roberts riffs on his character from Submarine which isn’t a bad thing either. [Extras: Interviews]
Pitch: A film thirty four years in the making…
Why Rent? Roy Frumkes was a college student in 1978 when George Romero invited him to the set of Dawn of the Dead to document the filmmaking process, and the result was an insider’s look at the making of a horror classic. This doc was previously released, but Frumkes has gone back to flesh it out with more and better footage from the years between then and now. There are no great revelations here, but instead we get a solid look at an artist immersed in his craft alongside interviews and reunion footage that will earn more than a few smiles. Effects guru and stuntman Tom Savini is featured too, and he’s always worth a watch. [Extras: Commentary]
Pitch: Fox demons, warrior princesses and wire-fu…
Why Rent? Xiaowei is a demon freed from a frozen prison and allowed to walk the Earth feasting on human hearts, but what she really wants is the chance to become human once more. Jing (Vicki Zhao Wei) is a disfigured princess on a quest for the man she loves, and when the two meet a game of deceit and death is set in motion. This Hong Kong flick is automatically worth a rental for Wei alone, but it also has some beautiful visuals, stylish action and heartbreak. On the downside though it runs twenty minutes or more too long and features some inconsistent special effects. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Featurette]
Pitch: “It’s very come-like…”
Why Rent? When a CostCo security guard is slaughtered the store’s manager (Ben Stiller) creates a neighborhood watch to help catch his killer. Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade join the group, and together they discover the killer comes from someplace far, far away. Director Akiva Schaffer lets his leads cut loose resulting in a truly funny film loaded with laugh out load one-liners. The focus on laughs comes at the expense of story though as the plot seems secondary to the gags and giggles. Stiller is the straight guy while the other three deliver the hilarious goods throughout. [Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, alternate takes, featurettes]
Pitch: Will someone please tell Blake Lively to shut the hell up…
Why Avoid? Two best friends (Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson) and their shared vagina (Blake Lively) make their living growing and selling marijuana, but when competitors from south of the border threaten their livelihood the trio is forced into a bloody battle for their business and their lives. Director Oliver Stone delivers a violent and gritty tale that really should have been a lot more entertaining than it is. Part of the problem is Lively’s incessant and annoying narration, but the idea that all white drug dealers are good and all brown ones are evil is also kind of ridiculous. The ending is a big, ball-less cop out too. Both the unrated and theatrical cuts are included here. [Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, commentaries] Skip it and watch Salvador instead.
Pitch: Whatever happened to Chris Makepeace anyway…
Why Avoid? Goody (Alicia Silverstone) is a hundred plus year old vampire whose fellow vamp and best friend Stacy (Krysten Ritter) is several decades younger and romantically involved with the son of a world famous vampire hunter. When the possibility of love and the threat of a master vampire (Sigourney Weaver) collide not even the undead are safe from death. Writer/director Amy Heckerling reunites with her Clueless star, but the magic just isn’t there anymore. The laughs are forced, the drama is lacking and you’ll just feel embarrassed for Silverstone and friends. It’s far from the worst vampire comedy (I’m looking at you Vampire in Brooklyn), but it’s not good. Also available on DVD. [Extras: None] Skip it and watch the original Fright Night instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
2 Days in New York
Lost Girl: Season Two
Pixar Short Films Collection 2
The Queen of Versailles
Scooby Doo Where Are You: Complete Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Complete Series
Twilight’s Last Gleaming