Welcome back to This Week In Discs!
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
The universe is filled with mystery, and for several years the best place learn more about in on a weekly basis was the show In Search Of… with host Leonard Nimoy. The series tackled all manner of the unknown from aliens to the Bermuda Triangle to conspiracies to the Loch Ness Monster and beyond. The Bigfoot episode was where I first saw footage of the creature walking through the woods. Sure the video was later debunked, but it was magic unspooling across the screen and I still remember my first viewing.
Several of the episodes are dated, but many of the topics remain mysteries to this day. Note: Amazon.ca has the set cheaper so we’re linking there. [Extras: Featurette, all eight episodes of the 2002 remake with Mitch Pileggi]
Pitch: Second best use of the Halloween theme since, well, Halloween…
Why Buy? Norman is a little boy who can see and communicate with the dead, but instead of crying about it or telling Bruce Willis some really depressing news he finds himself tasked with saving the entire town. It seems a witches curse has brought the dead back to life, and they’re out for revenge. Or are they? Laika, the folks behind Coraline, return with more stop-motion magic to tell a tale loaded with love for Amblin-style 80s horror, and it’s an absolute delight to watch. The script is a fantastic mix of gags, heart and real story, and the visuals are beautiful and fun. It’s also pretty ballsy for a kids flick, and that’s to be applauded. [Extras: Featurettes, commentary, 2D/3D versions]
Pitch: I unintentionally insulted Dominic Monaghan at SXSW by wondering aloud why he was there for the film instead of, say, Shannyn Sossamon…
Why Rent? Five stragglers wander a post-apocalyptic America in search of safe haven, but when their latest sanctuary turns out to be a trap they find themselves besieged and outnumbered by hungry cannibals. As post-apocalyptic thrillers go, this one is okay. It’s far more low-key and atmospheric than some and more interested in mood and effect than bombastic action sequences. There are some cool touches, as well as a nude Shannyn Sossamon, but overall there isn’t much here to make it stand apart in the genre. Fans of the scenario and the cast (which also includes Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore) should check it out, but everyone else will probably want to pass. [Extras: Commentary, trailer]
Pitch: Shia LaBeouf gets beaten to a pulp here. If that isn’t enough of a reason to watch I don’t know what is…
Why Rent? The true story of Virginia’s Bondurant brothers (Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Shia LaBeouf) is the inspiration for this tale of bootlegging, gunfights and corruption from director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave. Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman co-star, one more so than the other, and their addition makes this a cast worth watching. The film itself is fine, but few of the characters manage to really click. Hardy is the only real exception as he brings his quiet, eldest brother the closest to being a fascinating and “real” person. [Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, music video]
Pitch: They had me at Josh Brolin playing a young Tommy Lee Jones…
Why Rent? Agent J (Will Smith) discovers that an evil villain (Jemaine Clement) has altered time by killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) in his youth. Of course, this should mean that J was never recruited into the agency, but let’s cut them some slack. J goes back in time to work with a young K (Josh Brolin) and discovers secrets both personal and world-bending. Director Barry Sonnenfeld is back too, and the result is an entertaining-enough diversion that fits snugly between the first and second films in quality. The effects are mostly good, and there are some legitimate laughs as well. Sure you’ll forget most of it shortly after popping out the disc, but it’ll be just like you were neurolyzed! [Extras: Featurettes, gag reel, music video, 2D/3D versions]
Pitch: The revolution will be televised. On Dancing With The Stars…
Why Rent? A terrorist organization called The Mob is wreaking havoc across Miami with impromptu works of flash mobbery and performance art. Emily’s dream is to be a dancer even if her real estate magnate father (Peter Gallagher’s Eyebrows) has other plans, but when she meets kitchen-worker Sean and discovers his involvement in The Mob there’s no turning back. This is not my kind of movie, and (unsurprisingly) it’s not a good movie, but there’s some definite fun to be had here. Some of the dance choreography and set pieces are addictively entertaining, and there’s no shame in admitting that. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Music videos, deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes, 2D/3D versions]
Pitch: Twilight‘s only hot vampire takes time off for some less exciting ghost busting…
Why Avoid? Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (some guy who in no way deserves Ashley Greene) are house-sitting when they discover an evil spirit claiming possession is 9/10ths of the law. It seems Ben and his friends communicated with the beyond a few years ago, and now the spirit is seeking a foothold in the physical world. This wannabe chiller is the blandest and most poorly paced goddamn horror film in some time with absolutely zero scare/suspense beats. Greene is easy on the eyes, but the story and script don’t do anyone any favors. A horror film without scares or atmosphere is a pointless creation. [Extras: Featurettes] Skip it and watch The Changeling instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
6 Degrees of Hell
Cagney & Lacey: Complete Series
Luck: The Complete First Season
McMillan & Wife: Complete Series