Welcome back to This Week In DVD! You should already have the fourth Mission: Impossible film on pre-order, and other titles out this week include the very funny Bob’s Burgers, a quartet of sexy nurse movies from Roger Corman, the second season of HBO’s Treme and more.
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Brandon (Michael Fassbender) seems to have it all, at least on the outside. He has a high-paying job, a great Manhattan apartment and a life filled with beautiful women. That last one isn’t as fun as it sounds though as the arrival of his little sister (Carey Mulligan) pulls the lid back on his uncontrollable obsession with sex and reveals a man who loathes himself. It’s probably the most depressing, sex-filled movie you’ve seen in some time, but Fassbender’s performance is also one of the bravest. Steve McQueen’s film turns what could have been an unsympathetic condition into a mix of the pitiful and heartbreaking. Powerful, uncompromising performances and filmmaking.
Bob’s Burgers: The Complete 1st Season
Pitch: If a vegetarian can love this show…
Why Buy? Bob owns a hamburger shop that he runs with his family including a wife, son and two daughters, but that’s far from a recipe for success. I’m a late-comer to this animated Fox show, but just a single episode with the brilliant Kevin Kline as Bob’s landlord Calvin Fischoeder was enough to hook me, but thankfully he’s actually in many of the episodes. The rest of the voice talents are also great including Archer‘s H Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman and more. It’s a lower profile part of Fox animation domination, but it’s one of the best. Give it a try.
Frozen Planet: The Complete UK Series
Pitch: If the world does end in ice the Emperor Penguins will expect us to kneel before them…
Why Buy? Professional narrator David Attenborough narrates this 3-disc series that explores both the North and South Poles with cameras that go above, below and in the ice to find all creatures great and small. Like the filmmakers’ previous series, Planet Earth, this one is filled with breath-taking photography of nature and her inhabitants. Attenborough has a fine voice, but one of the nice features here is the option to listen to a music-only track for the series. Like the best of these documentaries there’s a mix of behaviors and events to delight, entertain and occasionally depress viewers, but as these are places that most of us will never see in person this presentation is truly the next best thing.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pitch: Any fans of the old Epyx game, Impossible Mission, out there? I miss my Commodore 64…
Why Buy? Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces his most impossible mission yet… reinvigorate the franchise. And he succeeds brilliantly with this Brad Bird-directed, action-filled romp that sees Hunt and friends go from Russia to Dubai to Mumbai with barely a dull moment to be found. (You have to wait until the film’s final few minutes for the only bad part of the film.) Cruise shines here, especially during the much talked about Burj Khalifa window scaling, but the supporting cast is also top notch including Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and the lovely Paula Patton.
Pitch: The director’s high point remains Hitman. Take that as you will…
Why Rent? The apocalypse comes and nine strangers descend into a bunker trying to survive, but as the days turn to more days this fragile group of personalities begins to crumble and clash. Director Xavier Gens struck a nerve with some viewers who inexplicably began referring to this film as “extreme” and “intense” and “not for the easily offended,” but just about all of that can be chalked up to hyperbole. It’s a dark thriller, to be sure, but it’s more frustrating than satisfying, and only remains watchable thanks to an interesting cast, a few standout scenes and a surprisingly beautiful ending.
Pitch: It’s almost like a prerequisite for documentaries is to be depressing…
Why Rent? Remember the financial crash from a few years ago? Yeah, the one featuring several companies that were reportedly too big to fail and therefore in need of taxpayer assistance. Don’t worry. Those companies are all back to making billion dollar profits. How are you doing? This doc from David Sington examines the root causes that led to the disaster and offers ideas to help avoid the economic meltdown from happening again. Sure they’ll never be applied by those in power, but it’s fun to dream isn’t it?
The Man On the Train
Pitch: Your move Adam Clayton, your move…
Why Rent? A thief (Larry Mullen Jr) comes to a small town intent on robbing a bank, but as he awaits the perfect opportunity he finds himself in the company of a retired professor (Donald Sutherland) with a gift for gab. Conversation leads to revelations about each other and an unvoiced regret for what could have been. This remake of Patrice Laconte’s French film is slow-paced but manages to engage thanks to a relatively smart script and the joy of seeing Sutherland back in a leading role. Seriously. The poor guy seems to only play characters who get killed in the first twenty minutes these days.
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: The Nurses Collection
Pitch: I wonder if my HMO cover this kind of treatment…
Why Rent? The latest Roger Corman release from Shout! Factory includes four New World classics about nurses who give excellent bedside service. Candy Stripe Nurses features sexy nurses, armed robbery and doping scandals! Night Call Nurses features sexy nurses, hippies engaging in free love and opens with a suicide! Private Duty Nurses features sexy nurses, motocross and an emergency tracheotomy! The Young Nurses features sexy nurses, nude kite-flying and instructions on applying yogurt to combat your vaginal infection! All four are exactly what you expect.
Treme: The Complete Second Season
Pitch: Favorite New Orleans memory? Leaving Pensacola at midnight for a three hour drive to hit up Café du Monde with a friend…
Why Rent? The second season of this New Orleans-set series sees the incredibly eclectic mix of residents and visitors continuing to live their day to day lives in the face of post-Katrina struggles. Unlike some of HBO’s current shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire this show has never become must-watch viewing for me. And I’m not sure why. It’s filled with fantastic actors and music, but the various story threads just never grabbed me. Still, fans of the cast, the city and richly topical narratives should check it out.
Pitch: Hey everyone, Val Kilmer lost weight! Still starring in shitty movies though…
Why Avoid? A hundred years ago a young boy killed his entire family. Now a group of strangers find themselves trapped by a storm and forced to spend the night in that same house with Ving Rhames as their host. A generic plot doesn’t necessarily mean a bad movie because it’s the execution that matters, but this one is a dud. Everyone starts dying, but you won’t care. Val Kilmer is actually the only entertaining element of the movie as he plays a complete dick and plays it well.
Pitch: The psycho from the brilliant Inside plays an unhappy woman. Keep her away from the knives…
Why Avoid? A young man finds himself uninterested in his peers but fascinated by his middle aged aunt, Nadia (Béatrice Dalle). The two hit it off and spend serious time together, but their worlds slowly unravel as their incompatible truths come to light. This French drama is paced like a stereotypical French drama, and that’s a bad thing. Dalle’s performance almost makes up for the film’s overall dullness, but her character and the narrative aren’t interesting enough to stick with her.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
Eight Is Enough: The Complete First Season
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?