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Rob Hunter loves movies.  He also loves rescuing beautiful Japanese damsels in distress while dressed in slimming black. 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!

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K-20: Fiend With Twenty Faces

Pitch: This is the period action movie The Phantom and The Shadow wanted to be, and the one The Green Hornet needs to be…

Why Buy? Simply put, this is a fun movie. Is it a little too long? Sure, 20-30 minutes could easily be trimmed off the two hour plus running time. But will you feel bored? Probably not. It’s an alternate 1949 and things are a bit different than we remember… there was no WWII and Japan is prospering. A masked villain known as K20 has become the most feared man in the nation as he steals anything and everything he wants from treasures to Tesla coils. Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a young circus performer who becomes suspect #1 and must set out to prove his innocence. Cue the zeppelins, gyro-copters, feats of derring do, rooftop shenanigans, and multiple action set-pieces. Solid entertainment for fans of action, spectacle, and old fashioned serials.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

Pitch: “Jesus was my co-pilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him…”

Why Rent? That quote above was written on a bumper sticker I had when I lived in Florida. Over the course of four months I received four notes on my windshield, one defacement of the sticker itself, and eventually the whole thing was ripped off my car. This documentary from Dan Merchant speaks to the jackasses responsible and acknowledges the missteps by Christians in America and the misconceptions on both sides of the religious divide. The refreshing thing about this doc though is that Merchant is himself a Christian, and he uses humor, humility, and honesty to get across a message of compassion and understanding. There will always be issues we disagree on, but there’s so many more that bring us together. And this isn’t an attack on Christians (or atheists), but it should serve as an important and overdue wake up call to Americans of all faiths. Buy it, watch it, then pass it off to your favorite believer.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurette

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44 Inch Chest

Pitch: “F*cks his wife. F*cks his f*ckin wife. You f*ckin wife-f*cker. You f*cked his f*ckin wife you wife-f*ckin c*nt…”

Why Rent? This is an odd flick filled with fantastic actors that are stellar on their own and equally incredible interacting with each other… Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, and Ian McShane. Awesome. A group of retired British ruffians come together to aid a friend when his wife leaves him for another man. By ‘aid’ I mean they kidnap the other man and toss him in a cupboard… and then spend the night dealing with their bound and gagged prisoner, their intoxicated and hallucinating friend, and their own strange conversations. I won’t ruin anything that happens except to say that it’s nothing that you expect. Oh, and as my pitch above shows the language here would make Hit-Girl blush.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

Avatar

Pitch: A human soldier forgoes his own kind in favor of joining the blue underdogs in their fight for the right to fornicate with trees…

Why Rent? The responsible critic in me really wants to move Avatar to the ‘Avoid’ category to help people avoid the eventual double-dipping that will happen when the four-disc special edition hits shelves later this year. But instead I’ll be realistic… if you skipped the movie in theaters or if you enjoyed it and want to watch it again, rent this version… but do not buy it. Please. For the love of Pandora, DO NOT BUY THIS EMPTY CASH-GRAB EDITION.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? None

Cheech & Chong’s Hey Watch This

Pitch: Come on, it’s 4/20. I have to recommend you rent this…

Why Rent? But seriously, these guys are still pretty funny. I’ve never found them hilarious mind you (aside from their take on The Corsican Brothers which I still say is under-appreciated), but these two still have a chemistry that plays off of decades of friendship, years of conflict, and a joint appreciation for the finer things in life.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes

Godspeed

Pitch: Sin has a way of following the sinner to the end…

Why Rent? You don’t hear the term “indie thriller” very often because the two are usually pretty exclusive. Low budgets don’t usually allow for action scenes or suspenseful set-pieces. But what most indie film-makers seem to forget, and what co-writer Cory Knauf remembered is that the best thrillers start with interesting characters in intriguing situations. Godspeed sees a man of faith tested beyond limits by the violent death of his family and his descent into a solitary existence, but he finds something worth fighting for when the killers enter his life again. There are some dull stretches and not all the characters work, but director Robert Saitzyk keeps things interesting with some beautiful Alaskan scenery.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes

Mammoth

Pitch: Does the talented and beautiful Michelle Williams intentionally choose films that no one will ever see? Or are the studios just not offering her bigger roles…

Why Rent? Michelle Williams and Gael Garcia-Bernal are a seemingly happy couple in a loft apartment in Soho, but their apartment (by Ikea) is not as warm and happy as it seems. He heads off to Thailand on a work-related trip and finds himself lost in serious contemplation about his existence. She meanwhile spends her time focused on a hospital job that keeps her distant from their daughter. Also in the mix is their nanny, a woman from the Philippines with family troubles of her own. The movie is beautiful and the soundtrack/score is fantastic, but there is absolutely nothing traditional about the narrative. It has a definite point and a message, but if you’re waiting for a dramatic revelation or sudden event to drive it all home you’re out of luck.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

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Deadly Impact

Pitch: One half of the Boondock Saints vs. Guido the Killer Pimp. Only man can survive…

Why Avoid? I’ve never been on the hunt for a “master criminal” but I have to imagine the real thing bears zero resemblance to Deadly Impact. Sean Patrick Flanery leaves his charisma at the door as a cop forced to kill his own wife by the murderous chameleon known as The Lion (Joe Pantoliano). Favorite bit is when they find out this international mastermind’s real identity because he had to use his real info in order to pass a cleaning company’s application security check. I mentioned he was an international mastermind right? Dialogue and acting are stiff, characters are unbelievable, and the action scenes are low-rent… in fact the only degree of enthusiasm on display comes from Steven Gutheinz and his over the top and energetic score.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Homecoming

Pitch: One reviewer called this a mix of Fatal Attraction and Misery for the Gossip Girl generation. So if that’s a plus for you…

Why Avoid? Did you not see the mention of Gossip Girl above? This is just a bland little thriller that forgot to include any thrills or characters for you to care about. Mischa Barton stars as a wacko who accidentally runs over her ex’s new girlfriend and then decides to keep her prisoner. Not a single interesting or exciting thing happens after that.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Deleted scenes

The Lovely Bones

Pitch: A young girl is abducted, probably molested, and killed by Julia Child’s husband. What a beautiful world we live in…

Why Avoid? I haven’t read the novel so I can only comment on the movie, but this is a ridiculous story about how beautiful and wonderful life is even if you’re a girl who was diddled to death by a stranger. The positive spin the movie tries to put on the girl’s murder is misguided at best and offensive at worst. Throw in an afterlife made of equal parts Crayola and CGI and you have the makings of an unintentional (but sadly unfunny) comedy.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? None

Uncertainty

Pitch: The only certainty here is that this movie is one giant missed opportunity…

Why Avoid? Joseph Gordon-Levitt is usually pretty reliable, and the flip of a coin that leads to two dueling story-lines is inherently interesting, but it just doesn’t work.  Heads sends them to her family’s house for a Fourth of July picnic and a grilling on their relationship, and tails sees them chased through Manhattan by killers after they find a cell phone with some very valuable data on it. The two tales couldn’t be more different plot-wise, but they both share a complete lack of energy. Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins both seem as bored in the movie as you’ll be watching it.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes

Wake

Pitch: A girl who visits funerals for kicks mistakenly ends up romantically involved with a dead girl’s fiance. Yes, it’s as funny as it sounds…

Why Avoid? Romantic comedy involving mistaken identity? Thriller involving murder and drug addiction? I don’t know, and neither do the film-makers. Then there’s this exchange… Ian Somerhalder tells Bijou Phillips “Hey, I want to talk to you about something.” Literally twenty seconds later he tells her “Hey, remember when I said I wanted to talk to you about something?” This gag works in Wet Hot American Summer because it is in fact a gag… but it happens here in utter seriousness.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, featurette

Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Cloud 9, Crazy Heart, The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie, Necrosis, Peacock, Prom Wars, Solar Anus Cinema, Summer Hours (Criterion), Surviving Crooked Lake, The Take, Vivre sa vie (Criterion), The Young Victoria

Read More: This Week in DVD

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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