Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves riding giant eagles to the break of dawn. 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!
Pitch: Insert your own “to the break of dawn!” joke here…
Why Buy? Sometimes a movie can seem great at first but begin to show major flaws on a second viewing (Zombieland), and sometimes your opinion stays the same no matter how many times you see the movie (Die Hard). And once in a while, a movie that just didn’t do it for you on first viewing surprises you later on and becomes something you’ll want to watch again and share with friends and family… and Werner Herzog’s loose re-imagining of Bad Lieutenant is one of those movies. The story involving drug kingpins and murdered immigrants is mere window dressing as the central attraction here is Nicolas Cage. Period. Think of any adjective, and odds are it can be applied to his performance here. Is that a good thing? I don’t know, but I do know it’s entertaining as hell to watch.
Extra Features? Featurette, packet of faux cocaine
Pitch: Follow in the giant rotoscoped footsteps of Billy Barty on an adventure throughout Middle Earth…
Why Buy? For fans of JRR Tolkien’s novels this is a no-brainer, but even fans of animation and adventure in general will enjoy this classic from 1978. Most of the voices are from unrecognizable sources (aside from John Hurt and Anthony Daniels), but that only helps you immerse yourself into this (at times) beautifully drawn fantasy world. The story is familiar of course with Frodo’s quest to return the ring to Mount Doom, battles involving giant eagles, orcs, dwarves, and more, and the eternal creepiness of Gollum… are there flaws like its abridgment and inconsistent rotoscoping technology? Sure. But even if you’re preferred version is Peter Jackson’s incredible live-action trilogy you just might get swept up in Ralph Bakshi’s animated classic.
Extra Features? Featurette
Pitch: It’s a Syfy Channel flick. Do you really need to know anything else…
Why Rent? You do? Okay, how’s this. It’s a western that features residents of a small town facing off against alien insects. It’s Rio Bravo meets Starship Troopers meets Tremors. And it’s not nearly as good as any of those three movies. But damnit it’s still a western about a small town facing off against alien insects! Throw in Buffy’s James Marsters for good measure and you have a guaranteed good time… for fans of cheap genre cinema who don’t require a lot of bang for their buck.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Imagine the odd couple working together to solve crimes! Cue the hilarious personality clash…
Why Rent? Jameson Parker’s career highpoint may have been John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, but his steady paycheck for several years was this CBS show about brothers who run a detective agency. He’s the neat straight arrow, and Gerald McRaney is the rough around the edges older brother. Together they solve mysteries, catch bad guys, and irritate their mother. It’s still a fun show to watch today so give it a chance! (But you should probably start with Season One.)
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Fans of all things disgusting and vile should enjoy this one…
Why Rent? This Hungarian flick almost defies categorization. The imagery of graphic sex, bodily fluids, and a flamethrower penis combined with a three arc structure result in one of the odder and more surreal films you’re likely to see. The three sections follow different generations of one family and are a study of the process of life from birth to death. Or it’s a look at Hungary pre and post Communism. Or it’s something completely different. Check out my full review here for more detail and some tasty pictures.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: You haven’t seen a Christian Slater impression until you’ve seen Christian Slater do one…
Why Avoid? It should come as no surprise that a Stephen King short story has been adapted into a less than interesting feature. After all, the video store shelves are full of them. (In fact there are probably more bad adaptations then there are video stores…) It doesn’t help that King’s story is a fairly one-note revenge tale either that has been stretched out to feature length by adding verbal padding and multiple opportunities for stars Wes Bentley and Christian Slater to grimace at each other. Go rent Highwayman instead. It’s a different kind of car flick all together, you’ve probably never seen it, and it features some fantastic auto stunts.
Extra Features? Featurettes
Pitch: Hulk Hogan and his entire family star in this flick. Pretty much says all you need to know about the movie doesn’t it…
Why Avoid? I remember seeing a TV special a while back about a little kid with crazy muscles. Richard Sandrak was his name, and there were questions at the time as to whether or not his parents were mistreating him in order to attain his fat-free physique. Not sure whatever happened with that, but I’d say their ultimate cruelty was letting him star in this movie as the young Hercules. Terrible effects, poor acting from everyone involved… I’d stick with Disney’s Hercules. Hell, even that Eddie Murphy movie where one of his female personas claps his/her hands at the dinner table saying “Hercules, Hercules, Hercules” is more entertaining than this cheaply made cash-in.
Extra Features? Free steroids in every box!
Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Beeswax, Blood Red Moon, Blood Ties: The Complete Series, The Unusuals: The Complete Series
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?