Once in a while a film gets released in theaters that’s so big other movies go out of their way to avoid coming out on the same weekend. The same thing happens on Tuesday’s with DVD releases where you’ll notice one major title alongside several films you’ve probably never heard of before. This week that major title is… Scouts Honor: Badge To the Bone.
Other titles out this week include Christopher Nolan’s conversation starter Inception, Shrek Forever After, two Roger Corman releases about memorable ladies with guns, a renamed Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, and more.
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 almost legitimately titled This Week In Blu-ray for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!
Big Bad Mama/Big Bad Mama II (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics)
Pitch: Angie Dickinson would like to introduce you to her two trampy daughters…
Why Buy? Shout! Factory drops a new double feature DVD about a gun-toting family of femme fatales, and while they’re not both winners they do both contain gunfights, nudity, and the Roger Corman stamp of quality approval. The first film from director Steve Carver manages to be surprisingly funny and sexy, and it features the incomparable talents of Tom Skerritt and William Shatner to boot! You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Shatner emote during a love scene. The sequel from Jim Wynorski features a Playboy Playmate but lacks the original’s spark of fun and naughtiness. Even so the two together along with commentary, interviews, and a retrospective featurette are a double feature worth owning.
Extra Features? Commentaries, interviews
Pitch: Folks like Cole Abaius are used to seeing Leonardo DiCaprio in their dreams, and now the rest of us can get in on the fun…
Why Buy? Cobb is a thief who enters people’s minds to steal information, and like every film about master thieves he’s out for one last score. Cue the intense score, spinning rooms, snowy fortress assaults, and incredibly cool special effects set pieces. Like most of Christopher Nolan’s films this one gets a little shaky under close scrutiny, but the ride and overall experience is a thing of beauty. The movie works both as pure popcorn entertainment and multifaceted thriller… it’s only a matter of how deep you want to go and where you come down on the spinning top. (Read Dustin Hucks’ overly zealous full review here.)
Extra Features? Making of
Crazy Mama/Lady In Red (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics)
Pitch: Starring Christopher Lloyd as “Frognose” and a frequently nude Nancy Drew…
Why Rent? Another double feature from Shout! Factory and Roger Corman pairs a comical but tame Jonathan Demme flick with a more straight forward tale about a gangster’s moll from director Lewis Teague. Cloris Leachman is the titular mama who finds the best family outings are the ones involving armed robbery. It’s goofy and lightweight, but worth watching for Demme fans. The second feature follows the downfall of John Dillinger (Robert Conrad) through the eyes of the woman who held his heart and sealed his fate. And yes, it does include a brief excursion into women-in-prison territory.
Extra Features? Commentaries, interviews, trailers
Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre
Pitch: Who’s up for some gory murders and political incorrectness on the open seas? A gaggle of tourists apparently…
Why Rent? A group of tourists in Iceland have the misfortune of boarding a boat captained by Leatherface, but things get even worse when they’re “rescued” by a boat load of homicidal fishermen. Slashers at sea are a rare breed, and this one manages a solid mix of bloody kills and unexpected laughs. The tone isn’t always consistent, but it’s an entertaining watch for genre fans unfamiliar with the international slasher scene. (Read my full review here.)
Extra Features? None
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
Pitch: The best documentaries are the ones that introduce you to people and events you’d never heard of before. This one’s pretty good too…
Why Rent? Hugh Hefner has made a career off the backs, fronts, and profiles of naked ladies. This is his story. The focus here is less interested in the strictly biographical and more about Hefner’s various struggles with folks afraid of boobies. He saw a few decades worth of legal battles and strong moral opposition, but his stance on free speech never faltered. Boobies are a powerful motivator it seems.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: What starts as a Boba Fett reunion in the world of Red vs Blue soon turns into an Enemy Mine remake…
Why Rent? Sandy Collora made an internet splash a few years ago with a short called Batman: Dead End (watch it here), but has now made partial move into feature length entertainment. Instead of Batman facing off against The Joker and two angry alien species this new film is an original tale about an interplanetary game of cat and mouse. A ship crash lands on a planet that resembles Southern California and the crew’s prisoner escapes into the desert. This is indie sci-fi so don’t expect lots of flash and it doesn’t hold the same appeal as his short, but it’s still an interesting next step for Collora’s slow move into the mainstream.
Extra Features? Commentary, making of
Reformat the Planet
Pitch: If word of this chiptunes craze gets out Nintendo may have a hit on their hands with the Gameboy machine…
Why Rent? Everyone knows Gameboys are fun game machines as well as chick magnets, but few users know they have a third even more impressive purpose. They can be modified into 8-bit synthesizers and used to make fun, retro sounding tunes suitable for rocking out at parties, get togethers, and hipster hangouts. This doc takes a surprisingly enjoyable look at the craze in NYC and beyond, and spends time with performers and fans of the music. Now excuse me, I’m off to the record store to find the latest album from Bitch Shitter.
Extra Features? Commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, music videos, booklet
Pitch: Welcome to the Korengal Valley. Population fifteen US soldiers and an unknown number of possible enemy combatants who want them dead…
Why Rent? A cameraman embeds himself with a platoon in “the most dangerous place on Earth” and gets to experience war on the front lines. There’s no before or after, no politics, and no judgment… just soldiers living day after day in the crosshairs of the enemy. Most will live, some will die, but regardless of your views on the war itself you will feel for these men and the journey they’ve voluntarily undertaken so we don’t have to. Fascinating, interesting, and harrowing (especially in the section that follows a three-day operation called Rock Avalanche), this is important filmmaking.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, interviews, updates on soldiers, photo gallery, PSAs
Shrek Forever After
Pitch: Following in the long history of the Shrek series the supporting characters are once again more entertaining than the three leads…
Why Rent? The Shrek franchise sees a fourth and probably final entry, and the biggest surprise is that it’s actually not terrible. The green lug is tricked by Rumplestilskin into accepting a world where he never existed and chaos predictably ensues. The character dynamic isn’t all that strong anymore and the laughs aren’t as frequent as in the first two films (but it’s far funnier than part three), but it still manages to be a solidly entertaining CGI flick that appeals to both kids and adults. (Read Robert Levin’s full review here.)
Extra Features? A short about a donkey
The Year Of Getting To Know Us
Pitch: The Jimmy Fallon Experiment continues…
Why Rent? A man returns to his hometown and discovers truths about himself and his relationship with his Asian girlfriend. Family issues past and present force him to confront the man he is, the man he wants to be, and the logical explanation behind his late night longevity. The film is based on two short stories by Ethan Canin and while it follows an oft-traveled plot path there is some fun to be found here.
Extra Features? Press conference footage
Pitch: Ving Rhames is Cain. And you will feel his wrath. If you drop the soap in the shower…
Why Avoid? Rhames plays an inmate sentenced to life and an ironic diagnosis of brain cancer. He decides to use his remaining time on Earth trying to help his two sons. Who are also inmates. So, yeah, a little too late on that one. But who would have thought a prison fighting movie could be so bland. On the up side, the film stars someone named Nipsey Hussle. On the down side, well, watch the movie.
Extra Features? None
Scouts Honor: Badge To the Bone
Pitch: It’s a sad day when not even the comedic stylings of Chris Kattan can redeem a film…
Why Avoid? I try not to feature titles here that I haven’t actually seen with my own eyes and ears, but I make some exceptions when a label of BUY, RENT, or AVOID is an extremely obvious choice to make. Exhibit A, the only piece of evidence I’m going by, is this trailer here. Watch at your own risk.
Extra Features? None
In the interest of full disclosure, I received review copies of the following DVDs for this week’s column:
Big Bad Mama/Big Bad Mama 2 (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics)
Crazy Mama/The Lady In Red (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics)
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, Rebel
Reformat the Planet
The Year Of Getting To Know Me
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and review material was unavailable:
Disciples Of the 36th Chamber
Fistful Of Brains
The Milk Of Sorrow
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?