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Rob Hunter loves movies.  He also loves playing drums in a Genesis cover band. 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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Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years

Pitch: Thirty-five Clint Eastwood movies at roughly $4 per flick…

Why Buy? This would probably make a better gift than a purchase for yourself, but you can’t go wrong with the price/film ratio. All the Dirty Harry flicks, several of his best westerns, a handful of stinkers, and one of my personal Eastwood faves, The Gauntlet. The only thing that may keep this from being a Buy is that the discs sit in sleeves instead of proper cases. The movies include various extras, and they’re joined by a new (and very short) doc from critic Richard Schickel featuring some interesting time spent with Eastwood on the Warner Bros. lot.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Booklet, documentary

Hunger (Criterion)

Pitch: Vampires… have nothing to do with this true-life tale about a hunger strike in a British prison…

Why Buy? IRA prisoners are people too apparently, and they demand to be treated as such. Politics of the film aside, this is a brutal and devastating examination of the human spirit that demands to be seen (my review here). More than the message though the movie stands out due in large part to the incredible performance by Michael Fassbender. It’s painful watching both the character and the actor suffer for their beliefs.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurettes

Law Abiding Citizen

Pitch: We all need some guilty pleasures on our DVD shelves…

Why Buy? Gerard Butler plays a man who loses everything to some bad men and a bad legal system, so he sets out for revenge… against everyone. Solid suspense, fantastic shocks and twists, and a dark sense of humor pervade this flick and only a high level of implausibility and a weak final twenty minutes keeps it from being a classic. Still lots of fun though and one I’ll be adding to my shelf. (Cole Abaius’ review here)

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurettes

Revanche (Criterion)

Pitch: Revenge is a dish best served by Phil Collins…

Why Buy? My love for revenge-themed films is well documented, and this is one of the more powerful and unusual ones (my review here). It’s a definite slow-burn, but it’s also a brilliant exploration of guilt and responsibility as a thief in search of a better life with his girlfriend instead loses her to a policeman’s bullet. Gripping, intense, and not to be missed. Also, the thief is played by an actor that looks like a late seventies Phil Collins.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurettes, short film

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Barnaby Jones: The Complete First Season

Pitch: Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Buddy, he’s a PI detective and an old fuddy duddy…

Why Rent? Ah early seventies detective shows… with the announcers that read the episode title and names of the guest stars to you, the subtle racist references, and the overly dramatic musical cues. Good stuff. Buddy Ebsen plays an unlikely detective with his silver hair and addiction to milk, but he makes it work. This is my first time watching the show, and its an entertaining piece of nostalgia for fans of the genre (which I am). Another plus? First episode features a guest crossover by “Cannon” himself, William Conrad. I miss when shows had crossover episodes, don’t you?

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Black Dynamite

Pitch: “Hey man, you sent her in her with them titties, what’d you expect…”

Why Rent? I’m not all that experienced with blaxploitation flicks, but even without that knowledge this movie still manages to be pretty damn funny. From creative editing, to songs with lyrics that describe the scenes onscreen, to six-shot revolvers that fire hundreds of rounds without reload, to a Captain Kangaroo Pimp, to animated astrological sex… this is funny shit. Credit has to go to Michael Jai White in the title role for a killer performance too. He carries the action, the comedy, and the bad-assery all equally well. (Neil Miller’s review here)

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

Pitch: “[This movie] has smegma in it. That’s all you need to know about it to know whether or not you’re going to like it…”

Why Rent? I borrowed that pitch from Peter S Hall’s review over at HorrorSquad. It really does sum the movie up perfectly, and it serves to highlight one of the more disgusting scenes you’re bound to see in a horror movie. One of many disgusting scenes you’ll see here… Truth be told I’m no fan of the original (except for the crazy bit with that nutty kid), but even that was a better movie than this mess of a film abandoned by its own director due to studio interference. So why am I recommending it for a rental? Cause there’s smegma in it of course!

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes

Coco Before Chanel

Pitch: Audrey Tautou is charming and beautiful…

Why Rent? Seriously, I’ll watch Tautou in anything (yes, even The Da Vinci Code). Happily this movie’s worth watching for more than just my little elfin nymph. This biopic looks at the early life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel starting from her childhood in an orphanage up through her entry into high society. It could use a tighter pace at times, but it’s an interesting look at a woman who refused to let go of her ambition and it features another great performance from Tautou.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

Lincoln Heights: Season One

Pitch: It’s an ABC Family Channel show, so obviously I should hate it…

Why Rent? I’m man enough to admit when my preconceived notions are way off, and this is one of those times. A black cop moves his family to a rough LA neighborhood as part of a program to reconnect with the community, and not surprisingly the transition is a tough one. My expectation was that the show would be filled with equal parts melodrama and preaching, but I’m halfway through the first season and I’ve yet to find either. Instead it’s a engaging show with great characters, strong acting, and addictive story lines.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Women In Trouble

Pitch: Women in trouble? Try women in their underwear…

Why Rent? I’m not as sold on this flick as some of the other FSR writers are (Neil Miller’s review here), but it certainly has its charms. The two best charms? Emmanuelle Chriqui and Adrianne Palicki. Good lord they are two fine and funny women. The rest of the movie is hit and miss and consists mostly of women talking and chatting with the occasional bit of bathroom sex. Definitely worth a watch for the above mentioned assets.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, two teasers

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Hellhounds

Pitch: Bloodthirsty CGI dogs threaten the lives of two lovers…

Why Avoid? CGI dogs aren’t scary.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Cannibal Suburbia, Freeway Killer, Good Hair, Halo Legends, The Shooter Series Volume Two: F. Gary Gray, Small Wonder: The Complete First Season

Read More: This Week in DVD

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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