Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves kicking ass and taking names in Thai. 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: No lesser authority than Film School Rejects itself once called this “the greatest martial arts movie ever made”…
Why Buy? While I would never succumb to the hyperbole that FSR did, I will concede that Tony Jaa’s self-directed sequel is a spectacle of limb-flailing proportions. The story may leave you wanting, but the bone-crunching action and explosively kinetic fight choreography will fill that void like a lubed fist of fury. And you’re very welcome for planting that image in your head.
Extra Features? Alternate cut on 2-Disc Collector’s Edition, featurettes
Pitch: Imagine Shaun of the Dead but in English and with a little less wit…
Why Buy? I wasn’t as enamored of this zom-com as the rest of the FSR gang was, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Sure it’s an incredibly slight 88 minutes, and sure the characters repeatedly make ridiculously stupid and predictable decisions, but there’s no denying the movie is wonderfully gory and funny. It works for both comedy fans and zombie fans, and is a fun little flick to toss in when friends come over.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: House sit for some creepy strangers at their spooky old mansion in the middle of nowhere? What could go wrong…
Why Rent? Ti West’s ode to eighties horror succeeds more at the ode part than the horror, but it’s still a worthwhile watch for fans of old school fright flicks. West nails the look, sound, and style of the decade, and he does manage a fair amount of suspense and dread mixed in with scenes of Jocelin Donahue walking and walking and walking. Just be aware it takes exactly thirty-seven minutes for anything to happen. And almost that long again for something else to happen. It’s the last thirty minutes where things really start to pick up and come together, so rent this one because you probably won’t be watching it a second time.
Extra Features? Commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: LeBron James wasn’t always the overpaid superstar he is today, but he was always a super basketball player…
Why Rent? I never got around to seeing this one which would usually relegate a title to the “Also out this week…” section at the bottom, but this time I’m taking someone else’s opinion. Daniel (aka @ddoginsidefilm) from KillerFilm.com commented that he had seen it, so I asked what he thought… “Pretty standard doc but great game footage and compelling relationships with coach and family. Pretty captivating at times.” So there you go.
Extra Features? Featurettes
Pitch: If nothing else you’ll chuckle during the Orlando Bloom segment when you notice he’s watching the animated The Hobbit…
Why Rent? Anthology movies are hit or miss by their very nature, and this thematic follow-up to Paris, je t’aime is no different. Characters cross paths in the slightest of ways throughout several individual (and often very short) tales, and while most are fairly average there are a few standouts. The bit with Anton Yelchin and Olivia Thirlby is absurd fun, and the stories with Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke, Chris Cooper, Robin Wright, and Shu Qui are smart, sweet, and attractively done. I won’t name the mediocre ones except to say that Hayden Christensen’s terrible acting is unavoidable even in five minute form.
Extra Features? Two bonus segments, featurettes
Pitch: A boat trip in the Bermuda Triangle? What could go wrong…
Why Rent? Too many direct to DVD thrillers these days are straight forward in their good guy/bad guy scenarios and predictable in their outcome. This is not one of those movies. Instead, writer/director Christopher Smith presents an intriguing little mystery about a group of friends on a capsized boat and the ship that comes along to rescue them. And by ‘rescue’ of course I mean… not rescue at all. Melissa George is also always worth watching.
Extra Features? Featurette
Pitch: The Muscles from Brussels and the Russian dude who killed Apollo Creed go head to head. Again…
Why Rent? I’ve always found Jean-Claude Van Damme’s movies to be more miss than hit, but JCVD revealed the man still has a few tricks up his tight sleeves. The original Universal Soldier was a fair amount of fun, and by all rights this straight to DVD sequel should have been a steaming pile of testosterone… except it isn’t. Instead director John Hyams has crafted a pretty damn entertaining and solid action flick. The fact that Brian Salisbury and I agree on this one (his review here) should also carry quite a bit of weight for those of you paying attention.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: An incredible woman who broke boundaries both literal and figurative, had adventures thousands of feet above the earth, and remains a mystery to this day receives a bland, boring, and unremarkable biopic…
Why Avoid? The pitch pretty much says all I have to say on this surprisingly tepid film from Mira Nair. Any single frame from Nair’s beautiful and lively Monsoon Wedding contains more energy and life than this grounded affair.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, featurette
Pitch: Why yes, I am tempted to say “shit happens.” But this isn’t a terrible movie, just a wholly unremarkable one…
Why Avoid? Like I said above this is neither bad nor good… it just is. Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart star as characters who do exactly what you think they’ll do in a story that goes exactly where you think it’ll go. It’s not a goofy romantic comedy, and in fact it’s really not that romantic or comedic at all. What I’m trying to say here is I’d avoid this one unless you’re particularly enamored by either of the stars.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, faeturette
Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Adam, Daytime Drinking, Dr. Who: The Complete Specials, Planet Hulk, Sensored, Stoned
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?