Join us each week as Rob Hunter 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. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below.
This week sees several new releases, but not one looks to be worth more than a rental fee. Some of the titles out this week include 8: The Mormon Proposition, Diary Of a Nymphomaniac, Parasomnia, Terribly Happy, Street Hawk: The Complete Series, and more.
Check out all of this week’s relevant DVD releases after the jump…
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!
Nothing worth buying this week!
And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m heading to Hawaii this week and will be unable/unwilling to sit inside and watch movies…
Pitch: Remind me never to send my kids to an Australian high school…
Why Rent? Goddamn is this movie depressing. It opens with a locked bathroom door with blood seeping underneath from the other side, and then it jumps backward to that morning and introduces several teens. There’s the recently out gay kid, the jock whose life seems too perfect, his girlfriend who’s concerned he may be cheating, the geek whose second urethra occasionally leaks into his pants, a girl who may be pregnant, and her brother who feels immense pressure from their dad to be perfect. We follow them through the day and see different events from their different perspectives. There are also b&w interview snippets with each of them interspersed throughout the film. You can easily see why any of them would snap, but the question is who ends up in that locked room at 2:37pm?
Extra Features? Making of
8: The Mormon Proposition
Pitch: A religious organization sticking their noses, wallets, and hypocrisy into other people’s lives? Like that would ever happen…
Why Rent? California’s recent Proposition 8 was designed as a ban on gay marriage, and it was passed by the state’s voters. Normally that would be the end of the story but with an issue as contentious as this it’s guaranteed to be little more than a step in a very long journey. This doc looks at an interesting facet of the recent vote as it identifies members and officials of the Mormon Church who were behind a massive fund-raising effort in support of the proposition. As fascinating as it all is the doc is unavoidably one-sided… although I don’t know what the church would really say in their defense. Regardless of your stance on the issue, we can agree that no church should be involved in political efforts to affect the moral lives of other people. Right? Right?!
Extra Features? None
Diary Of A Nymphomaniac
Pitch: If the title isn’t enough to sell it I don’t think my pitch is going to help…
Why Rent? Are you a fan of love stories? If so, you should probably move on… but if you’ve had your fill of sickly sweet romance trumping all then this movie may be for you. It follows a woman who’s unapologetic about her love for sex and lack of interest in a relationship. Which means this film is filled to the trim with sex. It also has its fair share of unexpected heartache as our lead decides to take a chance on love. It’s an interesting film, and while I wouldn’t say it’s entirely successful it is a highly unusual look at modern day relationships.
Extra Features? Making of
The Girl By the Lake
Pitch: This lakefront view is beautiful. Would be even better without that naked dead girl laying on the shore…
Why Rent? Is it ‘laying’ or ‘lying?’ Never mind, there are more important questions in need of answering. Namely, who killed the beautiful teenage girl and left her dead by the lake? There are more than few suspects from the lying boyfriend to the creepy father to the even creepier neighbor, and the task of solving the crime falls to an older detective from out of town. The film rolls out the story and characters slowly, and while everything falls into place the resolution may not quite meet some viewer’s needs. Worth a watch for the beautiful cinematography at the very least.
Extra Features? None
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVIII
Pitch: You know the drill people. Bad movie plus humorous commentary equals a few hours of chuckles…
Why Rent? Say hello to four new (to DVD) MST3K classics for your mocking approval. Lost Continent, Crash Of the Moons, Jack Frost, and one of my favorites, The Beast Of Yucca Flats, all find new life as fodder for jokes and mockery. I find that I can’t watch multiple episodes of this show in a row, and I’m not sure why. But popping an episode in every once in while almost always guarantees a few laughs.
Extra Features? Featurette, intros, mini-posters
Pitch: Never fall in love with pretty girls in comas…
Why Rent? A young man comes across a sleeping beauty in a hospital and decides to take her home. Sounds like kidnapping I know, but he’s actually trying to protect her from doctors and their probes as well as from a bound and gagged psychopath down the hall. She suffers from an illness that leaves her asleep for much of her life, and dream worlds and reality clash as he discovers she’s fighting a battle within her unconscious mind. Director William Malone’s film lacks a little in the character department but more than makes up for it with some rather trippy visuals including a stellar stop-motion sequence. And you can’t go wrong with Jeffrey Combs in your movie either.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, making of interviews
The Superhero Squad Show: Volume One
Pitch: For folks who like their Marvel superheroes mixed with fart jokes..
Why Rent? Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Muppet Babies were merged with some ass-kicking Marvel superheroes? Me neither, but that’s my first thought upon seeing this series (that I had never heard of before receiving the DVD), and while I expected to be completely disinterested I actually enjoyed the hell out of the series. Familiar Marvel heroes and villains are presented in pint-sized versions (they’re not kids, just small), and while the animation style lacks a little something the writing is loose and pretty damn funny.
Extra Features? Interview with the ubiquitous Stan Lee
Pitch: I love the smell of Danish noir in the morning…
Why Rent? A policeman with a guilty conscience heads to a small rural town and discovers that all is not right in Mayberry. Or whatever the Danish equivalent of Mayberry would be anyway. His already frazzled mindset is pushed even further towards despair when he steps up to protect a young wife from spousal abuse. The townsfolk aren’t too fond of outsiders questioning their ways, and soon our hero finds himself in a darkly comic and morally confused tale of Coen-esque proportions. (Check out our full review here.)
Extra Features? Commentary, interviews, behind the scenes
Pitch: Who knew Bulgarians make movies…
Why Rent? Admittedly, I had never stopped to think what a Bulgarian film would look like. For one thing it appears they have yet to discover color film so this odd and dirty little movie is presented in black & white. That plus the subtitles may make it a hard sell for some folks, but the story about an ex-con released after serving hard time for a murder he didn’t commit is presented with enough style and wit that it deserves to find an audience. The outside world proves even more dangerous and deceitful than prison, and our hero has more waiting for him than just the embrace of his ex-lover. Speaking of which, if for no other reason, Zift is worth a watch for the stunning and oft-naked beauty of Tanya Ilieva.
Extra Features? None
How To Make Love To A Woman
Pitch: However you do it, be sure none of the steps involve showing the woman this movie…
Why Avoid? There are a few reasons why this flick is an ‘Avoid’ for me, but the most egregious has to be the multiple and utterly random music performances. It’s like 9 Songs without the explicit sex. (To be fair, this movie is a little bit funnier than 9 Songs.) The lead character is in the music industry, but the song performances are by real bands that have nothing to do with the story. Is it a marketing ploy to cross pollinate the film with the soundtrack? If so it’s forced and off-putting. And if not then it’s simply filler. But anyway… the movie is about a man (Josh Meyers) who discovers he hasn’t been bringing his girlfriend to O-town so he sets out to learn what he’s been missing. Meyers is a likable enough guy, but he’s no actor. And the script seems to think we’ll buy that a guy in his thirties who’s capable, intelligent, and loving in every other way would actually be dumbfounded by the female orgasm. Incapable of achieving it I could believe, but totally unaware? I mean even Robert Fure knows what he’s doing wrong.
Extra Features? C
Saint John Of Las Vegas
Pitch: Mildly eclectic cast, check. Crazy characters like wheelchair-bound strippers and nude survivalists, check. Smart and/or humorous screenplay, err, hmm…
Why Avoid? I wanted to like this one and not just because I apparently sound like Steve Buscemi. But as great as the cast is with Buscemi, Sarah Silverman, Romany Malco, Peter Dinklage, Tim Blake Nelson, and the very fine Emmanuelle Chriqui, it just didn’t gel together as a worthwhile whole. This take on Dante’s descent into hell is too loosely set, and while bits stand out (the guy who bursts into flames every twenty seconds is a highlight) the movie itself does not.
Extra Features? Interviews
Street Hawk: The Complete Series
Pitch: Hey, let’s try to capitalize on Knight Rider‘s success with a blander actor and a less interesting vehicle…
Why Avoid? The eighties were filled with seemingly endless TV series that failed to catch on with audiences and died a quick death. Unlike many of the shows killed in infancy in later decades though the eighties saw several action/scifi-oriented series get the early boot. Automan? Manimal? Misfits Of Science? All wonderfully ridiculous and just too cool for audiences apparently. Those three were failures but they were still entertaining… the same cannot be said of Street Hawk. Rex Smith stars as a motorcycle cop who’s brought in on a top-secret project involving a souped-up street cycle
Extra Features? Pilot episode, making of, booklet
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen it and review material was unavailable: The Bounty Hunter, Chloe, The Greatest, Greenberg, Middle Of Nowhere, Our Family Wedding
In the interest of full disclosure, I received review copies of the following films for this week’s column: 2:37, 8: The Mormon Proposition, Diary Of a Nymphomaniac, The Girl By the Lake, How To Make Love To a Woman, MST3000: Volume XVIII, Parasomnia, Saint John Of Las Vegas, Street Hawk, The Superhero Squad Show, Vivere, Zift
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?