Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves leading groups of survivors through post apocalyptic situations. 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: You’ll definitely want to bring along a towel…
Why Buy? Twenty years ago Douglas Adams (author of the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy trilogy) took a trip with a zoologist named Mark Carwardine to find, photograph, and write about some of the rarest animal species on Earth. Then he died. Now his friend and fellow British funnyman, Stephen Fry, has retraced Adams’ steps with Carwardine by his side and documented it all on video. From New Zealand to Africa to the Amazon and beyond, the duo find some species doing well and others on the brink. For fans of the recent Earth, Life, and Blue Planet type series who don’t mind humorous commentary along with their beautiful images and amazing life-forms.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: A Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TV cop show? This could be the start of something big…
Why Rent? The gritty hijinx inherent in undercover police work comes to life in this new series from TNT, and while it’s far from believable it is pretty damn engaging and atmospheric. Dylan McDermott stars as the leader of a rogue squad of cops who tackle high risk assignments while skirting both sides of the law. I know it’s not exactly original, but it’s still good fun. The action is fine but the show’s strength is actually the interplay amongst the team
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Now I can’t help but imagine a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced version of Dragnet…
Why Rent? As a direct contrast to the modern-day show above comes this forty year-old classic about two cops working the streets of Los Angeles. Always dressed in suits and always acting professional, Friday and his partner Gannon are unlike anything you’ll see in a cop show today. The stories are usually a lot more straight-forward than you’ll find in modern shows too, and yet there’s still enough here to find both interesting and watchable.
Extra Features? Pilot movie, featurette, booklet
Pitch: Some say the world will end in fire, others say in ice…
Why Rent? Giant-monster movies are fun, and nothing you say will convince me otherwise. This one is the second in the long-running Gamera series and sees the fire-breathing creature going head-to-head with a menacing monster prone to freezing pesky little humans. The budget is obviously stepped up a bit from the original film, and it shows in the entertaining beast on beast action. Check it out for some giant scaly fun.
Extra Features? Commentary, galleries
Pitch: The inevitable US remake has already changed the title to Tramp Stamp Girl…
Why Rent? A disgraced journalist is tasked with documenting a family’s history which includes the disappearance of a teenage girl many decades prior. His investigation brings him in contact with an odd but brilliant young woman with some pretty severe anger issues. FSR Fan Club Member Jeff Hall thinks I should be pummeled with a wet noodle for giving this flick a B- (review here), but I stand by the grade. (Had he threatened me with a bowtie pasta pelting I probably would have bumped it up to a solid B.) The movie is good, but it loses something in the translation from book to film. It’s a bit too long and a bit too brutal for what it accomplishes.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Sorry Jeff Bridges, you didn’t give last year’s best performance by an actor…
Why Rent? Director Tom Ford’s film debut proves his success in the fashion world is far from a fluke. Colin Firth gives one of last year’s finest performances as a closeted college professor in the 1960′s whose long-time partner has died in a car crash. The film un-spools across one day as the professor thinks back on the relationship and searches for a reason to go on living. Ford brings an intense and brilliant eye for style while Firth fills the screen with emotion and tangible loss. A stronger narrative would have made the film better and worth more than a single viewing, but as it stands it’s a beautiful movie well worth a watch.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette
Pitch: Crap that is. Poorly drawn crap. Texas tea…
Why Avoid? Seriously people, I tried to watch the whole season. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m just too old, but most of these Cartoon Network shows so popular with the college kids these days are just absolute shit. They seem to take pride in their piss-poor animation as if it’s some kind of minimalist yet grand achievement. This show follows two redneck land-squid and their little old lady squid who basically exists as the Kenny-type character and constantly gets abused. Ha ha they’re hillbillies and they’re squids.
Extra Features? Featurettes
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen it and review material was unavailable: Brooklyn’s Finest, Eyeborgs, Touching Evil: Complete Collection
In the interest of full disclosure, I received review copies of the following films for this week’s column: Dark Blue: The Complete First Season, Dragnet 1968: Season Two, Gamera vs Barugon, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Squidbillies: Volume 3
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?