Welcome back to This Week in DVD! It’s pretty slim pickings this week with the best release requiring a region-free player, but there are still a few titles worth a rental. Some of this week’s releases include David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Angelina Jolie’s In the Land Of Blood and Honey, the 80’s shocker Don’t Go in the House and more.
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
The Yellow Sea (UK)
A man finds himself in over his head with gambling debts and decides to head to Korea to look for his wife who went there months prior. The trip’s financiers task him with an assassination to wipe his debt clean, but what should have been a simple act becomes something far more complicated and messy. This is the first Korean production to be co-financed by a major US studio (Fox), but thankfully it seems to have had no negative effect on the finished product. Hong-jon Na’s film is just as wonderful and brutal as his debut, The Chaser, but it benefits from a deeper, more political story. Not to say it shies away from the action and violence… there is some spectacular bloodletting here in addition to gun/hatchet/fist fights and chases. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**
Nothing worth buying this week (aside from the import title above).
A Dangerous Method
Pitch: Spanking the cockney…
Why Rent? Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) become pen pals and friendly professionals after a patient of Jung’s creates complications. The patient (Keira Knightley) has a rare disorder that causes her under-bite to jut four feet from her face along with some more traditional mental issues. It’s easy to see what drew director David Cronenberg to the material, the strong element of kink and obsession, but the final result is more than a little dry. Still Mortensen and Fassbender both give great performances during their interesting chats, and Knightley gets spanked.
Don’t Go In the House (UK)
Pitch: Psycho meets The Executioner…
Why Rent? A disturbed man has a breakdown when his abusive mother dies, and he handles his grief by luring dumb women into his house, hanging them naked from shackles in a steel-lined room and then torching them with a flamethrower. It’s not as if he didn’t warn them. This 1980 slasher (of sorts) is competently made and actually manages a little bit of creepiness towards the end, but it’s far from a classic thanks mostly to a poor lead performance. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**
The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
Pitch: The Richard Branson Story…
Why Rent? A billionaire executive is murdered, but while his company’s board expects to take control they’re surprised to learn he had an adopted son in line to inherit it all. The innocuously named Largo Winch has led a life of privilege sprinkled with martial arts training, international travel and near proximity to at least one very fine female posterior, but now he has to put it all to the test along with some fairly complicated business acumen if he wants to save the company. I kid, but the business side of things is the least exciting aspect of the movie, and it takes up a lot of the story. Hopefully the already released sequel changes the ratio to include more action.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIII
Pitch: These overly chatty robots wouldn’t last ten minutes at the Alamo…
Why Rent? Shout! Factory returns with their 23rd MST3K compilation, and once again they’ve gathered four bad movies made better through mockery. Jess Franco haphazardly directs Christopher Lee in The Castle of Fu Manchu. A failed pilot from the late 70s rears its ugly head with Code Name: Diamond Head. King Dinosaur sees a quartet of scientists travel to a new planet where they discover giant reptiles and toupé-wearing elephants. And finally, Last Of the Wild Horses is a terrifically bad western from 1948.
Pitch: Sexual chocolate…
Why Rent? A shy woman gets a job at a small chocolate factory run by an equally shy man, and romance blossoms amidst the confections. But can the pair overcome their individual hang-ups and emotional peccadilloes before they miss an opportunity for love? This light French comedy is good fun even as it hits all of the predictable romantic comedy notes along the way. Neither Isabelle Carré nor Benoît Poelvoorde represent the typical rom-com leads, but they both bring real charm to their roles.
Pitch: An actual fart to the face is more appealing…
Why Avoid? It’s a Twilight Spoof! But don’t worry, there’s still room for random cameos from Johnny Depp characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka and Edward Scissorhands. The film takes all the obvious jabs and gags at the popular franchise, and unsurprisingly they all feel old, dated and unfunny. But really, did you expect any better from the director of The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It? Skip it and watch Breaking Away instead.
In the Land Of Blood and Honey
Pitch: We get it Angelina. The Serbs are terrible goddamn people whose only hobby is rape…
Why Avoid? A Serbian cop and a Muslim woman begin a romance just as Bosnia falls into war, chaos and inhumanity. Fools. The film follows the Serbs assault on their Muslim neighbors as they kill the men, rape the women and maybe toss a baby or two out a window. Through it all the ex-cop tries to protect his almost lover from the horrors of war, but he does a confusingly piss-poor job of it. The overall gist of Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut is that all Serbs are rapey assholes in (historically inaccurate) military garb, the Muslim women are passive to the point of pointless and the film is pure bleakness without the benefit of real emotion or character. Skip it and watch The Hunting Party instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipmunked
The Broken Tower
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
A Night to Remember (Criterion)
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?