Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves perming his hair, throwing on a red jumpsuit, and rescuing people in danger. 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!
Gamera: The Giant Monster
Pitch: Giant lizards ain’t got nothing on giant turtles…
Why Buy? The inevitable happens when a plane carrying atomic weapons crashes into the ice! That’s right… a giant, fire-breathing, jet-powered turtle climbs up from the cracked earth and terrorizes the world! Gamera was Godzilla’s only true enemy as he was the creation of a rival film studio and sucked up quite a bit of the audience. Fans of old-school Japanese monster movies will definitely want to pick up this new Shout Factory release as it represents the first time Gamera‘s hit DVD in its unedited form. The extras are informative and include a 10+ page booklet with an essay by the director and bios of the characters.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette
The Greatest American Hero: The Complete First Season
Pitch: Believe it or not, this is a fun and lightweight show that really hits my nostalgia buttons…
Why Buy? I actually own the complete series box set that comes in the metal tin with a light-up alien instruction book and full size cape. I may or may not have worn the cape to bed. The important thing to focus on here though is that this is a fun show. William Katt plays a fantastic everyman forced to work with super powers and a crusty federal agent (a pitch perfect Robert Culp). The action is light, the comedy is breezy, and the effects are… just as entertaining.
Extra Features? Interview with Stephen J. Cannell
30 Days: The Complete Series
Pitch: Let Morgan Spurlock and his awesome ‘stache lead the way towards understanding your fellow Americans…
Why Rent? The man behind Neil Miller’s obsession with chicken nuggets takes his Super Size Me cache to the small screen with this series that looks at hot-button issues in America through the eyes of an outsider. Each episode follows someone thrust into another world for thirty days with the goal to open their eyes about their own beliefs. People on both sides of the abortion debate come face to face, a cocky four-limbed bastard spends a month in a wheelchair, a pale-face spends time on an Indian reservation, and a Minuteman lives with a family of illegal immigrants. That last one caused some controversy when the proud patriot took issue with the show’s editing, but even so the series makes for some entertaining and thought-provoking television.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: A young boy has gone missing in suburban London. Be sure to check the churches…
Why Rent? A young boy disappears and his guilt-ridden older brother retreats into a shell of medication and psychosis. At least until he returns home and starts hearing his brother’s voice and seeing him in the shadows. The teen has to confront his own fears and doubts as well as a gang of unruly hooligans before he can find the truth about his brother’s disappearance. Some genuine atmosphere and eeriness pervades this little flick, and even though the revelation is a bit too predictable the movie is still a well-acted and worthwhile genre film.
Extra Features? Featurettes
The New Daughter
Pitch: That’s right haters. It’s a Kevin Costner movie…
Why Rent? The almighty Costner plays a divorced father of two who moves his family to a spooky house near an Indian burial mound and then watches in confused horror as his daughter (Ivana Baquero from Pan’s Labyrinth) begins to change. The middle of the movie sags a bit as our hero searches online for answers and makes googly eyes at his son’s pretty teacher (Samantha Mathis), but there are enough creepy scenes to make it worth a watch. Try to avoid reading more about the plot and be sure to watch the screen closely during the night-time scenes. Right up to the very end…
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurette
Pitch: It’s telling that Michael Jackson’s Black & White video is more emotionally engaging on the topic of race than this entire film…
Why Rent? Landon Palmer’s review is pretty damn accurate, and I really have nothing to add to it. I gave Clint Eastwood and friends the benefit of the doubt and watched the movie… and came away utterly untouched and uninterested. The final rugby match, the World Cup championship, is shot with such dispassion as to be less exciting and interesting than a game of pinochle. A period of time rife with conflict and dramatic disagreement is presented with such a saccharine coating that you can’t really even call it historically accurate. And don’t get me started on the duet that pops up out of nowhere with lyrics about being colorblind…
Extra Features? Featurette
Pitch: Hey, you know what horror staple is sadly under-represented these days? Vampires…
Why Avoid? Let me say first that the blood and gore effects in this flick are pretty damn impressive. From gun shots, to bites, to a very well done arm through the chest, the wet stuff almost makes the movie worth watching. Almost. Too bad the the story about an unlikely hero forced to fight against a vampire (William Forsythe) and his minions is so goddamn boring and uninspired.
Extra Features? Featurette
Pitch: The Valentine’s Day Massacre was a less painful experience for all involved than watching this will be for you…
Why Avoid? I watched this in the theater a few months ago, and I seem to remember it being a mediocre movie. Having just watched it again on DVD I have to wonder what the hell I was thinking at the time… maybe it was the alcohol or the hand in my lap doing the talking. (In my defense, hands with mouths can be very persuasive.) So why am I making feeble attempts at innuendo instead of talking about the movie? Because it is ridiculously bad. Flat, unfunny, predictable, completely devoid of romance or heart, and easily the worst example of the demise of the romantic comedy genre in years.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes
Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: 3 Idiots, American Bandits: Frank & Jesse James, Enemies Among Us, Extraordinary Measures, The Messenger, The Spy Next Door, Walkabout (Criterion)
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?