Welcome back to This Week In DVD! It’s a light release week, but some of the titles include Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, the WB’s Felicity, a Bosnian dramedy, a really bad Sammo Hung movie and more!
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie
Ric Meyers brings his book, Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Book, to life in a documentary that feels alternately like a home-made passion project and a fun, informative and enthusiastic look at martial arts cinema. Narrator Yuri Lowenthal talks with a casual and spirited voice as he walks us through the history of kung fu movies and the filmmakers both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Clips from dozens of classic movies, new movies and movies you’ve probably never heard of are spread liberally throughout alongside animation, knowledge and personality. Meyers’ conclusions are sometimes a bit wonky, but it’s a fun and fast watch for genre fans.
Nothing worth buying this week!
Pitch: Who knew Bosnia was such a conflicted and divisive place…
Why Rent? Divko has returned home to Bosnia after a twenty year absence abroad, and he’s brought loads of cash, a hot young wife and a desire to kick his old wife and son out of his old house. The conflict between his old life and the new one offers up drama, laughs and tragedy, and it quite clearly is used as a metaphor for the country’s trials and tribulations. Some of the political commentary feels a bit too obvious, but the film remains an engaging look at a troubled foreign land.
Felicity: Season One and Two
Pitch: Screw you guys, that season two haircut is pretty hot…
Why Rent? Keri Russell stars as a fresh-faced college freshman who moves to New York City to experience life, love and libation along with two dreamy guys (Scott Foley, Scott Speedman). Creators JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves would go on to bigger, better and weirder things (including Star Trek, Lost and Let Me In), but they found a lot of fans with this semi-realistic drama of self-discovery. The show finds it easy to fall into self-important melodrama here and there, but it’s mostly an entertaining enough glimpse into the college experience. Russell’s long wavy locks were cut short for the second season, and popular myth has it that the result was a massive slump in ratings. Surely the move to Sunday nights had nothing to do with that.
Pitch: Watch the movie then sit back in awe of any soul brave enough to place his head between the lovely Miss Gina Carano’s thighs…
Why Rent? Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a CIA agent who’s been double crossed by someone in the agency. Probably a guy. She sets out to find her betrayer which means working her way through a series of recognizable actors, and by “working her way through” I mean killing with kick-ass fighting skills. Director Steven Soderbergh’s odd little thriller is a fun watch for the combat and cast, but it’s impossible to ignore Carano’s lack of acting abilities. Luckily she’s a ton of fun to watch both as an attractive woman and a stellar MMA-style fighter.
Fight the Fight
Pitch: Snooze the snooze…
Why Avoid? A young man gets fired from his day job for fighting and decides to return to his father’s martial arts school so he can fight some more. But he soon discovers that the school is at risk of being sold, and it can only be saved by a winner take all fight tournament. Not even Sammo Hung can save this bland, boring and terribly unexciting Hong Kong action film. The fights are jerkily edited so as to keep any of the moves from appearing even the slightest bit impressive, and the characters are never strong enough to impress upon your brain. Skip it and watch The Octagon instead.
Samantha Who? The Complete First and Second Season
Pitch: More like Samantha why…
Why Avoid? A young woman awakens from a coma to discover she has amnesia and has forgotten all of her life’s personal moments. Oh, and she also used to be a bitch apparently. Christina Applegate stars as Samantha, and while she’s since proven herself to be a capable comedienne this show is far from an ideal vehicle for her. The jokes and plots are all fairly pedestrian, and not even a likeable cast that includes Melissa McCarthy, Barry Watson, Jean Smart and more can save it. Skip it and watch Up All Night instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
New Year’s Eve
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What are you buying on DVD this week?