This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Sadly, this is one of the worst week for new releases in decades. Decades I say! Well, in weeks anyway. Some of the mediocre titles coming out this week include the occasionally entertaining Underworld: Awakening, the frustratingly uninteresting Mother’s Day remake, the low-rent Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, and Channing Tatum’s funniest film yet, The Vow.

As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.

The Front Line

War films are a staple here in the US, something that’s benefited by the fact that America has dozens of wars to choose from, but not every country is as lucky (or unlucky).  South Korea was a part of only one major conflict in the modern era, but out of this trauma have come several fantastic war films including 71: Into the Fire and My Way. The Front Line is the latest and also one of the best as it focuses on one of the war’s final battles. Both the South and the North struggle to capture and recapture a particular hill as the final hours of the war wind down, but as the clock ticks forward the men (and woman) discover there’s far more at stake here than a simple plot of land. Director Hun Jang finds real suspense and spectacular battlefield action amidst the stories between friends, enemies and countrymen.

Nothing worth buying this week! Save your money for next week’s release of The Grey and Criterion’s Being John Malkovich.

Fantasy Island: The Complete Second Season

Pitch: It’s essentially Lost complete with good, evil, magic and rich, Corinthian leather. They swapped the polar bears and smoke monsters for white suits and da planes though…

Why Rent? Aaron Spelling’s reign over broadcast television peaked in the 80′s and 90′s and included this pseudo anthology series about a mysterious island, its even more mysterious hosts and a rotating cast of guest stars that rivaled The Love Boat in their spectacular meh-ness. Some of season two’s more entertaining visitors include Roddy McDowall, Regis Philbin, and Leslie Nielsen. Episodes vary in quality depending on the stories, but it’s an entertaining show overall. If nothing else, it’ll have you wondering how Hervé Villechaize would have fared as Tyrion Lannister.

The Shrine

Pitch: Americans never learn…

Why Rent? A trio of Americans head to rural Poland in search of a missing person, but they find only terror, death and a populace still pissed about a lifetime of Polak jokes. This horror film from the director of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer eschews comedy for straight-up horror, and it suffers for it. The script is underdone and makes the main characters out to be complete tools and idiots, and the scares are fairly non-existent. Still, there are a few solid scenes and effects to appeal to genre fans.

Underworld: Awakening

Pitch: CGI blood is bad enough, but the CGI smoke covering Kate Beckinsale’s nekkid body is an outrage…

Why Rent? The war between vampires and lycans takes a detour when humanity catches wind of their existence and wipes out most of these leather-wearing creatures of the night. Kate Beckinsale’s deathdealer returns after being absent from the third entry in the series, and the result is exactly what we expect by now. CGI, wire work, acrobatic action and lots of bloodletting. Sadly, way too much of the blood work is done via CGI, but there’s still enough of the red stuff to satiate gorehounds. That and the often stylish violent action are really the only reasons to watch these films anyway.

The Vow

Pitch: He has the chance to help her rewrite her memories, and never once does he “remind” her that she used to love giving him blow jobs while he ate cupcakes and watched Community? Highly suspect for a supposedly true story…

Why Rent? Paige and Leo are a young married couple involved in a car accident that leaves her with a memory loss that includes all of her time with him. Can he help her fall in love with him again even as she only has memories of her ex? This is a borderline rent that falls on the positive side due mostly to the two leads. I can’t say no to Rachel McAdams (even as her character acts like an irrational bitch), and Channing Tatum manages to charm with a character you can’t help but feel for. It has unnecessary narration, plot contrivances and cookie-cutter supporting characters, but fans of the cast and unusual romances may want to give it a shot.

Mother’s Day

Pitch: Almost as terrifying as Father’s Day with Robin Williams/Billy Crystal…

Why Avoid? A group of sibling convicts invade what was once their family home and terrorize the new owners in their search for missing cash. Rebecca De Mornay overacts as the family’s cruel matriarch, and the film bores with uninteresting characters and a series of somewhat sadistic set pieces. The film’s biggest offense is a script that repeatedly leaves the captives in situations where they could escape or fight back but consistently refuse to do either in anything resembling a reasonable manner. Skip it and watch The Hand That Rocks the Cradle instead.

Playback

Pitch: Damn early tech adopters…

Why Avoid? A group of high school friends doing a film project about a bloody crime from their town’s past begin falling victim to the killer’s vengeful spirit who works via videotape. There are a few brief bits of solid gore, but the film’s most entertaining parts involve Christian Slater as a pervy police officer with a taste for voyeur videos of high school girls. That aside, the movie makes little sense, is never scary and features characters whose fates you just won’t care about. Skip it and watch Ghost In the Machine instead.

Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

Pitch: If they had just spent a few more bucks on a funny script…

Why Avoid? Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker are comedians, purportedly, who’ve taken the success of their TV show Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job and turned it into a movie about a mall. The movie teases viewers by opening with the always awesome Jeff Goldblum, but he’s quickly forgotten and replaced with ineffectual broad comedy and a handful of supporting actors slumming it for friends and/or a paycheck including Ray Wise, Will Ferrell, Will Forte and more. Skip it and watch For a Few Dollars More instead.

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:

Ganja & Hess
Madison County
Reykjavik to Rotterdam
Shock Labyrinth

Read More: This Week in DVD

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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