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Rob Hunter loves movies.  He also loves slinging hash and pouring stout at The Slaughtered Lamb. 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!

dvd-section-buy

dvd-amerwerewolfAn American Werewolf In London: Full Moon Edition

Pitch: Who knew werewolves, hot nurses, and Nazis could be this entertaining? Actually that does seem fairly obvious…

Why Buy? I really shouldn’t have to tell you this but this movie belongs in your collection. Scary, funny, gory, surprising… it’s John Landis’ best film and one of the best werewolf movies you’ll find.  Griffin Dunne is hilarious, Jenny Agutter is sexy, and the Dr. Pepper guy doesn’t sing or dance.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes, outtakes

dvd-f13pt7Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Pitch: Sometimes being a virgin just isn’t enough to save you from a masked psycho killer…

Why Buy? No, I’m not claiming this is a great movie, but I just really love the decision to mess with the formula by adding a girl with telekinetic powers. She’s still the traditional good girl who abstains from sex and drugs, but her mental abilities add a whole new layer of cheese to this slasher. They also make an effort to give the protagonist a back story which is yet another rarity.  A great movie? No. But a fun movie and slasher oddity? Most definitely.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes

dvd-alwayssunnyIt’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season Four

Pitch: Four friends, eight assholes, and shitloads of laughs. (Math is not one of my strengths.)

Why Buy? I’m a late convert to this show, and I would advise you all to follow my lead. Buy it, rent it, watch it on Amazon.com, or even catch it when it airs regularly on FX… but definitely watch it. Hilarious, ridiculous, rude, and highly unconventional in it’s approach to the usual sitcom structure, this is the reason basic cable is dying.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes, bloopers

dvd-treelessmountainTreeless Mountain

Pitch: Heartbreak and hope collide in the desolation of rural Korea and in the innocent faces of two young sisters.

Why Buy? A woman leaves her two daughters with their gruff aunt and tells them she’ll be back by the time they’ve filled their brand new piggy bank. The porcelein porker fills, the children’s hopes are raised, and their mom still hasn’t returned. This is a beautiful film in so many ways… from the imagery and cinematography, to the inexperienced but heart-wrenching acting of the two young leads, to the lessons about life, love, and family… there’s no real action in the film yet it’s still highly suspenseful.  It’s in Korean, but the language barrier can’t prevent you from feeling so close to these little girls.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes

dvd-visitorqVisitor Q+

Pitch: Lactation fans… this one’s for you.

Why Buy? This is one of my favorite Takashi Miike films, and it’s due to a lot more than just the explicit sex with the hot Japanese girl. Behind the incest, abuse, and necrophilia is a fantastic family drama and black comedy. It’s a much harsher and less whimsical take on the importance of family than Miike gave us in (the also excellent) Happiness of the Katakuris.  Don’t watch this one with little ones running around (children, not midgets), but definitely give it a chance if you like oddball dramas done Japanese style. (This new “+” edition adds nothing new to the movie itself, so if you already own the earlier edition of the movie there’s no need to double dip.)

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

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dvd-armyofdarknessArmy of Darkness: Screwhead Edition

Pitch: I don’t want your book, I don’t want your bullshit. Just send me back to my own time, pronto, today. Chop chop!

Why Rent? This is a good movie, but as with the previous two films in the Evil Dead trilogy, new editions are seemingly released every other week.  (Granted, this one was delayed by about six months.) Bruce Campbell takes Ash from the supermarket aisles and cabin in the woods to a zombie adventure in medieval times, and he has a fun time doing it. Just remember kids, there were no utensils in medieval times, so there are no utensils at Medieval Times. Now who wants a refill on their Pepsi?

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes, alternate ending

dvd-bigbangs2The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season

Pitch: A hot chick hanging out with a bunch of nerds… are all sitcoms based on fantasy?

Why Rent? I won’t pretend I watched any of this show’s first season, but it’s apparently not required in order to enjoy season two. The show’s smartly written and well-cast, and that’s saying something for a network sitcom these days. This is actually a good pairing with How I Met Your Mother… funny, light, and a strong ensemble.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes, gag reel

dvd-easyvirtueEasy Virtue

Pitch: Jessica Biel cleans up nice for this Noel Coward adaptation. I would have offered to help with her nooks and crannies…

Why Rent? Biel doesn’t quite rise to the level of her supporting cast which includes Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas, but she doesn’t embarrass herself either. Director Stephen Elliott’s take on Coward’s 1924 play is a funny and smart tale of culture clash and misguided love that fans of period comedies should enjoy.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers, featurette

dvd-fearitselfFear Itself: The Complete First Season

Pitch: Anything Showtime can do, NBC can do better! Yeah, even NBC doesn’t believe that.

Why Rent? NBC’s short-lived horror series was the latest attempt (after Masters of Horror) at reviving a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits type show with stand alone episodes each week and guest writers/directors. As with any anthology show there are just as many (or more) misses as hits here, but it’s worth working your way through the episodes to find the gems… the highlights include Eater, Spooked, and New Year’s Day.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes

dvd-fullbattlerattleFull Battle Rattle

Pitch: Are you no longer surprised with where are tax dollars go? That just may change after watching this…

Why Rent? Fake Iraqi villages have been built in the American Midwest (think Synecdoche, Mojave Desert), complete with US soldiers, Iraqi villagers, and insurgents. Iraqi-Americans roleplay as Iraqis, US soldiers masquerade as terrorists, and the fate of the free world rests on what happens there. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but this artificial reality is used to train thousands of US soldiers on how to fight and win the hearts and minds of Iraqi citizens. Funny and depressing at the same time…

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, featurette

dvd-graceGrace

Pitch: A woman’s fetus dies in utero, but she decides to carry it to term anyway… is that still technically a pro-life stance?

Why Rent? This is a somewhat nasty little shocker worth a watch for fans of the red stuff, but it’s one-note enough to prevent any desire for a repeat viewing.  It might be fun to watch with a pregnant woman though.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

dvd-primevalv2Primeval: Volume Two

Pitch: The UK’s illegal alien problem continues with new creatures from the Earth’s past and future.

Why Rent? Season three in the UK becomes volume two in the US as the show winds it’s way towards another cliffhanger finale… that may get resolved in a feature film?  This final season is missing a key character from volume one.  I won’t say who to avoid any possible spoilers… but let’s thank Jeebus it wasn’t the hot little blonde chick.  The CGI is slightly less impressive this season and the characters seem a little more prone to stupidity, but if you liked the earlier shows than you’ll most likely enjoy these final ones too.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes

dvd-pvc1PVC-1

Pitch: A kidnapping. A ransom. An explosive deadline. All done in real time… and in one single take.

Why Rent? Imagine the movie Speed, but instead of a bus wired to explode there’s just a woman. Her family has been asked for a ransom they could never afford and a deadline they could never meet. Co-writer/director Spiros Stathoulopoulos ratchets up the tension even further in this indie thriller by shooting the whole thing in one uninterrupted camera take. Very suspenseful filmmaking done on the cheap.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

dvd-triangleTriangle

Pitch: Three Hong Kong directors join forces in a tale of greed, stupidity, and a heist gone wrong.

Why Rent? The directors involved here (Johnnie To, Ringo Lam, and Tsui Hark) all have some good films to their names, and even though this collaboration isn’t nearly as good as their individual best films it’s still something worth watching for fans of the genre or Hong Kong films.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Featurettes

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dvd-camilleCamille

Pitch: It’s a mix of Ghost and lamesauce.

Why Avoid? James Franco is a dick who marries Sienna Miller for reasons other than love… until she dies and he falls madly (and inexplicably) in love with her.  I recommend you avoid this flick in honor of the recent passing of Patrick Swayze.  He would have wanted it that way.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

dvd-crashCrash: Season One

Pitch: Take one mistaken Oscar winner (no, not Marisa Tomei) and turn it into a series on a channel no one watches…

Why Avoid? The original Crash (Paul Haggis’ anti-racism flick, not David Cronenberg’s anti-normal sex flick) was a pretty good movie that got swept up in a wave of white liberal guilt and somehow made it all the way to the Oscars. It’s not as good as it’s win would suggest, but it’s also not as bad as the backlash would imply. It sits somewhere in between… and it’s still a lot better than this misguided TV series filled with characters, plots, and themes we just don’t care about.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurettes

dvd-csimiamiCSI Miami: Complete Seventh Season

Pitch: A crime-solving ginger in Miami? No thanks.

Why Avoid? I enjoyed the first few seasons of the original CSI, but NY and Miami just never clicked for me. I never got around to watching the former and I actively avoided the latter because… well, I’m biased against red-heads. It’s a problem, and I’m seeking help for it, but for now I just can’t condone you watch a show where David Caruso fights crime and wise cracks from behind sunglasses and SPF-220 sunblock.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

dvd-deadgirlDeadgirl

Pitch: What do you do when you find a living dead girl tied up in an abandoned factory basement? You rape her of course.

Why Avoid? Two unlikable friends stumble across a naked girl and after deducing that she’s technically dead but still somehow alive they decide to use her as a sex toy. The movie can be viewed in a few different lights. At it’s core it’s a story about white, male teenagers feeling alienated and alone and stumbling along unsure of their place in the world they’ve been born into, the two friends representing dueling parts of the mind with one as id and one as ego… but the scenes with the title character are too cringe-worthy to care. It doesn’t help that neither of the two leads act very well.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, featurette

dvd-f13pt8Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Pitch: It took seven films before Jason decided his heart belonged to Broadway and that he’d never forgive himself if he didn’t take a shot at a career on the stage.

Why Avoid? I’m aware that I applauded Part VII’s severe deviation from the slasher formula, so you may wonder why I wouldn’t do the same here… Jason leaving Camp Crystal Lake is a pretty big deal after all. But a geographic change isn’t as dramatic, interesting, or cheesy as a girl with telekinesis.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, featurette

dvd-wolverineX-Men Origins: Wolverine

Pitch: It’s the origin of Wolverine from before he joined the X-Men!

Why Avoid? I wanted to like this movie for the simple fact that it was beat to hell upon release at the beginning of summer.  It starts off pretty strong and does a fine job of introducing the main characters throughout the opening credits, but it quickly devolves into nothing more than a series of convoluted plot points, repetitive action scenes, and embarrassingly bad CGI work. And yes, I’m intentionally forgetting to mention the “amnesia” bullets…

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes

Read More: This Week in DVD

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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