Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves writing bestselling mystery novels and helping hot detectives capture evil-doers. 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!
Pitch: Just won the Emmy for Best Comedy Show. Again. Proves that even the establishment gets it right once in a while. Again. (Three times in a row actually.)
Why Buy? They don’t just hand Emmy’s out like candy you know… but even if they did it doesn’t diminish the quality of this show. Tina Fey along with her fellow actors and writers shine each week with humor of all kinds including wordplay, sight gags, social commentary, and the occasional gross bit. And as good as they all are at making us laugh, Alec Baldwin is even better.
Extra Features? Commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: A hilarious and smart mystery writer helps a smart and beautiful detective solve crimes… sounds like it should suck doesn’t it?
Why Buy? Call it a man-crush if you must, but Nathan Fillion is one of the funniest guys on TV (next to Alec Baldwin of course). Stana Katic plays the hard-edged female detective who tries to keep him on a short leash. They’re an intereesting and entertaining duo. The mysteries themselves aren’t always up to their standard, but they’re still pretty solid.
Extra Features? Commentaries, bloopers, featurettes
Pitch: Neil delivers an excellent monthly Blu-ray column here, but I’ve decided to poach one release per week that I’d recommend as a Buy…
Why Buy? Some days I lean towards Shaun of the Dead as Edgar Wright’s best film but usually not. Instead, it’s Hot Fuzz that hits all the right notes in both laughs and action. Whether he’s drop-kicking the old lady, shooting at a priest, or chasing a goose, Simon Pegg nails the role of big city cop cliche stranded in a small town. This new Blu-ray edition is comprised of all the special features previously available on the three-disc DVD edition but cleaned up for your high definition enjoyment. If you have a Blu-ray player but don’t have that DVD special edition then this is the release you need to buy this week.
Blu-ray? This is Rob’s Blu-ray Pick of the Week!
Extra Features? Everything. Seriously… hours and hours worth of quality deleted scenes, commentaries, outtakes, featurettes, and more
Pitch: Jeff Goldblum plays an emotionally scarred Holocaust survivor who entertains the Nazis with twitches, quirks, and quotes from Jurassic Park. Basically what Cole Abaius would do in the same situation.
Why Rent? Goldblum is an actor worth watching. He always manages to make his characters interesting even when the film around them isn’t. Here he’s once again better than the film he’s in, but that doesn’t mean the movie’s bad… he’s just that good. It’s a story about survival from both real world terrors and the scarred memories of someone who’s been manhandled by Willem Dafoe. (Dafoe plays a Nazi commandant.)
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: A young man who pretends to talk to the dead is turned into a bloodied human notepad by vengeful spirits looking for somewhere to write their grocery list.
Why Rent? Barker’s awesome six-volume collection of short stories includes some incredible tales, so I’m not sure why producers would choose this one (actually two stories) to adapt. That said, it’s a passable tale of a haunted house, psychic shenanigans, and skin merchants, and is worth a watch. At the very least any attention this movie gets will help ensure that more and better Barker adaptations get produced.
Extra Features? Featurette
Pitch: The classic Charles Dickens tale gets an update courtesey of Matthew McConaughey’s abs.
Why Rent? This really should have been terrible, but somewhere along the line this story of an emotionally stunted Lothario who finally realizes he loves a single woman and wants her to love him back actually gets pretty sweet. McConaughey’s joined by Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas as a playful riff on a Hugh Hefner-type. It’s very light-hearted entertainment and it’s worth a one night stand at least.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: See what Rob Zombie sees when he’s not limited by the constraints of reality.
Why Rent? A masked wrestler who makes adult films on the side. A villain named Dr. Satan who’s looking for his bride-to-be with whom he’ll rule the world. An ass-kicking pirate chick (not really a pirate but she does have an eye patch) who enjoys pummeling Nazis. All animated and over the top. And it all still makes more sense than Zombie’s latest Halloween movie.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes
Pitch: Christopher Meloni’s best role remains the sweater fondler in Wet Hot American Summer. This show is a close second.
Why Rent? The fact that this is still on the air is amazing, but it’s even more incredible that the show is still an engaging one to watch after so long. Meloni and the (still) beautiful Mariska Hargitay may have exhausted the drama in their characters’ private lives but the twisted crimes and criminals continue to disturb. Solid show, fantastic acting, creepy guest stars.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: You probably already know that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by Bush and Obama right? Oh, you didn’t know that? Well here’s the “proof.”
Why Rent? I’m a fan of conspiracy theories for two reasons. The intricacies and explanations fascinate me, and crazy bastards entertain me. This DVD features both. The refusal on the part of “truthers” to accept logical explanations is both astonishing and sad, but at the same time they do raise the occasionally interesting question.
Extra Features? Featurettes
Pitch: Look, it’s another movie about the burdens and trappings of suburbia! This time with ticks!
Why Rent? There’s not much new here storywise, so consider this more of an acting showcase. Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, and a couple Culkins all give strong, human performances that help ground this little film about suburban angst and infidelity.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes
Pitch: Am I wrong or is this basically a less comedic and bigger budgeted mash-up of Monk and Psych. Still a fun show though.
Why Rent? A “psychic” loses his family toa vengeful serial killer and decides to devote his cold-reading skills to catching criminals instead of fleecing gullible citizens. Simon Baker is a casually appealing actor, the show is solid but lightweight entertainment, and the search for his family’s killer is suspenseful (even if not enough time is spent on it).
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, gag reel, featurettes
Pitch: Hot robot chick + 90210 alum + hot mom + whiny future hero = a pretty good show.
Why Rent? Robots and time travel are just cool, period, but when they’re combined with sexy ass-kicking ladies you end up with something special. Special enough to buy and watch over and over again? No… but defintnitely worth enjoying at least once. The show deserves recognition as well for being the rare TV show that exceeds the latest in the film series. Damn you McG!
Extra Features? Commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel
Pitch: If you guessed this flick is a sensitive portrait of children born with too little melanin pigment, you’re wrong.
Why Avoid? Four friends get lost, hear about a daedly little town filled with mutants who like to disembowel unexpected visitors, decide to go check it out, and die. Oh and they meet WWE superstar Chris Jericho along the way. Seriously, if you’re a fan of inbred backwoods hillbillies go watch Wrong Turn instead. Hell, even Wrong Turn 2 is far superior to this turd.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes
Pitch: Well, it’s not quite Delgo, but…
Why Avoid? Meh. CGI animated space battles look okay I guess, but the story about humans invading a peaceful alien planet sounds like a rip-off of James Cameron’s Avatar…
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, featurettes
Pitch: I’m a fan of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cleavage, but this season saw her heaving breasts get buried under mountains of ridiculousness.
Why Avoid? I won’t pretend I’ve watched this show faithfully since the beginning, but my lady friend enjoys it so I’ve seen a few episodes here and there. Catching up on season four though I realized that the things I did like about the show were no longer present. Older episodes were smarter, creepier, and stood alone as single stories, but this season saw the death of a main character, his return in a new body but played by the same actor, the introduction of Jamie Kennedy, and more convoluted stories about watchers, books, and the future! Oh, and the cleavage is less in my face as well.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Check out the small print so you know it doesn’t include the original film. Or even part two with Sybil Danning’s wardobe malfunction.
Why Avoid? If this was a set of the first three films for under $15 I’d say buy it, but it isn’t. So don’t. Instead, it contains films three through five in the series. The Marsupials is actually a fairly entertaining flick due mostly to the it’s cheapness and complete disregard for concern or common sense, but The Rebirth and The Freaks are both werewolf poop at best.
Extra Features? It’s in a tin!
Pitch: A mentally ill mall security guard deals with his alcoholic mother and the idiots, assholes, and perverts around him.
Why Avoid? You can argue all you want about how this was a darker, edgier comedy than people expected, but the bottom line is it fails as a comedy of any kind. I smiled once or twice but never laughed, I didn’t care about a single character, and in fact I actively disliked most of the characters. Childish, crass, and unfunny are three reasons not to bother with this one. The fat guy’s flapping weiner is another.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: It’s a sad day indeed when even Matthew Lillard can’t hang onto a role he was born to play.
Why Avoid? Like you have to ask. The first two Scooby features were terribel and they had the benefit of real recognizable actors faces. This straight to DVD entry has newcomers who bear even less resmblance to the cartoon series and CGI that looks shoddy at best, hand-drawn by a drunken and retarded monkey at worst.
Extra Features? Like it would matter.
Pitch: I don’t know if it’s a Latino thing or not, but I just don’t get the appeal of this show.
Why Avoid? I don’t watch telnovelas except for the occasional excert that shows up on The Soup, so maybe I’m missing the satirical spin that this show reportedly puts on them. Regardless, I’m just not interested in these people, their problems, their love lives, or their wardrobes. ABC cancels Pushing Daisies but keeps this?
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers, featurette
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?