Welcome to the day late edition of This Week In DVD! It’s late! I’d apologize, but I’m currently enjoying the wonders of Austin’s Fantastic Fest and have been deprived of sleep and nutritious foods for far too long. But still, better late than never. This week’s titles include Criterion’s release of Carlos, the African action pic Viva Riva, the laughably bad The Ledge, the hilarious Cartoon Network series Adventure Time, and more!
As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Ricky is a young man with incredible martial arts skills. He’s fast and agile, but more importantly he can rip your innards from your body with deadly precision. This decades old Hong Kong flick is over the top ridiculous in the violence and gore on display and not coincidentally is awesome. There’s more bloodletting and gore than you’ll find in the average horror film. Disemboweling, eyeball violence, cuts, head smashing, and more fill the screen with a crimson colored glee. Sure it rarely looks exactly real, but goddamn is it entertaining. The film’s been around for some time, but if you don’t own a copy this latest reissue is the perfect time to fix that.
Adventure Time: My Two Favorite People
Pitch: Imagine Calvin & Hobbes with less heart and more absurdity…
Why Buy? Finn and Jake the dog are best friends who spend their days battling wizards and monsters and flying through the air on a sugar high. They have noodle-like appendages and incredible imaginations, and they are funny as hell. The DVD contains episodes from the first two seasons, and while they’re short on time they’re long on laughs. There’s also no shortage of absurdity as the rules of their world are fairly non-existent.
Buster Keaton: Battling Butler/Go West
Pitch: Diane Keaton‘s father does crazy stuff in black and white…
Why Buy? Haven‘t seen this one yet, but the combination of Buster Keaton and the Kino Classics label automatically make it a must own release. They’ve remastered both films in HD and packed the 2-disc release with fantastic extras including a short film, an audio recording of Keaton, and more. And I’m clearly kidding about the Diane Keaton bit. She’s not quite that old.
Pitch: It’s even better than the Bruce Willis/Richard Gere version…
Why Rent? A Venezuelan revolutionary named Ilich Ramirez Sánchez (Édgar Ramírez) transforms himself in the media eye into a terrorist for the people. His ego and enemies eventually get the best of him, but his journey is a fascinating look at ambition, greed, and the shifting winds of political ideology. This European miniseries is an interesting exploration of the man, and while it only really excites periodically Ramírez makes the entire thing engaging.
Hung: The Complete Second Season
Pitch: Like Kevin Bacon…
Why Rent? HBO’s small world drama about a high school coach who moonlights as a male prostitute continues with more sexual hijinx, shenanigans, and the old in and out. Thomas Jane still excels in the lead role and shows a great mix of real comedic skill and honest heart. The show is definitely one of the cable network’s lower profile productions, but it’s still a fun, entertaining, and occasionally heartfelt watch.
Vampires, Mummies & Monsters (Roger Corman’s Cult Classics)
Pitch: Oh my…
Why Rent? This new four film collection from Shout! Factory includes Lady Frankenstein, The Velvet Vampire, Time Walker, and Grotesque. The movies are spread across two discs and include varied extra features, but the highlight has to be the extended cut of Lady Frankenstein. Much like Frankenstein’s monster it’s a patchwork job consisting the original film and various additional scenes from numerous sources added back in to the film. The other entry worth watching is Linda Blair’s Grotesque which may just be one of the earliest meta horror films. Doesn’t make it good necessarily, but it makes it interesting.
Pitch: It’s about time Africa started contributing more than just diamonds, oil, and AIDS to the global economy…
Why Rent? A young thug named Riva falls for the wrong girl and winds up the target of a much bigger gangster named Cesar. His efforts to make money and get the girl meet with some hefty and bloody resistance. This is a rare action pic from Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo specifically, and it is a surprisingly fun watch. It also has an incredibly sexy feel about it, particularly when Viva and Nora spend some bathtub time together.
Pitch: See what they did with the title there? They’re hoping you’ll think Seann William Scott has returned for the 17th American Pie sequel…
Why Avoid? A young woman (Gretchen Mol) sets her sights on a misguided young man (Seann William Scott) in an attempt to make a profit by helping him clean up his act. Comedy is subjective so opinions from others should probably be disregarded immediately, but this is not funny. There’s potential for romantic drama here, but half the cast isn’t really up to the challenge. Mol is fine (and deserves better fare), but Scott simply plays a toned down version of every other character he’s ever played. Skip it and watch Trading Places instead.
Pitch: Did someone order a British gangster/vampire combo? Fools…
Why Avoid? A group of mobsters come up against a rival gang and lose control of their club on a wager, but when they decide to fight to win it back they realize these gangsters are packing more than cockney accents. They’re vampires! The idea of mixing these two genres may feel right, but if it didn’t work for John Landis and Innocent Blood either. The gangster part is almost competent, but the vampire storyline is dull. Skip it and watch Layer Cake and Lost Boys instead.
Pitch: Patrick Wilson make you, jump, jump. His god will make you, jump, jump…
Why Avoid? A young man (Charlie Hunnam) stands on a ledge and tells his story to the worst police officer in the world (Terrence Howard). It seems he has to jump at noon exactly or Steven Tyler’s daughter will be found dead with a ball gag in her mouth. Cue the “deep” conversations about faith, belief, and the importance of not being a dumbass. All involved are competent actors, but you wouldn’t know it by their performances here. Hunnam sucks, Howard over does every line, Patrick Wilson rants, and poor Tyler continues to play these inconsequential characters who only exist as property of men. Skip it and watch Cat’s Eye instead.
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:
The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman
The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Two
CSI: The Eleventh Season
CSI Miami: The Ninth Season
CSI NY: The Seventh Season
How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 6
Law and Order SVU: The 12th Year
The Middle: Season 2
The Phantom Carriage (Criterion)
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?