Join us each week as Rob Hunter 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.
And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees a handful of older flicks seeing their DVD debut or reissue including the terrifying Dark Night Of the Scarecrow, the silly Private Eyes, and the ridiculously bad Madman. There are also a bunch of rentables this week including Iron Man 2, The Killer Inside Me, Rich Man Poor Man, and more.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 for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!
Dark Night Of the Scarecrow
Pitch: This is why you never go full retard…
Why Buy? Frank De Felitta’s 1981 TV movie about a mentally handicapped man falsely accused of a crime and subsequently killed by a Charles Durning-led lynch mob is creepy as hell. Bubba (Larry Drake) is killed while wearing a scarecrow costume, but soon the bigoted hicks start dying at the hands of that very same scarecrow. Much like clowns and gingers, scarecrows are inherently disturbing. I dread the day when some evil filmmaker throws all three into their movie.
Extra Features? Commentary, trailer
Pitch: Dorf and Barney, the sexiest names in detectiving…
Why Buy? Tim Conway and Don Knotts star as two AARP-bound investigators trying to solve a double murder in a mysterious mansion. The home is filled with cobwebs, secret passages, and cleavage, as well as a healthy amount of PG-rated laughs. Honestly, the movie is worth owning for the messenger pigeon scenes alone.
Extra Features? Commentary, photo gallery, trailer
Scrubs: The Complete Collection
Pitch: Step one, open case. Step two, throw out discs for seasons seven and eight…
Why Buy? Welcome to the comic adventures of young doctors in training! You’ll come for the laughs, but you’ll stay for the wit, creativity, and surprising amount of heart. Just be sure to stop at the end of season six. The show went out with a prolonged whimper, but respect is owed for the six solid seasons before the tepid and terribly unfunny final two. If you’re a fan and don’t own individual seasons this set may be worth it.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, bloopers, trivia challenge, photo strip, Sacred Heart Hospital ID badge
Get Him To the Greek
Pitch: One and a half characters from Forgetting Sarah Marshall get their very own spin-off flick…
Why Rent? Aldous Snow is a rock star in decline, but low-level record label employee Aaron Green masterminds his triumphant return in the form of a reunion concert. Provided he can get Snow to LA on time and in one piece… Russell Brand and Jonah Hill are pretty funny as individuals, but together they’re even more entertaining. The film’s second half loses some steam (and laughs) as it gets a bit darker in themes and actions, but it’s definitely worth a watch.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes
Pitch: Viggo Mortensen fights Hitler nude in the shower…
Why Rent? A novelist finds success with his latest book only to discover it’s being used as propaganda for the Third Reich. Does he do nothing and quietly reap the rewards? Or does he stand up for what’s right and go pecker to pecker with the Nazis… this isn’t an action film by any stretch, but it is an interesting examination of morality in the face of evil.
Extra Features? Interviews, behind the scenes
Iron Man 2
Pitch: Twice the noise and half the fun…
Why Rent? The recently outed Tony Stark finds his cockiness getting in the way of his duty, and that opens the door for Micky Rourke to walk in and snarl something in Russian. Jon Favreau’s follow-up to the energetic and exciting Iron Man piles on the CGI, smarm, and Avengers setup but neglects to focus on real story or character. Worth a watch for some solid effects and for Robert Downey Jr.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, music video
The Killer Inside Me
Pitch: Pretty sure Jessica Alba could take Casey Affleck in a fight…
Why Rent? Sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck) works the dusty streets of a small Midwestern town where everyone thinks they know everyone else. He has a girlfriend (Kate Hudson), but that doesn’t stop him from seeing a prostitute (Alba) on the side. He’s soon plotting theft, murder, and more, but he takes time to stop and smell the roses which of course means handing an incredibly severe beating to at least one of his lovely ladies. Incredibly severe and shown with an unflinching camera. Worth a watch for the performances, but as a film the entire exercise (and Affleck’s character in particular) just seems pointless.
Extra Features? Featurettes, trailer
Rich Man Poor Man: The Complete Mini-series
Pitch: Everything I knew about this miniseries came from Beautiful Girls…
Why Rent? Perhaps the most influential miniseries of all time! The story follows two brothers, one good and one Nick Nolte, who live their conflicting lives with varying degrees of success beginning at the end of WWII. Friends, families, and lovers come and go through an epic tale of America. If you’ve never seen it before or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s definitely worth a watch. This set includes the original 12 hour miniseries as well as the 22 episode follow-up.
Extra Features? Commentary
Pitch: If you’re going to rape and kill a child make sure her father isn’t a skilled surgeon. Or, even better, just don’t do it at all…
Why Rent? A surgeon’s daughter is kidnapped, raped, and killed, and when the man responsible is arrested the distraught father kidnaps the bastard and takes him to a cabin for seven days of revenge. More drama than thriller, this is a bleak look at the darkest of shadows that can fall across a man. And a man is made to defecate on his own belly.
Extra Features? None
There’s Nothing Out There: 20th Anniversary Edition
Pitch: Aka The Movie That Inspired Scream
Why Rent? A group of friends are terrorized by an alien looking for love and murder. This low budget flick may actually be the first self-aware horror film with its horror-fan character warning everyone of the rules of surviving this kind of scenario. It’s equal parts gore and laughs, with a dash of boobage, and is a fun flick for genre fans.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, behind the scenes, interviews, test footage, photo gallery, trailer
Pitch: Because Eaten was already used for another movie…
Why Avoid? Three friends get trapped on a ski lift after the park closes and are left to their own devices in their struggle to survive. Too bad they’re morons. I’m a fan of Adam Green’s debut, Hatchet, but while some found much to love in this survival tale the film is severely hampered by the screenplay. The three are fairly unimpressive and annoying in their decisions and actions, and after a solid opening twenty minutes the film falls apart as you start waiting (and hoping) for them to drop dead.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
Madman: 30 Year Anniversary Edition
Pitch: The legend says if you speak Don Draper’s name aloud he’ll return from the dead and sleep with your wife…
Why Avoid? Campers in the woods throw caution to the wind by laughing at the legend of Madman Marz, but much like the fools that tempted fate by saying Candyman’s name three times in a mirror they’re about to discover the truth behind the campfire tale. This is one of many Friday the 13th knock-offs and it is laughably bad. It’s actually almost worth a rent for the unintentional comedy alone, but as a horror film it’s a mess of Hillbilly Jim proportions.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes, trailer
In the interest of full disclosure, I received review copies of the following DVDs for this week’s column:
Get Him To the Greek
Rich Man Poor Man: The Complete Miniseries
Also out this week, but I haven’t seen it and review material was unavailable:
The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season One
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
Fangoria Frightfest (8 individual titles)
Gangster’s Paradise Jerusalema
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Criterion)
Nightmares In Red White and Blue
The Thin Red Line (Criterion)
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?