Atrocious

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to the biggest edition of This Week In DVD yet! Twenty two titles are covered below, but this isn’t just a matter of quantity. All but one of the releases are worth watching, with a whopping seven of them being solid BUY recommendations. This week’s releases run the gamut from comic book blockbusters (Captain America) to docs on Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel (Twenty and New Blood) to a controversial black comedy (A Serbian Film) to a Finnish family holiday film (Rare Exports) to a thrilling Hong Kong action flick (Fire of Conscience) to… well, you get the idea. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Ballad of Narayama (UK) A small village in the Japanese mountains is the setting for this rumination on life, death and family that plays like the movie The Tree of Life should have been but with a narrative instead of dinosaurs. Village law dictates you head up the mountain to die at the age of seventy, and as Orin approaches that milestone she rushes around trying to set her children straight to ensure their future. The film is a harsh look at a time and place, and it uses images of animals alongside the characters to highlight our own innate nature. As cruel as it seems though the film ends up being as uplifting an ode to humanity as you could imagine or want. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires […]

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The Coroner

The Quintanilla family has a house in Sitges that they haven’t visited in a decade, so all five of them pack into the car and head up for the summer. The two teens have vague memories of the home from when they were much younger, but it’s the local legend of a ghostly girl in the forest that catches their attention. They document their exploration of the house and the giant maze attached to their back yard on video, and soon they’re hearing strange noises at night and seeing mysterious figures in woods. When their younger brother goes missing the family rushes into the maze to find him, and, well, let’s just say the Quintanillas can get by with a smaller Christmas tree this year. Atrocious is the bastard Spanish love-child of Blair Witch Project and Insidious, and yes, in that scenario Insidious is the male who donated little more than a genre and a one word adjective for a name. It falls victim to some of the same problems that plague most found footage films… namely a meandering first half, segments consisting of little more than the camera being shaken repeatedly, and the nagging question as to why these people are still filming, but it also creates and builds enough solid tension and legitimately frightening scenes to mark it as one of the better examples of the genre.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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