Birdemic

This Week in DVD

This week sees several new releases hitting shelves from big budget comedies like Due Date and Megamind to smaller films like Fish Tank and Psych 9, but the largest grouping seems to fall under the foreign film heading. Lisbeth Salander gets an attractively packaged trilogy box-set, French gangsters run rampant, a Russian teen fights crime in a flying car, and two flexible women spend a sex and talk-filled night in a hotel room. So yeah… foreign films seem to be the way to go this week. Alien vs Ninja Everyone knows aliens and ninjas are cool, but for some reason no one thought to put them together until now. Not surprisingly, it took one of the creators of The Machine Girl to make it happen. And that association should also tip you off as to the tone and aesthetic of the movie… this isn’t a big budget, brilliantly scripted action pic. But it is a tale of warring ninja clans fighting each other in the woods of Japan until they’re interrupted by the arrival of an alien ship. The aliens onboard look like bipedal dolphins crossed with a bowling ball, and they’re hungry for Japanese cuisine. There’s a rather dull half hour early on, but stick with it for the final 45 minutes or so which is chock full of some ridiculously fun action, solid fight choreography, and some inappropriate touching. Check out my full review here.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is all about the unexpected. I expected to put Christopher Nolan’s breakout drama Memento on page one as my pick of the week, but was swayed instantly and heavily by the latest contemporary classic being added to the Criterion Collection. I’ve also found comfort in another season of Weeds, even though it’s not the best work of the Botwin clan. We also dig deep into some intentional schlock-and-awe, pull the rug out from under the latest Galifianakis joint, explore the crisis in America’s public schools and without warning, I sing to you. Yes, dear readers of the high definition affliction, I bet you didn’t expect me to break out into song, did you? Fish Tank Most people know The Criterion Collection for their work in the realm of classic films — restorations, remasterings and the cataloging of cinema history’s most important works. So when they take a contemporary film and add it to their collection, you know that’s something special. Take Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, a tough-as-nails portrait of a girl on the cusp of womanhood, dealing with life in the housing projects of Essex, forced to live in close quarters with Michael Fassbender. In all honesty, I would probably try to sleep with that man if given the chance. Alas, that’s not part of the equation here, so I’ll tell you what is. A quality film, a meticulously crafted presentation (as only Criterion can deliver) and plenty of extras, including three short films from director […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as NoWaveSurfer and KeatonRox2738 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the purported death of indie films that’s reported upon faithfully every year (at least 4 times a year). In the face of the Independent Film’s best friend festival beginning this weekend, we tackle the real question: Indie films can’t actually be dead, can they?

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Culture Warrior

The Room is different from other bad movies. Anybody who has seen it knows this. Its success is so potent, and the film is so rewatchable and addictive because it resides in an exclusive liminal space between the token wonderfully bad genre movies (e.g., Plan 9, Hobgolbins, Troll 2, and everything in between) and infuriatingly incompetent beyond-amateur crap like Manos: The Hands of Fate or Birdemic. The Room is so incredibly unique in part because, at a $6 million investment from the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau that covered everything from production to advertising, this is bad filmmaking on a relatively “large” scale. With The Room, Wiseau found himself in the impossible position of being able to – as the film’s sole source of funding – exercise total creative control while simultaneously displaying unwieldy incompetence regarding the entire filmmaking process.

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