Hell Baby

discs header himalaya

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Himalaya A remote Nepalese village suffers a loss when their leader dies on a trek, but as the time approaches for another salt delivery two men struggle for the top position. Tinle is old but has led before, while Karma is younger, brasher, and insistent that the gods play no role in their lives. They both head out on competing treks, but only one can take control of the community. This French film from the late ’90s is a gorgeously-photographed look at a people and a region seldom scene in today’s world. “Today” is a tricky word though in regard to this film in that the movie could take place in 1999 or 1919 or anytime in between. Far from old-fashioned, it shows rivals battling for respect alongside the clash between new and old beliefs, and it reaches some wise conclusions. And again, it’s beautiful to look at too. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, trailer]

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HB_045079

Editor’s Note: Our review of Hell Baby originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Fest, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens today in limited release. No genre mash-up is more difficult to get right than the horror-comedy. It’s the balance between the two that’s tricky as very few find the sweet spot of being both funny and scary. Most attempts end up lopsided, and more often than not it’s the horror that gets shafted. That broken record gets played again in the new film from writer-directors Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), but to be fair the focus on laughs is entirely intentional and evident in everything from the cast list to the effects work to the gag-filled script to the intense and time-consuming focus on delicious, lip-smackin’ po’ boys. It’s meant to be a comedy through and through, but unfortunately they treat it like a 15-minute sketch instead of a 90-minute movie. I’m no math wiz, but that 75-minute deficit isn’t going to laugh at itself.

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coddry

With In A World…, Pain & Gain, Warm Bodies, Children’s Hospital, The Way Way Back, and now Hell Baby, Rob Corddry has rounded out a nicely eclectic year. That’s five movies along with a show he works both in front of and behind the camera on. If it’s not obvious yet, Rob Corddry is a busy man. In the cases of Pain & Gain and Hell Baby, Corddry plays the straight man in films plotted around ridiculous characters and situations. With one he was getting his ass kicked by Michael Bay, and now he gets to tangle with Leslie Bibb, haunted houses and a demonic fetus. Obviously subject matter has little to do with how he chooses projects. His career focus instead? Don’t work with dicks.

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Drinking Buddies

As summer begins to wind down (it must be tired, starting in May and all), this week’s new releases are unexpectedly slim and particularly uninspired. Sure, you could go see 2 Guns (and enjoy its first ten or so minutes and then drift off because the rest of it is so reminiscent of the rest of the season’s explosion-heavy comic book-based fare) or The Smurfs 2 (because you have children), and you may even be in a city big enough to see the release of the wonderful The Spectacular Now or the surprisingly solid Europa Report, but otherwise, this is not a good weekend at the movies. So stay home! If we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the movie theater is dead and that the VOD release reigns supreme, and with the current trend of smaller films hitting VOD platforms before making it to the theater, you can even catch something your brick and mortar pals are still waiting to see. So stay couch-bound, order something to eat from the Internet, and lay low with these VOD offerings of note. You’ll be back in the theater next week anyway, when the summer’s last great hope, Elysium, finally arrives on the big screen.

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hellbaby

Haunted house movies and demon possession movies seem to be the latest genres of films that those who make spoof movies have deemed worthy of their attention. But, as movie fans have already discussed ad nauseam over the past decade or so, the people who make our current crop of spoof movies are pretty terrible at telling stories and crafting an effective jokes, so that hasn’t given us much to be excited about. These days the height of spoof humor seems to be recreating scenes from popular movies exactly and then inserting as many visual sex and poop jokes into them as possible, which is stupid and lame. What are we to do, given the seemingly ceaseless onslaught of all this terrible nonsense? Perhaps we can turn to Reno 911 mainstays Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant to scratch that spoof itch that’s been nagging at us for a number of years now, because a trailer for their new film Hell Baby just hit, and it looks like it may be a movie that manages to lampoon familiar genre tropes while still telling its own story, crafting its own characters, and making jokes that don’t need to scrape the bottom of the barrel in order to beg for cheap laughs. Could a couple of sketch comedy veterans looking ridiculous in priest outfits be the answer to all of our prayers?

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