Hellbenders

discs got3

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season The naval assault against the Lannisters has failed, and that little prick Joffrey remains atop the throne. Elsewhere, Daenerys is gathering an army to join her and her trio of dragons, Robb Stark is working to mend fences and create allies, and the White Walkers are continuing their ridiculously slow journey towards civilization. I’ve never read the novels, and I can’t imagine doing so without photos so I can recognize who’s who in the enormous list of characters, but this is some wonderfully dense and entertaining television. Season three continues to follow numerous story threads and characters, and while some are more engaging than others there’s not a single dud among them. The production value remains high resulting not only in strong performances but also in brilliant production design and cinematography. And if you haven’t watched the ninth episode of this season yet… oh my. Enjoy. Beyond the actual quality of the series, HBO proves once again that they care about the packaging and special features more than any other network. The Blu-ray case, complete with slipcase, is once again a gorgeous and highly practical creation. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes]

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Hellbenders

“The Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints, a team of blasphemous ministers who live in a constant state of debauchery, work to drag the worst of demons back to Hell.” Hellbenders, which stars the likes of Clifton Collins Jr., Clancy Brown and Bubbles from The Wire (Andre Royo), seems like the exact sort of just right release for the October VOD season. While attending the midnight selection at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival, our own Nathan Adams said that Hellbenders “ends the reign of generic exorcism movies by injecting some raunchy jokes and sickening gore into its proceedings. No movie with a sex rabbit could be bad, could it?” No, my dear Nathan, it couldn’t. So with Hellbenders set for a VOD release this weekend, we’ve arranged a little taste of the foul-mouthed priests hunting demons-palooza for you, our ever-discerning and passionate readers.

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Carrie 2013

The characters of this week’s releases are at the end of their ropes. That might even be literal for Robert Redford’s character in All Is Lost unless sailors have a different word for “rope.” And they probably do. Some of the film figures of the week are covered in blood, some have been kidnapped into slavery, some have been falsely imprisoned, some are fighting the system, and some are losing the battle against it. Desperation seems like a common theme. Of course, it’s October, so “ghosts” are another big one. And who’s more desperate than they are? There’s also a lot more going on in a week with a massive amount of movies. Here’s your trailer-ized guide to what’s coming out:

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Hellbenders

When it comes to horror, it feels like no subgenre is replicated most than the exorcism. And why shouldn’t it? Watching possession play out on film is a great and gruesome way to make make your audience cringe. After the fiftieth or so time you sit down to watch a nice normal girl’s life get ruined by Satan, though, it starts to get a little stale. But the sinning and swearing members of the Order of the Hellbound Saints from J.T. Petty‘s Hellbenders have arrived to spin that premise on its head (sorry). The blasphemous men (and woman) of God are a special force that, rather than waiting for exorcism cases to appear, live as sinfully as possible to bring the demons to them first so that they can battle it out and send them back to hell. It’s dealing with the problem directly at its source. True, this team that consists of cult hero Clancy Brown, Clifton Collins Jr., Samantha Buck, and Dan Fogler is hunting demons and doing good, but Ghostbusters this is not. Hellspawn are a bit bigger of a problem to deal with than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and just because these characters are ministers doesn’t mean they’re ones you want to introduce your children to at the movie theater. As Collins’ character puts it in the trailer, he’s your Father, but he ain’t your fuckin’ dad. Check out the very NSFW trailer for yourself here:

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The bad thing about The Exorcist is that it has been so influential that we’re coming up on 40 years since its release and still we’re getting a handful of cheap knockoffs released in theaters every year. From The Devil Inside, to The Rite, to The Last Exorcism, to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, demonic possession movie after demonic possession movie is made with the same plot, the same characters, and the same tone. And every time you watch the whole thing play out, it manages to hit with slightly less impact than it did the time before. It was with great enthusiasm, then, that I watched J.T. Petty’s (The Burrowers) latest film, Hellbenders, which is finally, finally an exorcism movie that’s nothing like all of the other exorcism movies that have come before. There are no creepy little girls and wise but weary priests here. Instead, Hellbenders populates itself with foul-mouthed, hard-partying priests who seem to be more comfortable sinning than they do going to Sunday mass. You see, the conceit is this: in order for a priest who deals in exorcism to be ready to take a demon into his body and escort it to hell — by offing himself — he must always have enough sin wracked up to actually be worthy of going to the place. So, the merry band of miscreants that this film follows have checklists to make sure that they’re on top of their sinning. They curse, they steal, they blaspheme, they engage in […]

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published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C
published: 11.18.2014
B+
published: 11.14.2014
B+


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