The Protector 2

IFC Midnight

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Den Liz (Melanie Papalia) has received a grant to study The Den, a popular online video-chat service (like ChatRoulette) that matches up strangers for conversations, interactions and dick pics. After being pranked a few times by bored kids she witnesses what she believes to be a real murder and calls the police. Nothing comes of it, but she’s thereafter harassed by a particular user capable of infiltrating and controlling her laptop. Soon her friends and family are targeted by the unknown assailant and Liz is forced into an online fight with real-world consequences. You have every right and reason to be leery. This horror flick is composed entirely of footage captured on webcams, cell phones, GoPros and more. Even less promising, the images are displayed as video windows on a computer screen. I know. It sounds terrible. But here’s the thing. The Den is a fantastic slice of A/V horror that handily avoids most of the issues the “found footage” format is saddled with again and again. It’s also legitimately scary, creative and features a heroine who grows on you like a sexy, spunky, grad school fungus. [My full review.] [DVD extras: Commentary, behind the scenes, trailer]

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Rhatha Phongam in THE PROTECTOR 2

For a brief while there in the first decade of the 2000’s it looked like Thailand’s Tony Jaa was laying claim to the title of best action star of the 21st century. Ong Bak introduced him as a viable and extremely capable action lead, and the next few years saw that status confirmed with two sequels and The Protector (aka Tom Yum Goong). And then he went nuts. In his defense he was trapped in an incredibly restrictive contract and his ego had grown to elephant-sized proportions, but that’s a long story for a different day. The good news is that he looks to in the process of making a comeback. He’s currently filming Fast & Furious 7, has two Dolph Lundgren films in the can and is rumored to be attached to sequels for The Raid and SPL. He also made a sequel with the same people whose tight grip almost drove him mad. The Protector 2 begins similarly to its predecessor with Kham (Jaa) living a bachelor’s life in rural Thailand with his pet elephant Khon. Trouble starts when the pachyderm is abducted by some ruthless thugs for nefarious purposes forcing Kham to once again leave home to rescue Khon and kick some ass along the way. A repetitive plot is bad enough, but while the first film was loaded with fantastic fight sequences and visibly impressive stunts to make up for it the sequel limps along under the weight of action “assisted” by ridiculously obvious wire work […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s a movie news column stunned by its author’s ability to find all that is cool and interesting in the world of film. Seriously, this might be the best one of these lot that he’s put together in over 150 tries. It’s almost as if he’s ready to graduate to a “mediocre” rating as a news aggregator. Then he can begin acquiring spells and executing more advanced quests before he can join a proper guild and go on raids. Gore Verbinski may finally have found his Lone Ranger in the form of The Social Network star Armie Hammer. He is currently in talks to take the lead alongside Johnny Depp, who’s already been cast as Tonto. He’s got the look (and damn, the voice as well), but the challenge for Hammer will be the fact that there’s only one character to play in the film. Unless Verbinski carries over the “multiple Jack Sparrow” sequences from his Pirates of the Caribbean work.

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