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Elijah Wood really defies all Hollywood expectations. After making a graceful transition from child stardom, he became a pop culture icon as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings movies while balancing out all that box office mojo with equally great performances in smaller, more personal films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Everything Is Illuminated. He’s also now in his third season as the suicidal Ryan the darkly comic Wilfred, returning this week on F/X. Wood takes his talents to more sinister depths in Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac (inspired by the 1980 film of the same name), in which he plays Frank, an isolated young man who restores antique mannequins in an industrial area of Los Angeles and freelances as a serial killer with a fetish for scalping his female victims. His murderous ways are spurred by an unhealthy relationship with his mother who exposed Frank to things as a child that he probably shouldn’t have seen. His dangerous dynamic with women gets a bit more complicated when he meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder), a beautiful artist who wants to use Frank’s mannequins in one of her installations. Frank develops true feelings for Anna, and these feelings are constantly at war with his deep-seeded urges to kill. Generic plot synopsis aside, Maniac is hardly a run-of-the-mill horror film. Filmed almost entirely through Frank’s POV, the film truly gets inside the mind of a serial killer to the point where you are forced to empathize with him despite his horrific actions. […]


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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Rectify Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is released from prison after serving 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, but his return home opens up a world of troubled complications for everyone involved. The small, Southern community is divided on the issue of his innocence as the DNA evidence seems at odds with his own confession, and those doubts are just some of the issues he now faces. Character actor Ray McKinnon moves behind the camera here as the show’s creator, and the result is easily one of the year’s finest and most affecting shows. The story shares some thematic similarities to the brilliant Boy A, but it quickly finds its own rhythms and strengths thanks to a smart ensemble filled with heartbreaking performances and characters. It’s not needed, but the show also features some suspense and mystery surrounding Daniel’s possible guilt. It’s a short season at only six episodes, but happily Sundance Channel has ordered an additional ten for season two. [DVD extras: Featurettes]


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I doubt many people tuned into the premiere of Charlie Sheen’s FX show Anger Management thinking that it was going to be their new Thursday night fave. If you’re anything like me, then sheer curiosity is what brought you to Sheen’s latest, in which he plays, of all things, a therapist (get it? ‘cause he’s Charlie Sheen and he’s helping people with their problems! Oh brother! Cue laugh track). The vague, non-plot of the series opener finds Sheen counseling a group of sitcom archetypes (the senior citizen whose dialogue is filled with folksy bigotry, the young gay man who sits beside the folksy bigot on a couch, the socially inept guy who makes women uncomfortable, the superficial chick who’s made uncomfortable by the creepy, socially inept guy) and fuming over the values his ex-wife’s new boyfriend is passing down to his daughter. You see, he helps people with their anger management issues but he also has anger management issues, hence the title and hence the reason why you don’t really need to watch more than one episode. Honestly, the show wasn’t the wholly objectionable thing that I’d thought it would be. I did, however, find almost every aspect of it mystifying.  “How is it that this exists?” I thought to myself as I watched the premiere.



This Week in Blu-ray we take a trip to Louie’s house for a season worth of awkward moments, we get our Beat Beat moon boots on for some warfare in The FP and we run around with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston before joining a commune that worships the gun work of Paz Vega. It’s another busy week, so bring your wallets. Louie: The Complete Second Season The Pitch: Louis C.K. returns to stand-up, awkward dates and fending off a nervous breakdown. Even though it lost a bit of momentum toward the end of its second season, Louie continues to be one of the simple pleasures that cable television has to offer. In his own Seinfeldian way, C.K. reminds us at every turn that being a divorced 41-year old man is not easy, even if you are a famous comedian with a steady gig. The show is best ingested, if you don’t watch it on FX, in a single marathon of episodes, making the Blu-ray release the preferred delivery method. It’s one of those shows that you’ll just want to keep watching until it’s over. And with only 314 minutes of show in its second season, it’s good for an entire afternoon. Repeat once a week until you’re appropriately satisfied with your own life. It should take only one or two viewings. Extras Highlight: Several episodes of commentary is more than enough, as commentary from Louis C.K. is almost like watching a completely new episode in itself.


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Wilfred is… Wilfred is…. I honestly have no idea what Wilfred is. Recently, FX afforded me the opportunity to watch the latest edition to their comedy line-up, an adaptation of an Australian show called Wilfred starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gaan (who is the creator of both versions of the show and stars as the title character in both). The plot of the show follows Wood’s character Ryan as he’s going through a massive case of depression, to the point where he attempts suicide at the start of the series. After the failed attempt, he meets his new neighbor Jenna and her dog Wilfred. The only problem is that while everyone else sees a dog, Ryan sees a man in a dog costume that speaks to him and smokes a crap load of pot.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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