Features and Columns · Movies

17 New Movies (and Shows) to Watch at Home This Week

By  · Published on April 7th, 2015

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon.


Sonny Hooper (Burt Reynolds) is the world’s greatest living stuntman, but his age is catching up with him as evidenced by the bevy of aches and pains his body is feeling these days. His long-suffering girlfriend (Sally Field) sees it as a sign that he should exit the business, but when a young upstart (Jan-Michael Vincent) threatens to outshine Hooper onscreen the veteran is forced to up his game if he wants to compete.

I stand by the belief that ’70s Burt Reynolds is the best Burt Reynolds, and this light-hearted comedic romp is a prime example. Powered by a goofy mentality and Reynolds’ charisma, the movie entertains despite featuring the slightest of plots and an absolutely terrible stance on drunk driving. (It’s all for it.) The movie makes for a fun companion piece to Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic too thanks to the presence of Vincent and its similar story setup. It’s not as funny as Smokey & the Bandit or as visceral as Deliverance, but Reynolds fans will not be disappointed.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Empire Records

Empire Records is an independent music store with an eclectic young staff (Renee Zellweger, Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, Ethan Embry, Rory Cochrane, Anthony LaPaglia) who call it home. The fun might be coming to an end though as the owner has decided to sell out to a big retail chain, and with that possibility hanging in the air the employees, customers and has-been pop star Rex Manning (Maxwell Caulfield) spend one last day rocking out, having fun and learning about each other.

Very little that happens here feels even remotely realistic, but that doesn’t prevent it from being an energetic and contagious ninety minutes. There are laughs alongside a handful of serious moments, and they all play out beneath a pretty fantastic selection of songs that identify this is a mid-’90s movie through and through. It’s a slight gem, but it’s a gem all the same.

[Blu-ray extras: Deleted scenes, music videos]


A group of twentysomething friends, lovers and acquaintances move in and out of each other’s lives in early ’90s Seattle. Steve (Campbell Scott) and Linda (Kyra Sedgewick) are the two most mature of the bunch, but that just makes their problems seem more important. Cliff (Matt Dillon) and Janet (Bridget Fonda) meanwhile find themselves at a crossroads as he yearns for something bigger than simply being one half of a couple.

Cameron Crowe’s second directorial effort is probably his least discussed as for many people it seems to be little more than a dated “Seattle grunge” picture, but there’s more to it than just a music-inspired time capsule. It’s a funny movie for one thing, and the cast (which also includes Bill Pullman, Eric Stoltz, Tom Skerritt, James Le Gros, Jeremy Piven, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and more) is pretty fantastic too. The music is a big draw for fans of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and the like, but it’s more than just an excuse to spend time in Seattle and wear flannel.

[Blu-ray extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, live performances]

Bad Asses on the Bayou

Retirees Frank (Danny Trejo) and Bernie (Danny Glover) can’t seem to avoid trouble in their old age, and their latest unplanned adventure sees them battling baddies in back woods of Louisiana. This is probably one of the more unlikely action franchises to come along, but that doesn’t make it any good. The action is subpar, and the attempts at comedy are equally unimpressive.

[DVD extras: Behind the scenes]

The Corruptor

Det. Nick Chen (Chow Yun-fat) welcomes a new cop into his shop to help fight crime in NYC’s Chinatown, but Det. Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg) discovers that some cops fight dirty. This late ’90s actioner featured an early role for Wahlberg and only Chow’s second American appearance, but they both give solid-enough performances in this gritty and bloody tale. It’s an especially bloody film with bad guys and civilians dropping at an alarming rate.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette, music video]

Detroit Rock City

Four friends in 1978 Cleveland live and breathe the electric rock sounds of their favorite band, KISS, but a simple attempt to attend a concert in Detroit results in a night none of them will ever forget. Adam Rifkin’s high energy comedy often veers a bit too broad, but there are enough laughs and entertaining shenanigans to keep things breezy and fun. Plus, and this is a big plus, Melanie Lynskey has a small role as a girl who has sex in a church confessional. So that’s awesome.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, commentaries,music videos]

Home Sweet Hell

Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson) has the perfect suburban life, but that all changes when his wife (Katherine Heigl) discovers his recent affair. Rather than simply divorce him she decides on a different plan of action, and it’s not long before Don is left wishing he had just kept it in his pants. Members of the internet’s anti-Heigl brigade won’t see their opinions challenged here, but the rest of us should find this slight black comedy at least mildly entertaining. The story goes a bit off the rails and the laughs are minimal, but hey… Jim Belushi!

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes]

The Immigrant

Ewa (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda arrive in New York City in pursuit of the American Dream, but they only find Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) instead. He’s got a silver tongue and a mean streak, and soon Ewa is working on her back in order to help her sister, but the arrival of Bruno’s cousin (Jeremy Renner) hints at a possible happy ending. This is a bleak, beautifully-shot and well-acted film, but it’s closer to misery porn than compelling drama.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette]

Invaders from Mars

Young David Gardner is fascinated by the stars above, but his interests take a nightmarish turn when he sees a spaceship descend from the sky in the hills behind his house. No one believes his claims, but things get worse when his parents and others investigate only to return somehow askew. Aliens are taking control of the townspeople for nefarious purposes, and it’s up to David and the U.S. Marines to save humanity from these intergalactic invaders. Tobe Hooper’s remake features some creative and fun alien design, but it’s a problem that the best part of the movie is the brief clip of Hooper’s far superior Lifeforce playing on a TV. Acting is sketchy and the action is worse, but the biggest problem is a tone that doesn’t quite know who it’s aiming for ‐ the slight and goofy nature of it all feels directed towards kids, but the pacing and plotting will leave most kids bored. And don’t get me started on that terrible ending.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurettes]


A serial killer in Japan posts videos of his handiwork online, and they both disgust and inspire a man in Jakarta to do some killing of his own. He’s more interested in murdering those who deserve it though, and when their paths cross it becomes a battle to see which will fulfill their needs first. The Mo Brothers’ latest is a long, stylish and cruelly violent affair that most definitely won’t appeal to a wide audience. These aren’t Hollywood thrills ‐ they’re mean, frustrating and savage ‐ and no one is safe. It’s a rough watch, no doubt, but it’s an entertaining one too for those who can stomach it.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Manhattan: Season One

World War II is in full swing, and the United States government is putting an enormous amount of effort into a small, manufactured town in the American Southwest. The country’s best and brightest minds are working on a “gadget” that promises to end the war with a decisive, explosive victory. This WGN series follows the scientists and their families as they struggle with the project and the stresses of life under surveillance. It can be tough with a narrative heading towards an outcome viewers already know, but the characters are engaging enough with their smaller dramas to keep the show watchable.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentaries]

Massacre Gun

A mob henchman is strongly compelled to kill his own lover by his boss, but guilt and the treatment of his two brothers leads him to rebel against the organization. This late ’60s gangster pic from Japan is a fast-watch at under ninety minutes, but that doesn’t mean it’s all action. Time is spent with the brothers, their women and their endeavors, and much of it is accompanied by a smooth, jazzy score. When the violence hits though it pops with gunfire and dead bodies… and more jazz.

Blu-ray extras: Interviews, promo gallery

A Most Violent Year

Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) runs an oil delivery company in ’80s New York City, but it’s a corrupt business filled with hidden costs and dangers. His attempts to grow rub up against rivals intent on his commercial demise, but he’s a determined man motivated by his ambition and his family (including Jessica Chastain) to succeed at almost any cost. J.C. Chandor’s latest is a fine period drama with a stellar performance from Isaac, but it doesn’t quite engage the way it wants to. Abel’s dilemmas are problems of his own creation meaning there’s little in the way of empathy for his situation, and the movie occasionally feels too dull to maintain its character study.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes]

One Step Beyond

A woman is possessed by a recently murdered woman. A town burns a woman at the stake only to suffer the curse of her final words. A silent clown haunts a murderer on the run. This anthology series pre-dates The Twilight Zone and ran for several seasons and nearly one hundred episodes, but the major difference from similar shows is that these stories are based on “actual” events. Mmmhmm. None of the episodes really pop, but they’re steady in the mild entertainment. It’s not as star-filled a series as its counterparts, but there are enough recognizable faces to keep things interesting.

[DVD extras: None]


Mike, his wife Wit, and his brother Sean head into the woods for a camping trip, but as the feud and fight among themselves a much greater threat to their vacation arrives in the form of a madman who proceeds to terrorize the trio as preparation for their demise. It shows promise in its opening fifteen minutes ‐ time spent establishing characters and setting up a dynamic ‐ before it becomes ridiculously clear that writer/director Christopher Denham should drop the writing from his resume going forward. Because this is one terribly written movie. The dialogue is blatantly on the nose, again and again. “Man’s the only animal that kills because it’s fun,” says Sean while gutting a deer. “I don’t have it in me,” Wit says later. “I don’t think I could actually kill.” She of course is rebuffed and told that you never really know what you’re capable of when it’s “fight or flight, kill or be killed.” If you’re thinking that someone is going to kill for fun and that Wit will be forced to fight to survive then you too can be a screenwriter! Apparently.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Sharky’s Machine

Homicide Det. Tom Sharkey (Burt Reynolds, who also directs) is demoted to the vice squad after a messy sting operation, and he immediately finds himself embroiled in an even bigger mess. He and his new team have targeted a high-level crime-lord, but Sharkey finds himself distracted by the man’s high-priced call girl (Rachel Ward). William Diehl’s novel hits the screen as a moody, violence-strewn noir, but while it has a lot to recommend it the two hour running time feels too long. Maybe one of the three Ward-centric montages could have been cut? I say that as a big fan of the actress too, but the scenes are just such obvious filler that they drag things down. Still, the hard-boiled violence along with a strong supporting cast (Henry Silva, Brian Keith, Charles Durning, Bernie Casey) make for a worthwhile watch.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

The Voices

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) works a daily grind at a factory job where he’s considered a gentle weirdo but goes home to a lonely life where his best friends are his cat and dog. Also, they talk to him. Also, he’s a serial killer. There’s an obvious darkness to the comedy here, but it never quite gets that balance right. It wants us to laugh along to Jerry’s situation, but terrifying and brutalizing women doesn’t lend itself well to chuckles. The thriller side of things is equally unsuccessful as anything resembling drama or suspense is muddled with attempts at goofiness.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and/or review material was unavailable:

The Book of Negroes, The Brady Bunch: The Complete Series, Frasier: The Complete Series, If You Don’t I Will, Imitation of Life, King of the Hill: The Complete Ninth/Tenth Season, MacGyver: The Complete Collection, Mad as Hell, Matlock: The Complete Series, Yellowbird

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.