Features and Columns · Movies

41 New Releases to Watch at Home This Week

By  · Published on October 6th, 2015

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

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

Gravy (Scream Factory)

Halloween brings out the weirdos, and three of them have settled in to a small Mexican restaurant for a night of fun. The staff is equally eclectic, but as odd as they get in their off hours they’ve at least never resorted to abduction, murder, and trivia games. Oh, and cannibalism. The three newcomers have plans that include torture, death, and some truly fine cuisine. And if they have fun along the way? Even better.

Director/co-writer James Roday (Psych) has crafted the funniest film about flesh eating since Ravenous, and while it’s far more of a comedy than a thriller it still manages some suspenseful, exciting beats too. The cast is fully onboard with the wet, messy mayhem with both Michael Weston and Jimmi Simpson delivering mile-a-minute banter that consistently earns big laughs. The film never shies away from the bloodletting though resulting in an incredibly gory romp where no one is safe from becoming the next course.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary]

sections_bestblu blunt force trauma

Blunt Force Trauma

John (Ryan Kwanten) roams the back lands of South America competing in duels that see two people in bullet-proof vests face off to see who can knock the other off their feet. His goal is an invite to challenge the man (Mickey Rourke) who started it all. Colt (Freida Pinto) is in the game for something more personal as she searches for the man she holds responsible for he brother’s death. Their journeys bring them together with the promise of tearing them apart.

This is an oddly meditative film with a strange premise that rarely seems all that interested in the stated plot points above. Instead it moves slowly, meandering its way across a landscape punctuated with semi-frequent bouts of violence and suspense. It’s attractive in its own way, dreamy at times, with characters seeking purpose in a world without one. Weirdly, there’s a major character reveal that plays out behind the end credits ‐ literally behind the credits leaving viewers having to catch it between words and names. It’s weird. I love it. (But you most likely won’t.)

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

First Strike

Hong Kong detective Chan (Jackie Chan) is assigned to the CIA (?) for a case involving stolen nukes, and it takes him from the snowy forests of the Ukraine to the sunny shores of Australia. The Chinese-American scientist accused of stealing the warhead is tracked to his sister’s home in Brisbane where Chan is forced to fight, swim, and interact with sharks if he wants to not only recover the nukes but also hopefully survive.

This late ’90s release is technically the fourth entry in Chan’s Police Story franchise, but here in the US it was released purely as a stand alone adventure. Regardless, it remains a first-rate example of his brilliance combining top-notch physical comedy alongside endlessly entertaining action scenes. The ladder fight deserves the praise it still gets nearly twenty years on, but it’s just one of several sequences that will have you smiling and looking forward to the blooper reel at the end credits. Sure it’s a bare bones release of the US theatrical cut, but damn if it still isn’t overflowing with spectacular action worth loving in HD.

[Blu-ray extras: None]

dvd happyish 1

Happyish: Season One

Thom Payne (Steve Coogan) is happily married to a wonderful woman (Kathryn Hahn) and father to a delightful young son, but the joy of his home life is constantly challenged by the misery that is the advertising business where he makes his living. He’s constantly made to feel like a relic of the analog age, but he keeps fighting the good fight all the same ‐ just with more bitching and moaning.

Showtime’s freshman series is news to me, and I’m honestly surprised more folks aren’t talking about it. Coogan and Hahn’s characters are fantastic, hilarious, and ridiculously snarky, and Bradley Whitford’s supporting turn as Thom’s boss is equally terrific. There’s a remarkable cynicism to the show evident even in the pre-title bits where Coogan or Hahn give the finger to some historical figure, idea, or institution, and it carries through the episodes as the pair encounters all manner of laugh-inducing assholes. And I’m not sure how they get away with it, but the show also features imaginative bits with various marketing “characters” interacting with Thom in not so politically correct ways.

[DVD extras: None]

blu magic mike xxl

Magic Mike XXL

Mike (Channing Tatum) has left the world of male entertainment behind to focus on his small furniture-making business, but when some of his thong-wearing friends hit town en route to Myrtle Beach he rejoins the guys for one last blow-out. The upcoming competition promises fun, but it also leaves them thinking about their routines on the stage and in life.

Steven Soderbergh’s original film was fine, but while it never really made much of a lasting impression the same can’t be said of the simple, straightforward road movie that is the sequel. It’s a far more relaxed tale that eschews showiness in favor of friendship, humor, and observations about life, and the result is a film that occasionally feels formless. That’s never a detriment here though and instead allows for moments that pop with vitality including Joe Manganiello’s “Cheetos and water” routine and Amber Heard’s expressions during the final dance routine. It’s ultimately a sweet film about boys growing up and looking forward for a change.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Greg (Thomas Mann) is an insecure high school senior self-removed from the disputes and dramas of his classmates’ various cliques. He maintains his role of neutral party by existing as a fringe member of every group and a full member of none, and instead spends his free time hanging out with his friend Earl (RJ Cyler) making short film homages (“Senior Citizen Kane,” “Pooping Tom”) to the movies they love. His low profile is shattered when his mom strongly suggests he pay a visit to a classmate named Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and while both he and “the dying girl” initially resent the intrusion into their respective worlds a life-defining friendship is born.

This is a deliriously fun and affecting film guaranteed to leave your face in disarray as a steady stream of tears do battle with uncontrollable laughter. Think (500) Days of Summer plus 50/50 minus Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and you’ll have an idea what to expect with this sweet, smart and painfully honest look at the trials and tribulations of our teenage years.

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

blu rumble in bronx

Rumble in the Bronx

Keung (Jackie Chan) is a Hong Kong cop visiting New York City for a wedding, but the vacation is marred by the arrival of a street gang intent on causing a ruckus. His efforts to teach them a lesson in common courtesy brings him in contact with far more serious villains and their plans for an epic diamond heist. A Hong Kong cop’s job is never done, so Keung’s forced to fight fire with a hovercraft through the streets of NYC. Obviously.

This is not only the first Chan film to open wide theatrically in the US (not counting his off-brand, non-starring stabs at Hollywood including Cannonball Run and The Protector), but it’s actually the very first Chan film I ever saw. I immediately became a fan and sought out every Chan film I could find, and even now ‐ twenty years later ‐ the film’s action remains a masterful collection of stellar fight choreography and epic stunts. The brawl in the gang’s hideout is still a masterclass in utilizing every possible prop while fighting.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

blu south park 18

South Park: Eighteenth Season

The boys of South Park continue to be trouble makers, but one look at the adults around them and you realize that it’s a communal problem epic in size and scope. This season sees them struggling with gluten, virtual reality, growing up, transgender issues, cock magic and more.

Eighteen seasons in and Trey Parker and Matt Stone show they’ve lost none of their edge, humorous sensibilities, or ability to pinpoint the absurd among the detritus of our pop culture and news cycles. This season toys a bit with carrying threads and plot turns from one episode to the next, but the core remains sharply-written observational humor about mankind’s never-ending idiocy. Problems with drones, freemium business models, Uber and more are dissected with frequently hilarious precision but one of the season’s biggest recurring laughs comes courtesy of the truth about pop superstar Lorde. It’s ridiculous how on point and on fire this show still manages to be.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: #SocialCommentaries, commentaries, deleted scenes]

The Target

A man on the run from killers is wounded and awakes in the hospital. The doctor sworn to save his life discovers his wife has been kidnapped and will only be returned if this patient is handed over. Another group of murderous thugs is after the man as well. All hell breaks loose, and by the time the cops get involved it’s clear that nothing is simple about this case.

Between A Hard Day, Veteran, and this one it’s safe to say that Korean action cinema is once again on fire this year. This remake of the recent French hit, Point Blank, is the far less comedic of the three, but the action beats are every bit as exciting and the story turns are every bit as dark. They’re occasional surprising too leaving viewers with a film that sets up conventions (as to who will live and die) only to knock them down without warning.

[DVD extras: None]

We Are Still Here

Paul and Anne (Barbara Crampton) moved to a small New England town in an attempt to move forward after the death of their grown son some months prior, but it’s a remote house, nestled in a winter landscape blanketed in snow, and almost immediately the still-fragile Anne feels their son’s presence inside. It’s comforting and curious, and while Paul doesn’t necessarily believe it he welcomes their more spiritually enlightened friends, Jacob (Larry Fessenden) and May, for a weekend of drinking, reminiscing and maybe the occasional seance. Unfortunately for them all, some supernatural squatters have other plans.

Writer/director Ted Geoghegan’s feature debut drops viewers into a very familiar situation before slowly twisting our expectations in creative and bloody ways. It’s a haunted house tale with an interesting cause at its core, it features a fantastic abundance of wet, messy gore and it accomplished a rare feat ‐ it made me jump. Three times. Geoghegan shows his knowledge and wit without forgetting to embrace the horror of it all, and he delivers old-school terrors without the need for stylized reminders or ironic appreciations. It’s great, spooky fun perfect for an impromptu movie night this month.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, behind the scenes]


When a man awakens to the bloody aftermath of a deadly shootout with no memory and a bullet in his own gut he’s forced to think fast if he wants to survive long enough to figure out what exactly happened. A trio of tough guys (Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Michael Pare) aren’t about to make it easy for him though. Fans of the cast might find something of value here, but neither the story nor the action ever make themselves all that memorable.

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

10,000 Saints

Jude (Asa Butterfield) is a teenager from Vermont who heads to New York City to experience more of the world and spend time with his father (Ethan Hawke), but 1980’s NYC offers him far more than he ever could have expected. There’s little in the way of big story here, and instead the film offers a time capsule glimpse into the lives of a handful of characters searching for something more. Hailee Steinfeld and Emile Hirsch add to the mix creating an engaging, intentionally paced look at messy lives in a messy time. The film captures that time and place well.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


The Earth is out of time. Breathable air is no more, and the last remnants of humanity live in hibernation deep beneath the surface. Two men (Norman Reedus, Djimon Hounsou) awaken periodically to perform maintenance on the systems keeping people alive and asleep, but their current efforts run into unforeseen troubles that threaten humanity’s very existence. This is a solid little sci-fi tale carried on the backs of its two actors. The always reliable Sandrine Holt has a brief turn too, but it’s mostly Reedus and Hounsou doing all of the heavy lifting. Fans of intimate sci-fi should give it a chance.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]


Gloria is a lonely single mother who’s all but given up on love, but she finds hope again when she accepts a blind date with Michel. He’s handsome, kind, and sweet, and it’s not long before he breaks her heart. But Gloria isn’t about to let go that easily, and soon the two of them are enjoying a love story that sees him wooing and robbing desperate women and her disposing of the evidence. This Belgian tale of obsession and murder is loosely based on a real-life case, but that origin isn’t enough to make it engaging. There’s no one here to care about or be interested in, and as the events unfold with a disturbed inevitability there’s little to compel us through to the end. That said, fans of the film ‐ of which there are many as evidenced by its festival awards ‐ will find much to love about Doppelganger’s special feature-filled release.

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

The Anomaly

Ryan Reeve is living a life he’s utterly unaware of ‐ he “awakes” periodically for nine minutes and forty seven seconds to discover what his body’s been up to, and the revelations aren’t sitting with him to well. He’s become a mercenary responsible for kidnapping, murder, and who knows what else, and he only has these brief windows of time to change that outcome. There’s some cool, twisty turns to be found in this little sci-fi tale, and the presence of Alexis Knapp, Ian Somerhalder, and Brian Cox all work to make it a worthwhile watch. Things do grow a little convoluted at times though.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Small-time farmers in the vast forests of Argentina are being abused, robbed, and even killed by a group of land-grabbing mercenaries, but when one family comes under siege a mysterious and barefoot drifter (Gael Garcia Bernal) appears to lend a hand. The plot here is fodder for a hundred Westerns, but while nothing new comes from the story the setting offers up an interesting shift from the usual. It’s difficult to take much of it seriously ‐ Bernal never quite convinces as an action hero, and the script sees some terrible cliches along the way ‐ but the jungle’s denizens, including a gorgeous leopard, offer a refreshing change.

[DVD extras: Behind the scenes]

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and don’t come back!!)

Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Marci are off to France for two weeks of European living, but the exchange student program takes a back seat to a mystery involving a mysterious chateau. Snoopy and Woodstock are along for the ride guaranteeing a near disaster. This 1980 TV movie automatically benefits from Lucy’s absence, but it’s another step up thanks to the darkly hinted mystery behind the letter Charlie receives in the mail. It’s no spoiler to say it all turns out okay for the kids ‐ this isn’t Hostel ‐ and today’s young ones should still have fun with the adventure.

[DVD extras: Featurette]

Children of the Night

A reporter searching for an interesting story visits a remote orphanage to investigate just what makes the children there so special. It’s reported to be a skin disease, but she quickly discovers the little ones are actually vampires. The bloodthirsty tykes live a peaceful life ‐ aside from all that pesky blood drinking of course ‐ but their tranquility is threatened by some locals. Artsploitation has been snatching up some stellar foreign titles this year including The Treatment, Cub, and Der Bunker, but this Argentinian genre effort is far below their league. Everything from the acting to the cinematography feels cheap and uninteresting.

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

Dark Places

For Libby Day (Charlize Theron), the past has become a self-imposed prison. She was just a child in 1985 when her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered, and it was her testimony that helped convict their killer ‐ Libby’s brother ‐ who three decades later remains behind bars while Libby makes a meager living on the kindness of strangers and sales of her book. When the goodwill dries up she accepts an offer from from a young man representing a group of amateur sleuths called the Kill Club. Some among them believe her brother is innocent, and in exchange for cash payment Libby agrees to revisit the case in search of a new truth. The film shifts between adult Libby’s present day efforts and the events themselves shown in flashback. Both halves display strengths and weaknesses, but there are far more of the latter thanks in part to writing and editing that seems at odds with the concept of thrills, mystery and suspense. The core truth about the murders is casually mentioned just fifteen minutes in for anyone paying even the slightest attention, and flashbacks frequently reveal key elements several minutes before adult Libby and the film itself seem to realize them. Even if viewers don’t catch on early ‐ doubtful, but possible ‐ the details of the reveal are so ridiculously convoluted and contrived as to be both unimpressive and annoying.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Dead Rising: Watchtower

The zombie apocalypse is here, but don’t worry too much ‐ the government has it under control thanks to a new vaccine. Except maybe they don’t? An outbreak leads to the sealing up of one small town with both the living and the undead inside, and one reporter (Jesse Metcalfe) holds the key to what’s happening. This video game adaptation features several action beats and nods to the game, but it’s surprisingly tame when it comes to the gore. Yes it’s bloody and includes some f-bombs, but the gore pales beside the things that AMC’s The Walking Dead has been getting away with since its premiere. Fans of the game should give it a watch, but there’s nothing new here for zombie lovers.

[DVD extras: Bloopers, featurettes, commentary]


Five friends on a road trip stop for a short break only to discover that one of them has gone missing. They chase off after the likely culprits ‐ a grungy motorcycle gang ‐ but even if they survive the encounter a far darker evil awaits them on the horizon. There’s an interesting development along the way here, but it is a difficult road getting there thanks to some severely rough acting. I for one couldn’t make the journey.

[DVD extras: None]

Escobar: Paradise Lost

Nick (Josh Hutcherson) is visiting his brother in Colombia when he meets and falls in love with a young woman named Maria. So far so good, but then he discovers her uncle is Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro) and it’s all downhill from there. Nick is drawn into Escobar’s drug-fueled kingdom, and there may not be a way out. Hutcherson and Del Toro are both quite good here, but the film’s jumbled timeline diffuses tension instead of generating suspense.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]

Final Girl

Four young men, dressed to the nines, spend their evenings wining and dining attractive young women at a local diner before inviting them to their forest hangout, releasing them into the woods, and then hunting them down. They’ve done it many times before and hope to do it many more, but tonight they’re chosen victim, Veronica (Abigail Breslin), has other plans. There’s a potentially fun tale here ‐ a supposed victim turning the tables on her clueless captors ‐ but the film destroys any shred of interest or curiosity by presenting the story in a jumbled way that reveals everything right up front. We know exactly why she’s there and what she’s capable of almost immediately, and everything that follows is a dull presentation of those details.

Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, gallery, outtakes


Ray (Alexander Skarsgard), Claire (Andrea Riseborough), and their daughter Zoe have been living in an underground bunker for almost a year, although their struggle to stay alive could barely be called living. They’ve been in hiding since the virus hit and spend their days trying to avoid drawing the attention of the “breathers.” They should have tried harder. The setup feels just familiar enough, but writer/directors/brothers The Duffer Brothers make some smartly creative moves with the material to create suspense and empathy. The little girl does annoy on occasion ‐ the character, not the actress ‐ but there’s enough here to distract.

[DVD extras: None]

Home Alone: 25th Anniversary Collection

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left home alone when his family goes on vacation, and as they rush home to get him he’s forced to fend for himself against a pair of mean-spirited, incompetent burglars. Then it happens again. And then apparently three more times. There are five Home Alone films, and the fact that five is three more than I knew existed means they probably shouldn’t make anymore ‐ unless it’s done as a crossover sequel with the next Die Hard of course. This collection includes a brand new 4K restoration of the original film on Blu-ray, a Blu of the sequel, and then the remaining films on DVD, but it’s the packaging that will make or break it for most consumers. The films (and their accompanying knick knacks including an ornament, fake spider, battle plan, and wanted poster) come in a paint can. Sure there’s a visual connection to the movies, but this is a nightmare to fit on your shelves.

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

Horror Classics: Volume One

British archaeologists disturb an Egyptian princess’ tomb unwittingly unleashing the mummy’s curse upon themselves in The Mummy. A silly monsignor excises Dracula’s castle in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave only to discover that not only have his efforts failed but they’re also most likely responsible for numerous deaths. Dr. Frankenstein thinks fifth time’s the charm and takes another stab at swapping brains and creating life, but he’s once again surprised when things don’t quite work out well in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. A thrill-seeking trio finance a descent into darkness and pay deary in Taste the Blood of Dracula. Warner Bros. brings four Hammer classics to Blu-ray in what we hope is the first of man such sets. The earliest film here is probably the best of the quartet as the shambling, unstoppable mummy (Christopher Lee) is a more fearsome and imposing creature than the dapper Dracula (Lee, again) could ever hope to be, but the Frankenstein feature is also good, messy fun. Some fans are upset that the film choices here seems to show no real rhyme or reason ‐ as opposed to a Dracula collection or a Christopher Lee set ‐ but it’ll be a moot point if the end up covering all the relevant titles eventually. The films look great in HD and belong on any Hammer fan’s shelf, but these particular titles and the lack of extras make it a rental for me.

[Blu-ray extras: None]


June is a foster child seemingly unable to stay with a family for any real length of time. Mysterious mass murders fueled by bullying, ignorance, and an evil spirit have that effect it seems, but her latest foster parents appear to finally be worthy of her affection. Or not. What appears on the surface to be another generic tale of a possessed child is actually something a bit more interesting, and instead of the expected we get some fresh story beats along the way. The highlight of the film though is the score by Sean & Juliette Beavan that feels far more energetic, propulsive, and catchy than these kinds of films normally receive.

[DVD extras: Making of, featurettes]

Last Shift

Officer Jessica Loren is a rookie saddled with babysitting a closed-down police station on her first overnight shift, but what should have been an easy assignment becomes a nightmare instead as hallucinations plague her evening. The visions take on a physical threat though as she learns more about a cult whose members perished within these walls the year prior. There are some wonderfully creepy visuals here, but the film never seems to trust their power and instead buries them beneath loud sound and music cues. It mutes the scares somewhat dramatically, but enough visual appeal remains to hold attention throughout.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes]

The Leftovers: The Complete First Season

Two percent doesn’t seem like a big number, but when that percentage of people suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth it leaves those left behind in a bit of disarray. It also leaves them confused, lost, and intensely depressed. The show picks up three years after the event to find life shambling towards normalcy, even as people’s behaviors continue to erode. Tom Perrotta’s novel gets the series treatment from HBO and Damon Lindelof, and the result is drama that’s both frequently compelling and immensely frustrating. Character actions are often suspect to the point of annoyance, and we’re left trusting that all will be made clear by the end.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, making of, featurettes]

Little House on the Prairie: Season Seven

Sure Adam’s sight returns, but the bigger point of celebration comes with the announcement that Half-pint and Almonzo are getting married! Season seven (of nine) sees life on the prairie continuing alongside times of joy, heartache, and great change. It’s far from the strongest season of the show, but fans who’ve stuck with it will want to revisit it all the same. The bigger issue here is Lionsgate’s decision to release this season on DVD only after the first six seasons all received Blu-ray releases. It’s a cheap and disappointing move on their part this close to the series’ end.

[DVD extras: None]


A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) leads a fairly solitary life as a locksmith more fixated on the past than interested in the present. That’s slowly changing though as he tries to reform a relationship with his son (Chris Messina) and build a new one with a local bank teller (Holly Hunter). David Gordon Green’s latest is a film built entirely on its performances. The story offers little we don’t expect, but Pacino hasn’t been this good and understated in years. It’s also fantastic seeing Hunter onscreen again. It’s a subtle comedy that will leave you smiling and happy, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Navy SEALs vs Zombies

The Vice President is trapped in Baton Rouge by a zombie outbreak, and his only hope of survival are the bearded members of a hard-hitting Navy SEAL team. Another day, another direct-to-DVD zombie movie. This one mixes it up ever so slightly by setting a highly trained military squad against the undead, but the bland action remains mostly the same. Again, just with more beards.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Children are going missing in New Orleans, and a pair of detectives think they’ve found the answer. That’s right, a snobby clan of elitist vampires are having parties and the kids are their party favors. Johnathon Schaech has fun as the vampires’ leader, but the horror and action here are too frequently content being generic while the vampires themselves are presented with a bit too much condescension to take them the least bit dramatically.

[DVD extras: None]

People Places Things

Will (Jemaine Clement) is a divorced father who makes his living as a graphic novelist and college teacher, but as well-suited as he is to create new worlds on the page his real one isn’t doing so hot. His attempts to find love, father his children, and teach a class are overwhelming, but if he’s lucky he’ll persevere on the strength of good intentions and luck combined. Clement is terrific here in a role that allows him some very funny comedic bits while still highlighting a kindness and heart inherent to his character. There are no revelations to be found here, and instead it’s simply a sweetly affecting story powered by laughs and warmth.

[DVD extras: None]

Reign: The Complete Second Season

France continues to fall into dangerous disarray as those in power struggle to right the nation’s course against the onslaught of illness, war, and time itself. This CW series replaces all of the sex, violence, and grit of shows like Game of Thrones and The Tudors with a squeaky clean cast of model-like young adults, but it can’t help but stumble in the shadow of those richer, deeper shows. Fans of lightweight period dramas complete with dastardly deeds and dangerous implications will enjoy.

[DVD extras: Featurette, deleted scenes]

Road Hard

Bruce Madsen (Adam Carolla) is a stand-up comic who was once a much bigger deal. Years ago he was part of a successful duo, but now his old partner is hosting award shows as well as an extremely popular nighttime talk show ‐ think, oh I don’t know, Jimmy Kimmel maybe. Bruce struggles with trying to balance his floundering career, his college-bound daughter, and the dueling desires of fame and happiness. Carolla is still not a very good actor, but he finds the heart of a character who strikes close to home for him. His scenes with his onscreen daughter (Cynthy Wu) are the film’s strongest, and the movie is ultimately a sweet tale of the choices we make for ourselves and others.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes, outtakes]

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

They’re tornadoes. But with sharks. And only Ian Ziering can save the East coast. Look, this franchise hasn’t gotten any smarter three films in, and it’s still exactly what you think it is. Terrible CG, a cast of people with nothing better to do, and a story that’s never more than people fighting sharks in tornadoes. Ziering is joined by Tara Reid, Frankie Muniz, David Hasselhoff, Bo Derek, Mark McGrath, Mark Cuban, and others, and if any of this appeals to you in print then you’re probably going to love the actual movie.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes, gag reel, commentaries]

The Stranger (Scream Factory)

Martin is a vampire, or sorts, who arrives in town planning to kill his ex (who shares a similar taste for blood) and then himself, but his plan is halted when a local thug is infected triggering a slaughter in a woefully unprepared community. Eli Roth’s name is all over this release, but he’s acting here as little more than a producer and presenter. That may either be a pro or a con for you, but the film itself offers an mildly intriguing setup hampered by a dark visual style and some questionable acting. Genre fans should find some things to enjoy here though.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette, short film]

The Timber

Two brothers (Josh Peck, James Ransone) facing financial difficulties in the American Old West take a job from an unscrupulous banker in the hopes of saving their homestead, but the harsh reality ‐ and the harsher winter ‐ aren’t making it easy. Both leads are good actors in their own right and in the right circumstances, but hard-scrabble western is neither of their fortes. Peck feels out of time, and Ransone out of character. The film does offer some gorgeous cinematography though.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, behind the scenes, inteviews]

Tremors 5: Bloodlines

Bert Gummer (Michael Gross) is still hunting Graboids beneath the Earth, but now he does so as part of a reality show. His shooting schedule is interrupted with the news that a new breed of Assblaster is killing people in South Africa, so together with his new cameraman (Jamie Kennedy) they head overseas to bag themselves some monsters. I knew the original (and still fantastic) Tremors had gotten a sequel, but I seem to have missed parts 3 and 4. Surprisingly, this one is a competently made ‐ far more so than the likes of the Lake Placid sequels ‐ meaning that it’s never less than a watchable, goofy little monster movie.

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

What We Did on Our Holiday

Doug (David Tennant) and Abi (Rosamund Pike) are newly separated but have come together to take their three kids on a road trip for their grandfather’s (Billy Connolly) birthday. It’s a journey filled with bickering, especially when they reach their destination and connect with other members of the family, but it just might also be a trip that ultimately brings them closer to each other. The first act of this film is an annoying and unfunny clash of noise and cliche, but something magical happens near the film’s midpoint when Connelly and the three kids leave everyone else behind and head to the beach. It becomes a beautifully observed time between a man on his way out and children on their way up. The quartet’s acting is warm, witty, and smart with their conversations feeling both natural and wise. This whole stretch calls to mind time spent with grandparents, time away from from the noise and hustle of everyday life’s troubles, and it is tremendously affecting. Rent the movie, suffer through the opening, and then immerse yourself in the pure beauty of an afternoon spent at the beach.

[DVD extras: Making of, deleted scenes, commentary]

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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.