DVD Picks of the Week: June 12th & 19th

Last week was one hell of  a week for content. I had so many things going on that I had no chance to do my HW for this weekly gem. So here I am again, slightly under prepared I may add, but here none the less.

Check out the last two weeks’ offerings of DVD pickings…

Buy It:

Shallow Grave (The Criterion Collection)

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Written by: John Hodge

Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Kerry Fox & Ewan McGregor

Why should you buy it? Because it’s another one of the flawed masterpieces from Danny Boyle. My favourite films from him include Sunshine and 127 Hours, two films I know a lot of people to have issues with, I consider this film to be the third in that list of films worth always holding near and dear to your heart.

With a story of three best friends who happen to come upon a small fortune after a roommate who just moved in dies under mysterious circumstances and leaves a suitcase filled with money. They decide to keep the money and bury the body themselves and not talk about the mysterious roommate. This money eventually leads to rifts between these best friends and an eventual dark ending that I feel is emblematic of a lot of Boyle‘s movies.

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Directed by: Jay & Mark Duplass

Written by: Jay & Mark Duplass

Starring: Ed Helms, Jason Segel, Judy Greer & Susan Sarandon

Why should you buy it? Because it’s the unseen film of 2012 that I feel is one of the Duplass’ best films yet. They masterfully put forward and emotional portrait of this wayward brother and how he manages to affect those around him, even if the effect on him is somewhat lost at times. He’s that guy who looks for meaning in the most trivial things to try and see if it’s a sign to push him in direction or the other, and you dismiss it as him being a marijuana smoker, but at the end of it all the effect he has on you is so wonderful that you love him for being him.

Rent It:

Wanderlust

Directed by: David Wain

Written by: David Wain & Ken Marino

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Marino & Malin Akerman

Why should you rent it? Because it’s a great ensemble comedy that has just enough laughs for you to enjoy yourself but I feel just enough problems to make sure you don’t want to own it. Many comedies are a constant barrage of setups and punch lines, the problem with that is that not every combination ends up working so while so many parts of this film are amazingly great if we were to take a percentage of jokes that work to jokes that don’t work I’m pretty sure this film would be hitting a good .600 by the end of the night’s game, which is respectable.

Read my full review here.

The FP

Directed by: Brandon Trost & Jason Trost

Written by: Brandon Trost & Jason Trost

Starring: Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy & Art Hsu

Why should you rent this? Before we get to why you must first qualify. If you’re the kind of person who finds 90s martial arts tournament films – like Mortal Kombat – hilarious and enjoy watching them parodied, if you enjoy seeing a weird DDR-esque battle scene, which isn’t exactly exciting, and if you enjoy seeing some of the worst acting ever in existence, then you qualify to want to rent this movie.

The FP, is one of those movies which I’m sure comes around every month or so, but we only find out about it every few years. It’s a film that’s so bad it turns the good bracket just so slightly, and at the same time comes with it’s own equal sense of irony and earnestness in it’s moments that allows it to offer something interesting. We see the irony in the fact that we’re replacing actual fighting scenes with DDR, and we see the earnestness in the fact that all of these characters buy into this world. It’s almost like an anime brought to life, but the worst kind.

It’s not a film for many, but not a film that you would pass up if you consider yourself not to be one of the many.

The Rest

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Entourage: The Complete Eigth and Final Season
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Superman vs. The Elite
Missing: The Complete First Season
Scandal: The Complete First Season
Too Big to Fail
GCB: The Complete First Season
A Little Bit of Heaven
Thin Ice
Episodes: The First Season
Project X
Big Miracle
Seeking Justice
Cat Run
Louie: Season 2
Wilfred
Keyhole
And Everything is Going Fine (The Criterion Collection)
Gray’s Anatomy (The Criterion Collection)

Blu Ray

Harold and Maude (The Criterion Collection)
The Gold Rush (The Criterion Collection)
Meatballs
Red Scorpion
Evita: 15th Anniversary Edition
Newsies: 20th Anniversary Edition
Sister Act: 20th Anniversary Edition

What’re You Getting This Week?

DVD Picks of the Week: June 5th

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time to take a look at what hits DVD/Blu Ray.

Buy It:

Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season

Created by: Vince Gilligan

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks & Giancario Esposito

Why should you buy it? Because it’s pretty much one of the best shows on TV today and we’re about to begin the first half of the last season of the show. If you’ve yet to see an episode I urge you to watch it, either by buying the DVDs, renting them, or even watching them on Netflix Instant (I believe there’re all there). This show is so fantastically brilliant. It manages to create pulp goodness that I doubt even Tarantino could manage to sustain over this long a period of time and I can’t wait to see what the showrunner has in store for us with his finale.

Just remember guys, “no half measures”.

Rent It:

Burn Notice: The Complete Fifth Season

Created by: Matt Nix

Starring: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell & Sharon Gless

Why should you rent it? I feel this is a show that I’m plugging for the same reason year in year out. It’s a great fun procedural of an ex-CIA agent being all sorts of badass and having some of the worst acting skills ever all under a less than cable station budget. It’s not going to be winning any Emmy’s, but it’s the kind of show that gets you through the summer season drought of truly great prime time television. You definitely don’t need to see every episode for maximum satisfaction. Season six starts soon.

John Carter

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

Written by: Andrew Stanton & Mark Andrews

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe & Mark Strong

Why should you rent it? I feel this is a film which truly got a bad hand dealt to it. Somehow when it was being released no one could find anything to talk about other than the budget behind it, and when the people decided that wasn’t a good enough reason to go (it isn’t) then all they could talk about was how much money it lost Disney. It’s sad. Movies aren’t all about the economics, they’re about the story, and I don’t think this movie is a bad movie or even a bad story. Yes there are a few moments of highly questionable logic, but I don’t see this movie as any better/worse than Avatar, the film that broke every record in the planet, got an Academy Award and we only now (in very slight whispers) start to take the film’s plot structure apart, but still praising it’s good parts. This movie has just as much good and bad to it and I hope people get a chance to see that now on Blu Ray.

Read my full review here.

Skip It:

Safe House

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa

Written by: David Guggenheim

Starring: Ryan Reynolds & Denzel Washington

Why should you skip this? It’s a mindless action movie with very little action to it. It actually is better classified as a horrible thriller about a CIA house keeper who happens upon a special house guest and happens to lead him onto some corruption going on within the CIA. It’s all cat an mouse with the action/chase sequence sprinkled in here and there, but none of it is either interesting or appealing. It’s rather an exercise in how long I can stay awake while Denzel does the least work possible to act Reynolds under the table in every scene.

Read my full review here.

The Rest

Act of Valor
White Collar: Season Three
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eight Season
Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2
Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Second Season
In Plain Sight: Season Four
Falling Skies: The Complete First Season
Machine Gun Preacher

Blu Ray

Yellow Submarine
The Sting
Hondo
Smokey And the Bandit
The Color of Money
U.S. Marshals

What’re You Getting This Week?

DVD Picks of the Week: May 29th

Another week and another opportunity to not save for that rainy day that I pretend isn’t very important in life. Check out this week’s DVD selections:

Buy It:

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Directed by: Lynne Ramsey

Written by: Lynne Ramsey & Rory Kinnear

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller & John C. Reilly

Why should you buy it? It’s one of the best horror films that doesn’t have just blood and guts spilling out of it for ninety minutes the have been released in the last two decades.

I’m going to go ahead and assume you’ve met a few assholes in your life. Well did you ever wonder, “how did your mum put up with you?” well this movie is exactly that, with a bit of the answer you weren’t looking for. We like to try and blame the parents for how the child turned out but every so often the child just turns out to be a through and through shit and nothing can stop it from happening. This is a film about a mother having to cope with the fact that she birthed the spawn of the devil and doesn’t know how to move on.

Listen to a podcast about it.

Rent It:

Rookie Blue: The Complete Second Season

Created by: Tassie Cameron, Morwyn Brebner & Ellen Vanstone

Starring: Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith & Enuka Okuma

Why should you rent it? Ok, I don’t have that great a reason. But this is a show scheduled for a summer time slot and this is when all the regular shows are over and no matter how bad this show gets week to week I keep watching it. Filled with melodramatic storylines and high school level romances it’s easy to refuse this show the time of day, and they probably should, but I still watch it.

I still say I don’t know how this is in it’s third season and Chicago Code, Terriers and Awake all got cancelled after only one season each. There’s no justice in TV world.

Skip It:

Goon

Directed by: Micheal Dowse

Written by: Jay Baruchel & Evan Goldberg

Starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel & Alisson Pill

Why should you avoid this? It’s a film which uses violence as the crux of it’s emotional and comedy beats in a way that end up just making me question what these writers thought was really funny and heartwarming. I know I’m not the best to judge, as I’ve never watched one real game of hockey, but based on my film knowledge it’s just guys beating each other up over and over again while wearing ice skates. The acceptance of intentional violence in this sport just confounds me and I find it neither funny nor heartwarming watching these characters bleed over and over again.

True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season

Created by: Alan Ball

Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer & Sam Trammell

Why should you avoid this? This show officially jumped the shark, or in this case got some witches (I want to copyright that phrase right now). I started watching this show with hope of not only enjoying some campy vampire intermingling/violent fun, but also to have some fun and smart social commentary on the outcasts of society. Slowly but surely since Season 1 the show has stepped away from that in order to service to HBO fanboys who just want more blood and nudity, I’m sure they can afford Cinemax, and decided to leave no stone unturned in the fantastical land of mystical beings and all it does is clutter the show in every which way.

The Rest

Maverick: The Complete First Season
Man on a Ledge
Coriolanus
Gone
Memorial Day

Blu Ray

Summer Interlude (The Criterion Collection)
Summer With Monika (Criterion Collection)
Outlaw Josey Wales
Strange Love of Martha Ivers

What’re You Getting This Week?

DVD Picks of the Week: May 22nd

A relatively unneventful week at the DVD store means empty lines and lots of extra cash left over for the donut man around the corner. Take a look at this week’s pickings.

Buy It:

Castle in the Sky (Blu Ray)

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Written by: Hayao Miyazaki

Why should you buy this? Well, let’s start with: it’s fantastic. Hayao Miyazaki is one of my favourite directors who when his name is called I say yes everytime. His imagination is unmatched in the world of animation, no, better yet, cinema.

The film deals with a young boy and girl who go in search of a castle in the sky, simple enough you’d think. Along the way there’re chase scenes, pirating, and government spies. It’s everything you’d want in a family film.

Rent It:

This Means War

Directed by: McG

Written by: Timothy Dowling & Simon Kinberg

Starring: Chris Pine, Tom Hardy & Reese Witherspoon

Why should you rent it? Because every so often you need to mix up the action and horror films with something she might like, and while this movie isn’t devoid of bad – I point at you Reese Witherspoon - it has enough fun moments to keep you entertained. Hardy and Pine have the charisma to make even the most ridiculous and boring romantic scenes fun with them constantly snooping and sabotaging each others’ ideas.

It’s fun and that’s all I can say to that.

Read full review here.

Skip It:

Perfect Sense

Directed by: David Mackenzie

Written by: Fim Fupz Aakeson

Starring: Eva Green & Ewan McGregor

Why should you skip it? It’s not very good. It’s sold as a romantic film, but in truth it’s a horror/apocalyptic movie. In this present day drama you mix in the bag of crazy the idea of people gradually losing their senses one at a time without knowing when or how it happens. The mere fright of that idea being a person’s reality is insane. So considering the fact that we’re to buy this romance happening while this is all going on is just too distracting away from one film or the other.

The Rest

Sherlock: Season Two
Red Tails
The Woman in Black
The Secret World of Arrietty
Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Second Season

Blu Ray

Whispter of the Heart

What’re You Getting?

DVD Picks of the Week: May 15th

So last week I skipped out on this column, but after giving up 15 minutes into Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie I can honestly say that there isn’t anything from last week’s DVD releases worth discussing. So let’s just skip that and talk about the present:

Buy It:

Being John Malkovich (Criterion Collection)

Directed by: Spike Jonze

Written by: Charlie Kaufman

Starring: John Malkovich, John Cusack & Cameron Diaz

Why should you buy it? It’s my #2 film of 1999, and I don’t think you can find a weirder film about the human mind and how to mimick life in art than this one. Forgetting the scene of Malkovich entering the mind of Malkovich and taking the film at face value, what else would you want? We get a puppeteer, an art form that’s always been the most difficult to sell, who’s trying to find a life and ends up in a floor of an office building that sits between two real floors (hence the 1/2) filing. It’s insane, but worth every minute that you have to give.

Rent It:

Chronicle

Directed by: Josh Trank

Written by: Max Landis

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell & Michael B. Jordan

Why should you rent it? Because calling it the found-footage, American retelling of Akira is an oversimplification of the whole thing. Yes it kind of straddles that line, but it also does a lot of things right. I like the character progression that Andrew, the bullied nerd anti-social child, goes through and the way that his powers evolve and skills increase over the span of the film. Especially with a lot of the camera explanations of the film. Yes it’s odd why the camera is even on, especially when he goes to hold up a convenience store, but I see it as no unlikely as the world’s youth is getting more and more obsessed with documenting their lives. It’s not a bad film, but definitely not a great one.

Skip It:

The Grey

Directed by: Joe Carnahan

Written by: Joe Carnahan & Ian Mackenzie Jeffers

Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney & Frank Grillo

Why should you skip it? While I’m all for Liam Neeson vs. wolves in the middle of nowhere, I’m just sad that the film wasn’t more engaging. It tried really hard but it felt like a movie that was stretched too far. It has a runtime of near two hours but began to run out of steam and having the set pieces and drama just too far apart for me to care by the end of the film.

Honestly a strong opening, but nothing else.

The Rest

One For the Money
Hell on Wheels – The Complete First Season
Albert Nobbs
The Devil Inside
Norwegian Wood

Blu Ray

The Odessa File
1900
Father of the Bride: 20th Anniversary Edition – Two Movie Collection
Walking Tall: The Trilogy

What’re You Getting This Week?