Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loved investing large sums into IMAX and Paramount (via Viacom) mere weeks before the release of Transformers 2. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. So join us each week as he takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs.
Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD. And don’t forget to check out Neil Miller’s hilariously titled This Week In Blu-ray column for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Pitch: Watch the performance of the year from a most unlikely actor…
Why Buy? Yes, I know that I’ve instantly lost any and all credibility I may have had with this column, but bear with me. It’s easy to dismiss the movie if you haven’t seen it (like our own Cole Abaius does here), but if you give it a chance you’ll find a goofy but still mildly entertaining movie with some solid action and the most hilarious performance of the past decade… from Chris Klein. This flick is a ‘Buy’ for him alone. I found myself rewinding several scenes just to enjoy his genius again and again. You’ll want to share his performance with friends, loved ones, and strangers alike… I guarantee it. Nash, out!
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, and two disc set includes animated film
Pitch: See Japan’s most famous city through the eyes of two visionary directors (and one angry frog)…
Why Buy? I reviewed Tokyo! (here) earlier this year and loved two-thirds of it. I may never watch Leos Carax’s middle segment again, but the other two are absolute gems. Michel Gondry and Bong Joon-ho bookend the movie with beauty, sadness, and unexpected joy. Both of them have created short films filled with fantastic visuals and warm hearts, and both are worth re-watching and showing to other movie lovers. Just don’t forget to chapter skip past that middle story…
Extra Features? Featurettes, interviews, trailer, photo gallery
Pitch: See what $50 and access to a basement can get you…
Why Rent? Melissa George is always worth watching, but the movie also manages to maintain interest while being set almost exclusively in a single room. That’s a pretty impressive feat and combined with the unpredictability of where the plot is going makes for a tepid ‘Rental’ recommendation. I say tepid because the movie is pretty slow at times and George keeps her clothes on.
Extra Features? None
Eastbound & Down: The Complete First Season
Pitch: Danny McBride plays a prick. Or he just plays himself… at this point I just don’t know anymore.
Why Rent? I can actually take or leave McBride in most films since he plays pretty much the same character every time. In this HBO series though he’s given room to grow and explore that character with further detail. If he annoys you in any of his movies then this probably isn’t for you, but if you’ve ever laughed along with him then it’s worth a look. And if you like it you’ll be happy to know HBO has renewed it for a second season.
Extra Features? Commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes
Lookin’ To Get Out: Extended Version
Pitch: See Jon Voight before he turned from actor to conservative mouth-piece…
Why Rent? Voight and Burt Young star as gamblers trying to stay a step ahead of the mob… although hiding out in a casino may not have been a wise move. Not a great movie, but it is a director’s cut from the man who gave us Being There and Harold & Maude so it deserves a look. Plus, for completists and pervs alike this is the feature film debut of Angelina Jolie!
Extra Features? Featurette, trailer
They Call Me Bruce?
Pitch: White guy: “I like Susie. Susie’s my girl!”, Asian guy: “Oh I ate sushi last night!”, commence beating…
Why Rent? I remember this movie quite fondly from my childhood. I think USA aired it late nights or Saturday afternoons alongside their collection of Hong Kong action classics like The Five Deadly Venoms. Is it as funny today as I recall it being? Not even close. But there’s still some pretty humorous bits that happily cross the line of political correctness making it a film that would never be green-lit today.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Click here.
Why Rent? Seriously, click the link… Sora Aoi is absolutely gorgeous, incredibly cute, and (what you can’t tell from the pics) she’s actually a charismatic and likable actress. Tsumugi is the fifth release from Pink Eiga and the first offered in a special edition. Aoi stars as a schoolgirl torn between her feelings for a shy classmate and her desire for a married teacher. If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese pink films you can check out a previous review I did of two Pink Eiga releases here (link NSFW), but know that while they’re not porn they do feature a lot of sex. And white panties. And fingering.
Extra Features? Featurettes, trailers, photo gallery
Pitch: Uwe Boll’s first original film is also his most compelling…
Why Rent? Try to ignore the fact that Boll is the film’s director and just watch the movie for what it is… a low budget Vietnam drama/action flick. The happenings above ground alternate between poor and boring, but when the cameras go into the tunnels Boll delivers some surprisingly tense scenes filled with claustrophobic terrors. The movie’s almost as dark as his abysmal Seed but a lot more engaging.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes
Pitch: Remember Renny Harlin? Watch this movie and you’ll want to forget him all over again.
Why Avoid? I’m one of the few who actually enjoyed John Cena’s last WWE action flick The Marine. Bad acting and worse dialogue were easily overshadowed by some very cool action scenes, and I was hoping for more of the same with 12 Rounds. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The action pales in comparison and lacks in any degree of excitement or creativity. But the biggest reason to avoid this movie? The villain of the film, the mastermind behind it all, the uber-criminal who makes even veteran FBI agents quake in fear… is a nasally, whiny, idiotic little pussy. He’s the least threatening antagonist since Batman and Robin‘s Mr. Freeze.
Extra Features? Commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes
The Education of Charlie Banks
Pitch: See the softer side of Fred Durst…
Why Avoid? This is actually Durst’s first film but second released. Is it less enjoyable than The Longshots? Yes… which should tell you why it’s in the ‘Avoid’ category.
Extra Features? Commentary, featurette, trailer
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Pitch: The most famous group of male virgins since FSR’s editorial staff…
Why Avoid? This is really a personal preference call. Fans of Disney’s musically-inclined and hairless automatons will want to check this out. All others need not apply.
Blu-ray? Yes, only the Blu-ray comes in 3D
Extra Features? Extra songs
Pitch: The Slow and the Slightly Perturbed
Why Avoid? One movie franchise about illegal street racing is enough isn’t it? Especially when that franchise already has four films and counting…
Extra Features? None
Pitch: Joaquin Phoenix claimed he’s retired from acting and this is his last film. He should have stopped one movie sooner…
Why Avoid? Phoenix is an interesting and talented actor, but he can’t turn boring and bland material into an engaging movie experience. While no one believes he’s actually retiring from acting this movie is unlikely to encourage anyone to fight for his return. Gwyneth Paltrow co-stars if you care. (I didn’t.)
Extra Features? Commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes