Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves saving the world, one Asian nurse at a time. 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!
Pitch: What if the only way to save the world was through sex? And the only people around you were hot Japanese nurses who refuse to wear underwear…
Why Buy? Any description I could concoct would be no better than the one from the DVD itself. “The year is 1999, and a comet is on a collision course with Earth! Waturu is kidnapped and taken to a secret hospital where the chief scientist tells him that he has a unique sexual psycho-kinetic ability that can save humankind. Together with the sexy scientist, Ikuko, who also has sexual psycho-kinetic abilities, they screw to save the planet from Armageddon!” I’ll only add that the movie is actually quite funny and pretty damn sexy too. Sixty minutes of kinky Asian shenanigans!
Extra Features? Video commentary, interviews, artwork
Pitch: Revenge is a dish best served with kimchi…
Why Buy? If you don’t already own Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Old Boy, and Lady Vengeance on Blu-ray, then this is the way to go. Not only do all three movies look fantastic, but they also include just about all the supplemental extras from previous editions. Most importantly, this set includes the “fade to white” version of Lady Vengeance as Park Chan-wook originally intended it to be seen. Three classic films, one set, BUY it now.
Blu-ray? This is the Blu-ray
Extra Features? Fade to white version of Lady Vengeance, commentaries, deleted scenes, making of featurettes
Pitch: What an adorable sweater…
Why Buy? An unassuming teen discovers love swelling in his pants but he’s too shy and inexperienced to do anything about it. So he creates a supplemental persona in the form of a suave ladies man named Francois Dillinger. What follows is a fun, sexy, loose comedy filled with joy and angst in equal measure. I enjoyed this flick when I saw it in theaters a few months ago, and it’s actually grown on me ever since. After Arrested Development, I think this is Michael Cera’s best work so far. His comic timing is precise, and his performance is pretty damn hilarious as both personalities.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, commentary, audition footage
Pitch: Forrest Gump took three years to make his way across the country on foot. Eli takes thirty…
Why Rent? A man walks a post apocalyptic America carrying a book, a wicked knife, and a singular purpose. Denzel Washington brings an earthy and calm quality to Eli and his journey, and Gary Oldman excels as his nemesis who’ll stop at nothing to get his hands on Eli’s black tome. The Hughes brothers give their world a stylized look and fill it with some spectacular action scenes, and honestly, if it weren’t for an unintentionally humorous final twenty minutes this would be a BUY for me. And that’s even with Mila Kunis’ most miscast appearance since American Psycho 2.
Extra Features? Deleted scenes, animated short
Pitch: Revenge is a dish best served on the barbie…
Why Rent? A father tries to discover how his daughter died and who’s responsible, and then sets out to kill them. I’m still not as sold on this movie as many others are for the simple reason that we never get the chance to really care about the father’s quest. It opens with him already on the warpath, so we never see him as normal or as a loving father. There’s no change or growth, just relentlessly bleak situations and events. Not for the squeamish, but all others should definitely still give it a watch.
Extra Features? Commentary, making of, deleted scenes
Pitch: MacGruber! Followed by a loud boom…
Why Rent? Only MacGyver has a diverse enough skill-set to take on both the search for Atlantis and terrorists. Both of these TV movies aired a couple years after the show had ended, and both follow pretty much the same formula… MacGyver is a know-it-all and a show-off. Lost Treasure of Atlantis is closer to the series as far as MacGyver’s penchant for defusing bombs using nothing but peanut butter and a used condom, but Trail To Doomsday sees him become more of a action hero/secret agent as he fights to stop a terrorist attack. MacGyver fans should enjoy the low-key nature of these TV movies, but others may want to stick to larger scale theatrical flicks.
Extra Features? None
Pitch: A grumpy and sad old man starts a friendship with a young and impressionable little girl. And they’re both made of clay…
Why Rent? This sweet, depressing, and often humorous tale is reportedly based on a true story about a pen-pal relationship between a little Australian girl and a Jewish man in NYC. It lasted two decades as the two keep in touch through life’s ups and downs. The charm of the story is captured in a stop-motion animation, and there are a few laugh out loud moments, but be aware this is not exactly a very lively or well-paced film. The opening takes a solid twenty minutes to really pick up and pull you in, but once it does you’re in for a tale that alternates between light whimsy and dark reality.
Extra Features? Commentary, behind the scenes, making of deleted scenes, casting call, short film
Pitch: Two adult daughters reunite to care for messed up old man named Rip Torn…
Why Avoid? This could have been a simple and engaging tale of adults coming to grips with their aging parents, but somewhere along the line the filmmakers decided to get more creative. Should be a good thing, creativity, but here it devolves into a terribly uneven tone and an inexplicable and never-ending series of dream sequences and imaginary visuals. Demi Moore and Parker Posey both give good performances, but you never get to know their characters well enough to care. Skip it and go rent About Schmidt instead.
Extra Features? Commentary
Pitch: You know you’re in trouble when the only laugh in your movie comes courtesy of Dax Shepard…
Why Avoid? Seriously, watch the scene that introduces Kristen Bell and tell me she doesn’t have the beadiest goddamn eyes you’ve ever seen. And no, I’m not recommending an AVOID here simply because Bell looks like a doll with soulless eyes… it’s an AVOID because it’s a terrible movie. It seemed harmless on first viewing but watching it again revealed just how unfunny, artificial, and unromantic it actually is. Skip it and go rent Notting Hill instead.
Extra Features? Bloopers, deleted scenes, music videos
Also out this week, but review material unavailable in advance: Adopted, Animals, Collapse, Control Alt Delete, Mystery Train (Criterion), The Roommate, Terror Inside, Unthinkable
In the interest of full disclosure, I received review copies of the following films for this week’s column: Deep Contact, Happy Tears, MacGyver: The TV Movies, Mary and Max, The Book of Eli, and When In Rome
Read More: This Week in DVD
What are you buying on DVD this week?