Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DVD Roundup - 7/26

Source Code (2011) - Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
After a terrorist attack on a Chicago train, an experimental government technology (called the Source Code) allows for an army staff sergeant (Gyllenhaal) to take over the body of a man who died on the train during the last eight minutes of his life. He is tasked with discovering the terrorist in order to prevent future attacks but the deeper he delves into the situation, the more questions arise as to his own existence and who he's really working for. This is director Duncan Jones' follow up to 2009's "Moon" which is, in my mind, the best piece of pure sci-fi from the last decade; absolutely brilliant. "Source Code" isn't quite as good but I still found it to be a highly intelligent sci-fi thriller that keeps you guessing without getting overly convoluted.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: Definitely worth a rent if you haven't seen it and probably one of those films that gets better the second time around, anyway. Rent it!

Trust (2010) - Liana Liberato, Clive Owen, Katherine Keener
A teenage girl (Liberato) engages in an online relationship with a boyfriend whom she soon discovers is a middle aged man. The revelation rips her family life apart and turns her into a pariah at school. Roger Ebert picked this as one of his six favorite films from the first half of the year and director David Schwimmer has received critical acclaim from numerous outlets. It's not my type of film but looks to have some real value in a down year.

IHVR: Possibly worth a rent, definitely worth looking up on Netflix Instant.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010) - Brandon Routh, Anita Briem, Sam Huntington
Superman-alum Routh steps into another iconic role, this time an Italian anti-hero from a graphic novel. Dylan Dog is, apparently, a debonair hunter of the undead and mythical who roams the Louisiana bayous in search of monsters. I expect this character will show up on "True Blood" any time now except he'll be naked.

IHVR: From a quality film standpoint, there's no way this is good. But from a, "This Movie Popped up at Midnight on HBO and I've Already Watched Sportscenter" standpoint...you could probably do worse. Movies like this are the reason that HBO/Starz exists.

Ironclad (2011) - James Purefoy, Paul Giamatti, Kate Mara
A group of knights templar take on a tyrannical king in the 13th century. Let me give you three reasons to stay away from "Ironclad." 1.) Anytime the term "knights templar" is thrown out there, you should run. 2.) Paul Giamatti possibly swinging a sword is just wrong. 3.) The tagline from the film's poster is, "Heavy Metal Goes Medieval."

IHVR: Probably best to just skip this altogether.

Blu Ray Pick of the Week
It's a John Belushi pick 'em this week, all dependent on your preference.
Animal House (1978) - John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Karen Allen
The classic frat boy comedy, "Animal House" is all about the Delta House, Faber College's group of outcasts who run amok across campus. A huge hit ($140+ million in theaters), "AH" is usually mentioned in the group of elite comedies and definitely displayed Belushi's incredible abilities as a physical comedy. For me, however, this movie has always seemed dated, the kind of film you love and hold on to if you saw it when it came out but don't really get if you came along later. I've seen it once, maybe twice, and that's enough for me personally.

Blues Brothers (1980) - John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher
"Blues Brothers", on the other hand, holds up brilliantly 30 years later. Recently released from prison, Jake Elwood (Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Aykroyd) embark on a literal mission from God to put their old band back together and generate enough money to save the orphanage they grew up in. Everything about this movie is genius, from the stone faced characters to the over-the-top action sequences (read: "car chases") to the awesome music. In my book, "Blue Brothers" is the very best of Belushi and one of the five funniest movies of all time.

New to Blu
Dante's Peak (1997) - Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton (the volcano disaster film that does NOT have Tommy Lee Jones in it)
Red Planet (2000) - Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore (the Mars-based movie that does NOT have Tim Robbins in it and is NOT based on the Robert Heinlein book of the same name)
Soldier (1998) - Kurt Russell, Connie Nielsen, Jason Isaacs

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