Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DVD Roundup - 8/16

Priest (2011) - Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban
Set in a future society after a long battle with some form of vampires, a priest (Bettany) which are more like warrior monks realizes the vampires are back and sets off to hunt them down against the wishes of the church. Okay, here's the deal. This has got to be terrible. I know it's terrible. But I just can't seem to stay away from post-apocalyptic action films. I've tried but I can't do it on my own. I'm afraid therapy may be in order. I'm also oddly attracted to Paul Bettany films even though very few of them are worth the price of admission. So this is sort of a perfect storm of terribleness for me and I'm sure a lackluster review will be on the way shortly.

In Home Viewing Recommendation: "Priest" has a 17 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Leave the waste of a $4 rental to me and save yourself the trouble.

Something Borrowed (2011) - Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski
When the push-over girl-next-door (Goodwin) learns that the guy she has a crush on has gotten engaged to her hot best friend (Hudson), friendships are put to the test. Goodwin's first real starring role is one of the worst reviewed movies of the year. I expect this type of thing from Hudson but Goodwin had some real promise coming off of her acclaimed performance in HBO's "Big Love." If nothing else, Krasinski is always fun but you get the impression that even he recognizes this to be a mess.

IHVR: I know not a single person who enjoyed this film and I know some people who liked "Valentine's Day." If you're desperate for a romantic comedy, go see "Crazy Stupid Love" or re-watch "500 Days of Summer." Stay away.

The Conspirator (2010) - James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkerson
Based on a true story, "The Conspirator" centers around Mary Surratt (Wright), the only woman accused of having a role in the Lincoln assassination and the lawyer (McAvoy) who was tasked with defending her. Directed by Robert Redford (a favorite of mine though probably more for nostalgic reasons than anything else) and featuring an all-star cast, "The Conspirator" failed to find either a critical or general audience. Period pieces are a tough sell for jackwagons like me and the fact that it wasn't given a significant release until after Award Season had passed probably speaks to its overall measure.

IHVR: If you're into historical dramas, this probably delivers. Otherwise, it could be good for an HBO or Netflix Instant viewing.

Jane Eyre (2011) - Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell
Another re-telling of Charlotte Bronte's literary classic, "Jane Eyre" tells the story of a young governess (Wasikowska) who discovers a terrible secret concerning her employer and love interest (Fassbender). I'm pretty sure I had to read "Jane Eyre" at some point during high school but I couldn't tell you a thing about it (big shout out to Spark Notes for getting me through junior English). Fassbender is quickly jumping into the category of actors who can get me to see anything they're in based on their names alone...except films based upon the novels of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, or Charlotte Bronte. I just don't have any interest. To be fair, I've heard excellent things about this film and if this is your thing then more power to you. But I believe I have a previous engagement with a terrible post-apocalyptic Paul Bettany movie.

IHVR: Fans of period pieces and Victorian England should definitely rent this one.

The Ward (2011) - Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker
From the mind of John Carpenter comes a wholly original horror flick about a girl (Heard) who is placed in a mental institution where she is terrorized by a ghost. So basically "Gothika" without Halle Berry or a "my career is over" Robert Downey, Jr. I don't like horror movies and I generally try not to judge them but this one seemed particularly bad.

IHVR: Watch at your own risk, horror fans.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011) - Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton
Because what kids were really dying for six years after the original, "Too" (kill me) rejoins the fairy tale gang for another wacky adventure. I don't think I've ever seen a current film that had worse animation than the previews for "Too" displayed. The trailer literally looked like it had been pirated. Also, no one cared about the first "Hoodwinked"; we DEFINITELY did not need a sequel.

IHVR: There are hundreds of better kid's movie rental options; stay far, far away.

New to Blu Pick of the Week
The Big Lebowski (1998) - Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore
This might not be the Coen Brothers' best film nor my personal favorite but it is iconic nonetheless. The Dude (Bridges) himself is spectacular, a singular character that is not easily forgotten. I've always found "Lebowski" to be one of those films that gets better with more viewings. I didn't really like it the first time through but I enjoyed it more the second time and by the third viewing, I was convinced of its genius. Check it out again if you weren't sold the first time around.

Also New to Blu
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and Muppets in Space (1999) - Frank Oz, Jim Henson, Dave Goelz
Like most people from my generation, the Muppets were a HUGE part of my childhood. I've seen them all recently and "Manhattan" holds up; still great. "Space", though, is probably the worst of the bunch. In many ways, however, the Muppets laid the ground work for Pixar and Dreamworks in that they created smart, visually engaging (for the time) kid's films that provided a great deal of content to the adults in the audience.

Cobra (1986) - Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen
Demolition Man (1993) - Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes

The Specialist (1994) - Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone
Assassins (1995) - Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas
Also known as the "Sly Stone B-Side Collection." I've not seen "Cobra", "Assassins" is mediocre, and "Specialist" is bad. But "Demolition Man"...well, it's pretty awful, too, but in the best way possible. So over the top, so stupid, so poorly acted and yet it's a lot of fun.

Also New
Dexter: Season 5 (2010) - Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter
Spin City: Season 5 (2001) - Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear
The Grace Card (2010) - Michael Joiner, Louis Gossett Jr. 

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