May 13, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Frontier(s)

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

This week brings an eclectic selection of films ranging from unrated horror films to classic Westerns and caper films. On top of that we get a new release of some classic action/adventure flicks and a couple of flicks from earlier this year. I know there are a few here that I am looking forward to checking out, as well as some that I am eager to see for the first time. Read on and see if any strike your fancy.

Frontier(s). This is my top pick this week for no reason other than I want to like it. I really do. Unfortunately, it will probably end going the other way, but I am going to be optimistic. This horror film was originally slated to be a part of the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest, but they could not get the R rating needed to be a participant, so it got a limited theatrical release last weekend and now arrives on DVD. This is the debut feature from Xavier Gens (who went on to do the lousy Hitman flick). This film centers on a gang of thieves who flee Paris only to hole up in an inn run by neo-Nazis. The trailers make it look like some bloody fun! (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection. This box set is just the packaging of the three Indy films that are being released for the first time individually. There are some new extras, although i have not seen a reason to change from the original box set, besides this set does not include the fourth disk of extras. Anyway, if you don't have them, now you can pick and choose which ones you want. I love all three, so there is my recommendation. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Great Debaters. This is a good film, although it is hampered by a sense of familiarity and an air of self-importance. If nothing else, this is worth seeing for the captivating performance by Jurnee Smollett. It is the story of a debate team from an all-black school that goes on to do battle with a white school. Sounds simplistic, but it isn't. It is definitely worth spending some time with. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Fox Western Classics (Rawhide, The Gunfighter, Garden of Evil). There is a pretty big selection of Westerns being released this week, this is just one example. Now, I have never been the biggest fan of the genre, mostly because I have never given it much of a chance. With all of the titles being released (or re-released) this week, I should probably give some of them a chance. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Untraceable. I had hoped that this would prove to be an intense thriller. By the time the film was halfway over, I had all but given up on that hope. It became quickly apparent that the movie was attempting to show something beyond what it was actually showing. Make sense? What I am trying to say is that Untraceable is more about what it reflects of our own society than what it is actually showing on the screen. It is more concept than execution. It is worth checking out, but it is not all that it could have been. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Mad Money. Looking for a fun and witty heist film? Well, leave this one on the shelf and move on down the line. The film may be categorized as a caper/comedy, but it does not deliver on either half of the term. The caper is uninteresting and the comedy is nearly non-existent. It is a shame, too, since the general idea, and the cast, headlined by Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, would seem to hold a lot of promise. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series. Who would have thought that the film Stargate would inspire two television series plus an animated series? Not I. I am certainly glad it did. Unfortunately, I did not catch this when it was on television, but I look forward to catching up. This animated outing looks pretty good. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season. I have seen part of the second season set and can say that any of these sets will be worth it. The cast is funny, the skits are funny, the guests are great, what more can you ask for? These sets make it fun to go back to when the show was all fun. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection (On the Town, Anchors Aweigh, Take Me Out to the Ball Game). In addition to all of the Westerns, there are a ton of Sinatra releases as well. This three movie set covers a few of the musicals with, duh, Gene Kelly. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Youth Without Youth. Francis Ford Coppola's latest film did not get that large of a release to theaters, where it received widely mixed notices. It is the story of a man who finds himself growing younger. That is about all I know about it, but I am interested in seeing it. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ocean's 11, Robin and the 7 Hoods, 4 for Texas, Sergeants 3). To go along with the Gene Kelly set is this one featuring the rest of the Rat Pack. Also, like Westerns, I have not seen any of these. Sounds like the perfect time! These titles are also being released individually.

The Cottage. Comedy/horror starring Andy Serkis (Gollum from LOTR) and Doug Bradley (Hellraiser's Pinhead). It concerns a botched kidnapping that brings the kidnappers face to face with a psycho farmer. Sounds like fun, no? (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Korn: Live at Montreux 2004. As a long time Korn fan, I really liked this video. The DVD is pretty bare bones, with nothing in the way of extras. Still, it is available pretty cheap, so it is definitely worth picking up. I also believe that it is the last recorded concert of the original line-up. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Botched. Set in Russia, this is the story of a botched heist, where a professional thief comes into contact with crazy hitmen, serial killers, and insane hostages. Sounds like some more fun! (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


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