July 8, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Jet Li's Fearless - Unrated Director's Cut

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 strong selection of films that includes some comedy, a little drama, some indie flavor, a splash of blood, some extreme music, a bunch of television, and more. 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.

Jet Li's Fearless: Unrated Director's Cut. Billed as Jet Li's last martial arts epic, this was a good film, but not nearly what I had hoped for. Now, this is the original version that was screened in Hong Kong prior to its editing for American theaters. It runs more than a half hour longer and is considered to be the definitive cut. I have not seen this version yet, but I am eagerly looking forward to it. Jet Li is an amazing performer and this film provides one of his finest acting efforts, although he will never be called a great actor. If you like martial arts, this is one that you will want to make sure you get your hands on. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Fourth Season. You know, when this series first started, I was sure I wasn't going to care for it. As that first season went on, I discovered it wasn't that bad, but the characters were not all that well defined. As the seasons have wore on, the characters have gotten better and the series has proved itself to be well worth checking out. I have only picked up one season so far, but I am sure I will be picking up the others at some point. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Monk: Season Six. This show is addictive. Once I start watching, I find I cannot stop. Tony Shalhoub is perfectas Adrian Monk, the defective detective. I remember thinking the show would slip somewhat following the exit of Bitty Schram, but Traylor Howard has done a great job bringing another flavor to the show. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Batman: Gotham Knight. Produced by those behind the Christopher Nolan films, this release is a series of six short stories that interlock and tack place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It is an Animatrix like project with a variety of American and Japanese talent teaming up to tell the tales. Looks good to me! This will be available in single disk and two disk editions. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Psych: The Complete Second Season. Here is a show that is a heckuva lot of fun. It is like Monk but with a lead character who is more willing to bend the rules. The two shows are a perfect match on the USA Network. If you haven't seen it, you definitely need to give it a shot. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

WWE: Nature Boy Ric Flair - The Definitive Collection. My wrestling interest has died out over the past few years, but Flair is one of those guys who always puts on a good show. I have seen some debate over the match selection for this three disk set, but like I said, this guy is always entertaining. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The X-Files: Revelations. Just in time for the new movie. This set includes a number of episodes, personally selected by Chris Carter, that are considered essential to the mythology of the series. As an added bonus, it comes with movie cash to see the film and is quite reasonably priced. I do not have much of the show in my collection, so I am looking to pick this up. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Stop-Loss. This focuses on a soldier just returned from Iraq and some of his unit-mates. Problems start shortly after coming home when he learns he is being sent back. The film is mediocre at best, but is worth checking out as a rental. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Ruins. This has nudity, blood, guts, gore, laughs, terror, suspense, and killer vines — what else do you need? Sure, the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more and some rough dialogue patches smoothed a little better, but that takes nothing away from what was accomplished here. It is one of the best horror film so far this year and definitely worth taking a look at. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Superhero Movie. If you know Spider-Man, you know Superhero Movie. It is a goofy, stupid take on that film with side steps into X-Men, Batman, and Fantastic Four. It is light entertainment, to be certain, but it has plenty of laughs and certainly hit the right notes for me. It certainly helps if you are familiar with the superhero genre, and have a high tolerance for stupidity. It seems that my highly refined sense of taste (yes, that's a joke) fed right into what they were attempting to accomplish. Yes, I was surprised I liked it. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Tracey Fragments. This movie looks like it could be fascinating. At least I hope it is once I get the chance to see the DVD. It stars Ellen Page as the Tracey of the title, a teenager on the back of a city bus looking for her brother. The movie traces the events that led her to that point. I read that the film uses split screens to tell story, which I guess is similar to what is seen in the trailer. Could be very interesting indeed. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Mummy 2-Disk Deluxe Edition. Just in time for the third entry in the series, a new two disk release to replace the one that is out of print. It comes complete with a few new extras in addition to the carryover from the last release. Not sure I feel the need to upgrade, but it if you don't have it, it may be worth it. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Mummy Returns: 2-Disk Deluxe Edition. See above. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Decapitated: Human's Dust. Recorded a few years back, this DVD captures some absolutely electric performances from this tech-death metal act. If you like your music to the extreme, this is a disk you will not want to miss. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Blood Brothers. John Woo presents this film from first time director Alexi Tan. The film stars Andy Lau, Edison Chen, Nicholas Tse, and Shu Qi. It is set in the 1930's and centers on three brothers who go to work for gangsters in Shanghai, a new life which threatens to tear them apart. Looks good to me. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


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