July 15, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Penelope

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 a strong selection of films that includes some comedy, a little drama, some romance, a splash of blood, some extreme dancing, a little 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.

Now, hopefully there won't be any debacles this week like there was last week with Jet Li's Fearless. If you don't know, it appears that many, if not all, of the two disk sets contained two identical disks, and they did not contain the director's cut. Hopefully, Universal will address this. I know I will not be picking it up until I hear something.

Penelope. Probably an odd choice for pick of the week, but believe me, this is a good movie. No, there is no blood, violence, fart jokes, or sex. What you get is a sweet natured, good-hearted fairy tale. It tells a story of believing in oneself and liking someone for who they are. It also doesn't hurt that the cast is led by a duo who know their way around a set in Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Eureka: Season 2. Here is a series that I get the feeling doesn't get enough attention. It is a show that combines comedy, action, drama, romance under a science fiction banner. It is a quirky, fun series that does not take itself seriously. It is set in the town of Eureka, which is inhabited by all manner of scientists working on all sorts of strange and bizarre projects. This is one that you will like getting wrapped up in. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Birds of Prey: The Complete Series. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this release, but the show was not terribly well received in its short tenure. Of course, it was not a very good show. Still, for some reason I enjoyed this spin-off from the Batman comic universe. It is cheesy fun and stars Ashley Scott and Dina Meyer. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Step Up 2 The Streets. I would hesitate to call this a good movie, but it is good for what it is. The story is as generic as they come, but the dancing is quite impressive from start to finish. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Bank Job. Being based on a real event, one has to ask is this what really happened? I have no idea. I do not know much about the actual incident, but it does feel like this could have been how it went down. There is a strong sense of reality imbued into the piece, the script covers its bases, giving all the pieces without laying everything out, giving just enough detail to fit the pieces together. Whatever the reality is, this is as solid and entertaining heist film as has been seen for some time. It also features a strong performance from Jason Statham. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Tesla: Comin Atcha Live! 2008. These guys are great. Back in the day they were unfairly lumped together with the popular hair bands of the time, but Tesla has always put out solid music that has aged well. This live concert was filmed earlier this year and consists of primarily of their classics. I am looking forward to getting my hands on it. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Shutter. The concept doesn't hold up and the script and acting are terrible. You'd be better served passing this one over. If you feel the need to watch an Asian horror remake, go rewatch The Ring or The Grudge (both first editions, not the terrible sequels). Another one I liked, though no one else does, is Pulse. Aside from a couple of tiny elements, there is not much to like here. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Meet Bill. Did this one ever make to the big screen? If so, it was a blink and you miss it kind of deal. And no, this is not related to the Eddie Murphy vehicle Meet Dave. This film stars Aaron Eckhart as Bill a man with no self-confidence who finds it while mentoring a high school student. The trailer is appealing and I look forward to seeing this. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Insanitarium. How can you go wrong with a title like that? Pretty easily, I would imagine. Anyway, this is the story of a man who gets himself committed so he can rescue his sister, only to find that the doctor in charge is using them as guinea pigs, turning them into bloodthirsty killers. Sounds like fun! The doctor is played by Peter Stormare. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Guardians. Not sure what this is about and it looks like it had a low budget, but the cover art makes it look like fun. Guns and spirits aplenty. I wouldn't mind giving this one a spin. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Asylum. Another low-budget horror flick inside an asylum, this is always a good setting for a horror film. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Brothers Five. An old school Shaw Brothers martial arts flick, without even reading up on it, I am sure this is worth checking out, especially if you like kung fu flicks. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Voice. Horror from South Korea, this release has great cover art, although I read that is a little misleading in that there is not much gore in this. Nevertheless, it seems to be a well received horror film. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Two Champions of Shaolin. See Brothers Five, above. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Steel Trap. At a party, women are invited up to an abandoned floor where they must fight to survive. Sounds like a bloody good time. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


Alan Smithee said...

The supporting cast for Penelope were excellent, especially Peter Dinklage and Reese Witherspoon.

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