July 22, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Robot Chicken - Star Wars

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 puppetry, 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. Still, this is overall a rather weak week, yes there is stuff I want to see, but very few that could be called must haves.

Robot Chicken: Star Wars. I saw this when it first aired last year and thought it was absolutely hilarious. It wasn't really a true parody, like the Family Guy special, more of a collection of parody skits, some newly created and some previously aired, all collected in one place. It is true that I have not witnessed that much Robot Chicken, but what bits I have seen have been hysterical. If you like Star Wars and have a warped sense of humor, this disk is going to be a must have. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Spaced: The Complete Series. Before achieving fame State-side with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were building their young careers with this fourteen episode comedy series. How good is it? I personally have no idea, not having seen any of it yet. I have heard that it is hilarious, and I look forward to checking it out, as I find this duo to be very funny. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

21. This is a film that is fun while it lasts, but it is hardly great. The performances are fine, the story is interesting, but the execution seems uninspired. You could definitely do worse, but I guess it does what it sets out to do — tell a fun story that diverts you for a couple of hours. Of course, it probably helps if you enjoy math and/or poker. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Las Vegas: Season Five. I was saddened when this show was canceled following its fifth season. It is not a great show by any stretch, but it is definitely entertaining. It is a fun diversion with a pleasant blend of character, comedy, drama, and thrills. Fortunately, the show will live on in DVD for us to enjoy. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Kiss of the Spider Woman: Two Disk Collector's Edition. William Hurt and Raul Julia star in this drama that I have never seen. I am interested as it sounds like a good film. The two men are prisoners in a South American prison where they need to help each other in order to keep going. In 1985 the film was nominated for five Oscars, with William Hurt winning for Best Actor. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Vampyr: Criterion Collection. This film was first released in 1932 and now Criterion is giving it a new transfer and a DVD release. I had never actually heard of this one before, but I am definitely intrigued. The surreal film has a man in a remote castle where he witnesses streange things, is a bloodsucker involved? (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Comedy Central's TV Funhouse. Does anyone remember this short lived series? I have faint memories of it being utterly bizarre with many thoughts of: Did they just do that? Now I will be able to watch it again and see if it holds up. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Transformers Cybertron: The Ultimate Collection. Last month a single disk with the first couple of episodes was released. I liked what I saw, although it doesn't stand up against the original series. Still, I am interestedin seeing a bit more. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Last Winter. Larry Fessenden helmed this film, and it will surely be another low budget oddball. He has made such films as Wendigo and Habit over the years, with the latter being a different take on the vampire tale. This one tells the story of a group of environmentalists working at a drilling site when one of them is found dead, the rest begin to become disoriented as strange things happen. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) stars. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Masters of Horror: Season Two. This series features a number of acclaimed horror directors. The second season is released in an awesome looking skull box. I want it just for that. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Brutal Massacre: A Comedy. This movie tells the story of a director making a comeback and the bizarre things that happen during the production. It features a cast made up of performers from cult films including Brian O'Halloran (Clerks), Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), and Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Duck. Phillip Baker Hall stars in this acclaimed indie film about a man who befriends a duck. That's right, a duck. Hall plays a man who has lost his home and the duck looks to him as a mother figure, together they search for a way to survive in a world gone mad. This looks like a really good film. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Death Valley. Rider Strong (Cabin Fever) heads a cast of characters who head off for a weekend of fun in the desert, only to draw the attention of a sadistic biker gang. The end result is a battle for survival. Sounds like fun. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Towards Darkness. America Ferrera is a member of the cast in this film inspired by reality. It is the story of what happens when a person is kidnapped, a ransom has to be paid, and the actions that lead to difficult decisions. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


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