September 29, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope 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.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Blu-ray). How is it that I have gone this far as a horror fan and have not seen this movie? It is one of those landmark horror films that any fan should see. Well, hopefully I will soon be able to put this sad fact behind me. The seminal horror film that routinely appears on scariest movies lists is arriving on Blu-ray. I am not sure I will ever be able to look at Michael Rooker the same way again. Funny thing, whenever I see the cover or hear the title I am reminded of Man Bites Dog.

How I Met Your Mother: The Legendary Season 4 (also Blu-ray). One of my favorite sitcoms. This series is very funny, well written, and has a fantastic cast. It also strikes me as being regularly underrated. It has a good concept, and it is executed in such a way that is endearing an original. Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious and Alyson Hannigan has come a long way since Buffy. To think, I still need to see the first season.

The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Edition (also Blu-ray). I have not seen this movie in a long time. I suspect this is going to look stunning in high definition. This is the definition of classic cinema.

Monsters Vs. Aliens (also Blu-ray). I so wanted to love this movie. I mean, it has aliens AND monsters! While I did enjoy it, I felt it dragged a little and could have done a little more with the concept. They did do a good job with the voice casting, particularly Seth Rogen as the Bob the blob. I wonder if home video will allow it to play better? Sometimes the venue change helps perception.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, Blu-ray). Love it or hate it, I bet this is going to look great. I liked this new take on the classic horror film. No, it does not replace the original, but it does add another layer to the mythos. On top of that, I think it was absolutely beautifully shot, for a gritty, bloody horror movie.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (also Blu-ray). This title sort of snuck on me. I must say that I am definitely intrigued and must get my hands on a copy. Has anyone yet seen it?

Life on Mars: The Complete Series. This American remake started off slow, but really picked up steam as we got deeper into the mystery of why this modern day cop ended up in the 1970s. Then it got canceled and we had to go right to the end, which was different than the UK original, but came much too soon.

Management (also Blu-ray). I wanted to see this on the big screen, but it does not appear that happened, so I am going to have to play catch up at some point on home video. This movie has Jennifer Aniston stopping at a hotel managed by Steve Zahn. He becomes infatuated with her and follows her back home where he tries to win her from Woody Harrelson. Looks like fun.

Away We Go (also Blu-ray). Sam Mendes latest film screams "indie" but also proves to be real, touching, and quite funny. It centers on John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph looking for the place that fits them and their new family. It is a road movie of sorts, unlike any I had seen. This is a good film that not enough people have seen.

Labyrinth (Blu-ray). Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, and the Henson Company. Hard to go wrong with this trippy little number.

The Dark Crystal (Blu-ray). Now for the perfect companion for Labyrinth, here is another Henson Company production. I have not seen this in some time, but remember the puppetry being first rate and the story a little on the scary side. Rumors have it that a sequel is being planned.

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. This began life as a television special last year and proved to be a fun little special. I particularly like Pepe the Prawn.

Snakes on a Plane (Blu-ray). Well, the title pretty much sums it up, I think you know if you are interested in this one or not.

The Girlfriend Experience (also Blu-ray). This Steven Soderbergh feature centers on a call girl in the days leading up to the 2008 election as she balances her boyfriend, her clients, and her work. This is also notable as porn star Sasha Grey's mainstream acting debut.

The Hills Run Red. I have been looking forward to this horror film which promises to deliver the bloody goods. It centers on a young film crew in search of the sets used in a long lost splatter horror film, only to find themselves in the middle of a real splatter fest.

Kings: The Complete Series. Set in a fictional world where kingdoms and not nations rule. It is a retelling of the story of King David. It feels a little like a soap opera, but it was also unique and fresh television. Unfortunately, it was canceled after one season.

The New York Ripper (Blu-ray). Is this the first Lucio Fulci film to hit Blu-ray? I do believe it is. This film has a psychoanalyst teaming with a cop to track down a vicious serial killer. On top of it all, I have not yet seen this one. Here is my chance.


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