February 2, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: House of the Devil

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.

The House of the Devil (also Blu-ray). I have been wanting to see this for some time. Perhaps now is my chance? Written and directed by Ti West, this film tells of a college student who takes a babysitting job for some extra cash. She comes to find her employers plan to use her in a Satanic ritual. It is set in the 1980's and has a very strong 80's vibe. It is so strong, in fact, that I hear if you did not know it was made recently, you'd think it was from the 1980's. To help play up this fact, there is a special edition release that comes with the film on VHS! The film has gotten very diverse reactions, some love it and some hate it. I look forward to seeing where I fall on the scale.

Zombieland (also Blu-ray). You could call this the American equivalent of Shawn of the Dead. It is not exactly the same movie, but it is a horror/comedy and it involves zombies, so you have that. Beyond that, you have a pair of movies that succeed extraordinarily well. Zombieland gives us an intriguing look into a future suffering from a zombie outbreak. It has laughs, action, blood, heart, and is above all other things fun.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials (also Blu-ray). Instead of a final series, the final year of David Tennant as the Doctor was told in a series of television specials. They are being released individually, but also collected on one box set. I suspect this is the best way to go. I liked Tennant as the Doctor.

Casablanca (Blu-ray). This classic was previously released on Blu-ray in a deluxe box with all manner of extras. This is the first release where you are not required to get the box that you may not want. I have not seen this in some time and think I may like to check it out in high definition. Has anyone out there seen it? How does it look?

Planet Hulk (also Blu-ray). The heroes cannot trust having Hulk around anymore and shoot him into space. He crash lands on an alien world where he follows a Gladiator-like path from indentured slave to ruler while he looks for a way to return to Earth. The comic was quite good, hopefully this is as well.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (also Blu-ray). The first film was light on plot but contains some absolutely insane action sequences. All I really want from the sequel is the same. Also, if this s not enough, there is a third film on the way.

Adam. I wanted to see this on the big screen but did not get the chance. It is a quirky romance about a man (Hugh Dancy) with asperger syndrome who attempts to have a relationship with a woman in his building and the complications that come with it. The trailer looks pretty good and I look forward to checking it out.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration (also Blu-ray). Another one? This time they are trying it with Dolph Lundgren. They already did it with Jean Claude Van Damme, now the show is on the other foot. I have heard some positive early buzz. I hope to like it, the first film about the cyborg soldiers was pretty good so there is hope.

Amelia (also Blu-ray). This movie would seem to have Oscar buzz written all over it. Hilary Swank, Richard Gere starring in a historical biopic? How could you go wrong? Don't ask. Who knew the story of Amelia Earhart could be so boring? This is not a good film and not worth your time.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Blu-ray). Here is a veritable classic. Terry Gilliam directed this adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson gonzo novel with Johnny Depp in the lead. This is an absolutely bizarre film filled with drug trips, lizards, and other absurdities. This is a definite keeper.

Love Happens (also Blu-ray). Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart star in this romantic comedy about a self-help writer who can't take his own advice and a florist who is unlucky in love. It looks all right, but I cannot say I am in any rush to see it.

Triangle (also Blu-ray). I have heard good things about this mystery/thriller by writer/director Christopher Smith. A group of friends off the coast of Florida have their yacht overturned, fortunately there is another ship nearby that they board, but no one is on board. This is where things take a turn. Looking forward to finding out what it is!

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