June 29, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: Versus

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.

Versus (Blu-ray). Wow. I haven't seen this movie in some time. I can only imagine it will look great in high definition. This is the film that put director Ryuhei Kitamura on the map and it is one for all of you action fans. A prisoner escapes a maximum security prison and heads into the Forest of Resurrection seeking safe haven. What he finds is a battle between good and evil that has been going on forever. Is he the good or the evil in this fight? It raises questions and leaves them unanswered. Regardless of the questions, this is a fantastic film made with style. Looking forward to revisiting it.

Hot Tub Time Machine (also Blu-ray). The title tells you everything you need to know. Think of The Hangover crossed with Back to the Future. This movie is a blast. A group of friends get drunk in a hit tub and are transported back to their youth, now it is up to them to find a way home and whether or not they want to change some of their history. Should have been terrible, turned out to be hilarious.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (also Blu-ray). The children of the gods are pressed into action to find whoever stole Zeus' lightning. I never bothered with this one. I heard it was pretty good, it just reminds me too much of Harry Potter, it even has Chris Columbus as director.

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (also Blu-ray). I saw this on the Palladia network the other night. It was a really interesting look into the career of the amazing band known as Rush. I admit to not being up on my Rush, but this was still fascinating. It has a lot of footage from their earliest moments right on up to the present. Candid interviews with the band, fans, and those who know them highlight the film. If you are a fan, or even curious, this is one to see. I believe the release will also feature more live footage and interviews.

Eureka: Season 3.5. I cannot say I am a fan of these half season releases that SyFy series get, but I guess it goes in line with how they split seasons up anyway. I really enjoy this show. It is quirky, funny, dramatic, emotional, and just a lot of fun. It is set in a town inhabited by all manner of scientists and concerns their creations and the drama they bring.

The Crazies (also Blu-ray). This remake of the 1970s George A. Romero film is actually pretty good. Timothy Olyphant stars as the sheriff of a small town where a virus outbreak makes the inhabitants crazy. It is not perfect, but it is perfectly enjoyable and a bit less stream of consciousness than the original.

The Doors: When You're Strange. This is said to be the first feature length documentary on the band. I do not know if that is true or not, but it does look interesting. The film focuses on the heyday of the band with live footage, backstage clips and more. The documentary is narrated by Johnny Depp.

Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition (Blu-ray). Just in time for the upcoming Predators entry in the series comes the high definition debut of the action classic. It is hard to not like this film that sees Arnold Schwarzenegger take on a dread-locked alien with some awesome weaponry in the jungle. Hopefully the high definition transfer will do it justice.

The Warlords (also Blu-ray). Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro are the titular warlords waging battle in the 1860s when China is faced with warring factions seeking to unify their power. I don't care how good or bad the film is, I am looking forward to seeing these three together.

The White Ribbon (also Blu-ray). Michael Haneke's latest film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language oscar at the 2010 ceremonies. It is set in a German town in the aftermath of the first World War. In this town strange and disturbing things happen mostly involving the children. It is a film that bring s up questions that are never answered, just like Haneke is famous for (see Cache and Funny People).

Suicide Girls Must Die! Billed as the first reality horror movie. This film went about its business without a script and without telling the involved Suicide Girls that it was happening. I cannot say it is an idea I endorse, but I must admot to being a little bit curious.

Uncle Sam (Blu-ray). I have this on DVD somewhere. It is a low budget patriotic horror movie from director William Lustig set in the shadow of the first Gulf War. A soldier killed in action is returned to his family. He rises from the grave to kill the unpatriotic citizens of the town. Sounds like fun, right? It is not great. a little slow, but a must see for low budget horror fans. The cast includes Isaac Hayes and P.J. Soles.

Blood on the Highway. This one sounds like fun. A girl, her boyfriend and her ex head to a concert some distance away, get lost and end up in a town of dimwitted vampires. Perfect description for a movie perfect for a slow weekday night.

Article first published as DVD Pick of the Week: Versus on Blogcritics.


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