THE EXPENDABLES (DVD and Blu-Ray) - Despite having been initially thoroughly underwhelmed by this flick, my thoughts on Sylvester Stallone’s ode to all things manly have slightly changed since then. I realize now that THE EXPENDABLES is really a nice big slice of cheese and that Stallone really wasn’t aiming to make the best action flick of all-time, but instead he was trying to make one that would be good enough to stand alongside the modern crop of action pics and one that would possibly spark a mini-renaissance. And while that new wave of old-school action pics hasn’t quite kicked in yet (I’ve got a feeling that this week’s release FASTER might help things along), this flick ain’t half-bad. It ain’t half-great either, but it’s a decent way to blow a couple of hours. Alcohol might make the film go down smoother. Incidentally, while I’m suggesting that you buy this bad boy, be sure to realize that Stallone already has a “director’s cut” of this in the can and that it should be hitting shelves sometime early next year (it might be delayed until THE EXPENDABLES 2 comes out, but the last I‘d heard it was coming out first quarter 2011).
LUTHER: SEASON 1 (DVD) - If you want good drama on a week to week basis, you really need to ditch American television. I’m not kidding. While US airwaves are clogged to the gills with “reality” programming and dozens of variations of CSI, the BBC is constantly, and consistently, putting out solid programming that never gets stale. Case in point, the recent SHERLOCK HOLMES update and LUTHER. Both series ran at a brisk low-ep pace (SHERLOCK had three, LUTHER had six), both featured outstanding acting from damn near every cast member and both served as stark opposites to US-bound mystery programming. There’s no formula here, no set pacing and development. Everything in these shows is fresh and new, and LUTHER is really the better of the two. No offense to SHERLOCK which is damn good, but Idris Elba as Luther blows David Caruso and Laurence Fishburne out of the water any day of the week. Instead of clichés, Elba is cool and badass. Instead of cheap gags, Elba brings raw emotion and gravitas. Do yourself a favor and check this one out. If you’re not already down with the BBC, it’s high time you started.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED (DVD and Blu-Ray) - A three character drama that features more twists and turns than THE USUAL SUSPECTS, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED is one of the best movies of the year that you probably didn’t even know existed. I won’t spoil anything here, but just know that this flick is an performance powerhouse (Gemma Arterton is amazing here) that will have your jaw on the floor before the end credits roll.
EAT PRAY LOVE (DVD and Blu-Ray) - Standard-issue Julia Roberts dramedy dreck spoon-fed to the middle America housewife masses. Oh, I’m sorry, was that too harsh? Well, that’s what I feel and I’m sticking to it. The only reason I’m not dropping this down into the MUST AVOID category is because LOVE is mostly harmless fluff. There’s nothing terribly offensive here, but nothing terribly good either. If anything, one has to wonder how many housewives out there saw this flick and then promptly abandoned their husbands to spend their life savings on a trip around the world to find their own personal Javier Bardem. That’s a story I’d be interested in hearing.
PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW (DVD) - Funny thing about this movie is that I had an installment of FOSSIL FILMS all set aside for it until recently. You see, MAIDS, up until about two months ago, was a lost film. Released in 1971, there had never been a home release of this flick. No Beta, no VHS or Laserdisc, not even DVD and certainly not Blu-Ray. The only way you could catch this one was when it popped up on TCM every blue moon (the last time was about seven months ago and I caught it with my DVR) and that was it. But, that’s changed, and Warner has officially gotten this one on DVD. Yay! Sort-of. Maybe a part of me sort-of liked that this one was hidden, but time has passed.
As for the movie, it’s a slasher/comedy/drama hybrid written by Gene Roddenberry (post-TREK) and directed by Roger Vadim (post-BARBARELLA) that features Rock Hudson as a studly high school gym teacher (yep, you read that right) who’s various conquests (all teenage girls) are all winding up dead. The supporting cast includes the likes of Angie Dickinson (as a fellow teacher who’s seduces one of her male students), Telly Savalas (in a proto-KOJAK role), Roddy McDowall, Keenan Wynn and Scotty himself, James Doohan. MAIDS is loaded with tons of nudity, incredibly un-PC humor that would never fly today and one has to wonder how this flick was ever made in the first place. It should go without saying (you did read the talent list above, right?) that you need to see this ASAP.
I’M STILL HERE (DVD and Blu-Ray) - I attempted to watch this flick the other day and just couldn’t get through it. It’s too…whatever. Seriously, I have no idea how to classify this flick. Is it meta? Is it a spoof? Are star (haha) Joaquin Phoenix and director Casey Affleck giving audiences the middle finger? What the hell is this? I do know one thing it is: pretentious. Another thing it might be is offensive and it is most certainly a waste of time. Forty minutes in, I simply hit STOP and went outside to get some fresh air. The air seemed to clean the stank of Phoenix’s BS out of my system. Avoid this one.
CRANK/CRANK HIGH VOLTAGE - Bundled up in one package to coincide with the home release of THE EXPENDABLES (star Jason Statham is in both), Lionsgate has delivered a double shot of CRANK for those needing a little extra action kick. One could argue that the original CRANK didn’t warrant a sequel and it was a perfect bit of insanity by itself, but one probably hasn’t seen CRANK HIGH VOLTAGE if they are making that statement. The two CRANK movies are honestly one and watching them together is the best way to get high without ever having to do a single illegal narcotic. Insane doesn’t even begin to describe these flicks and I honestly hope that CRANK 3 is somewhere on the horizon because I need another hit.