This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: A Good Day to Die Hard, Breaking Bad, Warm Bodies ...
This week: Die Hard just won't stay dead, the brilliance of Breaking Bad's final days, and 16 porn stars who just want to talk.
► It may be time to consider the unthinkable: A 'Die Hard' movie without Bruce Willis. Because whatever they come up with cannot possibly be worse than A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. Scraping whatever depths the dismal fourth movie forgot, Willis is on unforgivable cruise control at this point - you can actually see how little he cares at this point. He's in Russia this time, bailing out his son who has been charged with murder. But it turns out McClane Jr. is a CIA spy, and dad has mucked up an important mission. Cue the father-son tension (which worked sooooo well in the last Indiana Jones movie), boring-ass action scenes and alarmingly bad writing - it's infuriating how much contempt this movie has for its audience. The reason the original 'Die Hard' endures is because it was an action movie in spurts - everything else built character and suspense. Shitty hack jobs like this are a betrayal, and since it happened on Willis' watch, he shares a huge part of the blame. Pull the plug, because at this rate the next one will be a Friedberg & Seltzer parody.
► I can't stress this enough: The first eight episodes of BREAKING BAD's 5th season are TV perfection. The best show on television operating at an impossibly high level. After the cat-and-mouse game of Season 4 which saw Walter finally rid himself of drug kingpin Gus, he asserts himself as the new boss, much to the dismay of partner Jesse ("You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business,” says Walt. “Neither. I'm in the empire business"). And as great as Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are juggling their new responsibilities, this half-season really belongs to Jonathan Banks as Gus' former muscle Mike, now reluctantly cleaning up Walter's mess. Everything about him is perplexing and heartbreaking this season, leading to one of the toughest scenes to watch in the show's glorious history. Better start preparing now - in a few months, it'll all be over.
► No mere ‘Twilight’ riff, Jonathan Levine’s sly WARM BODIES is an oddly effective love story about a girl in love with a dead guy. Nicholas Hoult is your standard zombie dealing with faint echoes of his former life. When he munches on some guy’s brain one day, he absorbs his memories of the victim’s girlfriend, a cute blonde named Julie (Teresa Palmer). When they eventually meet, he has a strange urge … not to eat her. This one will sneak up on you.
► Comedies, more than any other genre, can sneak into the win column with casting. Comedies with Jason Bateman have an even bigger edge. Pair him up with Melissa McCarthy, and you’ll make it through IDENTITY THIEF just fine. He’s an account rep who has his credit card stolen – and abused – by a scammer (McCarthy) who lives across the country. Now you or I would just cancel our card and let the cops do their thing, in which case we’d star in a movie called ‘Not Funny at All.’ Batemen does the opposite of that.
► You know what guys never say about porn stars? “Wow, I wish they’d stop having sex and just talk more.” Deborah Anderson’s artsy documentary AROUSED lets the girls tell their stories as they gather for a photo shoot, and in-between getting their hair and make-up done, they all talk about how they really like the biz and how it empowers them. You know the movie I want to see? The follow-up to this in ten years when they’ll have far different stories to tell.
► Toni Collette is one of those under-the-radar actresses who instantly makes everything she’s in better. For MENTAL, she reunites with her ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ director P.J. Hogan for another emotionally rich comedy. She plays a moody hitchhiker hired by a politician to care for his out-of-control family after his wife is sent to a mental institution. You’ll laugh, until you realize the script is based on Hogan’s own childhood.
► RAWHIDE didn't have the longevity of 'Bonanza' or 'Gunsmoke,' but it's still regarded by many as TV's finest western because it wasn't afraid to tackle risky stuff like racism and drug addiction, had dozens of great guest stars over its eight seasons, and - of course - Clint. Season 6 has appearances by Barbara Eden, Beau Bridges and Burgess Meredith as our trio of cattle herders deal with con men, an escaped lion and the perils of winning big at poker. Paramount's decision to split the season remains a pain, however, since both halves of Season 6 come out on the same day.
► 1954’s CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was among Universal’s last classic monster movies, and it remains one of the most re-watchable. The story, clearly inspired by ‘King Kong,’ clearly rubbed off on ‘Jaws’ decades later – the underwater photography is still stunning and creates terrific tension. Of course, the monster is the star here, but Julie Adams as the object of his affection is a hottie for the ages.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!