This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Django Unchained, The Haunting in Connecticut 2, Repo Man ...
This week: The greatness of Quentin Tarantino adds another chapter with Django Unchained; Criterion serves up '80s cult classic Repo Man; and ... The Haunting in Connecticut gets a sequel? Really?
► Despite some horrific violence down the stretch, the great DJANGO UNCHAINED is one of Quentin Tarantino’s more heartfelt, humanistic movies. It barrels into uncharted territory for him, and you can truly see Tarantino challenging himself here. The result was his second screenwriting Oscar, and another Best Supporting Actor nod for Christoph Waltz as the German-born bounty hunter who frees a sharp-shooting slave (Jamie Foxx) to take down a plantation owner, played with delicious villainy by Leo DiCaprio. Samuel L. Jackson’s best performance in years, as the plantation’s corrupt house slave, merely adds to the embarrassment of riches here. Blu-ray includes a featurette on the film’s stunts and production design, but no commentary from QT.
► The first problem with THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA? Um, Georgia is about 1,000 miles and a 15-hour drive from Connecticut. Second problem? The first was laughably based on a true story which the original author later distanced himself from, this one is based on another true story no one has ever heard about. Third problem? It stars ‘Battlestar Galactica’ babe Katee Sackhoff, and Katee Sackhoff should be doing better shit than this by now. Another haunted house movie made by committee.
► One of the first ballot hall of fame cult flicks, Alex Cox’s REPO MAN is one of the most bizarre but weirdly enduring nuggets of the ‘80s … yes, there was a time Emilio Estevez made cool flicks. By their nature, plot is secondary in cult flicks to the vibe and punk rock chic, but here goes: After losing his inheritance to a televangelist, Estevez becomes an apprentice to a whacked-out repo man (Harry Dean Stanton) as they chase the $20,000 reward for a Malibu with four dead aliens in the trunk. Criterion edition features commentary by Cox, deleted scenes and essay by critic Sam McPheeters.
► A sure-fire way to get guys to watch chick flicks: Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie. Two of the most beloved geek girls play sisters in the low key charmer SAVE THE DATE, from the producers of ‘Garden State.’ Caplan dumps her boyfriend after an embarrassing wedding proposal and seeks support from her older sibling (Brie), only to find she’s too wrapped up in her own wedding plans.
► Narrated by Meryl Streep, Disney’s WINGS OF LIFE is a documentary on our incredible flying creatures: Butterflies, birds, bats and dragons. The high-def footage is stunning as usual, and at 1,500 frames per second you can … what’s that? There are no dragons in this? Get your shit together, Meryl.
► A follow-up to the Iron Man anime series, IRON MAN: RISE OF TECHNOVORE sees Tony Stark and a few friends (Punisher, Fury, Black Widow) tracking the bio-enhanced creatures created by young terrorist Zeke Stane, who has emerged as one of Stark’s chief villains in the comics. Norman Reedus, who you all love as Daryl on ‘The Walking Dead,’ voices The Punisher. Produced by Japanese studio Madhouse, which did Marvel’s Blade, Wolverine, Iron Man and X-Men series.
► Criterion busts out another gem this week with AGAINST THE SYSTEM, a collection of four films by Masaki Kobayashi (no, not the hot dog guy). Best known for the classic ‘The Human Condition,’ Kobayashi was one of Japan’s most rebellious filmmakers, pushing his country’s social confines throughout the ’50 and ‘60s. Collection includes ‘The Thick-Walled Room’ (1953), ‘I Will Buy You’ (1956), ‘Black River’ (1957) and ‘The Inheritance’ (1962).
► In NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN, Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse on ‘True Blood’) hears the worst thing a girl can ever say to a guy: “Is that a lump?” He has testicular cancer, and while it isn’t fatal, the treatment will leave him infertile. Which means he has to bang as many ex-girlfriends and current hotties as he can to knock one of them up. You don’t suppose that special someone is his roommate Stevie (Sarah Snook), do you?
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!