This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Insidious Chapter 2, The Berlin File, Una Noche ...
This week: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and there ain't much stirring on Blu-ray and DVD. A sequel to spirit's past is the big release, but there's some intriguing stuff on the fringe this week:
► No doubt, James Wan was the biggest thing in horror this year, and 99% of the reason why was ‘The Conjuring.’ Despite being another hit, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 feels like it was made by a different director. Where Wan expertly straddled that line between scary and hokey in ‘The Conjuring,’ this limp sequel tramples over it. Picking up directly where the first left off, this time it’s the family’s dad (Patrick Wilson) stuck in undead limbo as the ghost of a former child killer has taken possession of his body. This entire movie prolongs the things everyone hated about the first film (cheap scares, too much time in ‘The Further’) without any of the creepy quirks. Unnecessary, but it made huge bucks so here comes Part 3.
► Can we squeeze in one more teen sex comedy this year? ADVENTURES IN THE SIN BIN finds an awkward virgin (Michael Seater) loaning his swanky van out to friends so they can score. Before long he meets a girl he digs, and keeping her away from the ‘bin’ becomes a priority. Not sure what Gillian Jacobs plays in this but she’s listed in the credits, so Merry Christmas ‘Community’ fans.
► Spike Lee is big on the Cuban-made thriller UNA NOCHE, which portrays one stressful day in the life of a man dreaming of escaping the country to Miami 90 miles away. He asks his best friend for help, but he’s torn between escaping and helping his twin sister. The ending is a jaw-dropper. Won Best Director and Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival.
► More good stuff from South Korea – action specialist Ryoo Seung-wan’s THE BERLIN FILE has Ha Jung-woo as a North Korean agent stationed in Berlin who gets screwed over when a weapons deal goes bad. Both the North and South are soon on his tail. A huge, award-winning hit in South Korea.
► What’s this, anime without demons, samurai or school girls in skirts with giant boobs? Kanae Hazuki’s SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’ is a story about actual teens falling in love, without any of the weird shit. Only 13 episodes but fans can look forward to a movie sometime in 2014.
► Oh, here’s the weird anime shit you’re looking for. HUMANITY HAS DECLINED follows an unnamed girl in a post-apocalyptic world who acts as the go-between for humans and some bizarre creatures attracted to sweets. In their endless search for amusement, they screw the world up even more. The Complete Series collects all 12 episodes plus five bonus episodes.
► Yes, we hate them when they sting our ass on a lazy summer day. But when you no longer see bees around, we’re screwed. Narrated by John Hurt, Markus Imhoof’s MORE THAN HONEY looks at how bees are facing extinction, and what it means when they’re gone. Some incredible footage here, including what happens when a hive is infected with mites. It truly is a whole other world going on in our backyards.
► Actual prisoners are used in Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s CAESAR MUST DIE, about convicts in a high-security prison in Rome preparing for a public performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar.’ As they rehearse, the prisoners find the play has plenty in common with their life behind bars. Won the top prize at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival but didn’t make the cut for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!