This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: July 24
This week: Kelsey Grammer returns like a boss, a grave-spitting twinbill, and Rachel Weisz reminds you why there's an Oscar on her shelf.
► The Starz show BOSS got off to a hot start, then saw its ratings sink over the remaining seven episodes. The fact the first episode establishes the show as a shameless rip-off of ‘Breaking Bad’ isn’t the culprit (though it’s a doozie to swallow), it’s the lame plot contrivances which pile up before a ridiculous final episode has you asking how the show could get any more far-fetched in Season 2. You just know they’ll try. Kelsey Grammer hams it up as a Chicago mayor crossing all sorts of moral lines for the good of the people. When he’s told he has a brain disorder which will wipe his memory clean, he gets cracking on his political bucket list. The show could have gone the realistic route or the soap opera route … it didn’t choose wisely.
► Based on the 2010 Uruguayan film ‘La casa muda,’ the big hook behind SILENT HOUSE is that it appears to be one long continuous shot, depicting a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) fending off intruders at her family lake house. The long take is actually crafty editing at work, and your tolerance for it might start to wane once some goofiness enters the story. You know, twist endings were kind of cool … before every horror movie started doing them.
► The best thing you can say about CHILDRENS HOSPITAL is that everything about it is so wrong. Rob Corddry’s glorious spoof of medical dramas (especially ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) finds the staff of a kiddie hospital - no one knows where but everyone acts like it’s set in Brazil, despite the L.A. scenery – bringing every sordid facet, detail and addiction of their personal lives to work. Each tidy episode runs about 12 minutes, which is just about right. Season 3 gets visits by Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Alicia Silverstone and a post-credits appearance by the cast of ‘Party Down’ in the second-to-last episode.
► Rachel Weisz is doing it right, alternating between big crowdpleasers (‘The Bourne Legacy’) and artsy stuff like THE DEEP BLUE SEA, reminding you why she’s an Oscar winner. In this adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play, she’s the miserable wife of a High Court judge drawn to a pilot who comes home from the war with a messed-up head. The story is told in flashback on the day she decides to commit suicide. Needless to say, not a good time but a showcase for Weisz, who is one of our great actresses.
► Not sure how much rape and genital mutilation you can sit through, but the new two-pack of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE featuring the 1978 original and the 2010 remake is fascinating to watch back-to-back. At the time, the original was a notorious mix of smut and snuff movie exploitation, waving the ‘women empowerment’ flag to fend off its critics. It was vile, badly made but still an effectively grim revenge thriller - much more ‘Deliverance’ than ‘Halloween.’ The remake tells essentially the same story, is considerably better made and acted, has even gorier murder scenes, and has much less impact on the viewer. Both versions retain all their special features from their 2010 releases.
► When he isn’t pulling The Avengers together, Samuel L. Jackson is still slumming in movies like MEETING EVIL. Haven’t heard of it? That’s okay, Jackson’s probably forgotten it already too. He plays Random Evil Guy who shows up at Luke Wilson’s door one day and turns his already shitty day (house deal fell through, lost his job) into a horror show.
► Considering his recent troubles, ON THE INSIDE is a rough one for Nick Stahl. The one-time John Conner plays a man sent to the psych ward after killing his girlfriend’s alleged rapist. There he’s surrounded by guys crazier than him and guards who could care less what happens to him. But he also meets a bipolar Olivia Wilde, so it ain’t all bad.
► It’s the early ‘80s, video stores are starting to pop up, and you see a movie called THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN on the shelf. “What’s this?,” you say, gazing at the lurid cover. “A sequel to Halloween? Mom, can we rent this?” You bring it home, wait for Michael Myers to show up, and 90 agonizing minutes later you realize renting videos can suck balls. This laughable piece of crap about a model being stalked by an ex-boyfriend (driving an ice cream truck, no less) was originally titled ‘Snapshot’ and has nothing to do with ‘Halloween.’ But after Carpenter’s classic made a mint, the rip-offs helped video stores pay their rent for years.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!