This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Nymphomaniac, The Raid 2, Bad Words
This week: Tired of summer blockbusters? Four hours of Lars Von Trier might have you appreciating Transformers more. Also: More Raid and Bad Grandpa.
► So just how much Lars Von Trier can you endure? The combined four hours of NYMPHOMANIAC Vol. 1 & Vol. II will put anyone through the wringer, but it’s particularly miserable if you aren’t partial to the previous two movies in his Depression Trilogy, ‘Antichrist’ and ‘Melancholia.’ Von Trier’s favorite victim Charlotte Gainsbourg plays a self-described nympho who relates her life of sexual and emotional extremes to the older bachelor (Stellan Skarsgard) who takes her in after discovering her beaten-up in an alley. Uma Thurman, Shia LaBeouf, Stacy Martin, Willem Dafoe and Christian Slater all contribute to the weirdness. Neither volume is particularly pleasant, though the first has some welcome levity to soften the grim mood (Vol. II offers no such reprieve). Both volumes earned their NC-17 rating (to which Von Trier scoffed and released them unrated), though the graphic sex is of the ugly, uncomfortable kind. If this isn’t enough, Von Trier’s five-and-a-half hour director’s cut also looms.
► If you worried THE RAID 2 couldn’t keep up with the instant classic that spawned it, director Gareth Evans has no problem pummeling your senses for two-and-a-half hours. And long past the point you should be exhausted, he finds some new way to stage a fight or film a car chase. Together, these two movies have raised the bar for modern action films to an insane level. Iko Uwais returns, going undercover as a mob enforcer partly to expose police corruption, mostly to kill the gang lord who executed his brother.
► Much like the lackluster ‘Jackass 3.5’, BAD GRANDPA .5 masks itself as a sequel but is really just a collection of scenes deemed not good enough for the first movie. It’s essentially the deleted scenes you’d find in the bonus features of any other DVD packaged into a whole other movie. More worthwhile is the behind-the-scenes stuff on how they did the original movie (Johnny Knoxville can now say he made an Oscar-nominated movie), but it still doesn’t warrant a separate release. Not to mention it will just confuse things if they actually make a proper sequel some day. Among the bonus stuff in a movie full of deleted scenes…are more deleted scenes.
► Jason Bateman bangs off one of the year’s best comedies with BAD WORDS, making his directorial debut to boot. He stars as a grade school drop-out who gets back at his biological deadbeat dad by entering the national spelling bee he runs, The Golden Quill. Along the way he hooks up with a reporter and hangs out with one of his 10-year-old competitors. Blu-ray includes Bateman commentary.
► Shout! Factory is after my heart this week with the glorious blu-ray debut of Walter Hill’s SOUTHERN COMFORT. Ignored when released in 1981, it earned its following on video as the best damn ‘Deliverance’ rip-off anyone ever made. It’s also a virtual remake of Hill’s own ‘The Warriors,’ as a team of National Guardsmen training in the Louisiana bayou inadvertently piss off local Cajun hunters. While dealing with their own stupidity, they find themselves hunted with limited ammo to fight back. Blu-ray has a new high-def transfer along with new interviews with Hill and cast members Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe and Peter Coyote.
► Freaked out about his wedding, a 32-year-old stoner (Dan Fogler) goes on an epic drug binge in DON PEYOTE and starts having apocalyptic visions while his fiancé is busy planning their wedding. He decides to make a Doomsday documentary while he’s at it. Josh Duhamel, Jay Baruchel and a host of others make cameos.
► KID CANNABIS is the true story of Nate Norman, an Idaho high school dropout and pizza delivery dude who built a multi-million business smuggling marijuana through the woods from the nearby Canadian border. Of course, living the Scarface life comes with pissed off rival drug dealers. Jonathan Daniel Brown is the ‘mastermind,’ and Ron Perlman is the financial backer who assembles a team of dopey high schoolers.
► Might LAKE PLACID be up for reappraisal for its 15th anniversary? I remember being irked it was more of a comedy when I wanted a straight-on thriller about a giant crocodile (in that regard, the awesome ‘Black Water’ did the trick), but damned if I can ever turn the station when I stumble upon it. Oliver Platt, Bridget Fonda and Bill Pullman are pretty fun as the wildlife team investigating croc attacks in a coastal Maine town. The tone is goofy but tense, and I still love that scene where the croc drags a bear into the lake. Three horrible sequels made this look even better. Blu-ray includes new interviews with Pullman and director Steve Miner.
Also out this week:
Be sure to check out what's new on Netflix streaming for the month of July in our new video column below!
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!