This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Iron Man 3, V/H/S/2, Hannibal …

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This week: The biggest movie of the year ain't the usual Iron Man, the V/H/S sequel is even 'beta' than the first, and Room 237 dissects the craziness that is Kubrick.

► Maybe I'm still in the 'mind blown' phase. Maybe I'm still just too ecstatic that the movies I envisioned as a kid are now up there on the big screen. Because let me remind you, there was a time it felt like we'd never get a great Marvel movie. So I guess I'm not as jaded about IRON MAN 3 at this point as a whole lotta folks – even after four movies (3, plus 'The Avengers') I'm jazzed that they exist at all. Much less, one as fun and surprising as the third. Previews led us to believe this would be dark and tragic, but there was little chance of that with Shane Black directing. This isn't just the funniest of the trilogy, it's the most inspired and unconventional of recent superhero flicks. As Tony Stark, Robert Downey, Jr. is barely in the suit at all, and the swerve with The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) brings us even further away from the comics. But it all works – the action is fierce, Downey, Jr. worth every penny, and the climactic battle a fitting way to end his run. Extras include Black on commentary and a short film on Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) leading into the next Captain America flick.

► Just like last time, you take the bad with the good with V/H/S/2. This time, the good is very good. Gareth Evans (‘The Raid: Redemption’) serves up the prime segment with ‘Safe Haven,’ in which a news crew infiltrates an Indonesian cult just in time for the birth of a demon. ‘Blair Witch Project’ director Eduardo Sanchez also checks in with ‘A Ride in the Park,’ in which a Go Pro on a bike helmet captures a zombie outbreak. This horror anthology series has delivered so far – more, please.

► The only thing missing from the documentary ROOM 237 is zombie Stanley Kubrick at the end telling us what a load of crap it is. For the rest of us, Rodney Asher’s tribute to ‘The Shining’ and all the crazy shit hidden within it is endlessly fascinating. Kubrick was such an enigma, none of it is out of the question, such as the theory it’s his veiled confession to helping fake the Apollo moon landing footage. It helps to love (and know) everything about ‘The Shining.’

► We can only hope Season 16 of SOUTH PARK isn’t the last hurrah. Following this season, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to cut back their workload, making the upcoming 17th season just 10 episodes and bringing in Bill Hader (among others) to help with the writing. Which means these 14 episodes may be the end of an incredibly great run, even if the strain is starting to show. But ‘I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining’ with Cartman’s epic diarrhea and ‘Obama Wins!,’ which aired the night after the election, are two of the series’ all-time greats.

► Shout! Factory continues its John Carpenter bonanza with PRINCE OF DARKNESS, which many view as the start of his long slump. Not so – while it’s not as polished as his early classics, it’s still a unique, very creepy horror film, especially those nightmarish sequences of a bleak, apocalyptic future being beamed into the dreams of an academic trying to solve the mystery of a supernatural canister of goo residing in a church basement. I miss ‘80s Carpenter so much. Among the extras here is a Carpenter commentary and the alternate opening.

► You know, people who judge a horror movie by the quality of its rape scenes should just contact the authorities themselves and spare us the trouble. 'I Spit On Your Grave', both the original and its slimy sequel, are both an unpleasant ordeal to sit through. There's no joy in watching them. Seeing women get beaten and raped on film is about the sleaziest form of 'horror' imaginable. So take a guess what I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 is about. Another hapless woman wanders into the wrong circle of sadists, gets defiled every which way, then plots her revenge. Remake director Steven Monroe returns to make essentially the same movie, with more feces and testicle-crushing. Enjoy.

► From its 13-episode-per-season limit to its surprisingly graphic content, HANNIBAL is the most direct response yet a major network has made to today’s great cable shows. And it doesn’t quite get there – the kill-of-the-week format and Hugh Dancy’s grating performance as Will Graham are hard to get past. Mads Mikkelson makes for an intriguing Lector, however, considering the giant shadow hanging over him. The cat-and-mouse game between these two will be tough to sustain over a long series, and without the rights to ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ don’t expect Clarice Starling any time soon.

► You may never watch 2 BROKE GIRLS, but it’s nice having the option of Kat Dennings on TV every week, isn’t it? Season 2 of the routine CBS sitcom finished just where Season 1 did in the ratings – #32 – which these days probably ensures a limitless run. Dennings and co-star Beth Behrs play dirt-poor waitresses trying to open their own cupcake business, and the dream finally happens midway through Season 2. Rat crap, ex-boyfriends and an eviction notice spoil the fun.

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