Monday 21 May 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Blu-rays

Having now decided that, yes, that's a pretty good title for a DVD release round-up column, welcome to the second edition of The Good, The Bad and the Blu-rays.

First up in a week where there are no huge blockbuster releases we have Alexander Payne's The Descendants. Chock full of Oscar buzz on its cinematic release, it arrives on Blu-ray the recipient of the Best Adapted Screenplay award, or rather its co-screenwriter Jim Rash does. If you don't know why that's cool, you really should be watching more Community.

Next, we have Liam Neeson in The Grey, a film which underperformed at the cinema but which has sleeper home video hit written all over it. I mean, Liam Neeson fighting wolves? Who doesn't want to see that? The Grey is also a great example on how not to crop a DVD cover image for its Blu-ray incarnation, as they appear to have chopped off Liam Neeson's chin in the process.

Despite having a Vincent Price quote on the cover that conjures up an image of Louie Spence diva-snapping his fingers whilst critiquing an ice dancing routine, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow is something of a cult horror classic. Originally made for TV (as this trailer from 1981 proudly shows), this re-release has an iconic bad guy at the centre and enough gore and suspense to please fans of the Halloween franchise.

What's more deadly than a one-headed shark? Well by my reckoning it wouldn't be a two-headed shark, so laboured and cumbersome would its movements be that it would thrash itself to the bottom of the ocean before it encountered any sexy young teens to devour. Obviously those good folks at The Asylum disagree, and so we now have this as a thing. Look, one poor girl's become so terrified that her top has fallen off. Imagine.

Now, it may seem an odd choice to feature the overdue release of a BBC documentary series charting one man's journey down the UK's canal routes, but when that man is Guy Martin, subject of last year's TT3D: Closer To The Edge, it's more than worth a mention. The undoubted star of that film (I've previously described him as Karl Pilkington with a death wish), although the thrills here might not match TT3D, Guy's sure to be worth a watch.

It's been all of five minutes since Danny Dyer and Tamer Hassan last made a low budget action/crime film together, and I was starting to worry that they'd fallen out. In all honesty it's a shame they haven't, as Freerunner looks terrible. It makes The Tournament look like The Bourne friggin' Ultimatum. Still, these fella's certainly have an audience for their films, so that's probably why they haven't bothered to put the actual star of the movie on the cover in place of Dyer and Hassan's gritty visages. Also, there's a rumour that they've had to call it Freerunner because Danny Dyer can't pronounce French words like parkour*.
*this is in no way true, honest.

Finally hitting DVD with a cover that gets brownie points by not being such a rip-off as its Hangover 'inspired' poster, the Jason Sudeikis starring A Good Old Fashioned Orgy might be a funny enough comedy, but its lack of a theatrical release and immediate budget pricing on Amazon says otherwise.

Pretty much a must see for any fans of the zombie genre, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is a ghoulish 70's horror classic of sorts. Re-released with Dead of Night as a Bob Clark double bill (the low 15 certificate kind of subtracts from the its uncut status), it's a Romero referencing curiosity that's worth checking out.

The closest thing we've got to an action spectacular this week, Haywire certainly has a good cast, but didn't manage to connect with audiences during its cinematic release earlier this year. Are people that turned off by having an ass-kicking woman in the lead role? Or perhaps it could be down to MMA fighter Gina Carano's lack of star power, even though the rest of the cast and director Steven Soderbergh more than make up for that. Personally I think it looks pretty intriguing, or as one youtube commentator so eloquently put under the film's trailer...

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