Monday 9 July 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

In another quiet week for DVD and Blu-ray releases, one new comedy stands head and shoulders above the rest of the week's questionable horror ideas and potential lawsuit provoking rip-offs.

About a million times funnier than anyone thought it would be, Phil Lord and Chris Miller's follow up to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs surprised everyone by announcing the arrival of a new comic talent... Channing Tatum?! Backed up by the ever comedically reliable and newly trim Jonah Hill, even if you know nothing about the 80's Johnny Depp starring TV show that this is spawned from, this is a must watch.

Part Falling Down, part Big Daddy and Hit Girl from Kick-Ass and quite a larger part Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers, Bobcat Goldthwait's satirical vigilante movie hits DVD just a few days after its theatrical release. I'm yet to see how this one has turned out, but if it has the same level of Bobcat's trademark dark humour that World's Greatest Dad did (the trailer for this hardly makes it look like a subtle, meditative film), it'll be worth a watch.

Not to be confused with The Devil Inside, on evidence of the trailer this straight to DVD horror (previously known as Devil Seed) looks laughably tame, whilst also not being the most amateurish looking film of the week. One for low-low-budget horror fans only, I'd be more inclined to watch it if they'd given it a more fitting name like The Spooky Bedroom, or something like that. The BBFC have rated it an 18 due to "very strong language and strong sex", just what I look for in a horror.

Re-teaming with Oren Moverman, the director who steered him to an Oscar nom for The Messenger, this is Woody Harrelson playing the most corrupt cop there's ever been in a story by L.A. Confidential's James Ellroy. An uncompromising view of police brutality and one man with a God complex, with one hell of a supporting cast to back him up this is police drama at its grittiest.

Without a shred of irony, since its original release in the States as The Shortcut three years ago, they've added the word Avoid to the title. The only reason I can think of for this film getting a release this week (or any release at all) is the presence of Dave 'Brother of James' Franco in a supporting role. Slowly becoming a recognisable face with appearances in 21 Jump Street and Fright Night, I suppose it's theoretically possible that someone might want to buy this after seeing his face on the cover. Out of some bizarre set of circumstances this film was the only production credit of Scary Madison, the horror offshoot of Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company. Quite why such a thing would exist, I'll leave up to you.

Now this is more like it. When the biggest name in your cast is Doug Jones, also known as Guillermo Del Toro's go to guy for spindly looking monsters, you know you're not watching the latest in the Saw franchise. By taking a fairly simple idea, a cool name and shooting it well, Absentia stands above its straight to DVD label. A horror film that's not crucially limited by its low budget, Absentia looks creepy as hell.

Finally, that new Jurassic Park film Steven Spielberg's been promising us. What's that? It's nothing but a cheapo rip-off? Surely not. Another case of a film where the title has been thought of first, I can't believe they've dared to rip off Jurassic Park's iconic logo design in such a blatant way, even if it's been knocked together in Paint. Certainly not the high quality article I was expecting after seeing the film's trailer, honest.

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