I Want My DVD: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

by Ethan Alter June 18, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer? More like, Jack the Giant Lame-o.

Jack the Giant Slayer
A mash-up of two familiar fairy tales -- "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Jack the Giant Killer" -- Bryan Singer's attempt at a fantasy blockbuster beat Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful into theaters by a week, but the latter easily bested the former at the box office. And it's not hard to see why: where Oz knows what kind of movie it wants to be (even if it doesn't completely work), Jack is all over the place tonally, with more violence than you'd expect from a supposedly family-friendly fantasy adventure and a convoluted storyline that takes way too long to send its hero, Jack (Nicholas Hoult, who enjoyed a much better star turn in Warm Bodies) up the beanstalk to a land populated by towering giants eager to conquer the world below. There is some fun to be had by watching Ewan McGregor playing the Han Solo to Hoult's Luke Skywalker, but it's all too clear that Singer is just the wrong person to be tackling this material. It's likely that he realized that as well, since he followed up Jack by returning to the familiar ground of the X-Men franchise, which, frankly, could use his help more than Jack the would-be giant slayer.
Extras: Deleted scenes, a gag reel and behind-the-scenes videos hosted by Hoult.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see which directors we'd like to see return to their defining franchises

The overripe Southern gothic chiller Stoker boasts one of the oddest writer/director match-ups in recent memory: the script comes from Wentworth Miller (yes, the dude from Prison Break), while South Korean cult phenom Park Chan-wook (Oldboy and Thirst) steps behind the camera for his English-language debut. The result is perhaps the year's most stylish bad movie, a film filled with gorgeous visual flourishes that almost make up for the risible dramatic material. Mia Wasikowska plays India Stoker of the titular Stoker clan, whose father (Demot Murloney) has just passed away, leaving his daughter and wife (Nicole Kidman) bereft and adrift. Things get more complicated with the arrival of dad's handsome brother Charles (Matthew Goode), who turns up at their Tennessee homestead after years abroad (so he claims, anyway) and promptly cozies up to Kidman, much to India's dismay. Deliberately, flagrantly silly, Stoker often tips too far into camp, particularly compared to Chan-wook's Korean films. But his keen eye kept me engaged, even when Miller's script had me hooting and hollering.
Extras: Deleted scenes, two behind-the-scenes featurettes, footage from the movie's premiere, an image gallery and a free download of the movie's song, "Becomes the Color" by Emily Wells.
Click here to read our original review

Movie 43
21 & Over
Made in the image of such past all-star sketch comedy cavalcades as The Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon, the Peter Farrelly-produced Movie 43 was dumped into theaters in late January with minimal advanced promotion -- largely because few of its stars (including Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Kristen Bell and Kate Winslet) seemed to want to admit to being in it. Like everyone else, you probably skipped Movie 43 in theaters, but admit it... now that it's on DVD, you're kinda curious to check it out. On the other hand, the collegiate comedy 21 & Over was hyped plenty -- people just weren't interested in what resembled a Project X knock-off minus that movie's found footage conceit and wanton destruction. And while 21 & Over may not be up to Project X levels of debauchery, it's mindlessly entertaining in its own right thanks largely to the personable cast. If Movie 43 and 21 & Over have their roots in dumb '80s comedies, Disorderlies (recently re-released on DVD thanks to Warner Archive) is a true-blue dumb '80s comedy, featuring the then-huge (both in terms of popularity and girth) rap group the Fat Boys playing medical "professionals" who are hired to care for a wealthy old man. Do I even have to tell you that they teach him how to be cool and he teaches them how to be more responsible? Of course not.
Extras: Movie 43 comes with a lone featurette, while 21 & Over includes a gag reel and two behind-the-scenes docs. Disorderlies is a movie-only edition.
Click here to see clips from Amazon Women on the Moon
Click here to read our original review of 21 & Over

The Howling
The Last Exorcism Part II
American Mary
The '80s flashbacks keep on coming with the re-release of that decade's vintage horror flicks in new Blu-ray editions thanks to Shout! Factory. Both in 1981 and still today, Joe Dante's The Howling remains one of the best werewolf flicks around, filled with memorably kooky characters and the director's typically enjoyable mix of chills and laughs, which he'd continue to refine three years later in Gremlins. Released in 1985, Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce is a killer sci-fi/horror hybrid that unleashes a race of space vampires (I'm gonna say that again, space vampires... how can you not want to see this now?) upon the Earth's populace. It more than deserve a place alongside Hooper's more celebrated horror flicks, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist. If you're in the market for more contemporary horror titles, American Mary comes from the so-called "Twisted Twins" Jen and Sylvia Soska and stars Ginger Snaps vet Katharine Isabelle as an overworked, underpaid med student who winds up earning some extra cash on the side though some off-the-books surgery procedures. There's also The Last Exorcist Part II, the ridiculously titled sequel to the moderately successful 2010 found footage flick that was made and released in what seemed like three months. The good news is that its complete box office failure means we won't be seeing a last-last-Last exorcism in another year.
Extras: The Howling boasts a commentary track with Dante and three of the movie's stars (including Dee Wallace), a new multi-part making-of doc plus another doc, deleted scenes, outtakes and a collection of trailers. Lifeforce includes a commentary with Hooper, retrospective cast and crew interviews plus an '80s era making-of featurette. American Mary offers a commentary track with the Soska sisters and a making-of documentary, while The Last Exorcism Part II comes with a commentary with producer Eli Roth and director Ed Gass-Donnelly as well as three featurettes.

Also on DVD:
Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with Quartet, a low-key octogenarian drama that's notably only for the opportunity to see veteran British thesps Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins in the same frame. With Before Midnight in theaters right now, catch up on Jesse and Celine's earlier adventures via the two-movie collection Before Sunrise/Before Sunset. Can we get Blu-ray editions next, please? Silent comedy legend Harold Lloyd's most famous film Safety Last gets a high-def release courtesy of Criterion, which is also releasing the groundbreaking '30s sci-fi tale, Things to Come in a handsome Blu-ray edition.

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