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New On Home Video: March 30, 2004

Updated Each Monday Evening
by Randy Muselman

It’s another rip roaring week of New On Home Video and what a week it is. If you’ve got an ex-girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse giving you shit, we’ve got just the person to take care of your little problem. Just pick up the phone and call old Leatherface himself. That bastard will draw and quarter just about anyone, and it won’t cost you a penny, he’ll do it just because he loves his work.

It’s hard for me to believe! It was thirty years ago we were introduced to one mean bastard with a chainsaw and a love for preparing meals the old fashioned way. I’ll never forget watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It just scared the living hell out of me. I just knew this story was true, there had to be someone out there like Leatherface, probably heading to my town at that very instant I was walking home. Then again, I was 14 at the time, and I always did have a rather vivid imagination. While the original film itself is fairly campy, it’s the music that really set the tone for the film. It just had the creepy build up that helped to keep you on the edge of your seat.

So here we are, thirty years later, and we have a new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I simply love Scott Weinberg’s review of this film, especially this quote.

Because Nispel's version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a bona-fide gore-storm, a dark, dank and altogether delicious reminder that not all studio-distributed horror flicks are totally lacking in balls.

This film is still campy and it’s still fun. I’ve always loved a good horror flick and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed when you buy or rent The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Better yet! Go out and rent the original film from 1974, then pop in the new version.

The DVD features several goodies. The film itself is featured in a widescreen 1.85 aspect ratio. The audio is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX so if you’ve got surround sound at home, you’re guaranteed a good scare as closing your eyes isn’t going to help. Additional extras include the theatrical trailer for the film, seven television spots and the music video Suffocate by Motograter.

Going from one extreme to the other, we’ve got an animated film out this week. Brother Bear hits home video shelves and its well worth a look. This animated adventure is all about lessons in life. Our main character Kenai (voice of Joaquin Phoenix) encounters tragedy while off on a quest and is soon transformed into a bear. During his adventure to return himself to human form, he meets bear cub Coda (Jeremy Suarez), and it’s Coda that will truly teach Kenai what he needs to learn.

Along the way, you get some truly breathtaking animation work and a whole lot of laughs. One of my favorite parts in the movie turns up when Kenai and Coda meet Rutt and Tuke, two moose played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. These guys are a laugh and a half, and take Canadian humor (hey this is a good thing, really) to a whole new level. Then there are the two mountain goats that don’t seem to understand that it’s their own voice being echoed back to them. It must be a guy thing, as they argue with those voices all the way to the end of the movie. Speaking about the end of the movie, don’t stop the DVD when the credits roll. There are several very good scenes that continue throughout the credits.

The two disc DVD set includes several extras worth mentioning. These include an audio commentary by our favorite wacky guys Rutt and Tuke. There are outtakes from the film and deleted scenes as well. You get the Fishing Song by Phil Collins and a feature called The Making Of Brother Bear. Two games for the kids are also included on this DVD set. My suggestion, pick it up for a rent, but if you have kids, you’ll most likely want to own this one.

In the romantic comedy section this week you’ll find Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. Picture a middle age man, who’s never been married and dates women at least half his age. He just won’t date a woman older than 30 and how he does it; I’d sure like to know. Our playboy Harry Sanborn (Nicholson) is currently hooked up with Marin (Amanda Peet). Our happy couple head off to the house in the Hamptons for a weekend of fun and games. While Marin is changing for a swim, Harry decides to raid the fridge. Enter Erica (Keaton) to catch our fridge raiding playboy in only his shirt and underwear. The laughs continue from there.

This film is pretty much the usual in its genre. Older man dates younger woman, then older man discovers younger woman’s mother and falls in love. Mother detests older man for dating daughter, and yet also falls in love with older man, but won’t admit it.

There are quite a few moments that Something’s Gotta Give delivers a load of laughs. I do, however, wish Jack Nicholson would keep his ass covered up. It must be a fetish or something, he’s showed us his ass in the last couple of films he’s done, which is a scary thought indeed. My suggestion is to rent or buy. Something’s Gotta Give is definitely worth a watch.

For something more on the serious side this week, we turn to Ben Kinglsey and Jennifer Connelly in House Of Sand And Fog. Jennifer Connelly plays Kathy Nicolo a recovering alcoholic. She’s also been recently divorced and resides in a house that her father left her. Because of an error in taxes of just $500.00, the county immediately evicts her. Before she can take legal action and correct the county error, her house is sold to Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kinglsey) a former Colonel in the Iranian army. Purchasing the home very cheap at auction, his intentions are to fix it up and sell it for a profit. This will provide for the many needs of his family. While this is the basic storyline of this film, the film itself is much more complex and I do mean VERY complex.

While I truly love an actor such as Ben Kinglsey, I had a terrible time with this film. Perhaps it moved too slowly for me, I’m not really quite sure. I just couldn’t seem to get involved with the story. I think Erik Childress best described the relationship the audience will have with this film in that we see each side of the story from the perspective of Connelly and Kinglsey’s characters and that we can relate to what each must be dealing with. From the perspective of “Joe Blow” the buyer/renter, I doubt this film will do well at the counter.

Arriving on my desk a little too late for me to screen it was Ripley’s Game. It seems every week, I get a title or two that arrives just a bit late, and has to be on the rental shelf before I get a chance to watch it. Although I missed this title, it does sound like something I will grab at the first opportunity. Resident critic MP Bartley tells us in his review that he believes Ripley’s Game to be an average film.

(source: imdb.com)

Ripley is older now, and more urbane. His taste for the finer things of life, his ruthlessness, and his ability to con have made him a rich man. An associate, Reeves, seeks Ripley's help in dealing with problems in Berlin. Reeves is being squeezed by the Russian mafia on one side and the Ukrainian mafia on the other. A murder needs to be done. An outsider is needed. Ripley believes that it would be more elegant to have the murder committed by a complete innocent. Jonathan Trevanny is such an innocent who works as a picture framer and lives with his wife Sarah and his son in the Italian village near Ripley's home. Jonathan is also terminally ill and when he is insulted by Trevanny at a party, Ripley sees an advantage. He cons Jonathan into becoming the hitman. And so Jonathan is drawn into Ripley's game.

There are a several other titles hitting rental shelves and sale counters this week, they include the following.

Fear Of The Dark
Going In Style (1979)
Liliom (1935)
A Man Called Sledge
The Monster Club
No Turning Back
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue (1975)
The Late Show
Screaming Dead
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Vampire Effect

You fans of television series have hit the jackpot this week. From crime to comedy, there is a little something for just about everyone.

CSI: The Complete Third Season
Dr. Quinn: The Complete Third Season
Jem: Seasons 1 and 2
Mr. Bean – The Animated Series (volumes 3 and 4)
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (These guys are just hilarious, no bullshit)
Resurrection Boulevard: Season 1
Sanford & Son: Complete Fourth Season


Checking rentals from around the U.S. this week, here are the top ten rentals that people are taking home to entertain them.

(source: billboard.com)

1. Mona Lisa Smile
2. School Of Rock
3. The Missing
4. Matchstick Men
5. Cold Creek manor
6. Runaway Jury
7. Duplex
8. Good Boy
9. Radio
10. Secondhand Lions

If you really want to keep up to date on what is happening with DVD releases, you need to check out the Upcoming DVD Release Schedule available in our public forums. The schedule is updated every week by our own Erik The Movieman. One thing of note, be patient when clicking on this link. If you are on dial-up for an internet connection, this page can take a very long time to load. The site isn’t broken; the list is just so damn big and comprehensive.

Also, if you’re up for some fun and games, check this out. Our own Thumb The Toad who does the weekly column Toad’s Box Office Report has started a thread in our forums and invites you to join in and see if you can beat his own predictions of the weekly box office take. It’ll be a tough job, as the old Toad is pretty damn accurate. He calls his little game Beat The Geek and if that isn’t worth going after I don’t know what is. Have you beat a geek lately? Score 90% or above and you get a mention in the Toad’s weekly column.

To play, just CLICK HERE

That wraps it up for another week of New On Home Video. I’ll be back next week, until then, this old fat man is going to be renting movies by day, and watching movies by night.


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1070
originally posted: 03/30/04 12:27:21
last updated: 03/30/04 12:28:32
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