Horror fans are in luck, since a
number of new DVD releases this week (28 Weeks Later,
Black Sheep) offer
critically acclaimed thrills and chills — and we know how rarely that
happens. Thankfully, we’ve also got new fare for the kiddies (Surf’s Up), the indie-minded (Reign Over Me,
East of Bucharest), and reality TV-loving
couch potatoes (Meerkat
In this sequel to
breakout hit, 28 Days Later, the Rage Virus has been contained in Britain — or
has it? Director
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does a decent job building atmosphere
and thrills, even if Weeks falls short of the modern-classic achievement of its
predecessor. The disc is loaded with featurettes, including director commentary
for the film and two deleted scenes and multiple making-of videos.
Adam Sandler fans who’ve been
tracking the former SNLer’s career departures into drama (like the excellent
Punch-Drunk Love) should take note of this character-driven
writer-director Mike Binder. Charlie (Sandler) and Alan (Don Cheadle) are former
friends who reconnect in New York City five years after the 9/11 attacks, in
which Charlie lost his family — a tragedy that has turned him into a shell of
his former self. The bonus menu features an unusual treat: a jam session between
the two stars.
Featuring the vocal talents of
Jeff Bridges, and
Zooey Deschanel, this animated pic about a
talking penguin — one who lives to surf, not to tap-dance — scored pretty well
with the critics for top notch visuals and charming mockumentary style. The DVD
release is packed with behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a nice glimpse
into the recording studio, where cast members were encouraged to interact with
each other. Sony’s also been generous with interactive games for the kiddies and
animation instructionals for the nerds, so there really is something for
Seeing as New Zealand’s most
famous filmmaker (Peter Jackson) started his career with gross-out comic gore
(Bad Taste), it’s appropriate that his fellow countryman
Jonathan King follow
suit with this tale of bloodthirsty mutant sheep run amok. (Special effects
courtesy of Jackson’s WETA Workshop.) With a tagline like “Get ready for the
Violence of the Lambs,” who can resist?
Other Safe Bets
East of Bucharest
16 years after the Romanian
Revolution of 1989, a local television station gathers guests to revisit the
historic moment when their city hosted a key protest so many years ago. But did
it really happen? This overwhelmingly critic-approved import earned the Camera
d’Or at Cannes — worth your time if you don’t mind the subtitles.
Ben Kingsley stars as an
alcoholic hitman sent to dry out in San Francisco by the mafia, where he gets a
job at a mortuary and goes to AA meetings.
Tea Leoni co-stars, with direction by
John Dahl (Rounders).
25th Anniversary Edition
Rebuffed for its quarter
Tobe Hooper‘s 1982 suburban horror classic is back looking
quite nice thanks to a new anamorphic transfer. That said, Poltergeist fans,
beware: besides a single two-part documentary (They Are Here: The Real World of
Poltergeist Revealed) featuring paranormal experts and cast and crewmembers,
the disc is conspicuously free of bonus features.
Manor: Season One
Danger, incest, and intrigue — daytime television’s got nothing on a day in the
life of a meerkat. The Animal Planet show, narrated stateside by
Sean “Samwise Gamgee” Astin, has been tracking the lives and loves of the Whiskers clan in the
Kalahari Desert for three seasons. Season one brings us back to the beginning,
when family matriarch Flower ruled her roost with an iron paw, evicting her own
daughter Mozart for getting pregnant and leading the Whisker’s first turf wars
against rival gang the Lazuli.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You
This sequel to the
hit was one of the most notorious flops of the year, mostly because an estimated
$175 million budget made it the costliest comedy film ever. So if you were one
of those "I’ll wait for DVD" types, now’s your chance to see
Steve Carell‘s turn
as a modern-day Noah figure. Or you can wait for cable TV.
Lucy Liu stars as a recently
undead reporter who vows revenge on the vampires who killed her. With a 121
minute runtime, this one’s better off dead last on your rental list — unless
you’ve already seen the week’s more worthy horror releases and are still hungry
Until next week, happy renting!