This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the films at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Buy It

THE OFFICE (SEASON 5)
At this point viewers should just accept it: The Office will never be as good as it was in Season 2, or even Season 3. Those two seasons marked the collected efforts of the writer’s best ideas and storylines, and Season 2 in particular is representative of the emotional peak of the show, demonstrated in the strangely heart-wrenching “will they?”/”won’t they?” relationship between Jim and Pam. Now that the question has been answered, there’s not nearly as much for audiences to be quite so dramatically invested in, so naturally there will be times when the series struggles to find its emotional base. As far as I’m concerned though, they’re doing a far better job than anybody should’ve expected. Instead of trying to repeat the formula with the same two characters by way of constant conflicts between Jim and Pam, only to find them breaking up, and then getting back together, and then breaking up again (*ahem* Friends), the writers have found the next natural progression: Michael Scott actually managing to find a compatible partner. In another show, this might seem like an obvious retread, but given how socially awkward Michael is, the circumstances feel completely different, and in turn, so are the obstacles he has to overcome. It also helps that the lady friend in question is played by The Wire‘s Amy Ryan, who makes her character Holly Flax as lovable as she is dorky. My only real disappointment with this season was the circularly-plotted Michael Scott Paper Company storyline, which initially appeared to be a fresh new direction for the show to go in, only to reveal itself in the end as a temporary detour from more of the same. I hope next season will find a way to mix things up a little more.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Cast and crew commentaries, deleted scenes, an Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Presents The Office featurette, Webisodes, Superbowl Ads, Olympic Promos, and a gag reel.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$32.99 $31.99 $31.77
Amazon – $36.99
BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$42.99 $41.99 $41.77
Amazon – $42.99

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/FilmCast

crank 2 posterIn this episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley get excited for 24: New York, get ambivalent about Wanted 2, get disappointed by Mitch Hurwitz’s Sit Down, Shut Up, and get intrigued by The Girlfriend Experience. Special guests Dan Trachtenberg from the Totally Rad Show and Jen Yamato from Rottentomatoes join us for this episode.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next MONDAY night at Slashfilm’s live page at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as we review State of Play.

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Movie Review: Crank 2: High Voltage

crank_2_this_way

I’m afraid that telling you “If you liked Crank, you’ll like Crank 2” just wouldn’t be good enough. It also wouldn’t necessarily be true. Most of all, it would be somewhat rude – discounting an entire film as nothing more than an echo, or an indulgence for the cult of its predecessor.

The end of the first film seemed to quite clearly rule out any possibility of a sequel and one of the most telling characteristics of Crank: High Voltage is simply that it exists. This is a film that disregards anything like the basic narrative logic of a ‘dead’ character staying dead because the realities of dying are rooted in the rigid actualities of biology, chemistry and physics. These are three things that the film has absolutely no use for. But it does make great play with non-rigid and non-actual cartoon versions of all the above. When the film is at its best, it verges on Tex Avery, and Jason Statham is Screwy Squirrel given permission to cause suffering, pain and offence.

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crank22

The clock is ticking. In minutes, I am scheduled to interview Corey Haim. But I need more time to: find my good sunglasses, make a margarita, and hook up my interview shit poolside at a friend’s house. The publicist agrees to push the interview back half-an-hour. The power of /Film. By-and-by, it all works out and the publicist fulfills a dream. I’m not into doing interviews. Much too often, there is A) a bitchy studio hawk circling, B) a wait-time worthy of a disappointing rap concert/Comcast, or C) the celeb is so glazed-over from blurting the same answers to ‘net middle men on every continent that you feel like hugging them, and then slapping them. And likewise for them, sans the personal contact.

But Corey Haim is Z) reached levels of non-ironic cool that even Steve McQueen (not the Hunger one) and Lee Marvin (the Prime Cut one) could never touch. Like brightly-dyed shorts with displaced geometric patterns, Haim burst onto the scene as the American teenager in the 1980s. For an actor—and for our younger readers—that requires more natural pep than LeBron James has hops. And in my opinion, Haim was the first real, believable and awesome geek on screen (dude, your comic store’s Dewey Decimal System blows) who could get laid. And thus, maybe get you laid. Paul Rudd would come much later. Paul Rudd is also a geek narc. Haim can be seen in theaters this weekend wearing a mullet in Crank: High Voltage.

Excluding the initial actions above, I didn’t prepare for the interview; I know I’ll be interviewing Corey again soon when he gets a major theatrical role. It needs to happen, Hollywood. Our chat was fun, casual, whatever. Haim has the laid back charm over the tele that many of us know so well. Just add a cigarette.

/Film: Hello Corey Haim.

Corey Haim: What’s up Hunter. How you doin’?

Ha. I’m doing fine, sittin’ by the pool. So you have a role in Crank 2. How did you first meet [writer/directors Mark] Neveldine and [Brian] Taylor?

Corey Haim: Actually, a while ago man. I believe. See, I was supposed to be in the first movie. Was it the same character? A character. I just know that in this movie they wanted me to play this character. Randy.

Right.

Corey Haim: Let me give you a description of my character.

Sure.

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Crank 2 and Outlander Movie Posters

Latino Review has a first look at the teaser poster for Crank 2: High Voltage (pictured right), which is a variation on the original Crank teaser poster (pictured left). Click on the poster above to see the image in regular resolution.

A few months back Outlander was gaining momentum in online circles, but The Weinstein Co will have none of that and has decided to bury the film with a late-January limited release — which is basically the kiss of death. And the best their marketing team could come up with is to sell the possible cult b-sci-fi/action action film with the face of Jesus, and nothing more. How are possible ticket-buyers to know that it’s a film about vikings who team with a human alien to take on an alien creature crash to earth? Watch the trailer here. Check out the new poster after the jump.

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Corey Haim in Crank 2

Corey Haim

The Movie Blog is reporting that Corey Haim has been cast in a role in Crank 2. No other details are known at this time. Let the Haim comeback begin! AWESOME.

Crank 2 Spoilers Hit the Web

crank2.jpg

A slew of spoilerific and amazing character descriptions for Crank 2 just hit the web over at Spoiler TV. We’ve pasted them all after the jump. Judging from the run down, directors and Slashfilm party mates Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor seem to really love the word “sociopath,” and their Ritalin milkshake of a sequel should be all the better for it. I mean, a villain that is 100-years-old? Holy shit, that is awesome. What is this, Double Dragon? Sorry Scott Wolf, it’s not. It’s Crank, one of the best action flicks/franchises in years that arguably has its own subcategory: post-Shane Black.

And how Hollywood is it to list a character named “Pepper,” to be played by a 20something actress, and conclude in all CAPS, “Must Be Okay with Nudity”? Furthermore, seems there will be more cheeky media commentary in the sequel, and while I know I mention this character in every other post, I would give anything to see Robert Downey Jr.’s nutzoid reporter Wayne Gale from Natural Born Killers make a cameo. If Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios can survive a black market heart transplant (not to mention a helicopter fall), Gale can be resurrected!

Details after the jump…

Discuss: With the masses discovering and loving its predecessor on DVD, how big of a hit can Crank 2 be? And should audiences over 30 have to sign a health waiver to see Crank 3 (3D)? I mean, really…

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Crank 3-D and a Moving Bullet-Time Camera Rig

CrankMark Neveldine has confirmed that Crank 3 will be shot in 3-D.

“We were actually thinking of trying to do RED 3-D for GAME for a while,” Brian Taylor revealed to Collider. “We think it’s the way things are going. The problem for us is that the rigs are still a little too cumbersome. They’re a bit too big. So for 3D you tend to have a lot of locked off shots, things on cranes, things that are very controlled. We just don’t shoot that way man, We like to just pick up the camera and run and go berserk and it doesn’t really lend itself to 3D right now.”

Not a day goes by where I don’t get into an argument with someone about the merits of 3D. Sure, it’s becoming an overused technology. But it does have a place in the right films. I think that Crank is the perfect type of movie/story to make use of the 3D technology.

Bullet-time

Mark Neveldine also revealed that they have built a moving bullet-time camera rig, which will see action in Crank 2, which begins shooting in six weeks.

“We’re pushing the limits…” explains Mark Neveldine. “We’re going to be creating a ‘moving bullet[-time] camera’ that has never been done before. We’re putting about 15 cameras onto a piece of speed rail, all these super lightweight cameras that I’ll be holding on rollerblades flying around people. So you’ll have that image that you’ve seen in the Matrix, where they stop motion and the cameras spin around, except for the fact that our cameras can spin around and move while the actor moves.”

I’m not quite sure what kind of result a camera rig like this could produce that a green screen bullet-time camera set-up couldn’t, but I’m very interested to see. My guess is that it will allow them to create the bullet-time effect on the fly, in a practical location, with minimal CG. The traditional Bullet-Time set-up requires an entire computer generated background, and an extensively planned set-up path for the cameras. Neveldine/Taylor have had a stance against using computer generated effects unless absolutely needed.

“We kind of want to go a little old school with our action and really literally put the camera, the lens, the actors, and the filmmakers in peril,” said Brian Taylor. “We don’t want to use CG, as a last resort we will to enhance a scene. But we’re really trying to do it real as much as possible. We think if it really was dangerous, it will feel dangerous to an audience. They will feel they aren’t being cheated. Because as soon as you know it was something generated on a computer, and that nobody was really in danger, a certain part of you sort of shuts off. It doesn’t seem as urgent, it doesn’t seem as exciting. That’s our theory.”

Also, as evidenced by the 3D quote above, these guys love to run and gun without limits. And this type of rig would allow them to film on the fly, without the extensive planning or restrictions of the traditional Bullet-time rig.

Neveldine/Taylor will begin shooting Crank 2 at the end of April. The team will appear at Comic Con in July to promote GAME (and the Crank sequel).

“The very first shot in [GAME] is a two minute take with nine explosions, Gerry Butler firing off 52 rounds – it’s unbelievable! We decided to stay with the character Cable. We follow him through this battlefield and we choreographed this whole scene with 250 extras.”

Sounds very cool. Up next after Crank 2, Neveldine/Taylor are planning to finally tackle their adaptation of Jonah Hex, a DC Comic Book (which Mark describes as “Western, Crazy, Sin City style”). Crank 3 would likely then follow (2011 release?).

You can watch Neveldine/Taylor’s full interviews at Collider.com.

Discuss: What do you think of this new “Moving Bullet-Time camera rig” and the fact that Crank 3 will be shot in 3D?

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