This Week in DVD & Blu-ray: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 4), and More
Posted on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 by Adam Quigley
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.
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (SEASON 4)
There’s no getting around it: this was easily the show’s most hit-or-miss season thus far. With episodes like “Who Pooped the Bed?”, the joke behind which is already summed up by the title and never extends beyond that for the entire duration, and “The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell”, which takes place in the 1700′s and is exactly as tired a sitcom premise as it seems, this is the first time where I’ve disliked some of the series’ episodes enough that I literally have zero interest in revisiting them. It’s odd then, that this season also features a number of the show’s best episodes. “The Nightman Cometh”, in which Charlie extends his Nightman song into a full-fledged rock opera, is just as hilarious as the musical number that inspired it. “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis” features one of the most hilarious moments of television I’ve ever seen, with a cowboy-hat wearing Charlie yelling “Wildcard, bitches!” and leaping out the back of a van. The real winner though is this season’s two-parter, “Mac & Charlie Die”, which might just be the best thing that’s come out of the show to date. It’s worth noting that both this episode and “The Nightman Cometh” were scripted solely by the show’s original creators: Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, and Glenn Howerton (who, for those few who don’t know, are also the show’s three male leads). The weak episodes, meanwhile, were scripted primarily by the show’s more recently introduced writers, who came on board at the start of Season 3. I doubt the decline in quality since then is just a coincidence. Regardless, even with a slightly weaker season overall, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia remains one of the funniest shows on TV, and I feel no hesitance in adding this latest DVD set to my collection.
Notable Extras: The Nightman Cometh Live!, Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life, and a blooper reel.
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $25.99|
“Evil child” movies are a dime a dozen. It’s a subgenre of horror that has been tapped so extensively, there’s no possible way that there’s anything original left to explore with the concept. Or so one might think. Whereas other “evil child” movies focus on creepy adolescents, Grace rewinds the clock to when the child is still a newborn. The story follows a pregnant woman who, after losing her unborn child in a car accident, insists on carrying the dead baby to term anyway, only to find it miraculously alive following its delivery. From there, things only get weirder and more unpleasant. If you’re going into this film expecting a normal horror film, you’re wasting your time. This is a dreary, disturbing, slow-burn horror tale, one without any jump scares or traditional scary monsters. It’s a movie that wants to get under your skin, and thanks to writer/director Paul Solet‘s subtle directional touches, it does so admirably. Some may find themselves underwhelmed by a lack of plot momentum, but for those willing to immerse themselves in the unsettling reality that Solet creates, Grace is a refreshingly unique horror experience.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentary with writer/director Paul Solet and producer Adam Green, and featurettes (“Conception”, “Family”, “Her Mother’s Eyes: The Look Of Grace”, “Delivered”, “Lullaby: Scoring Grace”, “Grace at Sundance”).
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $14.99|
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $19.99|
Intended as a study of the emasculation of male youths, Deadgirl explores the perverse paths men are willing to take to satisfy their sexual urges when they just don’t find themselves able to get their needs met in a more, shall we say, socially-acceptable manner. It’s a coming-of-age tale with a stomach-churning twist: two teenage boys discover a girl who can’t die, naked and chained up in an abandoned building, and, well, you can probably guess what happens next. Disturbing, depraved, and undeniably unique, the film is a compelling but ultimately flawed effort. With iffy pacing and awkward dialogue (expect to hear “What the fuck, man!?” a lot), sitting through the first third of the film is a bit of a chore. The wait is worth it though. The eventual consequences of the characters’ actions take the plot in a number of interesting directions, many of which end in—unsurprisingly—bloodshed. As many problems as the film has, it gets enough right to make it worth a rental.
Notable Extras: Audio commentary and two featurettes.
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $19.99|
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
I’ve made such an active effort to blank X-Men Origins: Wolverine out of my memory, it’s hard to even know where to start when drudging back up that soul-crushing experience of seeing it on the big screen. I remember everything in spurts of rage and confusion (not unlike Wolverine himself): A young Logan’s immediate reaction after finding claws protruding from his hands is, naturally, running and stabbing somebody in the chest with them. … The man’s dramatically phrased response: “He wasn’t your father… Son.” … The unrelenting way in which new mutant characters are shoved into the film, with little regard for their relevance to the story. … A shot where the camera pulls up over Wolverine, while he sits and screams in anguish and incredibly dramatic music swells in the background. … That same shot, again. … And then, once more. … All of the dialogue. … Tactlessly jumping from one action set piece to another, never caring how they get there. … What they did to Deadpool. … Unforgivably awful CGI. … Wolverine launching through the air at a helicopter. … Amnesia bullets. …I think that will suffice. If you want to continue where I left off, feel free. I, however, have already relived more of this film that I’d like to.
Notable Extras: Single-disc DVD – A “Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins” featurette. 2-Disc DVD – Everything on the single-disc, plus a commentary by director Gavin Hood, a second commentary by producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, deleted and alternate scenes, 2 additional featurettes (“The Roots of Wolverine: A Conversation with X-Men creators Stan Lee and Len Wein”, “Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins”), and a digital copy of the film. Blu-ray – Everything on the 2-Disc, plus an additional trivia track, and 4 more featurettes (“Wolverine Weapon X Mutant Files: 10 Character Chronicles”, “The Thrill of the Chase: The Helicopter Chase Sequence”, “X Connect and On Set With Gavin Hood”, “Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere”).
|BEST DVD PRICE*|
|Amazon – $15.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $22.99|
What? Blu-ray Collector’s Set ($42.99) includes Wolverine bust and $50 gift card to sideshowcollectibles.com.
Where? Best Buy.
NEXT DAY AIR
Picture Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Now remove all sense of style, wit, and structural complexity. That’s Next Day Air. It has the basics down: there’s an item desired by many (in this case, cocaine) which causes a variety of different people’s lives to interweave. The problem is, the film is almost all set-up, and two minutes of payoff. If you’ve seen the trailer, that’s actually a condensed version of the just about everything that happens in the film, including its violent climax. The actual movie extends the runtime simply by meandering between those moments. The characters aren’t interesting, the dialogue isn’t smart or witty, and just about anything else that Guy Ritchie’s earliest two efforts got right, this film gets wrong. The only redeeming aspects of it are an amusing cameo by Mos Def and the aforementioned climax, which is admittedly pretty well done. I might also mention that it was nice to see The Wire‘s Wood Harris (aka Avon Barksdale) back in action, but it’s hard to get too excited when the film is as forgettable as this.
Notable Extras: Audio commentary, and outtakes.
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $17.99|
Other noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week…
Army of Darkness (Screwhead Edition) – An American Werewolf in London (Full Moon Edition) – Amadeus (Director’s Cut) – Misery – Varsity Blues – Child’s Play – The Hannibal Lector Anthology – Hero
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.
$16.99 – 30 Rock (Season 2)
$18.99 – Entourage (Season 1 – 5)
$19.99 – Weeds (Season 4)
$24.99 – Dexter (Season 3)
$14.99 – The Shield (Season 1 – 6)