This Week in Home Video
Department Q Reopens Cold Cases to Solve the Twisted and Grisly Crimes Within
Welcome to this week in home video! Be sure to click the title to buy any of the titles from Amazon and help FSR in the process!
Pick of the Week
Department Q Trilogy
What is it? A gung-ho detective is punished and tasked with cleaning up and closing a cold case archive, but he and his partner attempt to solve them instead.
Why buy it? This Danish trilogy, adapted from bestselling novels, offers up a fascinating and twisted trio of Nordic procedurals that deliver smart mysteries alongside an engaging pair of detectives. The top cop is partnered with a Muslim detective who’s also on the department shit list, and their journey together through these three mysteries infuses the darkness with strong characters. Fans of Wallander ‐ and really, all of you should be ‐ will enjoy this satisfying descent into the evils that men do.
[DVD extras: Featurettes]
Department Q Trilogy
The Magnificent Seven
What is it? A woman hires a bounty hunter and a team of morally-sketchy cowboys to defend a besieged town from a ruthless developer and his army of fighters.
Why see it? Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the western classic leans far more playful, but it still delivers where it counts with an abundance of fun action sequences and some charismatic characters. The very visible CG isn’t ideal, but the gun fights, fisticuffs, and cast ‐ including Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-hun, Peter Sarsgaard, and others ‐ more than make up for it.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary (of sorts), deleted scenes, featurettes]
The Magnificent Seven [Blu-ray]
What is it? Five carnies traveling between gigs run into trouble when a late night drive in a remote area ends at a trio of creepy scarecrows blocking the road.
Why see it? At its core this is Rob Zombie’s take on a direct-to-DVD staple ‐ random people forced to fight for their lives in a contained area while wealthy onlookers watch and wager via pay-per-view ‐ but aside from eliminating the audience and adding his own stylistic touches the film is ultimately nothing more than that core. Five go in, most don’t come out, the end. It’s a sad step back after the far more interesting and creative The Lords of Salem as it offers nothing in the way of real thrills, interesting story turns, or characters worth watching.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of]
What is it? A family moves into a house that holds a secret in the attic.
Why skip it? Kate Beckinsale is the only real selling point here, but not even she can save this short, generic, supernatural horror thriller. The core idea, the history of the rooms of the title, is interesting in a footnote kind of way, but the film treats it as some big, weighty revelation. None of the scares work, and worse, there’s no real third act here. We do get seven minutes of end credits though to help string out the already ridiculous 85 minute running time.
[DVD extras: Featurette]
What is it? A college freshman still reeling from a recent physical assault joins a fraternity, but even though his older brother currently belongs the group’s hazing threatens to derail his attempt.
Why see it? Andrew Weel’s take down of the brutal hazing culture amid some fraternities is familiar because we’ve seen this story many times before. It stands mildly apart though through the story of the two brothers (played by Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas) whose bond infuses the tale with conflict. It’s still very-much an Afterschool Special though.
[DVD extras: None]
Head of the Family [Full Moon Features]
What is it? The Stackpoole family are well known in the town of Nob Hollow for being a bit odd, but the truth is far stranger and more dangerous.
Why see it? Full Moon’s mid ’90s horror/comedy gets an HD face-lift here, but the movie itself is goofy fun ‐ you really need to be in a relaxed state of mind to enjoy its sense of humor and performances ‐ and while it’s lowbrow entertainment the silliness of it all goes a long way towards making it fun. It’s light on the bloodletting, but the T&A factor is off the charts thanks almost exclusively to the lovely Jacqueline Lovell. I would fault no one for buying this solely for her charm.
[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, promo]
What is it? Storks transitioned from delivering babies long ago and now focus on competing with UPS and FedEx, but when the baby factory is accidentally restarted they find themselves with a little girl and no place to go.
Why see it? There’s a cute premise at the heart of this animated effort from WB, but don’t expect it to make the cut of the year’s best feature cartoons (despite the voice talents of Jennifer Aniston, Kelsey Grammar, Andy Samberg, Danny Trejo and others). The jokes and characters are all one-dimensional efforts.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Short films, music video, deleted scenes]
What is it? The true story behind the safe water landing of a fully-loaded passenger jet onto the waters of the Hudson River.
Why see it? When Clint Eastwood’s latest was first announced the big question was how he would make a story we all know, of an accident that everyone survived, into an interesting movie. The short answer is he didn’t. Watch it for Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart if you must, but you’ll only have yourself to blame.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
Also Out This Week:
Hellraiser ‐ The Scarlet Box, Maximum Ride
Related Topics: Home Video