If it's crap ... We'll tell you
As you can hear in our original theatrical review for this 2011 film, I really dug on this sweet, but not saccharine, film about a father (J.K. Simmons) who sublimates his own autonomic disdain for the music and culture of the sixties and seventies in order to connect with his brain-damaged son (Lou Taylor Pucci). Julia Ormond plays the music therapist (yes, there really is such a thing) who discovers that the near-vegetative lad is lucid only when the rock music he was so passionate about is playing. Based on a true story, if there ever was a film to watch with your Dad, it's this one. I'm not guaranteeing he's gonna want to rock out with you to Mastodon afterwards, but he'll probably pay for dinner. Bring some hankies.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY The Music Never Stopped
OUTSIDE THE LAW (Blu-Ray and DVD)
A good general rule for renting movies you're unfamiliar with is to start with Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Odds are, they didn't play in your town, but they're no less great for that. Add "Outside the Law" to that list. This Algerian film follows the story of three brothers who stood up, in varying degrees, to French occupation (and various atrocities) in Algeria by becoming radical activists in Paris. And by radical, I mean, killing people and blowing stuff up. Depending on where you sit, they're either revolutionaries, freedom fighters, or terrorists, and the film will spark a semantical conversation, one which we all probably should be having by this point in history. "Outside the Law" is not just another good reason to be mad at the French (Frenchies: I keeed, I keeed), but a smart, tense, thriller that'll be fun to both art and action film fans.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Outside the Law [Blu-ray]
RIO (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Believe it or not, this CG animated film from the folks who brought us the "Ice Age" movies broke August records for blu-ray sales: 2.5 million in 6 days. Why? I can't imagine any children not absolutely elated by the film's rapid, manic pace, it's catchy songs, and most importantly, it's bright color palette. I mean, it does all take place in Rio, I only question why it took so long for an animation production studio to think of setting a film there. While far from the best animated film out there (or even from this year), "Rio" is nonetheless decent, chaotic, fun, with Jesse Eisenberg voicing the domesticated parrot lost amongst the colorful craziness of the Brazilian city, where he's been brought to mate with a not exactly welcoming but equally rare blue macaw parrot (Anne Hathaway), but the two have to run from smugglers and a devious cockatoo who works for them (Jermaine Clement). The blu comes with about an hour of bonus features, largely directed towards the tykes, as per usual, but is worth seeing in HD just for the visuals alone. It might not be all that funny, but it's absolutely stunning to look at.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Rio (Blu-ray/ DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
STAKELAND (Blu-Ray and DVD)
I'm hearing this from all over movie-fan-land: folks are DONE with sparkly, sensitive vampires. I'm not even specifically pointing the finger at "Twilight" (although, yeah, that too) but in the last 30 years, an enormous disservice has been done to the vampires of olde. If these neck biters ever actually show up, we're all fucked, thanks to the Anne Rice legacy. Thankfully, the 2011 movie "Stakeland"s portrayal of a post-vampire apocalypse goes back to the feral monsters that we should all be hiding under the covers from. But the film borrows heavier from pensive post-apoc films like "The Road" than you'd probably expect. The combination jells out to a remarkably original and even thoughtful piece, following the travels of a orphan boy (Connor Paolo) who is taken under the reluctant wing of a tough-as-nails vampire hunter (Nick Damici) as they avoid both the rabid vamps and an even more dangerous crazed religious cult. Top notch.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Stake Land [Blu-ray]