If it's crap ... We'll tell you
TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Is absolutely anyone out there who knows me surprised that I'd pick this as one of my top three of the week? Let's see what we've got here...Alan Tudyk, who I've loved from his role on "Firefly" as Wash, amongst other great roles, and Tyler Labine, who was unexpectedly wonderful on the woefully short-lived "Reaper", play two good ol' boys, who've just bought themselves a fixer-upper cabin out in the woods as their dream vacation home. Fishing, hunting, hiking...sounds like a country paradise. That is, until a bunch of painfully stupid college kids (the kind of painfully stupid they always are in horror films) out to go camping in the area who've seen too many bad slasher films, assume that the two are crazed killers and proceed to accidentally off themselves in their panicked stupidity, leaving the two well-meaning and horrified rednecks to wonder what the hell is going on. It's the perfect meta horror idea, the biggest surprise being just that no one else thought of doing it before now. Director Eli Craig (son of Sally Field and husband to the Yellow Power Ranger...don't know why you needed to know that, I just thought it was neat) delivers more than he doesn't with his debut outing, but a the majority of the credit has to go to the tight chemistry between Tudyk and Labine. I really hope that if we don't get another Tucker and Dale movie, at least we get to see them work together again in something. Although another Tucker and Dale movie would indeed suit me just fine. Some laugh-out-loud funny deaths (yes, I'm a disturbed individual) and a nice supporting role by "30 Rock"s Katrina Bowden as the only one of the kids who understands that the backwoods pair aren't what they seem, add up to a horror comedy that's pretty accessible across the board.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Tucker & Dale vs. Evil [Blu-ray]
SMALLVILLE: THE FINAL SEASON (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Rarely are you going to see me make a point of promoting something that I don't personally enjoy. I've made no secret of the fact that I don't and never have (past a thoroughly unengaging experience with the first season) watched this CW show, but my disinterest is admittedly of no consequence when you consider the damn thing has been going on for ten seasons, making it the longest running comic-book based series, and North American sci-fi series ever. Obviously, as I'm sure Co-Host would tell you, they were doing something right. The show followed the "No tights, No Flights" rule for some time, telling the Superboy story as a origin/coming of age tale, leading up to the man he would more famously become, although with what I know about all the characters introduced along the way and the situations he got in, it sounds protracted a bit beyond what I'd consider to be just the boy's story. But this is season 10, the big finale, that "Smallville" geeks (what do you call yourselves, anyway? Smallers?) were slathering their love for all over the internet. Obviously, it's one of the big releases this week. The final story arc continued illustrating the fresh (and pre-destined...sorry Lana) romance between Clark (Tom Welling) and Lois Lane (Erica Durance), and showed Clark taking the final steps towards putting on his big boy red boots for the first time, as the threat of Darkseid begins to shadow Earth. Much was made within my hearing of a Braniac 5 episode (James Marsters), where the future time traveler Christmas Carols Clark, as was, of course, the reappearance of Michael Rosenbaum and Aaron Ashmore as Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olson respectively in the fangasm-inducing season finale. And all these characters from the comics: Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), both sets of Clark's parents, Carter Hall (Hawkman), the Suicide Squad, Supergirl, Isis (Lois gets possessed), Granny Goodness, Arthur Curry (Aquaman) and Mera, Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle), Booster Gold, General Zod...the list goes on and on. I mean, damn. Maybe I should give this show another try. There's talk, after all, of a new "Metropolis" show continuing the story, and let's face it: not every great show had a great first season. Dammit, where's Booster Gold when I need him, as I'd require a time traveling device of some sort for ten seasons of a show to find a viewing space these days. And how would I explain it to "The Wire", which I have yet to start either? I'm just gonna have to take you guys words for it that "Smallville" turned into a fun show that deserved to be on the air for ten years.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season [Blu-ray]
ANOTHER EARTH (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Fans of more introspective science fiction, like "The Quiet Earth", "Moon", or "Solaris" would do well to check out what I considered to be one of the most affecting indie film releases of the year, director Mike Cahill's (in close collaboration with star Brit Marling), "Another Earth". This is definitely not the run-and-gun, bug hunt style of the genre, instead focusing tightly on two very specific humans reactions to the sci-fi element, which is shadowed and echoed by their own personal tragedies. Starling plays Rhoda, a whip-smart High School graduate who, on her way home from celebrating her acceptance to MIT, through her own intoxication and the distraction of the announcement on the radio of the discovery of an Earth-similar planet approaching our own, hits and kills the wife and son of John (William Mapother). Being still a minor, Rhoda's identity is not given to John, although she serves a prison sentence for the manslaughter crime, and after her release, seeks a seemingly unattainable place of solace for her crime. Instead of picking up where she left off, Rhoda works as a janitor, but eventually gets up the nerve to go to John's house, but to do and say what, even she is unclear on. When the moment comes, she can't do it, and pretends to be a maid offering a trial free cleaning service, which, looking around at the shambles of his existence, the grief-devastated John clearly needs. Over time, the human contact between the two begins to dig John out of his hole, but the secret still hangs between them, and even as they grow closer, Rhoda grows more miserable. Meanwhile, the apparently identical Earth has settled into a nearby orbit pattern and a contest has begun for people to be the first to visit the double world. It's odd for this sort of film that the science fiction aspect is almost a subplot, a device to reflect on the painful situation the two leads find themselves in. Perhaps that will irritate (and obviously has) some viewers. But everything is about context, and the way the two stories connect seemed completely organic to me in this deliberately paced, cerebral, character piece. It's the foggy, post-shock, contemplative cinematography, and Mapother and relative newcomer Marling's amazing performances, that elevate this to one of the best releases of the year. That is, at least, for folks who don't consider themselves as suffering from any degree of ADD. Here's a test: if you thought "Transformers 3" was one of the best films of the year (as is certainly your right to do so), you might want to skip "Another Earth".
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Another Earth (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)