Today’s DVD Releases: What are they Worth?
Note: The DVDs are ranked by priority, with the ones most worth your time coming first.
Worth a rental:
With Michael Jai White and Arsenio Hall.
Those looking to take a chance this week should look no further than Black Dynamite, the story of a professional ass-kicker who comes out of retirement to find the fools who killed his brother. The movie pays homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s with an impressive eye for detail. Black Dynamite is an absolute riot, with the humor ranging from the subtle to the blatantly obvious and everything in between. The plot features so many twists and turns that it becomes almost intentionally incomprehensible, but it somehow involves Richard Nixon and a daunting penis-shrinking drug poisoning the malt liquor supply. To top it off, the movie has an entertaining cast of characters, including guys with names like Cream Corn and Tasty Freeze, an awesome soundtrack and an admirably thorough devotion to its vintage look. What’s not to love about Black Dynamite?
RIYL: Undercover Brother, Austin Powers, Road House.
Also available: Coco Before Chanel, which I have heard nothing but good things about. It sits at a 65% on the Tomatometer, and I’m going to try to get around to watching it at some point.
Not worth your time:
With Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.
What we have here is a cross between a “fatherly revenge” movie with the “torture shock” of Saw, masquerading around as a in intellectual thriller with a message. It sounds like a winning formula, but Law Abiding Citizen comes out as less than the sum of its parts. Gerard Butler, starring in his 57th film in the past two years, gives us his usual shtick. His performance basically consists of an annoying snarl and a poor attempt to cover up his Scottish accent. Jamie Foxx, who I normally like as an actor, is simply going through the motions. There are really no likable characters here, no rooting interest. The script is bland and illogical, relying on jump scares and shock value for cheap thrills. There are a few suspenseful moments along the way, but the pay-off doesn’t deliver anything close to making this film worth-while.
RIYL: Death Sentence, the Saw series, disappointing conclusions.