If it's crap ... We'll tell you
FIERCE PEOPLE (DVD)
Be clear: the reason this 2005 'coming of age' film is getting a DVD re-release is not because there was such a cry for it to be widely available again. All you have to do is look at the cover to see why. That "Twilight" dollar is an almighty dollar and apparently anything with Kristin Stewart in it smells of cash (and, I suspect, brimstone) to executives looking to stretch her fifteen minutes. Which isn't to say that director Griffin Dunne's "Fierce People" should be compared to "Twilight". It's actually a moderately entertaining story about Finn (Anton Yelchin) and his recovering coke addict mother (Diane Lane) who accept an invitation from a rich older guy (Donald Sutherland) to come stay in a cottage nearby his estate while Mom works her massage therapy magic on him. Finn gets caught up in the magic of hanging out with rich folks, dating Stewart's character and befriending her ebullient and rebellious older brother (Chris Evans), but even the tertiary characters in the film know that he's headed for a fall. It's fun seeing some of these actors as they were getting started out and there's some genuinely good stuff in here, mostly from Yelchin who, even at his young age here, had serious chops. However, the whole proceedings have that feeling of being unfinished, like it was all adapted from a really good book, but they had no idea how to translate the denouement without suddenly switching to voice-over narration. By the end, it was a shrug and move on to the next movie kind of experience, one that left no nasty taste, but not much left to savor either.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Fierce People
I've never been the biggest fan of the slasher film genre of horror (with the exception of the lovely, bright crimson, Italian 'giallo' films) but director Adam Green, who was the talk of the horror town this year with his festival hit "Frozen", seems to know how to deliver the goods. His Best Picture winner of Austin's Fantastic Fest in 2006 was just smart enough, funny enough, and nasty enough to keep me entertained throughout. I'm hardly the one to judge it's 'holy grail' status, as something called 'Gorezone Magazine' proudly proclaims on the Blu-Ray cover, but it's worth going out of your way for if you're even marginally a fan of the genre. The story is oft-seen, that of irritating people out in the wild where they don't belong, getting minced by a local inbred maniac. Nothing new in concept, but it's all so very knowing, with a nod and a wink and its horror aficionado audience with cameos by Robert Englund, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Mercedes McNab, and Tony Todd. They even got Jason Voorhees fan favorite actor Kane Hodder to play the killer. An extremely charismatic group of actors playing it for laughs and a clear love by the director/writer for what he's done leads to one heck of a fun little movie. And as for extras? 74 minutes worth of actually entertaining featurettes, a gag reel, the original commentary and a new exclusive commentary with Green and Hodder, which is a ramp-up to the upcoming sequel film. They mainly discuss how everything was planned out from the get-go for a sequel and all the little bits you may have missed that will lead right into it. I guess if you HAVE to make a sequel to a slasher film (and apparently, they all do) then I'd rather it be calculated and amusing in the way it ties into the original rather than a slew of for-all-extents-and-purposes remakes like most.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Hatchet [Blu-ray]
Fun and suspenseful my ass. Jebus Crisco, this Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl spy action comedy was SO terrible that it actually made me like "Knight and Day" by comparison. The story (such as it is) follows Heigl as a super cautious, anal retentive vacationer who travels with her overprotective parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara) to Nice, France. There she meets and practically pulls a Tex Avery Wolf looking at a shirtless Kutcher, who, despite all the evidence screaming at him to run far, far, away from this harpy, falls for her as well. Even more unlikely, Kutcher is a contract killer (yawn, isn't everyone these days) and wants out of the game so he chooses to single-mindedly pursue this....creature....into marriage and suburban sprawl in order to be a 'normal' guy. I would have been perfectly happy if things had ended there (about fifteen minutes in, if that) but NO...after a series of enormously irritating sequences leading Heigl to suspect Kutcher of boredom, or perhaps even infidelity, which would have all been settled if the bitch had just SPOKEN to her husband at some point, I was grateful when a parade of sort-of known comedians who play their friends and neighbors, all turn out to be killers themselves and try to take the couple out. If only. My sympathies were clearly with the other hit men. Fortunately, the film didn't make much more than its budget so not only will there be no sequel, but Kutcher and Heigl will be forcibly retired from show business by the obscure "have never really been appealing whatsoever" Hollywood by-laws and put into public stocks where passersby can throw soft fruit at them for the entirety of 2011.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Killers [Blu-ray]