Video on Demand Report: Bloodsuckers, Sleepwalkers, and the Return of Jonathan Lipnicki
The Five-Year Engagement
Like many films that come from the Judd Apatow factory, The Five-Year Engagement stars Jason Segel. Like most Apatow-produced films, it features outrageous physical humor (in this case, a crossbow bolt through the thigh). And like all Apatow-produced films, it is a bit too long. But that might play better on the small screen: Director Nicholas Stoller (who co-wrote with Segel) doesn’t seem to want to say good-bye to his characters, so it might seem, at home, more like a short marathon of TV episodes.
Segel and Emily Blunt play a couple whose wedding keeps being postponed due to the stratospheric progress of her career, requiring the couple to move from glamorous San Francisco to … Michigan. (I mean, it’s Ann Arbor, the coolest city in the state, but still — hard winters!) Segel is unsurprisingly adept at playing a basically good guy who lets himself go when his ambitions are stifled, and Blunt is as funny as she is luminous. Also: Chris Pratt and Alison Brie are so charming in their supporting roles that you may just turn off the movie and switch to one or the other of their sitcoms on Netflix, imagining future crossovers for their characters.
New and Notable
I loved Piranha 3D — we all did — but did it have to be marred retroactively by this cheap-looking sequel featuring both Gary Busey AND David Hasselhoff? Couldn’t it have remained a perfect piece of art?
Shut Up and Play the Hits
If you couldn’t make it to LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden, this documentary/concert film is probably the next best thing.
A Happy Event
An attractive young French couple decide to have a baby, and guess what? Things change! Not all for the better! At least they remain attractive.
John Leguizamo narrates this documentary, which looks like a new Hoop Dreams, except with baseball in place of basketball and the Dominican Republic in place of Chicago. I don’t care about baseball even a tiny bit, but the trailer convinced me that I need to see this.
The toughest cop in New York, “once upon a time,” is English for no reason except that he’s played by Jason Statham, who can’t do an American accent. Certified evil bastards Chris Sarandon and Robert John Burke (Bart Bass from Gossip Girl!) are on the hunt for a young girl who’s memorized a page of important numbers, but unfortunately for them Jason Statham’s taken her under his protection and is about to turn all their henchmen into greasy stains.
For the Love of Money
Jonathan Lipnicki took a break from working out to appear in this heist movie with Edward Furlong (the new Christian Slater), James Caan, and Paul Sorvino, because why wouldn’t he?
Two Gates of Sleep
A woman gives a guy a haircut. A man cleans a gun. Then there’s an anthill. Uh, what?
It’s the oldest story in the world: a kid’s mother dies, he moves to the Philippines to live with his grandmother, he falls in with some street toughs, and then a chance encounter with a kindly immigrant turns him into a photographer.
Not to be confused with the Barry Levinson film of the same title, this one is about a bunch of Swedish sixty-somethings whose vacation is ruined when a … hooker dies? Or something? It’s hard to tell; that part of the trailer isn’t in English.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Themes of the Week: Gangsters/Latinos
The big-screen release of the Prohibition drama Lawless is (presumably) the peg for this bunch of films about criminal gangs of various degrees of organization, including New Jack City, Scarface, Miller’s Crossing, The Godfather (just the first two; Time Warner knows what’s up), The Departed, The Untouchables, and the very best one of the batch, my beloved Goodfellas.
Meanwhile, September 15—October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. (Why isn’t it just an actual calendar month? I don’t know, I don’t work for the government.) With that in mind, Time Warner’s curators have assembled a collection of films by, about, and/or starring people of Hispanic descent, including Sin Nombre, Our Family Wedding, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Sea Inside, Rudo y Cursi, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Perez Family, and Jennifer Lopez’s breakout vehicle, Selena, also starring the late Lupe Ontiveros.
“In Theaters” VOD Pick
Sleepwalk With Me
Comic Mike Birbiglia stars in this adaptation of his Off-Broadway show about his chronic sleep disorder and the way it affected his relationship with his girlfriend (played in the movie by Lauren Ambrose, which is weird because who would ever be ambivalent about marrying her?).
Weird Indie of the Week
I have no idea what’s going on in this Michael Chiklis/Adrien Brody joint, but it sure seems pretentious!
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Not just one found-footage horror movie, V/H/S is about a videotape that contains five spooky short films. I’m still scared by my memories of The Ring, so this one might be too much for me.
My Sucky Teen Romance
It’s great that a “Teen Director” (who, the trailer tells us, is at the helm) got her vampire comedy accepted to the SXSW Festival, but … how did it get distribution? This Teen Director got Teen Performances out of her cast, with a Teen Sound Mix. Plus, it’s about teenage vampires, and I really thought we were done with those.
Filed Under: VOD OCD