BY MARK BURGER firstname.lastname@example.org
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: PIRANHA 3DD (Dimension Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment)
The fish are biting again in this campy, fast-paced, unabashedly trashy follow-up to the 2010 shocker, itself a remake of a Roger Corman ’70s drive-in favorite.
If there weren’t enough reasons to stay out of the water, the fierce fish are headed toward “The Big Wet,” a waterpark that’ll be rife with tourists (i.e. potential fish food) for its grand opening. Director John Gulager (of the Feast franchise) cruises through obvious territory with tongue firmly in cheek, packing the film with as much gratuitous gore and nudity as is possible… and then a bit more.
Cute and plucky Danielle Panabaker, a victim in the 2008 remake of The Crazies, is the heroine here. Christopher Lloyd, Paul Scheer and — surprise! — Ving Rhames encore from the earlier film, and do enough scenery-chewing to give the piranha competition. New on the scene, some not for long, are David Koechner, Gary Busey, Clu Gulager (John’s dad), Matt Bush, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden and David Hasselhoff, in a devastating self-parody.
The DVD retails for $24.98 and the 3-D Blu-ray combo pack for $29.99. Rated R.
“’50S TV CLASSICS” (Film Chest): A self-explanatory three-DVD compilation ($24.98 retail) of vintage TV series’ including “The Bob Hope Show,” “Death Valley Days,” “The Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahoney Show” and more.
APARTMENT 143 (Magnet Label/ Magnolia Home Entertainment): Rodrigo Cortes wrote, co-produced and co-edited this Paranormal Activity-type shocker about a fateful investigation of the title residence, featuring Kai Lennox, Michael O’Keefe and Gia Mantegna (Joe’s daughter). Originally titled Emergo. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98. Rated R.
BUTTERFLY SWORDS (Well Go USA Entertainment): Donnie Yen, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh star in director Michael Mak’s historical action saga, originally released in 1993 as San lau sing woo dip gim and also known as Butterfly and Sword. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $19.98.
CLEANSKIN (Entertainment One): Writer/ producer/director Hadi Hajaig’s political thriller stars Sean Bean as a British agent trailing terrorists in London. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
COFFIN (MTI Home Video): Kevin Sorbo and Sunny Doench are buried alive by kidnapper Johnny Alonso, who sends her estranged husband (Patrick Barnitt) on a race against time to save them in this dull, dank thriller. Producer/directors Kipp Tribble (who also scripted) and Derik Wingo also co-star as cops on the case — distinguishing themselves in no capacity — with Bruce Davison as Barnitt’s business partner.
DAVID E TALBERT PRESENTS SUDDEN- LY SINGLE (One Village Entertainment/Image Entertainment): Garcelle Beauvais and Isaiah Washington portray a couple whose marriage hits the skids in this adaptation of award-winner Talbert’s touring play, now available on DVD ($14.98 retail).
DEMONIACS (Redemption Films/Kino Lorber): Cult filmmaker Jean Rollin’s erotic 1974 chiller, originally titled Les demoniaques and also known as Curse of the Living Dead, features Lieva Lone and Patricia Hermenier as vengeful spirits who seduce and slay those who murdered them. In French with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $19.95, the Blu-ray for $24.95.
GREECE: SECRETS OF THE PAST (Image Entertainment): Nia Vardalos narrates Greg MacGillivray’s documentary ($24.98 retail) about the history and culture of Greece, originally shown in IMAX theaters.
“GREY’S ANATOMY”: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The Doctor is in — Ellen Pompeo returns as Dr. Meredith Grey in all 24 episodes from the 2011-’12 season of the award-winning ABC medical drama set at Seattle Grace Hospital. The regular cast includes Sandra Oh, Jeremy Chambers, Sara Ramirez, Chyler Leigh and “Mc- Dreamy” Patrick Dempsey. Loretta Devine earned an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. The DVD boxed set retails for $45.99.
THE HEINEKEN KIDNAPPING (MPI Home Video): Rutger Hauer plays real-life Dutch beer mogul Alfred Heineken in this selfexplanatory, award-winning drama based on his 1983 abduction. Originally titled Der Heineken ontvoering. In Dutch and French with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
“HOMELAND”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Claire Danes plays an obsessive CIA agent who suspects Iraqi War hero Damian Lewis of being a sleeper agent, in all 12 episodes from the inaugural 2011 season of the critically acclaimed Showtime suspense series. Nine Emmy nominations including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Lewis), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Danies) and Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series (Michael Cuesta). The DVD boxed set retails for $59.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $69.98.
JITTERS (TLA Releasing): Not a horror film, but an award-winning Icelandic comingof-age drama about two teenagers (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson and Haraldur Ari Stefansson) coming to terms with their sexuality. Originally titled Oroi. In Icelandic with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $19.99.
KNOCK KNOCK 2 (LionsGate Home Entertainment): Producer/screenwriter Chris Sheng makes an inauspicious directorial debut with this sluggish, low-rent shocker about a group of friends visiting haunted sights around Los Angeles. They’re young, dumb and not worth spending time with. A “found-footage” horror film with musical cues. If you don’t remember the first Knock Knock, don’t worry; this was originally titled 1666 and is a sequel in name only — although twice the schlock and twice a crock. Rated R.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG (Synapse Films): Writer/director Mladen Djordjevic’s controversial, awardwinning thriller (originally titled Zivot I smrt porno bande) follows a group of guerrilla filmmakers at large during the final days of Milosevic’s Serbian rule who agree to make a snuff film — a decision they soon regret.… In Serbian with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95.
REEL LOVE (Entertainment One): LeAnn Rimes headlines this romantic comedy as a high-powered attorney who returns to her Alabama home to visit her ailing father (Burt Reynolds), only to fall for a new hunk in town (Shawn Roberts). One-dimensional and corny. Reel Love is real bland.
“REVENGE”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (ABC Studios): That’s the name of the game for newcomer Emily VanCamp, bent on destroying the rich and powerful residents of Southampton, in all 22 episodes from the inaugural 2011-’12 season of the award-winning, prime-time ABC soap opera, also starring Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Henry Czerny and Christa B Allen. The DVD boxed set retails for $45.99.
STEALING LAS VEGAS (Anchor Bay Entertainment): A compact little caper from executive producer Roger Corman, with Eric Roberts having fun in typically smarmy form as a corrupt casino owner whose disgruntled employees (led by Ethan Landry) decide to steal $20 million from. Ocean’s Eleven it’s not, but director/editor/ co-screenwriter Francisco Menendez keeps things moving at a steady clip.
WHITE VENGEANCE (Well Go USA Entertainment): Director Daniel Lee’s historical action epic stars Leon Lai and Feng Shaofeng as brothers-in-arms who attempt to wrest power during the fall of the Qin Dynasty. In Chinese and Cantonese with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2012, Mark Burger.