JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

Now that we’re in the summer, most of the movies from spring are hitting home video. One of the year’s biggest flops joins one of the year’s best movies on home video this week, along with some Criterion releases, and some new television. Check it out…

New:

  • 21 & Over: A college-centric version of The Hangover? Why not? 21 & Over didn’t exactly light any fires when it was released earlier this year, but it’s just the sort of film that can become popular through home video and cable.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer: Like John Carter before it, Jack the Giant Slayer was labeled a troubled production, and when it came out in March, it tanked. I watched it this weekend, and it’s actually kind of fun. Not a bad film. Ewan McGreggor does good work here, and director Bryan Singer merges The Lord of the Rings with Star Wars for an acceptable film about a special boy who gets involved in something bigger than him. It works on its own terms; it’s fine.
  • The Last Exorcism Part II: The first film was a surprise hit, so we got the hasty follow-up sequel which ignores everything that made the first film work. There are probably a couple of jump scares that are effective, but whatever.
  • Movie 43: Outrageous Edition: This sketch comedy movie cost nothing, and was therefore fairly successful. A bunch of huge names (like Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet) show up in this pastiche of jokes which will probably be on Comedy Central for years and years.
  • Stoker: One of the best films of the year (at least, so far) Park Chan-wook’s American debut casts Mia Wasikowska as a troubled young girl whose Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit and may be a serial killer. This overripe Southern Gothic is so well put together, so well choregraphed, that it’s a delight even if it’s a style exercise. Nothing wrong with exercise.
  • Wilfred: Season Two, Workaholics: Season 3: This week’s TV crop includes two cult shows, one from FX another from Comedy Central. I haven’t bothered with either, but such is life.

Classics

  • The Howling, Lifeforce: Scream Factory has been doing a killer job of releasing definitive transfers and special editions of some of the best cult movies of the 1980’s. The Howling was Joe Dante’s first Non-Corman film, and though it may pale in comparison to An American Werewolf in London, it’s definitely a good snarky little movie. Lifeforce is Tobe Hooper’s insane story of naked space vampires that take over London. It must be seen to be believed.
  • Marketa Lazarová, Safety Last!, Things to Come: Criterion’s releases highlight the comic stylings of Harold Lloyd, and the great future design of William Cameron Menzies, while also bringing to light a previously unknown Czech film that is supposedly a masterpiece.

What are you picking up this week?