Ring in the new year with a stoner comedy from the Apatow gang (Pineapple Express), a critically-acclaimed British horror import (Eden Lake), and the movie that brought together the sultry forces of Sir Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen, at long last (The Wackness). Try your best to avoid a handful of clunkers new to DVD this week (Babylon A.D., Righteous Kill, Bangkok Dangerous) and, if you know what a Cylon is, get jazzed for Season 4.0 of the best sci-fi series on television (Battlestar Galactica)!
The Apatow train chugs along with Pineapple Express, a film that couldn’t fall farther from director David Gordon Green’s last film, Snow Angels; nevertheless, with Apatow regulars Seth Rogen and James Franco in tow, Green made another crowd-pleasing comedy for grown-ups that should find a home on the shelves of any self-respecting man-child. Pick up the 2-Disc Unrated version for more racy laughs in the tale of a slovenly process server (Rogen) and his dopey dealer (Franco, who earned a Golden Globes nomination for his role) on the lam from drug lords and crooked lady cops; a wealth of deleted scenes and featurettes, table read footage, and more accompany the film, although the set’s crowning glory is the jam-packed audio commentary featuring a roomful of cast and crew.
Below, watch an exclusive deleted scene from Pineapple Express for additional unseen hijinks starring Asian thugs Bobby Lee and Ken Jeong.
Next: Babylon A.D.
2. Babylon A.D. — 7%
Did Vin Diesel’s over the top sci-fi spectacle tank with the critics? Yes. Will that make you want to see it any less? No! If you enjoy occasionally dabbling in the “so bad it’s good” genre, then Babylon A.D. could very well be the most enjoyable two hours of your week. Diesel stars as Torop, a mercenary charged with escorting a young girl from Mongolia to Harlem amidst a hailstorm of bombastic, violent enemies; director Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika) was so put off by 20th Century Fox’s manhandling of his film (resulting in a cut full of “pure violence and stupidity”) that he publicly denounced his own film upon release. Maybe one day we’ll get Kassovitz’s true director’s cut, but that day isn’t today; until then, make do with this special edition cut, which includes enough deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes to help you piece together an idea of what Kassovitz may have been going for in the first place.
Next: Bangkok Dangerous
3. Bangkok Dangerous — 9%
Should the Pang brothers have remade their 2001 flick, Bangkok Dangerous? According to the Tomatometer, perhaps not; while their 2008 stab at remaking the tale of a deaf mute hit man had 100 percent more Nicolas Cage, it also fell 40 percent below the original Bangkok Dangerous and landed at a lonely nine percent on the Tomatometer. Which begs the eternal question, if it ain’t broke, why remake it? Featurettes and a digital copy can be found on the 2-Disc release, though we prefer pausing the movie on Nic Cage to ponder his pseudo-mullet to watching any supplemental materials.
Next: Righteous Kill
4. Righteous Kill — 21%
When two acting legends like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro come together on screen, the Tomatometer should jump to 200 percent just on principle alone. Unfortunately, the two Godfather stars came together for a momentous stinker in Righteous Kill, a crime thriller from director Jon Avnet (88 Minutes). Couldn’t these two Oscar-winning thespians see what they were in for? Along with a mostly illustrious cast that includes Brian Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Carla Gugino and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, PaciNiro try valiantly to elevate the suspense tale of two veteran cops on the trail of a mysterious serial killer, although only Avnet has the gumption to contribute a commentary track for the DVD release.
Next: The Wackness
If you wax nostalgic about either the 1990s or the hip hop tracks of yesterday, take a closer look at The Wackness. (Similarly, if the idea of Sir Ben Kingsley making out with an Olsen twin titillates you, well, you’ve found this week’s number one rental.) Josh Peck stars as a teenage drug dealer who trades marijuana for guidance from his therapist (Kingsley) while pining for his longtime crush (Olivia Thirlby), all set to the early-’90s tunes of Biggie, Tupac, and more. Look also for a commentary track with Peck and writer/director Jonathan Levine, who also made the critically-loved but hard-to-find festival favorite All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.
Next: Disaster Movie
I’ll admit it; I watched Disaster Movie. And while I barely escaped the theater with my sanity, I retained just enough to beg, to implore, to command anyone reading this to do one little thing: avoid it at all costs. Much like the pestilence of “Fill in the Blank Movies” we’ve survived in the past few years, Disaster Movie vomits forth an unending and uninspired stream of pop culture and movie references and dares to call the result a “movie.” Poor Matt Lanter (who voiced Anakin in Clone Wars and pulls a move akin to the Iron Lotus in The Cutting Edge 3) puts his best face forward opposite MTV VJ-turned-kinda-actress Vanessa Minnillo, Carmen Electra, and Kim Kardashian, a trio whose very names might cause some of you to ignore my warning and waste two hours of your life. Oh, the humanity.
Next: Eden Lake
From across the pond in England comes that much sought-after, elusive prize: a well-reviewed horror film! Kelly Reilly (Pride & Prejudice, Mrs. Henderson Presents) and Michael Fassbender (300‘s Stelios) star as a couple on a romantic retreat gone awry (what other kind is there?) who must fight for their lives against a band of violent teenagers. Although The Weinstein Co. only gave this import an extremely limited theatrical release, many critics call it among the best horror films to come out of the UK in years. Cast interviews and a Q&A with writer/director James Watkins highlight the bonus menu.
Next: Ping Pong Playa
Director Jessica Yu (In the Realms of the Unreal, Protagonist) departs from heady art house territory with this light comedy about Christopher Wang, a Chinese-American NBA enthusiast whose entire family is obsessed with ping pong. When a family crisis forces him to take up the paddle, Wang — or “C-Dub,” as he prefers to be called — must step up to compete for his family’s honor. Yu and writer/star Jimmy Tsai also contribute a commentary track.
Next: Battlestar Galactica 4.0
What a day for Battlestar fans. Season 4.0 hits DVD this week, chock full of behind-the-scenes goodies, commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes surrounding the first half of the “final” season of the hit sci-fi adventure series. Spread across four discs, Season 4.0 includes all ten regular season episodes as well as the Battlestar Galactica movie, Razor, which is accompanied by its own commentary track, as well as a handful of additional extras. A smattering of podcast commentaries by producer Ronald Moore should prove particularly enlightening for huge BSG fans.
Until next week, happy renting!