Zombieland Pick of the Week - The zombie apocalypse has happened and only a few people are still alive and kicking. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), who narrates the story, is alive because he follows a set of rules. Rule #1 is “Cardio” (because you must be able to outrun the living dead). Rule #2 is “Double Tap” (meaning put two bullets in a zombie to make sure they’re actually dead before kicking them or turning your back on them). Some of the other rules include no bathrooms, always wear a seat belt and travel light. He runs into fellow survivor Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). Tallahassee has survived because he is the definition of bad ass (he drives an Escalade with a plow on the front and has a back seat full of weapons). After some hesitation the two partner up and hit the road to kill zombies and not get turned into zombies themselves. From the opening credits (a montage of zombies attacking people set to Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls) I was hooked on Zombieland. It’s a wild ride that will make you laugh and cheer and want to watch it again as soon as it ends. Simply put – it is pure awesomeness! Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin also star. Special features include deleted scenes, commentary with Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and director Ruben Fleischer, a making-of feature, and more. Also available on Blu-ray. Film **** DVD **** (out of 5 stars).
5150 Rue des Ormes (5150 Elm’s Way) – After falling off his bike and injuring himself, aspiring filmmaker Yannick (Marc-André Grondin) goes to 5150 Rue des Ormes to ask for help and ends up witnessing a murder. The murderer, Jacques (Normand D’Amour), lives at 5150 with his wife and two daughters and only kills unrighteous people (Dexter style). Not knowing what to do with Yannick (since he’s a good person) he decides to lock him in a dark room. Months pass and Yannick begins to believe in Jacques’ way of life. 5150 Rue des Ormes is a gritty French-Canadian psychological thriller that is sure to leave you feeling a little unsettled. French with English subtitles. Special features are in French only. Film **** DVD ** (out of 5 stars).
Cold Souls – Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti in this bizarre, twisted, funny tale about people who store their souls (or borrow someone else’s soul) when they can’t take the weight of their own. Paul is performing in the Russian play Uncle Vanya and the anxiety of the role is hurting his performance. He learns about the soul storage place and checks his soul in. After being soulless for a couple of days he decides it’s not working and takes another soul out for a test drive. Things get weird for him fast and when he goes to get his soul back it appears to be missing. If you liked films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche, New York, than you most likely will enjoy Cold Souls. Special features include deleted scenes and a slideshow on the soul extractor machine from the film. Film *** DVD ** (out of 5 stars).
Couples Retreat (Blu-ray) – I admit I found Couples Retreat funnier on DVD than I did when I saw it in the theatre. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be on my Worst Films of 2009 list still. It starts off fun and cute and makes you want to stay with it forever. Then it turns into typical Hollywood drivel, slams the door in your face and makes you never want to see it again. It’s not unlike a bad relationship — there are a few enjoyable moments but overall your memories of it are negative. Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, and Kristin Davis star. Special features on the Blu-ray include alternate ending, extended scenes, gag reel, a digital copy of the film, and more. Film ** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars). Note: this title is not available until February 5.
TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Marx Brothers – This 2-disc set comes with four great Marx Brothers films. A Day at the Races, A Night in Casablanca, Room Service, and At the Circus. Fans might prefer better standalone sets but newcomers to the Marx Brothers will get a good grasp of what they were all about. No special features. Set *** (out of 5 stars).
Mystic River (Blu-ray) – If you’ve never seen Clint Eastwood’s 2003 Oscar-nominated film Mystic River now’s your chance to do so in high-def. The film follows Jimmy (Sean Penn), Sean (Kevin Bacon), and Dave (Tim Robbins) — three childhood friends who are reunited after Jimmy’s daughter is found dead. Sean is the police detective on the case and Dave, who was sexually assaulted when he was a child, is a prime suspect. The film is haunting and the performances from the three leads are outstanding (Penn and Robbins both won Oscars for their work). The transfer to Blu-ray looks and sounds wonderful. Special features include commentary with Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, the featurette Mystic River: From Page to Screen, interviews from The Charlie Rose Show with Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon, and more. Film **** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).