Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Roommate and Others on DVD This Week

Literally, this is as exciting as it gets.

Coming to DVD this week, we have The Roommate, an abysmal rip off of Single White Female; The Mechanic, an excellent remake of a Charles Bronson movie; and The Rite, a surprisingly effective exorcism-chiller from the director of 1408. Which is more worth your money, though? 

Well, I'm going out on a limb and saying that it'll be The Mechanic. Why? We'll get into each release after the jump. Starting with The Roommate.

More after the cut--

There isn't a whole lot to say about The Roommate that hasn't already been said, by other people and by me - it's essentially Single White Female. In the same way that Prom Night (2008) is like the original Prom Night. Vast differences, especially in quality, but... the thing about The Roommate is that it was never officially a remake. Just a poor man's retread. And it's not the first of its kind, either. Sad, too, seeing as how Single White Female is one of the superior thrillers of its time. The similarities are certainly weightier than the differences between these two movies, and broader than Cam Gigandet's face. 

I can give a couple of positive notes - Leighton Meester's performances is about thirty times better than the film itself. Minka Kelly is absolutely breathtaking, though not the kind of actress who can yet carry her own movie. Billy Zane elevates whatever he's in simply because he's Billy Zane (even though he had nothing to do), and Cam Gigandet, despite whatever fun at him I may poke, is always charming. Aly Michalka is there, sans belly button ring, and she's always fun to watch. Better in last year's Easy A, but still. What more can you hope for from a tired and un-licensed rethinking of a vastly better film.

For my full review, click here

The special features on the DVD, according to the film's Amazon page - 

Director's commentary
Alternate opening sequence

The Mechanic, however, is a licensed remake, and an excellent film. Sure, it gets a lot of flack for being an action flick starring Jason Statham, and for being a remake of a Charles Bronson movie that most no one saw.  But, what elevates the film here are a few things - the performances of Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland, and the intelligent direction. Moreso than intelligent, I think, the direction is meticulous. The action sequences are carefully structured, and while the film might seem a bit rushed toward the end (as if the filmmakers were running out ways to get Jason Statham out of sticky situations), the story itself is fluid and immensely watchable. This is my recommendation for the week. 

For my full review, click here

The special features on the DVD, according to the film's Amazon page - 

Deleted scenes

Finally on DVD this week, Mikael Hafstrom's The Rite - the annual exorcism thriller, but... made a bit differently this time. Our entry into the canon last year was The Last Exorcism, which reset the bar for the genre, as far as I was concerned. And while The Rite might not match it in terms of quality, it certainly matches it in terms of effect. Being based on a true story does have its atmospheric advantages, though the remembering of that fact throughout the film can prove to be a bit distracting and point out elements that aren't fully explored or just plain don't make sense. The message the film has about "priests and their own demons" is explored, antithetically, deeply enough to make up for whatever faults might lie in the surrounding story. 

Anthony Hopkins is the star, even though his role is borderline supporting. He's made a career off of being an intimidating old man, and he puts it to the best use he has in years in this portrayal of a haunted man of God. He's one of the more versatile actors around, but he knows where he's most comfortable. And that seems to be in the skin of men who are frightening as hell. 

For my full review, click here

There you have it! Go check out a movie. I, as stated, recommend The Mechanic before anything else, but The Rite is a good way to spend a couple of hours. And The Roommate, while being a classless and awful film, is a lot of fun to watch and pull a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on.