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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cult movie in the making alert!

Detention
Overshadowed at the time of its limited release by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's equally entertaining (and a tad more sophisticated) Cabin in the Woods, Joseph Kahn's witty, lively send up of teen slasher pictures is a clever bit of genre deconstruction in its own right. Josh Hutcherson heads up the ensemble cast as a skater boy who is the male part of a love triangle that broke up best friends, '80s obsessed blonde Ione (Spencer Locke) and sullen, sarcastic brunette Riley (Shanely Caswell). But their petty romantic melodrama takes a backseat to the wave of killing sweeping through their sun-dappled, small-town high school. Starting off in Scream territory, Detention merrily hops, skips and jumps across all kinds of films, including Donnie Darko, The Breakfast Club and Back to the Future. At its best, the movie is like a MAD Magazine parody come to cinematic life. And underlying all the humor is some effective commentary about how the perpetual distraction and extreme narcissism of today's teenagers makes it difficult for them to experience genuine fear at the movies anymore. Film school professors looking to educate their students in the art of the self-aware horror movie would be wise to program a double bill of Detention and Cabin in the Woods.
Extras: Three featurettes and screen tests with three of the teen actors.
Click here to read our original review

We the Party
Twenty-one years ago, Mario Van Peebles kicked off his feature filmmaking career with the popular crime picture, New Jack City, which captures the mean streets of New York during the '90s crack epidemic. His newest directorial effort, We the Party, strives to be an equally up-to-the-minute depiction of contemporary life, albeit amongst oversexed high schoolers rather than would-be drug kingpins. Mixing American Pie with house party movies like Can't Hardly Wait, Project X and... um, House Party, the movie follows a crew of five pals who make a pact to lose their virginity before the end of their senior year. The Jason Biggs equivalent here is Hendrix (played by Van Peebles' son Mandela; his other kid, Makaylo, also appears in a smaller role), who is desperately in love with the prettiest, most popular girl in school... who also happens to have the strictest father. Behind the camera, Van Peebles goes overboard with the music video tics and tricks and the plot is predictable at best, but the cast is appealing and the movie has a nice energy and rhythm to it. Overall, it's a party most teen audiences would happily attend.
Extras: A commentary track with Van Peebles and the two younger Van Peebles' and four music videos.

Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition
Just in time for the remake to hit theaters, the original Total Recall arrives in a new Blu-ray edition, giving nostalgia addicts the chance to re-experience a prime slice of early '90s action movie cheese and new viewers the opportunity to wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place. Certainly, Recall isn't quite the action classic that director Paul Verhoeven's Robocop or star Arnold Schwarzenegger's first two Terminator pictures were and still are (and as Phillip K. Dick adaptations go, Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly remain far superior) but this is still an enjoyable silly sci-fi romp that packs plenty of punch without ever taking itself too seriously. It's a B-movie through and through and all the more fun for it.
Extras: The primary addition here is a never-before-seen interview with Verhoeven and a featurette comparing the high-def restoration to the original presentation. Other bonus features have been ported over from earlier releases, including a commentary track with the director and his star, a making-of documentary and additional featurettes.

La Grande Illusion
Consistently ranked amongst the greatest movies ever made, Jean Renoir's beautifully crafted anti-war drama -- set during the first World War -- was released just two years before the outbreak of World War II engulfed Europe. Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay star as a pair of captured soldiers who befriend each other in a POW camp before being transferred to another prison overseen by German officer Captain von Rauffenstein (the renowned film director and actor Eric von Stroheim) who is more sympathetic to their plight than you might expect. Newly remastered for its Blu-ray debut, La Grande Illusion is one of those movies that every film buff needs to see before they die.
Extras: Four featurettes, including one devoted to the controversy the film inspired and another about the high-def restoration process.

Also on DVD:
Lionsgate all but buried the Miley Cyrus teen drama LOL earlier this year, but the curious or Cyrus-obsessed can now check it out on DVD to see if that treatment was warranted. Speaking of direct-to-DVD vehicles for teen stars, Emma Roberts headlines the cast of 4.3.2.1, a thriller about four pals who inadvertently get caught up in a diamond heist. If you thought that P2's parking garage seemed like a limited setting for a horror movie, wait til you see ATM, which finds a trio of co-workers being menaced by a psycho in an ATM vestibule. Emmy winner and Justified fan favorite Margo Martindale plays the vengeance-minded mother of a mentally-challenged son falsely accused of sexual assault in the indie thriller Scalene. And finally, if Smash left you wishing for a dose of the real Marilyn Monroe, four of the screen icon's features are available on Blu-ray this week including The Seven Year Itch, How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return and, the best of the bunch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

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