stars Phoebe Tonkin, Xavier Samuel and Julian McMahon; Kimble Rendall directs.
Bait, being released in DVD, Blu-ray and 3D this week, is a mash-up of genres. It's a disaster flick -- a tsunami hits the Australian coast. It's a crime caper -- the tsunami hits just as a supermarket is being held up by masked robbers. And it's a monster story -- a 12-foot great white shark is trapped inside the supermarket, swimming up and down the flooded aisles while the extremely attractive young customers and clerks hover atop the market's shelves. Think of it as Jaws set inside a Kroger. It's plenty of fun and even more so in 3D.
stars Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc and Ryan Honey; Michael Biehn directs.
Horror film star Michael Biehn took the director's chair for The Victim. It's a simple story about a young woman who witnesses a murder in the woods and runs for help. As luck would have it, she runs to the cabin of a strange loner, played by Biehn. He might be more dangerous than the murderers.
Biehn made the film in 12 days on a minuscule budget, and all those years of being on film sets paid off for him. The Victim is a low-budget indie film that feels much more satisfying than most.The Cabin in the Woods
stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison; Drew Goddard directs.
This week's second horror DVD/Blu-ray release, The Cabin in the Woods, is a bigger production than The Victim, with a much snarkier attitude thanks to producer Joss Whedon. Cabin pokes fun at the genre. A group of college kids check into a cabin for a weekend of sexy fun and find themselves not so much guests as prey. Here's the kicker: While the kids are running around trying to stay alive, a crew is watching everything from a control room.Adventures in Plymptoons!
stars Alexia Anastasio, John Andrews and Ralph Bakshi; Alexia Anastasio directs.
Alexia Anastasio's documentary Adventures in Plymptoons!, about Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, includes interviews with family, friends, critics, and fans. Even if you don't recognize Plympton's name, you'd be sure to recognize his work. His illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Penthouse. His series of influential political cartoons, Plymptoons, has been in syndication for decades. Still not impressed? Try this: He created the opening credit sequence for The Simpsons.Hawaii Five-O
stars Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim.
We admit that Hawaii Five-O is a bit of a guilty pleasure for us. The second season is released on DVD and Blu-ray this week. We have three distinct reasons for watching the crime drama. First, the music. The theme music was written by Morton Stevens for the original series, which ran for 12 seasons starting in 1968. It's been recycled for the latest incarnation and still has a great hook. Second, the setting. The show is shot in one of the most beautiful places in the world and every episode includes long shots of mountains, waterfalls, the jungle or the beach. Third, Alex O'Loughlin. The Australian actor who plays Steve McGarrett is almost as beautiful as the Hawaiian beaches he invariably plays on in each episode. We're going to guess he knows how good-looking he is, but he's got the good grace to act like a guy's guy rather than a pretty boy. It's mindless fun and we enjoy every minute of it. The new season starts September 24.
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stars Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen and Madeline Carroll; Rob Reiner directs.
Our final release this week is Magic of Belle Isle, with Morgan Freeman as a wheelchair-bound writer who's lost his mojo and takes a lakeside cabin to jump-start his creativity. A single mom with a brood of kids comes into his life. This is family fare, with lots of "awww!" moments and a moral to the story.