Every week, new movies come out on DVD. And every week, most of them suck. And every week, it falls upon us here at MovieZeal to make fun of them. Oh, but that one up there? That one doesn’t suck. It’s also your best bet. Keep reading to find out what your worst bet is…
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father –
I have to admit that this one didn’t hit me quite as hard, on a gut level, as I expected it to — probably because everyone had told me, repeatedly, that it would hit me really, really hard. Still, this one is easily the most affecting documentary of the year, a shocking and enraging story of a selfish woman who murders her lover and then uses his child to manipulate the legal system and everyone close to her. It’s a painful viewing experience (and production values are — appropriately — almost nonexistent), but it’s also arguably the most important documentary of 2008: an enraged cry for legal reform, and — more to the point — an unblinking look at the evil that exists in the heart of mankind. Not “fun” by any means, but you owe it to yourself to sit through this one.
Recommended if you want to see something that actually is as important as all those Oscar-bait movies pretend to be
On the Other Hand, Death: A Donald Strachey Mystery
You can’t see it in that little thumbnail to the left, but the tagline for this one is “America’s Favorite Gay Private Eye is Back!” — which is, as you know, a good thing. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I was getting awfully sick of America’s second-favorite gay private eye hanging around all the time (seriously — doesn’t he have a job, or something?). Frankly, I’m not sure why we needed to have a favorite gay private eye in the first place — when I need to find a Maltese falcon, I don’t much care if my hire is into dudes or not, so long as he does his job. But anyway, I see that this one is based on a book by popular GLBT author Richard Stevenson, and it features a great performance from Margot Kidder, and it gives me an excuse to use the double entendre “gay private dick” — when, praytell, will I get another chance to do that? Oh, and that title? Just fabulous.
Recommended if…yeah, I should probably stop there.
What Just Happened
Presenting…your annual dose of Hollywood navel-gazing! I saw this one, and I’m still not really sure what it was about, but it seemed like it was a pretty good movie. Probably. Robert De Niro is a Hollywood producer attempting to get everyone to compromise their artistic vision, and Bruce Willis is a painfully hilarious caricature of himself. Oh, and also a dog gets shot repeatedly. It didn’t really have a plot, and I didn’t care about any of the characters…but hey, the DVD I watched was marked with the words “For Your Consideration,” so I think that means it was good. I dunno. If Hollywood says it’s good, it must be.
Recommended if you live in L.A. and can therefore tell what the heck this movie is actually about
I really wanted to do this one for the ol’ podcast…seriously, I put in my vote and everything. (We do vote, right guys? Or maybe I’m thinking of my fantasy lacrosse league. Whatever.) We ended up not doing it, so I never got around to seeing it, but I’ll stand by what I said back then: the trailer makes it look darned funny. And yes, I’m speaking as someone who, in general, believes that teen sex comedies (The Reader, et. al.) are a blight on the planet. Any genre has potential if you do it right, though (see: Heaven’s Gate), and this one just might be the long-foretold savior of American Pieand its ilk. And speaking as someone who’s never seen this movie or even read any reviews, I’m pretty much an expert.
Recommended if you like teen sex comedies, or if you don’t and think I’m right about this one.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley –
It’s getting hard to dislike a horror movie just because it sucks. I mean, heck, it’s been so long since a good one was made that I’m starting to think that maybe “sucking” is a convention of the genre. Y’know, just like “stupid teens”, “creepy pre-teens”, “tacky jump scares preceded by long violin screeches”, “gratuitously slandering the good name of Satan”, and “giving away all the best parts in the trailer” are. Not coincidentally, this movie manages to touch on most or all of these conventions (yes, including the sucking part).
Recommended if you were surprised to learn just now that there are, in fact, horror movies that don’t suck.