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DVD Pick of the Week: Appaloosa

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles and what follows are not necessarily reviews. It is my opinion based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations upon them are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

Appaloosa. This is a movie that I went into wanting very much to love it. While I enjoyed what I saw, at the same time I was a bit frustrated with its slow build. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more energetic. Then, when I sat down to write about it, I found myself beginning to like it more than I had in those moments immediately after leaving the theater. The central gunslingers are fascinating characters and the film, as a whole, has a realistic build that feels awfully genuine. It is clear the filmmakers were not interested in crowd-pleasing as much as they wanted to make a tribute to the old school style of filmmaking. It is effective and does warrant a revisit.

My Bloody Valentine. In 1981 a slasher film arrived about a killer who had something against Valentine's Day and would kill anyone who celebrated. It was thought to be a legend until people start showing up dead. This special edition arrives just in advance of the 3D gimmicked remake. This is one of those early '80s slashers that I have been meaning to look into. With this release, it appears that my time is now.

Mirrors. This journey from the start of the mystery through the conclusion takes so many leaps that it is hard to understand the whys and hows of what is happening. Everything points back to the style over substance that is the true heart of Mirrors. Events happen in rapid succession that flow by at such a pace that you are not given much time to connect the dots, but I assure you that when you reflect on the film you'll be left at a loss to explain how everything goes together. Director Alexandre Aja does a great job of building atmosphere, but when it comes to exercising a logical story, success is decidedly poor.

Swing Vote. This actually turned out to be a decent movie, perhaps even better than decent. It had enough heart to induce numerous smiles, was funny enough to spur a few chuckles, and smart enough not to play the audience for fools while having a clear focus on its goal. Now, these facts do not make this a great movie; that it is not and will never be confused for one. However, it is one that is better than I was expecting and well worth spending some time with. What it comes down to is a heartwarming story of a father and daughter that hopes to encourage involvement; regardless of which party side you take, get involved. I enjoyed it, more than I was expecting to, and I suspect others will too.

My Best Friend's Girl. I will not lie and say that the movie is not funny. There are some lines and scenes that are definitely hilarious, and I was still caught off-guard by the great mini-wheat line that was in the trailer. The problem is that all the funny moments are lines and scenes, not the movie as a whole, which is a significant point. When taken in bits and pieces, you will find yourself helpless in its ability to make you laugh. When you step back and take a look at the big picture you will likely be at a loss as to why you should care about the story.

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