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DVD Pick of the Week: The Dead Are Alive

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Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope 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, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations 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.

The Dead are Alive. An Italian/German production from 1972, I am completely unfamiliar with this film. I have heard both good and bad. It involves a couple of archaeologists who discover that not all of the Etruscans are actually dead. I have been unable to dig up any clips from the film, but movies from this time period tend to have interesting things to offer. I am guessing this is in a similar vein to the Blind Dead films from Spain.

Psych: The Complete Fourth Season. This is one of those comfort food series. It fits nicely with other USA network fare like Monk and Burn Notice. A fake psychic working for the police and solving crimes in snarky fashion? What's not to like?

The Bounty Hunter (also Blu-ray). This is a dull, laughless, lifeless affair that really was not necessary. It is a romantic comedy with some action that is built out of all the cliches of the genre. At no point does it make any attempt to bust free of the cliche, it has no ambition. It feels almost like a mad-lib of common genre cliches — someone filled in the blanks and let the studio take over. Quite frankly, I was bored with the whole thing and would have been just as happy to have taken a nap. I almost feel bad for the antics forced upon Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston as they rekindle their relationship.

Chloe (also Blu-ray). Atom Egoyan's latest film has Julianne Moore testing her husband, Liam Neeson, by hiring Amanda Seyfried to attempt to seduce him. Frankly, I am not sure there are many men who would be able to pass that test. It is an erotic drama that looks mildly interesting. I may need to check it out and see if he passes the test.

Insomnia (Blu-ray). This is a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film transplanted to Alaska. Al Pacino is an LA detective sent to the northern state to investigate a murder. He also must adjust to the fact that the sun does not set. It has been some time since I have seen this, but I recall it being a slow-paced and atmospheric thriller. Should pay this one a revisit.

Greenberg (also Blu-ray). Ben Stiller gives a good performance as the titular character, an odd man fresh out of a mental hospital who is house-sitting for his brother. This new location reopens some old wounds and leads him to a dysfunctional relationship with Greta Gerwig. It is a decent movie but not all that much actually happens.

Parasomnia (Blu-ray). From director William Malone of The House on Haunted Hill remake comes a movie that I am not quite sure what it is about. The trailer gives us strange, nightmarish visions which strike me as being pretty low-budget. It centers on a girl with an odd condition that leaves its victim in a dreamlike state all the time. This girl becomes the target of a killer. What will happen? I suspect nothing good.

Saint John of Las Vegas. Steve Buscemi as a reformed gambler working for an insurance company in Albuquerque is lured back to his old haunt of Vegas. What will happen? Like Parasomnia, probably nothing good although I am sure it will be entertaining.

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