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DVD Pick of the Week: The Descent

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I hope that Christmas sees all of you doing well. Today is the final week of new releases for the 2006 campaign, and the pickings are slim. The lack of a large number of worthy new releases makes this week the perfect time to use all of those gift cards you got to catch up on the older releases that you never got around to picking up. There are titles like Forbidden Planet, A Scanner Darkly, Little Miss Sunshine, World Trade Center, and the James Bond collections just waiting to be added to your shelf. Sure, there are others just as worthy — whatever you choose will be sure to be the right choice. This does not mean that there aren't noteworthy titles this week — read on.

This week's pick is one of the best horror films of the year, Neil Marshall's The Descent. This was one of the few truly scary films to cross the big screen. It was originally slated to be released to the big screen last year, but was delayed so as not to conflict with the similarly themed, yet infinitely inferior, The Cave.

The Descent is the story of a group of women who get together on a yearly basis to do some sort of outdoor adventure. We are introduced to them during a white water rafting trip, which has some disastrous results. Fast forward to the next trip, a spelunking expedition which brings them all together for the first time since the tragedy. The drama builds as they move into the caves. Before long, all hell breaks loose. This is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat and is definitely worth spending some time with.

This was Neil Marshall's sophomore feature, following the excellent werewolf film, Dog Soldiers. That was a film that was surprisingly good, but sadly made its US debut as a Sci-Fi Channel Original. His follow up is just as good as, if not better than, that debut. It will be interesting to see where he goes next.

Also out in this final frame of 2006:

  • Jackass Number Two. Not sure if this was completely necessary, but there is a certain 'rubber-necking a train wreck' quality. You will find that it is difficult to look away from the insanity that is going on onscreen. There is a certain demented poetic quality to the ebb and flow of the editing.
  • The Black Dahlia. A definite exercise in style over substance, this Brian DePalma feature has some great visuals and style, but the story is severely lacking. It was advertised as being about the Black Dahlia murder, but seems more interested in the cops and never really takes off. Worth a rental.
  • The Last Kiss. This is a very good film. It stars Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) as a young man at a crossroads. He and his friends are faced with the prospect of becoming adults, and the various ways that they deal with it, for better or worse.
  • The Family Values Tour 2006. Korn brought back the tour they started ten years ago, and here is the DVD documenting the tour. The package featured Deadsy, 10 Years, Dir en grey, Flyleaf, Stone Sour, Deftones, and Korn.

What are you getting this week?

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