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DVD Pick of the Week: Vengeance Trilogy

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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.

Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance/Oldboy/Lady Vengeance) (Blu-ray). This box set made it easy to pick this week's top choice. The films hail from Korea and represents the brilliance of director Chan Wook Park. Not a trilogy in the strictest sense, they are linked by theme rather than by character. Each provides visual and narrative treats exploring, revenge and salvation, and contain interesting characters faced with tough choices. Chan Wook Park puts it all out on the screen and these stories are sure to fry your brain. Seriously, they are deliciously twisted that will leave shaken long after they have finished. Plus, I am sure they will look great in high definition.

The Book of Eli (also Blu-ray). A fun blend of action and philosophy that blends the wild west with a post-apocalyptic landscape. Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman play the hero and villain in this world, and these two talented thespians know how to work the big screen. The world created on screen is much more fully realized than one would expect going in, as are the morally complex individuals at its center. The film offers up some interesting ideas and explosive action. Definitely a good film.


When in Rome (also Blu-ray). This romantic comedy does not make a lot of sense, and it is not all that great, but I found myself enjoying it anyway. It centers on a workaholic played by Kristen Bell who meets Josh Duhamel, and, of course, sparks fly. The thing is, before their relationship can go anywhere, Bell takes some coins from a mystical wishing well. After that, she suddenly finds herself fending off a multitude of unwanted suitors. If you don't care for romcoms, stay away. Otherwise, it is a fun lighthearted movie.

Supernatural: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray). The first season of the popular CW series arrives on Blu-ray. It plays a bit like a cross between Buffy and The X-Files and I was surprised when it lasted past the first season. Despite enjoying the demon hunting, I did not think it would last. I am glad to have been wrong.

Darkman (Blu-ray). Sam Raimi's take on the superhero genre gives us this dark journey into rage, revenge, and fake skin. We also get early roles from two very good actors in Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand. Always liked this film. It is a bit silly, definitely low budget, and a lot of fun.

The Stepfather (1987) (Blu-ray). Before he was John Locke, Terry O'Quinn was a nasty killer in this thriller that has to be better than the remake. That's right, I have not yet seen it.

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