Sorry Blu-ray fans, there’s not a ton out this week to get too excited about.
The Movie: I wanted to love The Rite, I really did. I really liked what director Mikael Hafstrom did with Stephen King’s 1408, it’s got Anthony Hopkins in one of his more memorable roles of late and I’m always up for a good exorcism story. Trouble is, The Rite does have a good exorcism story at its core, it’s just buried under a meandering story about a pseudo-priest’s quest for faith that we really never care about. Plus, New Line totally sold the story out in its marketing materials, putting front and center what should have been kept secret. And normally I try to not hold a trailer campaign against a movie, but it does take quite a bit of the wind out of the film’s sails to know what’s coming.
Even with a rather softened payload, The Rite is still an interesting exorcism flick. Scary? No? Thought provoking? Sure, and that’s gotta count for something these days.
The Features: There are a handful of deleted scenes included on the disc, but unlike most included deleted scenes these days, they actually were never completed in post and thus have mis-matched color timing and sound. There’s also a very, very short alternate ending here (that’s not very rewarding) and a fairly interesting but straight forward 7-minute featurette on what real exorcists do.
Buy It If: You’re an Anthony Hopkins completionist, for everyone else this is just a rental at best (and even then, don’t expect a whole lot and don’t watch the trailers before hand).
The Movie: Even more so than The Rite, I really wanted to love Vanishing on 7th Street. We’re talking a new horror movie from the guy who made Session 9 and The Machinist, for crying out loud. At the very least it’ll be creepy, right?
Nope, not in the least. Vanishing on 7th Street is a truly disappointing turnout for Brad Anderson, featuring a cool concept that’s tapped out by the 20-minute mark. I love the idea of a world suddenly consumed by darkness, of the shadows coming alive and turning anyone who isn’t holding a light source into nothingness. But it’s just all so maddeningly mediocre. Shot after shot is set up to pack a big punch, but rarely do they warrant any kind of response other than a simple acknowledgment of the effort that went into making the movie. And if your default response to 90% of the material in a horror movie is, “I can see why that’s a good idea in theory…” you’ve got a serious dud on your hands.
The Features: If you do happen to love Vanishing on 7th Street in practice and not just in theory, it does look like Magnolia has offered up some decent (but not grand) supplementals for you, including alternate endings, and Making-Of and Behind-The-Scenes featurettes.
Buy It If: If you’re a Brad Anderson completist, and even that’s not enough reason to rush out and pick this up.
All the Rest:
Sadly I’ve yet to see The Mechanic, but despite it being an unnecessary remake of the Charles Bronson flick, I’ve heard a pretty steady consensus that it’s worth checking out.
If you have any liking for Minka Kelly, you should just go ahead and skip The Roommate. This movie is such a piece of festering garbage it’ll make you hate her– and if a movie can make you hate someone as adorable as Minka Kelly, it’s pretty awful.