JOE’s DVD Round-up: Conmen, Plagues and Corey Feldman
The Brothers Bloom is the only film worth getting excited in this week’s DVD Roundup, with only Corey Feldman raising a smile elsewhere.
By Leo Stiles
This week there isnâ€™t much to shout about, with only Brick director Rian Johnsonâ€™s new film rescuing us from mediocrity. As for mediocrity we have you well covered with another Lost Boys film, the Sean Bean plague movie Black Death and a genuine turd courtesy of the usually nice people at Saturday Night Live.
DVD of the Week
The Brothers Bloom
This last film director Rian Johnson made was Brick, a modern spin on the detective movies of the 40s such as The Maltese Falcon, which was refreshing without being contrived and stylised without being pretentious. Brick was a small movie but it was universally acclaimed by critics and the few people who gave it a chance at the cinema.
His follow up film, The Brothers Bloom finds its way on to DVD after enduring a two year delay after filming had been finished. The film is about two brothers who learn to plan and execute elaborate cons at a young age, despite the fact that the younger brother is socially awkward and shy to the point of disability. To make up for this, his older brother creates elaborate roles for them to inhabit, as they go on to specialise in confidence tricks, where no one gets hurt and everyone gets what they want.
Why the film took so long to be released is a complete mystery, as it is a complete joy from start to finish. Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody shine as the eponymous brothers and are ably supported by a luminous Rachel Weisz as the target of their con. As is usual with this type of movie, nothing is what it seems and half the fun is trying to anticipate the various twists and turns. Thankfully, the film is more interested in its characters and most of the action comes from the comic interplay between the three leads, along with a hilarious performance by Rinko Kikuchi as the brotherâ€™s explosives expert, Bang Bang.
Thatâ€™s not to say that you shouldnâ€™t pay attention because just about every scene is important and it all builds to a satisfying ending that will leave a big smile on your face.
Sean Bean stars in this gruesome slice of medieval hokum that casts him as a grumpy warrior (what else) that is sent to an isolated village to find out why no-one in the community is yet to be touched by the bubonic plague that is ravaging England.
Itâ€™s hard to figure out what the film wants to be; on one hand it wants to examine how people explain the mysterious in the absence of real knowledge but on the other hand the film also wants to be a Wicker Man-style chiller, with all sorts of nasty torture thrown in. In the end the film doesnâ€™t settle on anything and it undermines a film that is well directed by Christopher Smith and is competently acted all round. Give it a look only if only to avoid the next two films on the list this week.
Lost Boys 3-The Thirst
Corey Feldman returns for a second try at cashing in on the fading cultural value of the original Lost Boys film and while itâ€™s not quite as bad as the first sequel, The Thirst still fails to capture anything that made the first film such a blast to watch.
At least this time around they have managed to rope in Jason Newlander, who starred opposite Feldman in the original, as the other half of the Frog Brothers vampire slaying outfit and the film become just about watchable whenever they are on screen. Sadly a plot twist makes these scenes few and far between and the rest of the film is concerned with a new drug that changes bland and talentless actors into vampires for some rudimentary scares and gore filled deaths scenes.
If you loved the original Lost Boys, you might get something out of this threequel and the film is at least free of the talent vacuum that was Angus Sutherland in Lost Boys 2.
One To Avoid
MacGruber is another movie coming from the rarely successful tradition of spinning characters from Saturday Night Live into their own films. The ratio of good movies to bad in this category is overwhelmingly in favour of the bad ones and for every decent effort like Wayneâ€™s World; audiences have had to endure rubbish like Superstar and The Ladies Man.
MacGruber is based on the MacGyver-spoof character played by SNL alumni Will Forte and is a one joke film that quite clearly is stretched impossibly thin. The TV sketches were amusing in their own way, but what worked as a five minute sketch is simply unsustainable over ninety minutes and you quickly become impatient waiting for a joke that works beyond the subject of bodily functions.
Will Forte can be a funny guy but his MacGruber is a bigger asshole than the villain of the piece, the ludicrously-named Dieter Van Cunth (see what they did there?), a fact that doesnâ€™t help us get on board with his quest to locate some nuclear weapons or at the very least, laugh at his ineptitude.
Bodily function jokes are followed by gay jokes which are then followed by dick jokes, none of which are very funny and while there is some entertainment to be wrung out of a crack operative who can make a bomb out of toothpaste and chopsticks, that entertainment lasts about 30 seconds. Avoid.