This week’s releases include: a possessed house; a secret section of history; the second chapter of an adult animation; a holiday picture; a vengeful Death; a medieval sequel; a classic novel committed to film; a surprise visit from the stork; the forlorn find happiness; a super dysfunctional family; a radical couple; and a zombie sideshow.

The Amityville Haunting on DVDThe Amityville Haunting (DVD)
The Benson family moved into the infamous “Amityhouse” in 2008. When the mysterious hauntings began to spook the family, the Bensons start to document, on camera, the very strange happenings. Now, for the first time, the family’s footage has been released.

This film combines a classic horror tale with the newly popular faux documentary style of Paranormal Activity. The acting seems subpar, but this also fits with the narrative style, making the characters appear more real. Amity brings an established sense of terror to the mix, which they utilize well in creating a scary movie. The featurette keeps up the pretense by discussing how they edited together the “found” footage used to comprise the film.

Special features include: documentary of Amityville murders and the footage compiled for the film. (Video Services Corp.)

Apollo 18 on Blu-rayApollo 18 (Blu-ray)
Officially, Apollo 17, which launched December 17, 1972, was the last manned mission to the moon. But two years later, in December of 1974, three American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. This film is comprised of the actual footage the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

The choppy editing does not produce a very fluid film experience, but the concept is incredibly intriguing. Many people are convinced they saw something unusual during the original, live moon walk and this movie builds on that conspiracy theory, as well as the one mentioned above. The alien camouflage is clever, but their motivation and how they operate is completely unclear. The actors portraying the astronauts are convincing, though the third man out’s recognisability detracts somewhat from the “realism.” Finally, of the five possible endings, filmmakers definitely selected the best one even though the others are interesting too.

Special features include: commentary by director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier; deleted and alternate scenes; and four alternate endings. (Alliance Films)

Archer - Season 2 on DVDArcher – Season 2 (DVD)
When he’s not busy foiling eco-terrorist threats, tracking down mysterious killers, or having sex in x-ray machines, the suave master-spy has his hands full with bikini-clad ninjas, Swiss nymphomaniacs, and paternity suits. Archer searches for the true identity of his father, battles breast cancer, and brings a sexy, ex-KGB agent home to meet his domineering mother. It’s all in a day’s work for the international man of mystery in this uproariously edgy animated farce.

Special features include: “Ask Archer”; “Archersaurus – Self Extinction”; “Semper Fi”; “L’espoin Mal Fait”; and “Isis Invades Comic-con.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

Dutch on DVDDutch (DVD)
Dutch Dooley (Ed O’Neill) is a working-class good guy who’s the new boyfriend of a wealthy big shot’s ex-wife. But when the woman’s spoiled son (Ethan Randall) refuses to come home from his Southern prep school for Thanksgiving, Dutch volunteers to pick the bratty boy up for a road trip back to Chicago that quickly goes wrong.

During the height of Married with Children, O’Neill extended the cynical persona of Al Bundy to this family comedy. Randall is a genuine little monster that tries Dutch’s patience in numerous ways. Of course, they eventually reach the expected understanding between a child and the stranger who is dating his mother, however strange it may be.

Special features include: theatrical trailer and TV spots. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Final Destination 5 on blu-rayFinal Destination 5 (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
In Final Destination 5, death is just as omnipresent as ever, first revealing its menacing reality to a group of coworkers headed for a corporate retreat. During the bus ride, Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a premonition in which he and most of his friends, as well as numerous others, die in a horrific bridge collapse. When his vision ends, events begin to mirror what he had seen, and he frantically ushers as many of his colleagues – including his friend, Peter (Miles Fisher), and girlfriend, Molly (Emma Bell) – away from the disaster before Death can claim them. But these unsuspecting souls were never supposed to survive and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated group tries to discover a way to escape Death’s sinister agenda.

This is the best film in the franchise since the first film. The opening disaster is thrilling and without a logistical flaw, which has been an issue in many of the preceding films. The deaths are creative, brutal and bloody. The 3D element is negligible, though it did provide some added imagination to the characters’ demises. Also, one of the supernatural murders may turn certain viewers away from ever getting laser corrective eye surgery. Finally, the conclusion is brilliant and unexpected. It blows the whole rest of the film out of the water with its unpredictable turn of events.

Special features include: alternate death scenes; two special effects split-screen features, “Collapsing Bridge” and “Airplane Crash”; “Circle of Death, Your Final Destination”; and a digital copy of the film. (Warner Home Entertainment)

In the Name of the King 2 on DVDIn the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds (DVD)
Granger (Dolph Lundgren) is a lethal, ex-Special Forces soldier who finds himself transported back to a mystical age of sorcery, dragons and savage hand-to-hand combat. This modern-day warrior has been summoned to defeat the forces of darkness and fulfill an ancient prophecy. But as he fights his way to the truth, Granger learns no one can be trusted — and one wrong move could cost him not only his life, but the future of his world.

Special features include: commentary by director Uwe Boll; commentary by writer Michael Nachoff; behind-the-scenes featurette; and “From Page to Screen: Writing In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

Moby Dick on DVDMoby Dick (DVD)
Nantucket. 1850. The tiny island is the capital of the American whaling industry, where sailors, traders and harpooners seek their fortunes. Three of them – Ishmael (Charlie Cox), Pip (Daniel Gordon), and Queequeg (Raoul Trujillo) – become crewmembers of the Pequod, and their journey with the charismatic but tyrannical Captain Ahab (William Hurt) begins. A veteran whale hunter who lost his leg to the gigantic Moby Dick, Ahab is obsessed with revenge. But his long-suffering wife (Gillian Anderson) and crew know little about his plans. Only his first mate, Starbuck (Ethan Hawke), senses the dangers ahead.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

Nine Months on DVDNine Months (Blu-ray)
Sam (Hugh Grant) has it all: a wonderful girlfriend (Julianne Moore), a successful child psychology practice and a red Porsche. But all that changes when his girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant. Torn between advice from an overbearing couple (Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack) and his bachelor buddy (Jeff Goldblum), Sam’s got nine months to grow-up – or risk losing it all.

This narrative puts on film the anxieties many men feel when they’ve unexpectedly become a father. Grant’s charming personality ensures most of the fears are humorous rather than offensive, and Arnold and Cusack live a comedically terrifying life. In addition, the limited role of Robin Williams is often a scene stealer.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Only the Lonely on DVDOnly the Lonely (DVD)
Danny Muldoon (John Candy) is a lonely Chicago policeman who still lives with his domineering mother (Maureen O’Hara). But when Danny falls in love with a shy, funeral home cosmetologist (Ally Sheedy), his sharp-tongued mom will do anything to sabotage her son’s newfound happiness. Even with the advice of his sex-obsessed partner (James Belushi) and the example of his lusty neighbour (Anthony Quinn), Danny tries to find a way to follow his own heart without killing his mother.

A sweet, funny, family friendly picture, Candy shines as the lonesome cop that finally becomes tired of trying to please everyone but himself. Replacing his typical teenage subjects with adults, director John Hughes still delivers the expected emotionally complex relationships. (While the casting of Sheedy reminds viewers of his earlier movies.) O’Hara is casted perfectly in the role of Danny’s overbearing, and often nasty, mother. The ridiculous scenarios Danny imagines when they are apart are quite funny as well.

Special features include: a promotional featurette; theatrical trailer and TV spot. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Shameless - Season 1 on blu-rayShameless: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Meet Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy): proud, working-class patriarch to a motley brood of six smart, spirited and independent kids who, without him, would be… better off. In Frank’s booze-addled view, parenting just eats into his hard-earned bar-crawling and carousing time around Chicago – so he leaves it to eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) to hold down the fort. Bearing the de facto parent badge/burden, she’s donned the proverbial apron and makes sure her younger siblings do their chores, keep a clean(ish) home and feed the kitty — the Gallagher family fund jar — because the gas bill is due, and everyone (no matter how small) works to keep the house lights on, as well as food on the table. Brothers Lip, Ian and Carl use their intellect to break every rule in the book to survive and make the bank, while younger sister Debbie would sooner steal her share.

This is an exceptional introductory season that never falters or slows from the first episode to the last. The characters immediately grab your interest with their dedication to their family and their witty remarks to each other and those they encounter. The neighbours are an added source of hilarity, while Macy’s character is entirely unredeemable. The creators make the children’s lives as interesting, and sometimes more so, than some of the adults’ lives as Lip runs various scams at school, Ian has a secret affair, Carl puts various inappropriate things in the microwave, Debbie becomes a kidnapper and Fiona forgoes her own happiness for that of her siblings. There’s also an agoraphobic, an illegal marriage and countless shenanigans that will make the wait for the second season nearly unbearable.

Special features include: commentary on two episodes; “Bringing Shameless to America”; “Shameless: Bringing the FUN to dysfunctional”; “A shameless discussion about sex”; and a sneak peek of season two. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Sid and Nancy on blu-raySid & Nancy: 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray)
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and his unforgettable junkie girlfriend (Chloe Webb) are two social misfits who literally love each other to death. Writer/director Alex Cox creates a film about the destructive lives of two 1970’s punk legends. Their love affair is one of pure devotion. Sid falls hard for groupie Nancy Spungen, who seduces him with her affection and addiction to heroin. Their inseparable bond to each other and their drugs eventually corrodes the band, sending Sid and Nancy head down a dark road of despair. Out of money, hope and options, the despondent pair hit rock bottom while living in squalor at New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel.  But their journey takes yet another tragic turn as they face their final curtain and attempt to fulfill their destiny of going out in a blaze of glory.

Zombie Apocalypse on DVDZombie Apocalypse (DVD)
In the United States, 90 per cent of the population has been wiped out by a zombie plague. A small, lone group of survivors fight their way across country to a rumoured refuge on the island of Catalina.

It appears the filmmakers started with the question, “What hasn’t been in a zombie movie before?” Thus, this undead picture has a combination of fast and slow zombies, some of which are capable of opening doors, planning an ambush and communicating vaguely with the living; as well as an infected tiger. The latter creation is an appealing one, but the other zombie innovations are absurd and will leave most undead enthusiasts gaping in disgust. In addition, the characters are relatively one-dimensional and nearly impossible to care for as they’re predictably picked off by the hordes.

Special features include: a making-of featurette; gag reel; and trailers. (Video Services Corp.)

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