DVD reviews: 'Seven Psychopaths,' 'Hotel Transylvania' and 'Hello I Must Be Going'
“Seven Psychopaths” (2012, R, 110 min., $30.99). Englishman Martin McDonagh will always be remembered as a playwright, but he's become a pretty good filmmaker, too. Following up his 2008 hit “In Bruges” is “Seven Psychopaths,” a crazily entertaining picture with a great cast of characters. McDonagh also penned the screenplay, and that's clear through the razor-sharp dialogue and quick wit of the characters. “Seven Psychopaths” boasts an exceptional cast that includes Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Tom Waits and Abbie Cornish, and it pays off in a fast-paced dark comedy that's bloody fun. McDonagh's feature first introduces us to Marty (Farrell), a struggling screenwriter who's having problems finishing his newest project. For motivation, he turns his attention toward Billy (Rockwell), an unemployed actor, and his partner in crime Hans (Walken). Hans and Billy run a dog-kidnapping scam, where they'll take a dog, wait for an owner to post a reward and collect the money. The business takes a turn for the worse when they kidnap a dog belonging to a psychopathic gangster named Charlie (Harrelson). As Charlie runs down clues to find his beloved dog, he eventually comes across Marty, Billy and Hans, and the experience gives the screenwriter more material than he'll ever need for his upcoming feature film. “Seven Psychopaths” is loaded with some nice extras, and they're available on Blu-ray and standard DVD. Six featurettes — covering everything from McDonagh's vision of the film to highlighting some of the great personalities — are available. 3 Stars.
“Hotel Transylvania” (2012, PG, 91 min., $30.99). With the video releases of “ParaNorman,” “Frankenweenie” and, now, “Hotel Transylvania,” the animation genre bet heavily on the ghoulish side of things in 2012. Wasn't a bad bet, either. “Hotel Transylvania” — directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and put together by Sony Pictures Animation — is the least of this phantasmic group, but that's not a bad thing. Besides being proper enough for family viewing, the animated comedy is plenty of fun. Likable characters, including a host of different monsters, and a boffo story set “Hotel Transylvania” up as an enjoyable experience for just about everybody. The film follows Count Dracula, who's raising a daughter and trying to run Hotel Transylvania. As the Count gets ready for the annual pilgrimage of monsters to his hotel for a special birthday celebration, he has to fight back his daughter Mavis, who wants to go out an explore. The Count doesn't think she's ready to deal with the disdain aimed at vampires from humans out in the real world, but when a human strolls into the hotel unexpectedly, and Mavis falls for him, he might not have a choice. Another asset for “Hotel Transylvania” is the voice work provided by Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, CeeLo Green and David Spade. Next to the feature, there are some excellent extras, including a cheerful animated short named “Goodnight, Mr. Foot.” Commentary and deleted scenes also are available on standard DVD and Blu-ray packages. Additional featurettes are exclusive to Blu-ray consumers. 3 Stars.
“Hello I Must Be Going” (2012, R, 94 min., $29.99). Director Todd Louiso's “Hello I Must Be Going” should probably be considered a coming-of-age drama. It finds a 35-year-old woman named Amy (Melanie Lynskey) dealing with her divorce. She's moved in with her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein), and is dealing with a severe bout of depression. In steps 19-year-old Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), the son of one of Amy's father's work associates. Jeremy makes a play for Amy, but she's initially hesitant because of the age difference. Soon, though, they're hanging out together a lot, sharing an intimate relationship. If Jeremy's parents find out, it could hurt Amy's father's business, so the two tread lightly. In their time together, Amy and Jeremy both are able to grow and take positives from what is seen as a forbidden relationship. Although, they can't keep tip-toeing around forever. Known mostly as an actor, this is Louiso's third feature-length film, and it's a good one. Much of the credit goes to Lynskey and Danner, who tear up the screen with phenomenal performances in delivering a well-written script from Sarah Koskoff. The screenplay for “Hello I Must Be Going” is Koskoff's debut, and it hits all the right emotional notes in telling a good story of two people overcoming their own problems. Special features aren't too good. Viewers don't even have commentary to look forward to. A theatrical trailer and separate interviews with Louiso and Koskoff and Lynskey are the extent of extras. It appears the film's only on standard DVD, as well. 2.5 Stars
“The Awakening” (2012, R, 107 min., $19.98). Rebecca Hall, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West star in a horror film that flopped at the box office last year. Hall is in the lead, playing a woman who exposes supernatural hoaxes. She's called to a boarding school after a child's death is blamed on boy who was supposedly scared to death.
“Tales of the Night” (2011, NR, 84 min., $29.95). An under-the-radar hit from the animation genre, French filmmaker Michael Ocelot wrote and directed this colorful picture that brings together six exotic fables unfolding in locales from Tibet to medieval Europe. Some of the characters involved are a werewolf and a girl who turns into a doe.
“All Superheroes Must Die” (2011, NR, 78 min., $$27.97). Jason Trost wrote, directed and stars in this picture about a group of superheroes that are stripped of their powers by a nemesis they defeated years earlier. To survive, the four masked avengers must endure a series of brutal challenges from that same enemy. James Remar and Lucas Till also star.
“Citadel” (2012, R, 84 min., $29.95). One of the more highly regarded horror films of 2012, this indie, written and directed by Ciaran Foy, is about a man who lives a quiet life in a decaying city. After an act of violence against him and his family by a ruthless gang, the man struggles to keep his footing and provide a good home for his daughter.
“Cherry Tree Lane” (2010, NR, 77 min., $27.97). Talented British filmmaker Paul Andrew Williams gets back to the horror genre in this feature about a suburban family that's driven to the edge during a brutal home invasion. In an attempt to survive, the family keeps falling deeper into a horrible nightmare that never seems to want to end.
“The Love Section” (2012, NR, 100 min., $27.92). Hardly an original plot line, this feature film from Ronnie Warner follows a ladies man named Ali (Lawrence Adisa) who experiences a spark when he meets Sandrine (Davetta Sherwood), a single mom. Sandrine wants someone who's going to commit, and she's not sure if Ali is up to that.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“That Obscure Object of Desire” (Fernando Rey and Carole Bouquet, 1977, R, 103 min., $29.99)
TV ON DVD
“Masterpiece: Downton Abbey, Season 3” (Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern, three discs, nine episodes, $49.99)
“Femmes Fatales: The Complete First season” (Kit Wileese and Jordan Madley, three discs, 13 episodes, $29.98)
“Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff” (standup comedy from San Francisco, NR, 60 min., $14.99)
“Amazing Ocean 3D” (nature presentation, NR, 50 min., $34.98)
“Fascination Coral Reef 3D” (nature presentation, NR, 45 min., $34.98)
“Fascination Coral Reef 3D: Mysterious Worlds Underwater” (nature presentation, NR, 53 min., $34.98)
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