DVD reviews: 'Don Jon' and 'Hell Baby'
By Garrett Conti
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
“Don Jon” (2013, R, 90 min., $29.98). Established actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls off a rare triple play with “Don Jon,” a film he wrote, directed and starred in a lead role. Marking Gordon-Levitt's feature-length directing debut, it provides clear evidence that he has a bright future behind the camera. “Don Jon” is a slick personality profile of a man whose addiction to porn has poisoned his ability to have a loving relationship with a women. Gordon-Levitt does a fine job of bringing the character to life, through his script and performance. He gets strong supporting performances from Tony Danza, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. The pictures follows a New Jersey guy named Jon who lives a simple life as a bartender with a strong dedication to his family and friends. He also has an addiction to porn, and when he falls for a beauty (Johansson), it jeopardizes the relationship. At the same time, he meets an older woman (Moore) at his college who understands his predicament. It's a relationship that has the potential to push him in the right direction. A making-of featurette, along with some additional extras are exclusive to Blu-ray. 3 Stars.
“Hell Baby” (2013, R, 97 min., $19.98). Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon — two guys known mostly as the creators of the hit comedy series “Reno 911!” — are together again to write and direct “Hell Baby,” a spoofy nod to all of the exorcism films that have come along over the past few years. “Hell Baby” has a couple of laughs, but they're few and far between. Most of the comedy here isn't new to anyone, and usually falls on deaf laughs. The film has appeal for loyal fans of Lennon and Garant, but not for the rest of us. The picture has a young couple — Jack (Rob Corddry) and a very pregnant Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) — moving into a fixer upper in New Orleans. They're new house was the scene of a few grisly murders and is rumored to be haunted. As time goes by, Jack starts experiencing some weird happenings in the house, while Vanessa seems to be under the power of a demonic being. They get some help from a couple of priests (Garant and Lennon), but they're facing a demon baby that Vanessa could deliver any day. Special features — available on Blu-ray and standard DVD — include deleted scenes and a gag reel. 1 Star.
“Museum Hours” (2012, NR, 107 min., $29.95). Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum is the backdrop for this under-the-radar foreign film that garnered plenty of critical praise in 2013. A museum guard and a visitor from out of town are able to form a bond as they discuss the influence of the Kunsthistorisches' art in relation to their lives.
“CBGB” (2013, R, 101 min., $20.99). A strong cast — Alan Rickman, Malin Ackerman, Justin Bartha, Ashley Greene and Rupert Grint — gathers for this musical film that explores the punk rock scene in New York City's famous CBGB club, opened by Hilly Kristal (Rickman) in 1973.
“Love, Marilyn” (2012, NR, 107 min., $29.95). Filmmaker Liz Garbus directed this documentary that focuses on the life of starlet Marilyn Monroe. The point of Garbus' doc is to dispel the myth that Monroe was just a dumb blonde, and it does that by revealing an unknown side of the bombshell through personal papers that recently came to light.
“Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear” (2013, R, 95 min., $19.98). Following in the bruising footprints of 2009's “Ninja,” action star Scott Adkins reprises his role as Casey Bowman in a high-flying film that's full of action. When Bowman's life is torn apart by an act of violence, he's forced back into action against a dangerous drug lord with an army at his disposal.
“Angel of the Skies” (2013, NR, 103 min., $19.98). A young South African pilot (Nicholas van der Bijl) leaves behind a pregnant wife to volunteer for the British Royal Air Force after Britain declares war on Germany in World War II. When one of his missions goes bad, the pilot has to fight his way back to allied territory after landing in enemy territory.
“Ritual” (2012, R, 90 min., $26.98). Another horror picture from After Dark Films, this picture has a woman killing a man after he tries to drug and kidnap her. To clean up the murder, the woman calls on her estranged husband to help. On the scene of the murder, though, the couple realizes the man was a member of Satanic cult that wants revenge.
“Cassadaga” (2011, R, 108 min., $20.99). A deaf artist gets in over her head after participating in a seance to contact her recently departed sister. Instead of coming in contact with her sibling, the artist contacts the revenge-minded spirit of a woman who was murdered. As the spirit grows evermore angry, the artist rushes to solve the women's death.
TV ON DVD
“Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume I” (three discs, NR, $58.99)
“Wolfblood: Season 1” (two discs, 13 episodes, $19.95)
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