French-Canadian comedy spawns Hollywood offspring
This week, we begin in Quebec:
This Canadian dramatic comedy has received the official seal of approval: It is now being remade as a Hollywood comedy with Vince Vaughn.
The outlandish yet almost believable main premise provides enough material for endless situations: 42-year-old David (Patrick Huard) learns that as a result of the many sperm donations he made decades ago, 533 children were born, and 142 of them have joined a class-action lawsuit to force the clinic to negate his confidentiality clause and reveal his identity.
The case becomes a national sensation, with David’s position getting even dicier when he learns his girlfriend is pregnant. He finally wants to take some responsibility and become a father, but not to 500 children at once.
Writer-director Ken Scott milks all the obvious situations, while occasionally overplaying treacly yet obvious messages about the importance of family.
The DVD includes a six-minute interview with Huard, a seven-minute interview with Scott, nine minutes of deleted scenes, seven minutes of bloopers and a music video.
Welcome to the Punch -- A good cast enlivens this dark British crime drama about detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy), wounded during an attempted robbery by notorious criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). Three years later, Lewinsky still suffers lingering effects from Sternwood’s gunshot.
The thief has fled the country but re-enters when his son becomes involved in a nefarious affair that somehow brings the detective and his nemesis together. Before long, a wide-ranging conspiracy unfolds involving some of Lewinsky’s police superiors.
Writer-director Eran Creevy maintains a steady pace while bathing his scenes in darkness and shadows. With Peter Mullan, Andrea Riseborough and David Morrissey.
Rated R, 99 minutes. The DVD includes seven separate interviews with cast and crew and an 18-minute “making of” featurette.
Love and Honor -- In July 1969, two soldiers based in Vietnam go on leave.
Dalton (Austin Stowell) has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Jane (Aimee Teegarden). He defies his travel restrictions and returns home to see her. His best friend Mickey (Liam Hemsworth) goes with him. The two committed soldiers meet a group of anti-war activists, including Candace (Teresa Palmer). Before long, the soldiers question their commitments as well as the war they have been fighting.
Actor Danny Mooney makes his directing debut, lingering needlessly on too many sappy puppy-love moments while still conveying the angst felt by both young men when they have to make life-changing decisions. Rated PG-13, 96 minutes.
Black Sabbath, Kidnapped -- Kino Lorber gives Blu-ray debuts to two provocative, unrated films from prolific Italian director Mario Bava, who specialized in horror and suspense.
His ability to creature fear and terror can best be seen in Black Sabbath, a stylish yet traditional horror film featuring Boris Karloff first as the introducing host and then in the middle of the film’s three segments, taken from works by Chekhov, Tolstoy and de Maupassant. Karloff plays the patriarch of a small family of vampires whose reverie is disturbed when a stranger invades their home.
Black Sabbath also features a twist-filled small drama about a woman frightened first by a series of telephone calls, and then by reports of the prison escape of a former lover. The third tale revolves around a cursed ring that brings woe to several women who ignorantly try to steal it off corpses. Released in 1963, 92 minutes.
Kidnapped, also known as Rabid Dogs, takes place mostly inside a car as four criminals botch a robbery and, when reduced to three, kidnap a couple with a sick child to make their getaway.
The limited action takes place inside the car as the snarling trio of bad guys eventually meets its deserved fate — but not before Bava introduces a delicious last-second twist.
The film, once thought lost, has been recovered by producer Alfredo Leone and Bava’s son Lamberto. Released in 1974, 92 minutes.
The Demented -- This zombie flick with flair benefits from the energetic and enthusiastic efforts of cast, crew and willing extras —particularly the swarms of young people who dash around destroying the myth of comatose zombies stumbling around in a daze.
A group of Louisiana college students wants to celebrate graduation by spending a weekend at a friend’s parents’ country home. But before all electronics go down, a radio report tells of a terrorist attack that has been thwarted — something the students doubt after witnessing a nearby explosion.
Before long, they are attacked by swarming hordes of not-really-zombies but their first cousins — biologically infected mutants. The group faces a struggle for survival, eliminating many of the undead while, naturally, facing down a few of their own demons. Rated R, 92 minutes.
Detention of the Dead () Teen angst meets zombie apocalypse in this derivative confection about zombies attacking a high school while six students sit in detention hall. Everyone shows true grit, fighting the hordes while winning over and protecting loved ones. With Christa B. Allen, Jacob Zachar, Jayson Blair, Justin Chon and Max Adler.
Not rated, 87 minutes. The DVD contains commentary with writer-director Alex Craig Mann and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Femme Fatales: The Complete Second Season This lurid series from Cinemax returns with 12 sex-filled episodes. The series revolves around Tanit Phoenix playing hostess Lilith, who spins the plot onward while delivering supposedly insightful comments.
Every episode connects to a seasonal story, and also contains a succession of beautiful females who commit the same crimes and misdemeanors usually reserved for men. The season’s guest stars include Vivica Fox, Jeff Fahey, Casper Van Dien, Eric Roberts, Nikki Griffin, Chris Mulkey and others.
On two discs, with a third disc of bonus materials. Rated TV-MA, 392 minutes. The set offers commentary on every episode, along with a red carpet premiere, a Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes and more than half a dozen “making of” featurettes.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: The Silence, Trance.