New on DVD

New on DVD

Drag Me to Hell
Rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Writer/director Sam Raimi (Spiderman/Evil Dead) brings us this tale about a young girl so desperate to become an assistant manager at her bank that she turns down an old woman who requests some more time to pay back her loan.  The woman does not take the act kindly and puts a curse on the young girl essentially unleashing a demon on her to haunt her and eventually drag her to hell.  It might sound horrifying, and the trailer doesn’t look good at all, but the movie itself is actually both scary and funny at the same time, filled with many over-the-top gory set pieces, terrific acting, and a really great script from Raimi.  And while it sounds like a hard R pic, it’s actually just an edgy PG-13 that most audiences with a twisted sense of humor will get a lot of enjoyment from.  B+

Rated R for some sexual content and brief drug use
Available on DVD

Michelle Pfeiffer stars in this tale of an older courtesan that spends years with a young man, teaching him the ways of love, only to lose him when his mother arranges an unwanted marriage for him.  I’m not sure what director Stephen Frears (The Queen) and writer Christopher Hampton (Atonement) were thinking with this one.  The film is beautifully shot, and the acting is good enough, but the subject matter is just plain drull.  Period dramas can be wonderful, for example Hampton’s Atonement was an amazing motion picture, but this is the kind of subject matter that kills the genre.  I’m sure the book is lovely and poignant and the thought of an aging courtesan and the boy who can’t get over her is sad, but if there are only a handful of people willing to shell out the bucks to watch it, then Hollywood declares “period dramas are dead” and in reality it’s just another case of no one wants to see a boring stuffy movie.  I hope Frears and Hampton got it out of their systems and are ready to tackle movies people are willing to pay for again.  C-

Top Chef: New York (Season 5)

Available on DVD

There is a huge advantage of watching a reality cooking show on DVD instead of on TV: you get to skip those annoying suspenseful commercial breaks.  Bravo’s hit show makes its DVD debut this week and even though I still can’t cook worth a crock pot, I still love watching all the delicious food being prepared by these intense and nervous wrecks on screen.  The biggest highlight was watching the group prepare Thanksgiving for the Foo Fighters where the winners got the best seats in the house to the concert that night.  Unfortunately the losers had to clean up after the winners.  How cruel.  While it still doesn’t stack up to my favorite cooking reality show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, it still provides for quite a lot of kitchen fun.  B