it's kind of funny story dvdIt’s Kind Of A Funny Story
Coolest extra: “A Look Inside: It’s Kind of a Funny Story” featurette
Complex says: Hopes were high for It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, the latest project from the talented writing-directing duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Their third collaboration, this mental ward-set comedy promised to be tonally different from their previous dramatic fare, 2006’s Half Nelson and 2008’s baseball-themed marvel Sugar. Sadly, the Berkeley, California, natives should’ve left humor alone. While not a complete mishap, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is guilty of one of comedy’s cardinal sins: It’s quite boring overall. The laughs are never gut-busters, even with Zach Galifianakis on board in a slightly against-type performance. The filmmakers’ seem more comfortable handling the movie’s serious bits, which isn’t a surprise. A more charismatic pair of leading youngsters might have helped matters; as the teenage patients slowly falling for one another, Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts generate fizzling sparks. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story unfortunately rests on their mutual appeal, and subsequently falls as a result. Only a crazy person would root for their love.
Buy it now: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

paranormal 2 dvdParanormal Activity 2
(Unrated Director’s Cut)

Coolest extra: Digital copy of unrated version
Complex says: By the laws of rush-jobs sequels, Paranormal Activity 2 was supposed to suck. The tell-tale signs were all there: a super-fast turnaround to get released exactly a year after 2009’s Paranormal Activity became a cultural phenomenon; a no-name director (Tod Williams) taking over shotcaller duties; and an overall air of Hollywood cash-in lameness. Basically, it was set-up to be Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, and anyone who’s seen that can attest to its dire condition. Yet, miraculously, Paranormal Activity 2 doesn’t suck; in fact, it’s a much better film than its predecessor. The characters are more dynamic, the home-video-camera-captured scares—though nearly identical to those of the first film—are higher-powered, and the story is smarter. The best part about Michael Perry’s script is how it intelligently connects the two films, giving this otherwise financially necessary sequel an actual purpose and establishing a strong mythology. Instincts scream that the cleverness will fall back for this October’s inevitable Paranormal Activity 3, but who knows—Paranormal Activity 2 proves that horror sequels don’t always have to reek.
Buy it now: Paranormal Activity 2

my soul to take dvdMy Soul To Take
Coolest extra: Two alternate endings
Complex says: Wes Craven’s upcoming sequel, Scream 4, is stepping up to the plate with a two-strike count, so it better be a grand slam. Why? Because the legendary horror filmmaker is coming off what’s easily his worst film to date, the needlessly complicated and flat-out catatonic My Soul To Take. Touted as the long-awaited return of a horror master, this puddle of celluloid mud is essentially a cross-breed of Craven’s two biggest franchises, Scream and A Nightmare On Elm Street, except that it’s a piece of shit. The Scream elements come through the vengeful serial killer (here, the Riverton Ripper), while the Elm Street side is represented in the movie’s high school-aged protagonists, a crew of youths connected through a dark commonality that’s a head-scratching mess, so we won’t even bother trying to explain it. My Soul To Take’s final act is heinously preachy, a sign that Craven himself had no clue as to what the hell this movie was supposed to be, so he attempted to over-compensate for its sheer ineptitude with a finale that’s nowhere near as brainy as he’d think. There is one positive to the film’s DVD release, though: Viewers won’t have to feel like they’re being bent over by some money-grubbing executive after paying extra for plastic glasses. In theaters, My Soul To Take’s crappiness was amplified by horribly executed 3D, a factor that’s non-existent here, thankfully. Therefore, in the comfort of your home, Craven’s darkest hour-and-a-half is actually a semi-polished turd.
Buy it now: My Soul to Take

i spit on grave dvdI Spit On Your Grave
Coolest extra: “The Revenge of Jennifer Hills: Remaking a Cult Icon” featurette
Complex says: Steven R. Monroe’s exploitation remake I Spit On Your Grave is, believe it or not, commendable in many respects. For one, this sensory assault, written by Jeffrey Reddick, goes to considerable lengths trying to flesh out the morally loathed 1977 original’s bare-bones story. The gist is the same—a young hottie (Sarah Butler here) gets vicious revenge on the hillbillies who raped her and left her for dead—but Reddick and Monroe take things much more seriously. The assailants are given deeper backstories, and Butler’s payback begins as cerebral warfare, lending an almost supernatural vibe to her pre-slaughter tactics. But then fish guts are dropped atop human eyes, a man’s Johnson is snipped off with clippers, and a shotgun is rammed into another guy’s bottom before it’s discharged. So, yeah, all nuances are squandered, sending I Spit On Your Grave directly into the torture porn trash heap. Back in ’77, the original’s shock-and-awe gambit worked because its degree of sadism was relatively fresh; these days, though, the horror genre churns out nasty bits with ease. Film critics might hate it, but who cares—I Spit On Your Grave ’77 holds up as a perfectly fine piece of gross, and, yes, amateurishly made, entertainment. Who needed a remake, anyway?
Buy it now: I Spit On Your Grave

ong bak 3Ong Bak 3
Coolest extra:
Complex says: In 2003, Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak caught fight movie lovers with a series of crane kicks and right hooks. The Thailand-raised martial artist’s debut impressed with spectacular fisticuffs choreography and an overall zany spirit, most of which was left by the wayside for 2008’s inferior Ong Bak 2. The descent continues with Ong Bak 3, a sequel that feels as obligatory as Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. It’s sad in ways; with the first Ong Bak, Jaa was hailed as this generation’s Bruce Lee, a label that excited action heads and set the bar high for a potential and indirect passing-of-the-torch. At this point, though, he’s been relegated to a gifted yet non-transcendent punch-and-kick genre favorite. Kung fu connoisseurs haven’t had it easy in recent years, though, with the market for ass-kicking cinema slackin’ in its mackin’. When all’s said and done, Ong Bak 3 is better than nothing; it hits all the familiar beats (vengeance-seeking fighter is trained by a master before pummeling his enemies into submission), and mediocre Jaa is still marginally fun to watch. Just toss all Bruce Lee comparisons out of your head beforehand.
Buy it now: Ong Bak 3

life as we know it dvdLife As We Know It
Coolest extra: Deleted Scenes
Complex says: Life As We Know It is a cinematic masterwork, full of heart, soul, and a truly human story. Katherine Heigl, the Audrey Hepburn of our day, sizzles as...OK, that’s it. We can’t keep a straight-face any longer. Had you going for a second there, huh? Now, for the real thing: Life As We Know It is every bit as disagreeable as a romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel sounds on paper. They’re not the worst actors around, but Heigl and Duhamel certainly aren’t good enough to make this generic rom-com’s script any less dreadful. It’s about a two single folks who become the legal guardians of an orphaned baby after their mutual friends die in an accident—honestly, that’s not a bad premise. With stronger stars and a script that wasn’t written by lab-trained chimps, Life As We Know It could’ve been a touching and emotional romp, instead of simply existing as the latest in Katherine Heigl’s parade of sappy rom-com nightmares. Meg Ryan needs to whip her into shape; rather, Heigl and her ample bosoms need to make their own version of Ryan’s In The Cut. High five, fellas!
Buy it now: Life As We Know It

the runaways dvdThe Runaways
Coolest extra: Commentary with Joan Jett, Kristen Stewart, and Dakota Fanning
Complex says: Though usually potent as actor showcases, biopics are typically predictable, paced episodically, and prone to melodrama. The Runaways, director Floria Sigismondi’s dramatization of Joan Jett and her seminal all-girl rock group, adheres to those recognizable distinctions, yet this late-1970s-set pic manages to overcome them with livewire energy. Kristen Stewart stars as Jett, alongside an all-grown-up Dakota Fanning as bandmate Cherie Currie and the always-unsettling Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) as their son-of-a-bitch manager Kim Fowley. The Runaways, executive produced by Jett, is a pleasant surprise in that it’s an effectively hard-edged rock ‘n’ roll movie led by the face of Twilight and the voice of Lilo from Lil & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch. Proving their image-defying intentions, Stewart and Fanning even make-out, albeit briefly, bringing the latter closer to the real-life LiLo than we’re guessing she’d ever want to be.
Buy it now: The Runaways