Prepare for a ‘Feast’; pull over at the ‘Rest Stop’
No blockbusters are released this week on DVD, but instead we are treated to two straight-to-DVD gems, a variety of good television and some classic movies from the 1940s.
Unfortunately, “American Dreamz” is more like a nightmare. Instead of making a satirical film based on the rabid popularity of “American Idol,” we are left with a convoluted, timid hybrid story of Simon Cowell’s baby and the George W. Bush presidency. The trouble is everything is so diluted and milquetoast, it is unlikely to provoke thought in liberals or conservatives.
Mandy Moore stars as a ruthless young woman trying to win the “American Dreamz” contest hosted by the egotistical Hugh Grant. In order to up his approval rating, the President of the United States (Dennis Quaid) agrees to be one of the judges for the final competition. However, the film becomes jumbled quickly, and the elaborate story line nearly falls on its face toward the end. Certainly, someone — anyone — could have come up with a better way to mock the most popular show on television. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Rent.
For the two of you who watched the last season of “Project Greenlight,” the very fact that “Feast” has made it to any formable media format is an achievement in and of itself. But instead of unleashing the film into movie theaters (other than a few midnight screenings late last month) and potentially losing millions on marketing and such, Dimension smartly is releasing it straight to DVD, where it should thrive quite nicely.
Given the fact that this film is the result of a reality TV series in which amateurs get a chance to make a movie, the quality will shock you. “Feast” is hilarious, stylishly filmed and gore-filled to the brim — just what the horror genre has been missing for the past three years as fans have endured endless amounts of watered-down, PG-13 remakes.
The DVD includes some behind-the-scenes material you will want if you saw “Project Greenlight,” as it sums up anything you may have missed between the end of the show and this release. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Buy.
ICONS OF HORROR COLLECTION: BORIS KARLOFF
The continuation of great classic collections continues with “Icons of Horror Collection: Boris Karloff,” a sampling of the classic scary man’s lesser-known titles. Included in this DVD set are “The Black Room,” “The Man They Could Not Hang,” “Before I Hang” and “The Boogie Man Will Get You.” The best thing about this set is the price, which is cheap enough that any fan of classic horror should rush out and pick up. Price: $24.96. Rent or buy: Buy.
Another excellent straight-to-DVD release, proving that the format is becoming more than just an outlet for television shows and movie theater releases. “Rest Stop” marks Warner Brothers “Raw Feed” series debut — a series of horror/thrillers released straight to DVD — about a couple who takes a deadly turn at an out-of-the-way rest stop where a psycho is waiting for them. The DVD is offered in unrated and R-rated editions with an alternate ending and two entertaining making-of featurettes. While it isn’t worth owning, itcertainly is a great pickup on a Friday night. Price: $24.98. Rent or buy: Rent.
» Other DVDs released this week, “Le Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season,” “Alfred Hitchock Presents: Season Two,” “Over the Hedge,” “Murder She Wrote: The Complete Fourth Season,” “The Affair,” “Deadfall,” “The Magnus” and “Only Human.”