Blu Tuesday: Scary Movie 5, Rapture-Palooza and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“Scary Movie 5″

WHAT: After his brother mysteriously dies, Dan Sanders (Simon Rex) and his wife Jody (Ashley Tisdale) agree to adopt his three kids. But when they begin experiencing strange activity around the house, the couple discovers that they’re being terrorized by an evil demon.

WHY: It’s been seven years since the last “Scary Movie” was released in theaters, and it should have stayed that way, because the latest installment is the worst one yet. Unfortunately, these stupid parody movies are produced for dirt cheap, so even if they bomb, the studios still make out like bandits. The series can’t even be bothered to spoof horror films anymore, instead relying on movies like “Black Swan” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” to fuel its barrage of awful jokes. Heck, not even Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan – who are so starved for attention that they’ll do anything for a quick buck – can muster a laugh, and the only real positive to take away is that Anna Faris wasn’t involved. The end product is like some horrible social experiment to see how long you can last before turning it off (I made it to the 40-minute mark), although you’d be much better off just ignoring it completely.

EXTRAS: There are some deleted and extended scenes, but that’s the extent of the bonus material.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

“Rapture-Palooza”

WHAT: When the Apocalypse comes and billions of people are raptured up to Heaven, Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and her boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley) are among those left behind. But after the Antichrist (Craig Robinson) sets up shop in their hometown of Seattle, Lindsey unwittingly finds herself the object of his affections.

WHY: In a year overflowing with films about the end of the world, “Rapture-Palooza” is easily the worst of the lot, favoring a crass brand of comedy instead of the biting satire that its slightly controversial premise had the potential to become. However, the only real controversial thing about this movie has nothing do with the content, but rather the casting of Ken Jeong as God, which makes Alanis Morissette’s cameo in “Dogma” look brilliant in comparison. In fact, despite a great cast that includes a host of talented comic actors, the movie isn’t very funny, and worse yet, it’s actually quite boring. There doesn’t even seem to be a script at times, with many of the actors (including a terribly miscast Robinson as the Antichrist) riffing their lines with such confidence that you’d think they were making the funniest movie of the year. Unfortunately, it’s not even close, and between the strange involvement of Kendrick and the almost complete lack of laughs, “Rapture-Palooza” falls flat on its face.

EXTRAS: There’s an audio commentary by actors Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Rob Huebel, a short making-of featurette, some deleted scenes and a gag reel.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

“Killing Season”

WHAT: Reclusive military veteran Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro) strikes up an unlikely friendship with European tourist Emil Kovac (John Travolta) while hunting in the Appalachian Mountains. But when Emil’s true intentions are revealed, the two men become embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game deep in the Tennessee wilderness.

WHY: Mark Steven Johnson received his fair share of abuse for directing the comic book movies “Daredevil” and “Ghost Rider,” and he hasn’t done his bruised reputation any favors with his latest film either. Though it features a pair of marketable names in De Niro and Travolta, “Killing Season” is a mostly disappointing survival thriller that would’ve been even worse if it weren’t for the veteran actors. This is actually a pretty good role for the aging De Niro, especially considering some of his more recent choices, but while Travolta deserves credit for challenging himself, his performance just doesn’t work. Regardless of how you feel about his fake accent, every time Travolta opens his mouth, you’re instantly reminded that the actor is supposed to be playing a Serbian, and it pulls you completely out of the film. “Killing Season” is the type of movie that’s worth watching when Spike TV plays it on a rainy afternoon when there’s nothing else on, and quite frankly, that’s the best it deserves.

EXTRAS: There’s an incredibly brief “making of” featurette, but it doesn’t really tell you much about the actual production, hence the sarcastic quotes.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

  

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A chat with Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex (“Scary Movie 5″)

Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex have different credits to their comedic resumes, but both seem ideal for the latest incarnation of “Scary Movie.” While Tisdale is the idol of kids, tweens, and more than a few adults with her weekly portrayal of Candace Flynn on the Disney Channel animated series “Phineas and Ferb,” Simon is a veteran of the franchise, having starred in the last two installments. The pair recently sat down with Bullz-Eye to discuss “Scary Movie 5,” the latest chapter of the comedy series, featuring parodies of films like “Mama” and “Paranormal Activity,” as well as non-horror movies like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Black Swan.”

BULLZ-EYE: When did you guys get to see “Mama,” which is the main plot of the movie?

ASHLEY TISDALE: I saw it opening weekend, just because I wanted to go see the movie.

SIMON REX: Then, we went and saw it together.

ASHLEY TISDALE: I came out of the theaters and texted the producers and said, “We should be spoofing ‘Mama’ because it works so well.” Then, Phil [Beauman] said, “We’re actually going to spoof ‘Mama’.”

BE: How much did the additional “Mama” shooting entail?

ASHLEY TISDALE: A lot. About 60 percent (laughs).

SIMON REX: We shot for about a 10-day reshoot when we got back to L.A.

ASHLEY TISDALE: It was a lot of work with really long days.

SIMON REX: We had to update it. The movies we spoofed were already a year or two old. “Black Swan” wasn’t really a horror movie. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” wasn’t really a horror movie, so it needed some current horror stuff. With “Evil Dead,” which isn’t even out yet, we spoofed the trailer.

BE: Are either of you horror fans?

SIMON REX: I’m more of a fan of the comedy genre or spoofs like this, from Mel Brooks to all of David Zucker’s movies. I am a fan of what we did more than horror movies.

ASHLEY TISDALE: I’ve always been scared of scary movies, because I live by myself. Seeing something and having a big imagination, I’ll think someone is there. It’s funny — this movie has made me like them. Now, I’ll go see “Mama,” because now I’ll see things and think, “That is so spoofable.”

BE: Ashley, when you’re humping the microwave, are you thinking, “This is comedy gold”?

ASHLEY TISDALE: No. (laughs) That was part of the reshoots. I had already humped a potted plant and that was nerve-wracking. There was only one camera guy and they kept it really quiet. When it got to the point with the chair and the microwave, I was like, “Oh, I’ve got this. It’s fine that everybody’s watching.” I do remember the hardwood chair hitting me from behind and I looked from behind like I was all into it. Simon was like, “You’re getting slammed by a chair right now.” And I just started hysterically laughing. It was one of those moments where you never think you’re going to be in that position.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to April

april_preview

April has always been an odd month for new releases, particularly now that the spring movie season doesn’t really exist anymore, at least not in the minds of studios. Instead, everything seems to be split into two groups: films that fit the summer mold and those that don’t. But while moviegoers will be pretty limited with their options this month, it’s definitely one of the more promising Aprils in recent memory.

“EVIL DEAD”

Who: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas and Lou Taylor Pucci
What: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.
When: April 5th
Why: Remakes are always a worrying proposition, especially for fans of the original film, but when it was announced that Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert were behind the modern-day update of “Evil Dead,” there was a collective sigh of relief. After all, who better to trust then the trio responsible for the 1981 cult original? It’s also nice to know that the film isn’t just a rehashing of Raimi’s first movie, but rather a whole new story with new characters in an otherwise familiar setting, and if the early buzz from the film’s world premiere at last month’s SXSW festival is any indication, Fede Alvarez’s remake/reboot/sequel (whatever you want to call it) has everything horror fans could possibly want – namely, the gooey red stuff, and plenty of it.

“TRANCE”

Who: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel and Danny Sapani
What: An art auctioneer mixed up with a group of criminals teams up with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.
When: April 5th
Why: Danny Boyle’s follow-up to “127 Hours” can’t get here quick enough, especially after being delayed by the director’s other engagements on stage (the National Theatre production of “Frankenstein”) and for his country (the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony). His new movie is a return to roots of sorts, reteaming with frequent collaborator John Hodge (“Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting”) for the kind of gritty, edgy crime thriller that he cut his teeth making in the mid-90s. It’ll be interesting to see what Boyle brings to the genre now that he’s a more mature and wiser filmmaker, because “Trance” looks a lot more experimental than his recent work, and despite its “Inception”-like premise, that’s probably the most exciting thing of all.

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