New to VUDU: Week of November 27th, 2011

With news that iconoclastic British filmmaker Ken Russell has died, I decided to use this week’s VUDU update to see if the streaming service has any of his movies in its catalog. Indeed, I found one. Since this is a slow week otherwise, perhaps now would be a good time to check out this maverick director’s work.

But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s look at new titles entering the VUDU stream:

  • ‘5 Days of War’ (11/29)
  • ’30 Minutes or Less’ (11/29)
  • ‘Another Earth’ (11/29)
  • ‘Answers to Nothing’ (12/2)
  • ‘The Art of Getting By’ (11/29)
  • ‘Born and Bred’ (12/1)
  • ‘Chillerama’ (11/29)
  • ‘Daylight’ (12/1)
  • ‘Friends with Benefits’ (12/2)
  • ‘The Future’ (11/29)
  • ‘I Am’ (11/29)
  • ‘One Day’ (11/29)
  • ‘Our Idiot Brother’ (11/29)
  • ‘Roadie’ (12/2)
  • ‘Spork’ (12/1)
  • ‘A Warrior’s Heart’ (12/2)

VUDU keeps pace with many of the week’s Blu-ray releases. The biggest titles, sadly, are the box office flops ‘30 Minutes or Less‘ and ‘One Day‘. The caper comedy might be worth a rental, but the Anne Hathaway romance thing is supposed to be pretty dreadful.

Of more interest are the indie titles, especially the comedy ‘Our Idiot Brother‘ and the sort-of-sci-fi drama ‘Another Earth‘. Both of these have received a lot of good buzz, including among the site staff here.

One movie you can safely avoid, however, is ‘The Future‘, an insufferably pretentious drama/comedy/fantasy written, directed by and starring performance artist Miranda July. I reviewed this earlier in the year and just hated, hated, hated it. Really, it’s atrocious. I can’t say that strongly enough. Unless you happen to be one of July’s adoring fans, take my word for it and avoid this like the plague.

Josh’s (Not So) Random VUDU Pick:

As mentioned above, Ken Russell passed away on Sunday at the age of 84. The director is perhaps best known for his trippy sci-fi drug fantasy ‘Altered States’ and his equally trippy film adaptation of The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’. Russell was a provocateur, and loved to push people’s buttons with highly-charged sexual and/or religious content in controversial movies like ‘Women in Love’, ‘The Devils’ and ‘Whore’.

In digging through the VUDU catalog, I found that the service has ‘Tommy’ for rent, but only in standard definition. (Fortunately, you can get that one on Blu-ray.) The only of Russell’s titles I found available in 1080p HDX format happens to be, sadly, one of his worst – the cheesy 1988 horror flick ‘The Lair of the White Worm‘, with Hugh Grant (really!) and ‘L.A. Law’ star Amanda Donohoe, who plays a snake-worshipping vampire whore demon. Or something. Honestly, the plot doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.

Let me be clear that this is not a good movie, really in any respect. However, it has some camp appeal, and Donohoe gets very naked in it. The movie also showcases Russell at some of his most demented and unhinged. As stupid as the film gets (and it gets really stupid), the director goes absolutely bonkers with the horror fantasy schlock stuff, which has to be seen to be believed. I mean, a topless Donohoe runs around impaling nuns with a strap-on spike dildo. And Jesus is a credited character. I’m pretty sure that he gets strangled on the cross by a giant snake with a penis face. So… yeah. This shit is crazy.

Warning: This trailer has some nudity, and is not safe for work.

R.I.P. Ken Russell. There may never be another like you.

All dates provided refer specifically to rental availability. Check VUDU for sell-through availability, if interested. Be sure to also check for VUDU’s $0.99 Movie of the Day offers, which are announced each day on the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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