Video Verdict: New DVDs for June 16

Chelsea (Willa Ford) discovers Jason (Derek Mears) watching her from the shores of Crystal Lake in the 2009 remake of "Friday the 13th."

Chelsea (Willa Ford) discovers Jason (Derek Mears) watching her from the shores of Crystal Lake in the 2009 remake of "Friday the 13th."

It’s an off week for mainstream DVD releases, but horror fans are getting something they can sink their teeth — or should I say machete — into with a remake of the horror classic “Friday the 13th.”


Friday the 13th
2 stars (out of four)
Rated R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, nudity, language and drug material
Warner Brothers
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Have your recent moviegoing experiences been plagued by things like originality, clever plot twists and sparkling dialogue? Do you long for the days when horror films were about nubile teens getting sliced and diced like fresh fish at a sushi bar? Then, director Marcus Nispel is about to become your hero.

His “Friday the 13th” retread not only pays homage to its 29-year-old namesake, it pretends as though nothing has changed in the decades since that classic hit theaters. “Friday the 13th” 2009 features not one but two groups of young adults who wander into the woods, party it up, have sex and … yeah you guessed it … get picked off one by one.

Nispel’s movie is so entrenched in the formulas of the original film that its differences hardly seem worth mentioning, but here goes. The action starts in 1980 with young Jason Voorhees watching as his maniacal mother is decapitated by a camp counselor she is trying to kill. Fast forward three decades and Jason takes his frustrations out on everyone who dares set foot in Camp Crystal Lake, the beautiful resort locale where he watched his mother die.

About six weeks after Jason (Derek Mears) offs his first batch of victims, he gets another chance when several more youngsters start partying at a lakeside cabin. Also in on the action is a strapping fellow named Clay (Jared Padalecki) who is at Crystal Lake looking for his missing sister. And, yeah, you guessed it, Clay’s sister was part of the first unfortunate group.

Jason claims his first victim 12 minutes into the film, and the bloody violence never lets up. Never.

Folks who like seeing hot actresses flash their breasts just before getting a machete to the head may find “Friday the 13th” oddly appealing. Just about everyone else will see this effort for what it is: a tired reboot hoping to cash in on the cache of the “Friday the 13th” brand.

The movie is available in its theatrical version and as an extended “killer cut,” and the Blu-ray release has both. DVD extras include a making-of feature and deleted scenes.



“Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail”: Unfortunately, review copies of this DVD were not available in advance, making an extended examination impossible. Still, Perry’s fans are sure to take an interest. The movie — written by, directed by and starring Perry — hit theaters in February and grossed more than $90 million despite mixed reviews. As the title indicates, the film focuses on Perry’s popular Madea Simmons character, whose anger management problems land her in jail. Perry plays Madea and two other characters, and he is joined by Derek Luke, who portrays a young attorney trying to help a prostitute reclaim her life.

“The Seventh Seal” and “Bergman Island”: The Criterion Collection is offering a reissue — on both standard DVD and Blu-ray — of director Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 Swedish drama “The Seventh Seal.” The movie tells of a disillusioned medieval knight (Max von Sydow) who plays a fateful game of chess against Death personified. The movie is presented in Swedish with English subtitles. Bergman fans may also want to check out Criterion’s companion release, “Bergman Island.” The 2006 documentary features candid interviews with Bergman filmed less than five years before his death in July 2007.

“Generation Kill”: The HBO miniseries about the beginnings of the Iraq War is available for the first time on Blu-ray. The large cast includes David Barrera, Josh Barrett, Wilson Bethel, Benjamin Busch, Nabil Elouahabi and Neal Jones.

“John Adams”: Also available for the first time on Blu-ray is this HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti as America’s second president. Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, David Morse and Sarah Polley also star.

“The Hunger” — The Complete First Season: All 22 half-hour episodes from the debut season of the late-1990s horror/suspense series produced by Tony and Ridley Scott. The episodic program, which aired on Showtime, was hosted by Terence Stamp and it featured performances by Daniel Craig, Balthazar Getty, Sally Kirkland and Margot Kidder.

“Morning Light”: Documentary film about the training and selection of a crew to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

“The Cell 2”: Direct-to-DVD spin-off of the 2000 thriller “The Cell.” Tessie Santiago stars as a psychic who must journey into the mind of a serial killer.

“Everwood” — The Complete Second Season: The continuing adventures of Dr. Andrew Brown and his two children who are settling into life in a small Colorado town while dealing with the lingering memory of Andrew’s deceased wife.

“Saving Grace” — Season Two: Holly Hunter continues her portrayal of a hard-living Oklahoma City detective who communes with an angel bent on changing her destructive patterns.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager — Season Two: Twelve episodes of the ABC Family series about a teen girl dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. Molly Ringwald and Shailene Woodley star.

“Elsewhere”: Direct-to-DVD feature starring Anna Kendrick (“Twilight”) as a straight-laced teen who mounts a search when her not-so-straight-laced friend (Tania Raymonde) goes missing.


Forrest Hartman is an independent film critic whose byline has appeared in some of the nation’s largest publications. E-mail him at


Filed under Video Verdict

3 responses to “Video Verdict: New DVDs for June 16

  1. smilingldsgirl

    Did you like John Adams? I thought it was fantastic on every level. Just great.


  2. Forrest Hartman

    You know what? I still haven’t caught “John Adams.” I focus my column on the mainstream releases of each week, so I always seem to be backed up watching those. Still, I like to list other noteworthy titles that are released, as I did here.

    I have heard only wonderful things about the miniseries, though. So, I hope to sit down with it when I finally get a free moment to watch something “just for fun.”


  3. smilingldsgirl

    It would be a great thing to watch over the 4th of July holiday. I have a review of it on my blog if you want to read it.


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