Killers, fools, jailbait & twins

Lion's Gate

Alright. Listen up, kiddies and deviants — it's no rules cinema time and do we have the flick for you, because just released to DVD is this writer's No. 1 flick of '06, Crank. So what's the big beef? The premise is simple — Jason Statham is Chev Chelios, a poisoned hitman who has got to keep fightin', fuckin', and snortin' crazy drugs or he'll die before avenging his own death. You want outrageous entertainment? Then promise to rent, buy or borrow Crank as soon as you finish this article. As far as extras go, the disc has got a pop-up video making-of as well as a family-friendly audio track that even cuts out all the cussing (but not the titties!). Crank might not hold any secrets to life, but if you must go out, take a cue from Chev Chelios and do it with style. —Jeremy Wheeler


20th Century Fox

Office Space director Mike Judge is the most laid back comedy genius, he walks softly but carries a big-ass satirical stick. This time out he turned a lacerating sardonic assault on our nation's idiotic, junk-food-addled, boozed-up, violence-adoring culture, and the corporate pimps who push it on us; a message that hit too close to home for 20th Century Fox, who dumped the movie in a tiny handful of theaters last fall. Luke Wilson plays a very average Joe who wakes up from a suspended animation mishap to find himself the smartest man in a world grown too stupid to survive, since ignorant hill-jacks breed much faster than smart people. The language has devolved into a grunting mashup of hillbilly, chollo and hip-hop slang, garbage is piled miles high and Starbucks offers hand jobs along with mochas. In this fractured future, the president is a wrestler, the No. 1 movie is simply called "Ass," and crops are failing because they're being irrigated with Gatorade. Local hero Dax Shepard (Employee of the Month) makes a thoroughly convincing moron, as Wilson's attorney Frito, who got his law degree from a city-sized Costco. The humor is uneven, but more than enough funny bombs hit target to ensure an eager cult-to-be can discover on DVD what they missed at the multiplex. —Corey Hall


Mini's First Time
Warner Home Video

Moral ambiguity is not something most Hollywood movies do well. Characters are cut and dry — bad guys get punished and good guys get glory. Mini's First Time doesn't play by the rules. Its heroine, deftly acted by Nikki Reed, is a toxic and realistic piece of jailbait straight off MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Mini embodies the societal foreboding of emotionally empty teens with rich parents who are too busy with their own screwed-up lives to notice the crappy job they're doing. It's no wonder Mini has an insatiable desire to have as many first-time experiences as she can. Part femme fatale and part Lolita, she shrewdly wreaks havoc on her drugged-up mom (Carrie-Anne Moss), rich stepdad (Alec Baldwin) and anyone she sees as a pawn. There's no apology for Mini's behavior, only glee. Eschewing the rules may explain why Mini's First Time — as funny and well-acted as it is — got bitched-slapped at the multi-plex before being dumped to DVD like a Victoria Principal movie of the week. Mini's dares its viewers to rebuke its heroine, even though they're enjoying perverse thrills from her wake of carnage. Some will hate themselves for cheering this ruthless social climber; others will see Mini's First Time is social satire at its finest. —Paul Knoll


Brothers of the Head
IFC Films

The flight of Brothers of the Head takes off from a runway of bullshit. Brit director Ken Russell, and Brian Aldiss — author of the novel upon which this film is based — appear early to offer opinion and insight. Except the Aldiss in this film isn't Aldiss at all, it's an actor. So, from the get-go, the filmmakers show an artificial hand. What follows is an emotionally authentic fable wrapped in a conceit that is frustrating and clumsily constructed. Brothers of the Head concerns a fictional set of conjoined twins (a la Chang and Eng Bunker) who carry England from pub rock to punk rock in the 1970s. Played by real-life twins Harry and Luke Treadaway, Tom and Barry Howe are beautiful, magnetic and tragic. Their personalities mirror the Davies and Gallagher brothers much more than they do castoffs from the Maury show. Unfortunately, the Treadaways and their glittery punk band, the Bang-Bang, aren't allowed to carry the picture. Instead, directors' Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe frame the story as a flashback mockumentary that never proves as satisfying as their actors. —Steven John Darson

Send comments to [email protected]