“UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING,” starring Kate Beckinsale and Michael Ealy. It would seem that the war between vampires and werewolves has provided enough cinematic material for yet a fourth installment, with Beckinsale filling out her leather duds as appealingly as ever, and the fangs and fur flying fast and furious. Primed to please fans of the first three, and helped considerably by a brisk running time that gets right down to business. Rated R. Running time: 1:28

Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99

“THE VOW,” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Genially implausible date flick saddles poor Tatum with the oft-heartbreaking task of trying to make his wife (McAdams) fall back in love with him after an accident wipes out her memory of their entire relationship, sending her back into the arms of a sleazy former suitor (Scott Speedman, “Underworld”). Unapologetically corny, “The Vow” wears its heart on its sleeve with a refreshing earnestness that gives it a slight edge over most of its ilk, and provides the normally stone-faced Tatum with a rare opportunity to exhibit his softer side. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:44

Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $40.99

“MOTHER’S DAY,” starring Rebecca De Mornay and Jaime King. This re-imagining of the 1980 Troma “classic” wisely doesn’t attempt a scene-for-scene remake. Instead, it captures the anything-can-happen-to-anyone insanity and go-for-broke unpleasantness of its notoriously unhinged source material, pitting a pair of outmatched new homeowners against the bloodthirsty former residents: A brain-damaged clan led by De Mornay (“The Hand the Rocks the Cradle”), who carries the picture with a truly chilling performance. Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence and torture, pervasive language and some sexual content. Running time: 1:52

Suggested retail price: $26.97; Blu-ray $29.99


“THE BIG C: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON,” starring Laura Linney and Oliver Platt. Linney continues her award-winning role as Cathy Jamison, a suburban mom fighting cancer, in one of the better examples of Showtime’s popular roster of black comedies. Season two finds the always welcome Alan Alda joining the cast as Cathy’s new oncologist. Not rated; contains language, sexual content and thematic material. Running time: 6:05

Suggested retail price: $45.99


“GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH,” starring Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates. Considered a box-office bomb upon its original release (especially when compared to the runaway success of its predecessor), this 1990 follow-up to Joe Dante’s surprise 1984 hit features even more greenie meanies running amok, this time taking over a skyscraper overseen by Trump clone Daniel Clamp (a hilarious John Glover) and creating all manner of entertaining chaos. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:46

Suggested retail price: $19.98


“GANJA & HESS,” starring Marlene Clark and Duane Jones. The horror genre all too often gets dismissed as nothing more than a source of cheap thrills, and while there is certainly no dearth of examples to support that claim, one needn’t look far to locate exceptions to the rule. By the same token, the sub-genre of ’70’s drive-in fare known as “Blaxploitation” is often similarly dismissed as disposable, even offensive, B-movie fodder.

Enter “Ganja & Hess,” a 1973 cult favorite that very successfully combines the two formats while impressing both viewers and critics besides. Largely ignored upon its original release due to writer/director/co-star Bill Gunn’s refusal to conform to expected tropes, who offers instead an inversion on the classic vampire myth in which the infected in question (Jones) actually seeks redemption through Christianity as opposed to fleeing from crosses and the like.

Alternately viewed as a meditation on addiction, an exploration of African-American culture and its embrace of the church and a straight-up horror flick, “Ganja & Hess” is that rare example of highbrow grindhouse, and is well worth a look for viewers fed up with the same old vampires. Rated R for language, sexual content and violence. Running time: 1:50

Suggested retail price: $24.95; Blu-ray $29.95

“TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE,” starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Opinions vary wildly when it comes to Tim and Eric, the proudly depraved duo who let their low-budget, frequently crude imaginations run wild in their popular series, “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” But thankfully, pandering to a particular audience is in no way a consideration for these forward-thinking avant-garde comedians, and without the restrictions of basic cable holding them back, they take their R rating for all it’s worth in this anything-goes comedy.

Saddled with taking over a failing, hilariously dilapidated and depressing shopping mall after their big-budget Hollywood endeavor goes south, our undistinguished heroes use this loose framework for more of the surreal, disturbing and often hilarious tomfoolery they’ve become known for, with partners in crime John C. Reilly, Will Forte and Ray Wise stopping by to add their bizarre two cents.

A no-brainer for fans, but not a bad entry point for newcomers either, as references to the show are actually kept to a relative minimum. Rated R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, comic violence and drug use. Running time: 1:33

Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $34.98

– Courtesy of Videoport

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