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Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

January 10, 2014

A slow week saw a few four-pack bargain sets sharing shelves with a fun monster movie and a gritty crime series.


“The Following: Season 1” — Kevin Bacon stars in this edgy drama about a serial killer expert/lawman. He is one disturbed dude who has seen way too much, but his job gets even harder when he arrests the scariest guy he ever faced. Turns out this bad guy has left a legacy of worshippers and they are all ready to sacrifice everything to purport his evil. James Purefoy (“Rome”) is very good as the Hannibal Lector-like villain.


“Big-Ass Spider” — The title about sums up this homage to the big insect movies of the 1950s . The effects are pretty good and the film has a tongue-in-cheek attitude that provides plenty of humor for your giant bug mayhem dollar. Greg Gruenberg (“Heroes”) stars.


This week saw a lot of four packs hitting the shelves too. Most of them are already available as DVD sets, but these BluRay versions offer excellent prints at only 20 bucks a pop. Two stood out.


“Lethal Weapon 1-4” — All four buddy cop movies featuring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. The quality of this series went down rapidly after the first one because the characters got too cute, but they all deliver excellent action sequences.


“4 Gritty Thrillers” — This set has a more diverse group but all of the films are quite good.


“Training Day” is an excellent character study that finds a crooked cop trying to school his new partner. Denzel Washington earned his Oscar as the antihero policeman.


“Edge of Darkness” has Mel Gibson as an enraged father uncovering the conspiracy that got his daughter killed.


“Seven” is a classic and very dark serial killer chiller. It has a beautiful visual sense, thanks to director David Fincher, and a wonderful cast with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt headlining as detectives seeking a psychopath who stages the crime scenes of his victims to represent the seven deadly sins. The intense finale features an unlisted guest star who is revealed as the killer and it is such a nice surprise that I won’t ruin it for first time viewers.


“Unknown” is a Liam Neeson thriller that many people missed and should act as nice bonus.