DVDs for 12/29/09 – Perfect Paranormal Getaway Activity: Facing Ali

The release week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is traditionally an off week for DVD, usually with just a couple of minor releases. Not so this year. TV releases this week include Glee: Season 1: Road To Sectionals (Fox) and United States Of Tara: The First Season (Paramount) (see TV on DVD here), and there are some substantial film releases debuting this week.

David Twohy’s A Perfect Getaway (Universal) is a deft piece of genre filmmaking, which is no backhanded compliment. In a film culture where B-movie plots are routinely executed with budgets in excess of $100 million in place of intelligence and thrown into thousands of theaters, the well-tuned genre piece is an increasingly rare breed. A Perfect Getaway is a type of film we’re used to seeing in myriad variations: an urban couple leaves the comfort of civilization for a vacation isolated in the wilds, where there just so happens to be a killer on the loose and no end to suspicious characters.

A Perfect Getaway: Trouble in paradise

Twohy delivers everything we expect—attractive performers in paradise (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as cute urbanites fumbling through the jungle, Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez as rather more prepared trail companions), breathtaking landscapes and lush scenery, ominous tensions and plenty of action—and something you likely did not: suspense, surprise and sheer fun. In a film culture where genre storytelling all too often boils down to the stock gimmicks used over and over again with special effects or high concept twists to hide the familiarity, this is so refreshingly old school smart that it feels almost new. For more on the film, read my feature review here. The DVD features both the theatrical cut and a “Director’s Cut,” which runs about ten minutes longer, but no other supplements. The Blu-ray features an alternate ending, which isn’t all that different but is significantly shorter. I prefer the original.

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