An excellent week for lowered expectations saw three flicks and one excellent series hitting the shelves.
“Magic Mike” — Movies about male strippers tend to tank, but this effort from the director of “Sex, Lies and Videotape” has a good story to firm up the proceedings. Channing Tatum stars as a popular performer who takes the new guy under his wing. Don’t expect a miracle here, but the story is serviceable enough that you can get this for that special someone. The ladies will not be disappointed.
“Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” — The popular horror novel finally hits DVD, courtesy of the guy who made “Night Watch” and “Day Watch.” Both of those films were made in Russia and featured wild action scenes set against a story about secret police battling supernatural fiends. Here you get a mini-history lesson on Lincoln while being treated to an action-packed sidebar that finds him using his rise to power to mask his search for the vampire that drained his mother. See why Honest Abe really picked up an ax. The fierce finale finds Abe battling the top bloodsucker on a burning train that is headed for a busted bridge. Great stuff.
“Wrong Turn 5” — The series that won’t die continues, as a West Virginia town plays host to a Halloween event that finds a ton of tourists dressing up for treats. They get tricked when they run afoul of the cannibal family that has been preying on tourists for five flicks. No brains but a few scares.
“In the Heat of the Night” — This series has yet to rate a release by season, but at least you get 24 episodes in this reasonably priced set. Carroll O’Connor is excellent in the role that snagged an Oscar for Rod Steiger. He is a small town sheriff who must learn to work with a detective from the big city. That guy turns out to be Virgil Tibbs, an African American cop who has no experience in the Deep South. Howard Rollins (“A Soldier’s Story”) is quite good in the role created by Sidney Poitier.
Next week look out for some dirty politics as the makers of the “Austin Powers” series bring you “The Campaign.”