It’s time for Check It or Chuck It, in which we recommend five entertainment offerings to check out and five to “chuck.”

This week, we point you to a few strange and quirky films plus a new TV special about comic book geeks. Sadly, the week is also packed with uninspired reality TV, but don’t worry, we’ll get through it together, or we’ll get stinkin’ drunk trying.


Comic Store Heroes

Just in time for Comic-Con, the National Geographic Channel (I refuse to call it “Nat Geo,” because, well, I guess I don’t drink enough Mountain Dew or something) shines the spotlight on comic book fans and the biggest comic book store in America, New York City’s Midtown Comics. The pilot for this proposed documentary series, airing Friday, focuses on the Midtown crew preparing for the New York Comic-Con while serving its regular clientele of superhero-obsessed fans and collectors. Unlike the Kevin Smith-produced ‘Comic Book Men,’ which makes comic nerds look about as charming and sophisticated as Jar Jar Binks sippin’ on a can of Camo Ice in front of the 7-11,  ‘Comic Store Heroes’ promises a smart and fun look at fandom and the business of comics.

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

In his acclaimed 2008 documentary, ’The Rock-afire Explosion,’ filmmaker Brett Whitcomb profiled the quirky creator of an animatronic band of singing animals from the 1980s. Whitcomb examines another freaky ‘80s phenomenon with ‘GLOW,’ which reunites the wild ladies who helped turn professional women’s wrestling into a wonderfully chaotic and crass late night TV spectacle during the Regan era. The film premieres on Saturday at Comic-Con. Here’s hoping it gets a theatrical or VOD release soon, because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Big Bad Momma suplex the livin’ grits outta Babe the Farmer’s Daughter.

Altered States on Blu-ray

“Trippy” doesn’t begin to describe ‘Altered States,’ director Ken Russell’s dark, absorbing, and sometimes terrifying sci-fi mindfrak about a psychology professor (William Hurt) bent on breaking the rules of reality with his mind (and lots and lots of brain-melting drugs). There are little to no extras offered in this Blu-ray release, out on Tuesday, but we’re looking forward to seeing Hurt emerge from a sensory depravation tank looking like a crazed, hairy beastie in 1080p.

Easy Money

If it’s good enough for Scorsese, it’s good enough for us. The ‘Goodfellas’ helmer has officially backed this Swedish crime thriller, also known as ‘Snabba Cash,’ starring awesome ‘The Killing’ actor Joel Kinnaman. ‘Safe House’ director Daniel Espinosa earned critical raves for ‘Snabba Cash’ when it was released in Sweden in 2010. Catch this original caper, opening in U.S. theaters this weekend, before Hollywood vomits up its inferior remake, reportedly set to star Zac Efron (Noooooo!).

True Bloodthirst

This Syfy Saturday night movie looks like a trashy mash-up of the worst elements of ‘Daybreakers,’ ‘Blade II’ and, of course, ‘True Blood.’ In other words, it gives us a great excuse to make up a fun drinking game (take a shot when whenever somebody uses the word “stake” as a pun) while leering at Spanish hottie Claudia Bassols, who plays a sexy vampire or something.


Big Brother season premiere

Our hate for dumb and dull reality TV continues. CBS premieres the fourteenth season of ‘Big Brother’ on Thursday, reminding us that people would rather watch complete idiots do absolutely nothing with their lives than, say, a great scripted show like FX’s ‘Louie.’ Thanks, Amurika!

E!’s Opening Act

And speaking of reality TV, this new game show form ‘American idol’ producer Nigel Lythgoe (who is a crusty old vampire, btw), premiering tonight, rewards the marginally talented with the opportunity to open for acts like LMFAO and Jason Mraz. Sounds like a win-win for everyone except discerning viewers.

Spawn on Blu-ray

There’s a pretty strong fan base for this 1997 film based on the celebrated Todd McFarland comic book, which hits Blu-ray this Tuesday. As much as we love the movie’s star, ‘Black Dynamite’ badass Michael Jai White, it’s hard to recommend ‘Spawn.’ It’s cheesy and dull and reduces McFarland’s dark and absorbing epic to a trite good vs. evil tale laced with crude CGI.

Perception series premiere

Just when you thought TV producers had no original ideas left … well, turns out you were right. TNT’s latest, premiering Monday night, is a rote crime procedural that centers on a flawed but brilliant neuroscientist (Is there any other kind?) who helps the FBI crack their more peculiar cases. We liked it better before, when it was called EVERY OTHER SHOW ON TV!

The Amazing Spider-Man

You’ve probably already seen it. It made a bazillion dollars last week. Spidey’s rich folks. He doesn’t need your repeat business. Seek out ‘Easy Money’ instead.

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