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JBO: Joystiq Box Office, April 19 - April 23, plus Joyswag!

Kevin Kelly

We can't be gaming all the time, despite our best efforts, and from time to time we'll actually take advantage of the movie-playing abilities on our gaming systems. JBO features our top picks for XBL, PSN, Netflix's Watch Instantly and Blu-ray each week.

Recommendation of the Week:

Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This (Blu-ray: $24.99 MSRP, much lower at most retailers)
Earlier this week, Cheech & Chong returned to the world. Most appropriately, the date it happened was 4/20. For those of you who might know know, Cheech & Chong invented pot humor. Then they rode the top of that world for 14 years before breaking up in 1985. Then there was no Cheech & Chong. People turned to replacement movie stoners for years, looking for someone to identify with. But now, 25 year after they last appeared together on film, they're back. They reunited for a very successful tour in 2008, and the San Antonio portion of that tour was filmed and turned into this Blu-ray, which is also chock full of special features and skits created just for the film. It's a concert tour with a bonus. You don't have to be a stoner to appreciate some of this, although it probably doesn't hurt. They're touring together again right now, and are reportedly working on a new narrative film, Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke Part 2. To tide you over until then, we're giving away three Blu-ray copies of Cheech and Chong's Hey Watch This. Head to the bottom of the post to learn how to enter.
Read on after the break for the rest of our recommendations, then chime in below!

Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)

Dollhouse: The Entire Series (240[$3] HD, 160 [$2] SD, to own)
Joss Whedon just can't seem to catch a break on Fox. First they cancel the incredibly innovative and fun Firefly, then they axe Dollhouse after just two seasons. Granted, Firefly was far superior, but Dollhouse was really coming into its own, and I have to give it credit for making me learn to love Eliza Dushku. If you've never seen the series, it revolves around a series of very expensive, very secret "Dollhouses", where "Dolls" are programmed individuals flash-printed for rich clientele. They might want an extremely hot escort for the evening, a target to hunt, someone to be their best friend, and so on. After each assignment, the individual gets wiped and kept in the Dollhouse until they get used again. Dushku played Echo, and the series revolved around her gradual ascent into self-awareness. Whedon had a five-year vision for the show, but we'll never know what that was since it was canceled only two years in. People seem to be fairly happy with the way he concluded things in the final episode, and now you can watch all the episodes to see what you missed.

Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3 and now Wii!, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)

Women in Trouble
This is one of those movies that are hard to explain succinctly. The best parallel I can draw is to have you imagine this: Let's say Quentin Tarantino was a hot lesbian, and he was an indie filmmaker. Women in Trouble is full of overlapping stories featuring extremely hot women (in various states of undress), crime, comedy, sex and more. Director Sebastian Gutierrez isn't a hot lesbian, although he is dating Carla Gugino, who stars in this film. Her character, porn star Elektra Luxx, is a famous screen vixen who has just found out she's pregnant. See? Already you're intrigued, and that's just one of the stories. Another revolves around Adrianne Palicki as the cutest blonde bimbette airhead you've ever seen on film. Gutierrez has already made a sequel to this movie that played at SXSW earlier this year, and there's a third planned to tie this up into a trilogy. It's a great character film with terrific writing, and you really need to see this before Elektra Luxx comes out, so you'll be extra prepared. One of the highlights of both films is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as porn blogger Burt Rodriguez. See it and believe it.

PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)

Avatar ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD, to own)
You've probably seen this movie already. Maybe even more than once. So what's surprising about this? If you get this in HD (and you can actually own this one in HD from the PlayStation Store), you'll be surprised at how much movie you'll see in here. Remember how this was touted as the reason movies needed to be in 3D? Well, it looks just fine (and amazing) in plain jane old 2D. In fact, I was shocked out how flat it doesn't seem. There are details here that I completely missed on a ginormous IMAX screen, and here they are no problem on my much smaller television. I still hold fast that Avatar does not contain a great story. It has a hackneyed tale that's been used several times before, which is why people refer to it as Dances With Na'vi. However, it is truly an amazing film, and Cameron shows us that he's not just sitting on a giant pile of money and laughing at us. He's bringing together cutting-edge technology and brilliant special effects with top-notch directing that is just about (but not quite) able to make you ignore the giant holes in the fabric of the plot.

Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)

Crazy Heart ($39.99 MSRP much lower at most retailers)
How great is Jeff Bridges? In everything from The Last Picture Show to Starman to The Big Lebowski to Iron Man, the guy has continued to impress in almost 40 years of film acting. He's been nominated for Academy Awards five different times, and Crazy Heart is finally the movie that netted him the golden trophy. We're only wondering why it took so long. In this film, he turns in another captivating performance as Bad Blake, a down-and-out country western singer trying to turn his life around. He's loosely based on Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, but Bad Blake is pure Bridges. There are a lot of great actors in this movie (Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal), but this thing belongs to Bridges. The actors all sing in the movie as well (the song "The Weary Kind" also won an Oscar for best original song), and the Blu-ray includes alternate scenes and music cuts, as well as a digital copy. There's really no reason not to pick up this movie, unless you truly have no heart and soul. You don't have to love country music to enjoy this, and it'll keep you primed for Tron: Legacy which comes out later this year, complete with the return of Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn.

But enough of our yakkin', what are you watching?

  • Leave a comment telling us what your favorite movie stoner is.
  • You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Limit 1 entry per person (replies to other comments won't count as entries, so feel free to chat it up).
  • This entry period ends at 12:00PM PT on Monday, April 26.
  • At that time, we'll randomly select three different winners will receive a copy of Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This on Blu-ray. (ARV: $24.99).
  • For a list of complete rules, click here.

What is Joyswag? Since we don't keep the games and merchandise we receive for review or promotional purposes, it becomes "Joyswag," which is passed along to our readers. For more info on our policy, click here.

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