January's still being pretty skimpy with the DVD treats. This week we get another slob comedy, another football movie, another action movie, another slasher flick and another video-shelf sequel to a movie that nobody really enjoyed all that much in the first place. So please, friends, rent before you buy.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning -- So here we have a prequel to a remake of a classic, and the law of diminishing returns is in full effect. What we were promised -- a dark and nasty tale of Leatherface's icky origins -- is relegated to a sketchy prologue, and the rest of the movie is sub-standard slasher fare in every sense of the term. Points to the team for doling out the gory stuff, but with characters like this (and a pace this glacial) there's very little reason to care who gets sliced and when. Still, the mega-rabid R. Lee Ermey is always good for a few goofy laughs. Extras on the unrated edition include a producer/director audio commentary, a 46-minute 'making of' documentary, four deleted scenes and three alternate endings.


Employee of the Month -- Superstar stand-up comedian Dane Cook makes his leading man debut in this inert clunker of a farce. What could have been a trenchant satire of super-store consumerism (or at least something akin to Office Space) quickly devolves into yet another marathon of obvious punch-lines and bodily function material. Cook seems to be going for the same demeanor that served Chevy Chase and Bill Murray so well in their early film careers ... but those guys had much better screenplays to work with. Oh, Jessica Simpson's in it too, if that means anything to you. Extras include audio commentary with Cook and his director, a few featurettes, an alternate opening and some bloopers.

Gridiron Gang -- One of only 43 football-themed films to hit theaters last year, this one's about a tough-as-nails coach/mentor who whips a team full of delinquents into playing shape. All appropriate cliches, stereotypes and morality tales are present and accounted for. Fans of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may have to snag a copy for completion's sake, but students of the Sports Movie will feel like they're playing paint-by-numbers here. Extras include a writer/director commentary, some deleted scenes, a director profile and a few featurettes.

The Protector -- Also known as Tom Yum Goong, this is Tony Jaa's follow-up to Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior -- and this guy's an absolute force of nature. Ignore the silly screenplay and the absentee acting performances; this flick is watchable just for the high-flying action scenes! Extras on the 2-disc Special Edition include commentary with a kung fu expert, two versions of the film, five featurettes, a deleted fight scene, and a music video.

Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing -- Remember that Walter Hill prison/boxing movie that starred Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames? Yeah, me neither, and I actually went to see the thing. Well, someone at New Line sure seems to remember it, because now we're getting an in-name-only direct-to-video sequel. One that stars Michael Jai White and Ben Cross. My bet is it has something to do with boxing ... in prison. Extras include an actor/director commentary and a featurette.