We welcome you back from the long weekend with good news. The dog days of August are finally over. For better or worse, we have now officially entered… the shark days of September!
I don’t generally go for the deliberately crappy “mockbusters” that production house The Asylum makes for the Syfy Channel, but ‘Sharknado‘ is just so sublimely ridiculous on every level that my defenses were powerless to resist it. I offer no excuses for this. I watched the Syfy broadcast and cackled with glee the whole time. My favorite bit: When one dipshit character explains the “science” behind his plan to blow up the shark-filled tornadoes by tossing pipe bombs into them from a helicopter. Oh, you goofballs, you got me this time. You got me. Would I buy the movie on Blu-ray? Probably not, although if you’re so tempted, you might want to hold out for this German import scheduled for November that will feature a half-assed, quickie 2D-to-3D conversion. If you’re gonna do this thing, you gotta go all in.
If you’re looking for something a little more mainstream that was presumably produced with somewhat competent production values, the biggest release of the week is ‘Now You See Me‘, the action comedy in which a group of stage magicians pull off big crime heists. Reviews for this were all over the map. Shannon makes a case for it in his Blu-ray review (linked above).
‘From Up on Poppy Hill‘ is the latest animated film from Japan’s Studio Ghibli. This one is scripted by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro Miyazaki. The latter’s ‘Tales from Earthsea’ was not particularly well received, not even by his father, who was very critical of his son. Presumably, they patched up their differences in the meantime. Critical response for ‘Poppy Hill’ was more favorable, with a consensus that it’s worthy of the Ghibli label even if it’s not one of the studio’s great classics.
Does anyone actually like Rob Zombie’s movies? He keeps making them, so I guess people must keep paying to see them. His latest is ‘The Lords of Salem‘, about which I could not give even a single damn.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has starred in no fewer than five movies this year, mostly of middling to poor quality. The fact that I’d never even heard of the crime drama ‘Empire State‘ probably doesn’t bode well for it.
The indie scene brings us a host of recent film festival titles. In ‘Arthur Newman‘, Colin Firth has a mid-life crisis and fakes his own death, only to fall in love with Emily Blunt. (Who wouldn’t?) I have trouble buying Julianne Moore as a small town spinster. Apparently, so did everyone else, because her comedy ‘The English Teacher‘ received mainly negative reviews and did no business. Michael Shannon plays a 1980s hit man in the true story bio-pic ‘The Iceman‘. Finally, the documentary ‘Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie‘ delves deep into the history of the controversial loudmouth tabloid TV host.
‘The Fugitive‘ was one of the earliest releases on the Blu-ray format, and suffered a pretty crappy video transfer at the time. Warner Bros. finally rights that wrong with a newly remastered 20th Anniversary Edition. I’m sure that a lot of people are more excited about this than I am, but I’ve never understood the fanaticism for the movie. While it’s an adequately competent suspense thriller, I’ve never found it anything special. Its 1994 Best Picture Oscar nomination baffles me.
When Warner released the 1946 noir classic ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice‘ on Blu-ray last year, the studio originally announced that the 1981 remake with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange would come out at the same time. Apparently, that disc was postponed and is only now hitting the format. The remake, which was scripted by David Mamet and directed by Bob Rafelson, was excoriated by critics back in the day, but has some admirers.
If you didn’t buy the so-called Limited Edition Gift Set of Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic ‘The Ten Commandments‘ when it was released in 2011, you have another chance now with the Ultimate Collector’s Edition re-release.
Universal continues to break out titles from last year’s massive (and expensive) ‘Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection’ to standalone releases. The latest is ‘Marnie‘.
It seems to me that Jim Carrey’s goofy ‘Ace Ventura‘ comedies would make a perfect candidate for a value-priced double feature disc. Instead, Warner wants to bilk fans with separate releases, mistakenly assuming that there will actually be some demand for ‘When Nature Calls’. Expect to find both of these in Best Buy bargain bins shortly.
Shout! Factory offers up the cult favorite ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie‘.
Horror fans have a lot to look forward to this week, including Hammer Films’ ‘Dracula: Prince of Darkness‘ (starring Christopher Lee), Mario Bava’s ‘A Bay of Blood‘, and the Stephen King short film omnibus collection ‘Creepshow 2‘.
As if all of that weren’t enough, the TV-on-Blu slate is bursting with new box sets, including the final season of ‘The Office‘, the fourth season of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘, the third season of Syfy’s ‘Haven‘, ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned‘ (which is the third season of the Starz network’s ‘Spartacus’), the second season of ‘Person of Interest‘, and the first seasons respectively of ‘Revolution‘, ‘Da Vinci’s Demons‘ and ‘Sinbad‘.
Whew! That is a whole lot of new Blu-ray releases. And yet, honestly, nothing on that list really compels me to an immediate purchase. Are you more excited for something this week than I am?