You know it’s a slow week when one of the most exciting new Blu-ray releases is a pretty crappy, 30-year-old B horror flick. Personally, I have so much else going on right now that I welcome the break.
From David Ayer, the screenwriter of ‘Training Day’ and ‘Dark Blue’ and the director of ‘Street Kings’, comes another gritty urban drama about corrupt L.A. cops. ‘End of Watch‘ stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, and from what I can tell, it’s just more of the same. If you liked those other movies (personally, I didn’t care for them), here’s another one. The movie did surprisingly well at the box office during its opening in September (relative to its modest budget, anyway). The studio was so convinced of its Oscar potential that it re-released the film in December for awards consideration, whereupon it made no additional money at all and received precisely zero Academy Award nominations.
A notable title at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, the R-rated phone sex comedy ‘For a Good Time, Call…‘ performed about as well in general release as other Sundance hits. Which is to say that it vanished without a trace and nobody heard from it again. Luke was pretty tepid on it when he saw it at Sundance.
Another Sundance carryover is the stupidly-titled ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘, in which two music fans try to find out what happened to their favorite ’70s rock star. Too bad VH1 no longer runs ‘Where Are They Now?’ specials.
The Criterion Collection releases its first 3D title in the form of Wim Wenders’ Oscar-nominated dance documentary ‘Pina‘. This has me intrigued, but Wenders’ output hasn’t impressed me in quite a long time.
Both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren have bounced in and out of the ‘Universal Soldier’ franchise since most of its entries started going direct-to-video. They last appeared together in 2009′s ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’, and return together again in ‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning‘. Despite being a DTV flick from a pretty mediocre series, this one has gotten a fair amount of buzz from fan circles. Apparently, it turned out much better than expected.
Olive Films celebrates Stephen King’s rabid-St. Bernard horror thriller ‘Cujo‘ with a 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. Has no one told the studio that this isn’t one of King’s better books, nor is it a very good movie? Someone ought to. [Trivia note: The child-in-danger in the movie is Danny Pintauro, who would later spend eight seasons on TV wondering whether Tony Danza or Judith Light was in fact the boss.]
On a classier note, Olive is also releasing Blu-rays for the classic romantic dramas ‘Indiscrete‘ (with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, directed by Stanley Donen) and ‘The Quiet Man‘ (with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, directed by John Ford), as well as cult director Hal Hartley’s quirky 1990 dramedy ‘Trust‘.
In addition to ‘Pina’, Criterion reaches back to 1962 for Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s enigmatic debut feature ‘Ivan’s Childhood‘. Tarkovsky’s work may be an acquired taste for many viewers, but his artistic legacy certainly deserves a position in Criterion’s library.
Before he became famous for saving the ‘Star Trek’ franchise, Nicholas Meyer wrote a novel and screenplay for the clever, revisionist Sherlock Holmes tale ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution‘.
Before he became famous for saving the James Bond franchise (twice!), director Martin Campbell got his start by making an X-rated caper comedy called ‘The Sex Thief‘. I’m not necessarily endorsing this movie. (I haven’t seen it.). I just thought that was pretty weird.
That’s about it for this week. I’ll probably put both Criterions, ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution’, ‘Indiscrete’ and ‘The Quiet Man’ on my wish list for later purchase, but I don’t feel an urgent need to get them right away. Does anything grab your attention this week?