Another long weekend must come to an end. I, for one, had a particularly uneventful July 4th. Most festivities here were either canceled or rescheduled due to rain. As we come back to the new work week, it’s time to dig up some new Blu-rays of note.
‘Bad Words‘ – Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut with a dark, R-rated comedy about a spiteful adult who tries to ruin a national spelling bee competition by exploiting a loophole in its rules that would allow him to compete against children. You could watch this back-to-back with ‘Bad Santa’ and ‘Bad Teacher’ for an unofficial “authority figures behaving badly around children” trilogy. I have little doubt that this will appear on cable broadcast soon enough.
‘The Raid 2‘ – I still need to catch up with the original ‘The Raid’. (I’ve seen ‘Dredd’. Is that close enough?) The sequel reportedly expands the canvas to a more ambitious storyline about police corruption while still dazzling with elaborate action sequences.
‘Jodorowsky’s Dune‘ – I’ve been waiting to see this documentary for years since the project was first announced. Chilean surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted attempted to make Frank Herbert’s novel ‘Dune’ into a movie (years before David Lynch ever got involved) would have been a terrible adaptation of the source, and quite likely a disastrous failure even on its own terms, but it certainly would have been a fascinating failure. Concept art from the production has appeared online previously, along with tantalizing tidbits about the director’s plans for the film. Finally, documentarian Frank Pavich pieces together the whole story of this movie that never was.
‘Nymphomaniac‘ – Lars von Trier. That name plus the movie’s title pretty much says all you need to know. The director’s provocations (I hesitate to call them “films”) are polarizing, to put it lightly. Personally, I have no patience for von Trier’s misogyny and can’t imagine sitting through even four minutes of this, much less four hours. If you have more of an open mind than I do, the two halves can be purchased either individually (Who would want them that way?) or together.
‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5‘ – As I understand it, ‘Bad Grandpa .5’ consists of a handful of unused scenes and gags from the real ‘Bad Grandpa’ feature, stitched together with other behind-the-scenes footage into a production documentary. This strikes me as something that should have been included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray for ‘Bad Grandpa’ (which isn’t included here). Would you really pay twenty bucks for this on its own?
‘Le Week-End‘ – After the savaging he took for ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’, director Roger Michell (‘Notting Hill’) scored a little better with critics for this dramedy about an old married couple who return to the site of their honeymoon in Paris hoping to save their marriage. Unfortunately for Michell, audiences never got a chance to judge it, as the movie was barely released to theaters at all.
Twilight Time’s latest batch of limited editions include: ‘Born Yesterday‘ (the original 1950 Judy Holliday version, not the crappy Melanie Griffith remake), the 1975 John Wayne police thriller ‘Brannigan‘, Woody Allen’s nostalgic period piece ‘Radio Days‘, the Australian cricket comedy ‘Save Your Legs!‘, and the 1955 film noir thriller ‘Violent Saturday‘.
Lee Marvin stars in John Boorman’s 1967 thriller ‘Point Blank‘, the first screen adaptation of the Donald E. Westlake novel ‘The Hunter’. The book would later be adapted again for the Mel Gibson vehicle ‘Payback’ (which wasn’t half bad either, especially the Director’s Cut version).
On its face, Walter Hill’s 1981 ‘Southern Comfort‘ is a pretty overt rip-off of ‘Deliverance’. However, with Hill’s skill and craftsmanship, the movie holds up really well on its own.
In guilty pleasure territory are George Pal’s cheeserific 1960 adaptation of ‘The Time Machine‘ and the amusingly silly giant croc horror flick ‘Lake Placid‘.
This week, I’m all about the ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ documentary. I can’t wait for that one to come in.
Beyond that, I’ve heard great things about ‘Violent Saturday’. Since Lee Marvin is in the cast, that would make a pretty good double-feature with ‘Point Blank’. Those two will go on my wish list for later, along with ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Radio Days’.
Does anything grab you this week?