THE ROCKETEER (BLU): As much as I enjoyed Joe Johnston's Captain America flick, I thought it was missing a little bit of that proper WWII spirit found in his much superior Rocketeer adaptation. This evokes that Nazi fear in a wholesome Disneyfied way. Historical GOOD vs EVIL storytelling that doesn't whitewash history in order to sell Hydra action figures. But at the end of the day this film is all about the iconography. The Rocketeer Suit. The Flaming Zeplin. The Rondo Hatton Goon. Terry O'Quinn and that Spruce Goose model. Mobsters vs. Nazis. Really looking forward to seeing this in 1080P.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: Having just finished blitzing through the original Planet of the Apes films I don't think I've been this high on monkeys since I was a kid. Going into last summer, I was dreading this film. CGI chimps. No thank you, I want my makeup. But Rise of the Planet of the Apes shocked me and I think a lot of diehards. It's a damn fine film. Does it feel 100% within the continuity of the original films? No, but it's close enough. James Franco doesn't bog the movie down as much as I thought he would and Andy Serkis' Caesar is rather amazing. Sorta wish they dump[ed a lot of the other human characters to focus more on him, but maybe we'll get that with a sequel. Come On World, Let's All Go Ape again!
DEF CON 4/HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN: If you have not seen Rowdy Roddy Piper in this post-apocalypse wasteland filled with Frogmen than your cinematic life has been missing some serious pulpy goodness. It's cheesy and ridiculous, but you just know you're in for a treat. And Def Con 4 is a whole lotta fun too. From the creators of LEXX (if you don't like that Sci-Fi gem than I don't want to talk to you), Def Con 4 has a whole lotta weird (purple aureola) talk floating around and you'll be scratching your head wondering why more weirdos don't talk about this film.
FRIGHT NIGHT: Here was another surprise from last summer. The Fright Night remake did not suck. Yep, Colin Ferrel is plenty fun as the suburban vampire terror known as Jerry and that Charlie Bartlett/Chekhov kid is a perfect foil for him. I dug the Las Vegas setting and it's fun to see Doctor Who square off against the blood suckers...not as much fun as watching Cornelius in the original but close.
KUNG FU PANDA 2: It's funny, I remember having a blast with this in the theater but unlike the original the plot and jokes have not stuck with me during these last few months. In fact, I remember very little about this film other than I liked it. But I have the first movie and I love that to death so I'm going to pick up the blu of the second.
THE NICKEL RIDE/99 AND 44/100% DEAD!: Haven't seen either of these films. But I love me some Shout Factory double features and the idea of Jason Miller from The Exorcist starring in an action film called The Nickel Ride is all I need to know to plunk down my ten dollars for the disc.
HEAVENLY CREATURES (BLU): I have not watched Heavenly Creatures in a very long time. Ten years at least. But this is the film that got Peter Jackson outta the Bad Taste era (not sure if that's really a good thing...I guess it is, but I miss the man who made Meet The Feebles) and on his path to Mordor. Heavenly Creatures is a twisted little obsession/murder tale with a dash of creep-o Orson Welles love that film fans should appreciate.
INTRUDER (BLU): This is not a good movie. But it's gory. And it's fun. And if you're obsessed with the Evil Dead films or Bruce Campbell than you'll eventually uncover this oddball confection. The story is set around a grocery store at night as the stock crew is being picked off by a madman. It's all very simple Slasher stuff, but the early efforts of KNB is appreciated.
THE EXPENDABLES (EXTENDED DIRECTOR'S CUT): I definitely enjoyed this 80s action film nostalgia-fest even though it wasn't as crazy RAMBO bloody as I was hoping. But now there's a director's cut? Could that RAMBO gore be hiding within? From the few reports that I've already read about this Extended Cut I've gathered that the intensity of the action sequences has been amped up a little, but there's nothing mind blowing to be revealed here either. But if you haven't already picked up The Expendables than you might as well go with thine version. Gotta prep for the sequel anyway.
DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME: This was a fun Kung Fu mystery and even though I'm not a proper aficionado of the genre like say my fellow co-dork Matt is, I still found enough here to be pleasantly entertained. It's no 5 Deadly Venoms though, this is more indie thoughtful Kung Fu so take that into consideration if you're just an exploitation freak like me.
TOKYO DRIFTER & BRANDED TO KILL (CRITERION BLU): If I was made of money I'd jump on these next two films without a moments hesitation. However, since I'm a retail man I'm not made of money and I already own the probably infinitely inferior standard Criterion editions of both Suzuki films. These are some gonzo Japanese crime capers and if you're at all familiar with the genre than you also have these on your Christmas wish list. I love the new Tokyo Drifter cover but the Branded To Kill one leaves me a little cold.