Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Release Tuesday!!! (5/21/13)

Today is a crazy mixed bag of releases.  We get my favorite film of the year tossed in with two of 2013's greatest disappointments.  And then we have a trilogy of releases from Shout Factory that just should not exist.  Frankly, I'm just happy there are more than one or two titles to talk about.  I've been ducking out on this column because the releases of late have failed to excite.  Hope you like sad, downer movies cuz this Tuesday will have you contemplating the abyss.  Keep out of reach of hand guns.


Side Effects:  A few weeks ago, I thought that Iron Man 3 had moved to the top spot of my favorite films of the year so far.  But upon reflection, that film has faded a little bit from my memory and as enjoyable as it was I can't really claim it as anything special.  So it's Side Effects that remains the highlight of 2013.  This seems to surprise a lot of my friends (specifically my blog buddy Matt), but without going into too much detail, I can tell you that Steven Soderbergh's latest and possibly last cinematic endeavor is a real gem of a thriller.  "Thriller."  It's a genre classification I don't like to use as it really doesn't classify anything in particular - shouldn't all movies thrill?  Isn't Top Secret a thriller?  I will say is that Side Effects is not what it seems on the surface.  Channing Tatum is released from prison and is greeted by a wife suffering from crippling depression.  Their relationship shatters when Jude Law's doctor enters their lives with a fancy schmancy new prescription drug.  Steven Soderbergh makes a film Alfred Hitchcock would have helmed if he were still around.  I cannot think of higher praise.


The Burning:  Imagine Friday the 13th but populated with the oddest cast of New York actors.  Jason Alexander! Fisher Stevens! Brian Backer! Ned Eisenberg!  And it's got an even odder slasher at the center of it all.  Beware burn victims and garden shears!  Really looking forward to the blu ray transfer along with all of Scream Factory's in-depth supplements.  This certainly isn't a film I ever thought would get a Special Edition treatment, but that's the geek paradise we currently inhabit.  Yay for us.

Captain America (1990):  One of the absolute worst Comic Book movies I have ever seen, but that's an opinion based on an 11 year old kid's reaction.  Made on a shoestring budget by a bunch of people who have no understanding of why the flag wearing badass is so dang cool.  I remember almost nothing about the plot, but I do recall The Red Skull looking very rubbery.  Here's another flick I never thought would get the high def treatment, but the success of The Avengers has 'em coming out of the woodwork.  I probably shouldn't buy it, but I just can't help myself.

The ABCs of Death:  One of the best anthology films out there, what makes The ABCs of Death work is its never wavering dedication to its gimmick.  26 various horror directors tackling 26 ways to die.  Each is given a letter of the alphabet and 3 minutes to tell their story.  Guys like Jason Eisner (Hobo with a Shotgun) and Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes) take on "Y is for Young Buck" & "A is for Apocalypse."  As with all films of this sort, some stories work and some stories don't.  But just when you're fed up of a lame tale here comes a new one to replace it.  At the very least, The ABCs of Death leaves you with some rather grisly, but memorable images.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown:  Here's another film that I know I saw but I don't really remember much about.  I remember it getting namechecked in Wes Craven's Scream and I know it's got a really cool killer covered in a spooky hood.  And it's another film being brought back to life by The Scream Factory.  Those guy's are doing God's work.  Ben Johnson heads up the cast and I'm really hoping he gets some serious screentime.  My Peckinpah love needs to see him crush some slasher heads.


The Last Stand:  The first big disappointment of 2013 has hit the dvd shelves and it's a real bummer of a flop for this die hard 80s action fan.  After some Expendable flirtations, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen market with this spectacular thud.  The Last Stand offers little excitement as Korean blockbuster Kim Ji-Woon splatters gobs of CG blood across the Texas canvas and this wannabe modern Western struggles to find intensity with Arnie's lumbering bravado.  And what the hell is Forest Whitaker doing in this movie?  Dragging ass, that's what.  His brief appearances distract audiences and grind the narrative to an absolute halt.  I really wanted to see King Conan return in a big way, but it looks like old Arnie is going to have to find love through one of his big franchises instead.  Terminator 5 coming up.  Groan.

Parker:  And here's my least favorite film of 2013 so far.  This horrid adaptation of Richard Stark's utterly brilliant revenge novel, The Hunter gets everything wrong about the character you (or is it just I?) loved.  Jason Statham's good thief butts heads with Michael Chiklas' bad thief, and there's little action as the two B Movie Lightweights snarl at each other.  Jennifer Lopez pops up to provide minimal romantic distraction, but where this movie should be hard and brutal it's really just a limp noodle.  Time for the Stath to get back on track and leave this dud behind.  A real shame given ITMOD's burning desire to see Stark done right on the big screen.


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