The day has finally arrived. Forget all this Affleck/Batman folderol. I Come In Peace is now available thanks to the good folks over at Shout Factory. They are truly doing the Lord's work, taking our troubled minds off the Gotham City blues. Life is good again. Plus, a whole batch of new & old classics. Q!!!!!!!
MUST BUY DVD OF THE WEEK!
Dark Angel: In 1990 I was riding high from a string of spectacular Dolph Lundgren appearances. Obviously, my life was forever altered by Rocky IV ("I Must Break You"), and that titanic Russian (uh-hum, Swede) made hay while the sun shined with such VHS bottom feeders like Masters of the Universe, Red Scorpion, and The Punisher. However, the piece de resistance was the whackjob buddy cop sci-fi actioner I Come In Peace aka Dark Angel. An evil drug dealing alien lands in Houston, Texas to harvest humans of a deadly intergalactic narcotic. This white mullet demon takes down a space cop hot in pursuit and it's up to Dolph Lundgren's no-nonsense detective to save the human race. Of course, he's gonna need the help of Brian Benben's by-the-book G-Man if we want a snowball's chance of surviving this Reagan-ocalypse. I actually watched this a couple months back on VOD, and it's certainly not as brilliant as my pre-teen brain once made it, but at the same time, I Come In Peace is too damn weird not to own.
Pain & Gain: Certainly one of the few films released this year I'm comfortable claiming to be a favorite, but that very fact kinda boggles the brain. I've always enjoyed Michael Bay's blunt mixture of polish and crude adolescence. Bad Boys II, The Rock, Transformers - I'll go down defending those flicks, and dammit if Pain & Gain isn't his masterpiece. His pornographer's eye and dimwit humor fit perfectly with this Darwin Award winning crime caper. Too bad it's all based on some really heinous evil, as this true story makeover can leave a bad taste in your mouth if you let it. The trick is to ignore the "Based On True Events" sticker. The Rock's psychotic Jesus freak goes a long way in making that happen.
To Be Or Not To Be: Like so many Criterion releases, I've never seen this one but I most certainly want to get acquainted. Shakespeare vs. The Nazis and all done for laughs! Yes, please. But don't take my world for it, just listen to Joe Dante's Trailers From Hell.
Q - The Winged Serpent: An absolute staple of the Gullickson household, and a movie that is guaranteed to transform any child into a Movie Monster Maniac. David Carradine, Michael Moriarty, and Richard Roundtree team-up to take down a real-deal dragon terrorizing the skies of New York City. It's absurd how this winged beast hides from the authorities for the first 2/3rds of the movie, but once the screenplay gives the beast free reign of the skyline, the movie nails all the proper B-Movie requirements. It's been too long since I've taken Q for a spin and I look forward to consuming it in rich, grimy high definition.
Pawn Shop Chronicles: I really do love Wayne Kramer's Running Scared. The Cooler is great too, but Running Scared is a special brand of crazy not often replicated in the cinematic universe. After the director stumbled with the boring art house realism of Crossing Over, he returned to an absurdist landscape that reaches for broad comedy rather than settling on the just plain odd. I caught this just after Comic Con, and all I can say is.....whaaaaaa? Pawn Shop Chronicles is nearly an anthology film centered around Vincent D'Onofrio's store and the varied customers that pass through. Paul Walker is a redneck dimwit attempting to overthrow Norman Reedus' meth kingdom. Matt Dillon is a husband in search of his wife's killer (played possibly by the Sin City creepy Elijah Wood). Brendan Fraser is a KKK inspired Elvis impersonator who encounters Satan himself at the crossroads. And Thomas Jane might be Jesus. Sure, it's kooky, but is it good? I don't think so. If you had a problem with the tonal shifts of Pain & Gain than you'll absolutely loose your mind with rage here. But I certainly had fun gawking at the train wreck.
The Great Gatsby: I think if Baz Luhrmann had just made his uproarious 20s flapper movie than I would have absolutely loved it, but his aesthetic just never jived with the source material. I hear what you're saying, but Brad you should not be so beholden to an American Classic and there is always room for interpretation. Ha! Show's what you know, I don't give a hoot about the AP English snoozefest. I just think that Fitzgerald's plot gets in the way of Luhrmann's style, and there was probably a pretty rocking music video at the center of this drab endeavor.