This is an exciting week of electric releases. You have potentially the greatest incarnation of Batman outside of a comic book, plus Criterion's Spooky October series begins, a mustachioed Lee Marvin, and the Seed of Chucky has spawned a reboot. You won't go broke this week, but you'll spend some serious time streaming some rentals.
MUST BUY DVD OF THE WEEK!
Batman - The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition: Best Buy has had this on their shelves for a couple of weeks now, and I've already watched it twice. Just a damn good movie. For decades comic book nerds have said that Frank Miller's Batman opus could not be replicated on the big screen...and they were half right, as Hollywood couldn't make it happen, but DC Entertainment's animated devision sure as hell could. They've put out some iffy stuff in the past (Batman/Superman Apocalypse yeash) and some brilliant stuff as well (Justice League - The New Frontier), but I'm ready to claim the complete cut of The Dark Knight Returns as their masterpiece. Peter Weller is Batman. He's been out of the scene for over a decade, and Gotham City seems to have become an even crappier crap hole than before. A roving gang of Mutants rules the night while the billionaire playboy tries to recapture the thrill of death on the race track. Come on Bats, what were you thinking? There is no end to Batman. And that's what this film explores exceptionally. Those looking for a straightforward narrative might find the four chapter screenplay a bit sluggish, but that's a small quibble when you're given so much Bat gold...or grit. And if you're frothing at the mouth at the very idea of Zach Snyder's Batman vs Superman than you'll want to check out the climactic Kryptonian beatdown seen here at its brutal best.
I Married A Witch: Having just spent a month obsessing over The Criterion Collection, I'm pretty much committed to purchasing every single release. The first of their October Halloween releases, I Married A Witch is apparently a comic tale in which Veronica Lake's Salem Sorceress sets her sultry sights on Fredric March's Richie Rich - hijinks ensue. I'm a little more excited for the Eyes Without A Face & The Uninvited releases later this month, but my collection could certainly use more Veronica Lake.
Shout At The Devil: This is not a great movie. It's barely a good one. But Lee Marvin vs Roger Moore set against the backdrop of World War I Africa? You gotta see it just for the Lee Marvin handlebar mustache alone. And there is a pretty rocking fist fight between Moore & Marvin planted at the center of the movie. I can't really recommend this for the average movie goer, but if yer a Marvin maniac like myself than you have to have this Shout Factory blu ray. Still, why they hell are Point Blank and Prime Cut not available in high definition!?!?!? It's insane to me that Shout At The Devil gets there before those obvious classics.
Much Ado About Nothing: Sure, Joss Whedon's Shakespeare adaptation is fun enough. What I really like is the notion that Whedon gathered up his friends and filmed this during a Christmas break from The Avengers. Watching it through that lens will allow you to forgive some of its saccharine twee. Much Ado About Nothing has never been one of my favorite plays (I'm a tragedy/history man myself), but if you're feeling particularly gormless or romantic than it will certainly hit the spot.
After Earth: Not nearly as bad as some would have you believe, and nowhere near the worst monstrosity ever perpetrated by one time wunderkind M Night Shyamalan (uh, let's try not to remember The Last Airbender, The Happening, Lady in the Water). This is a fun little adventure film in which Will Smith & son are stranded on an apocalyptic earth, counting down the seconds until their tic tac air filters run out, or the Cloverfield limb monster swallows them whole. Sure, little Will Smith is not a particularly strong actor, and he's not given any help thanks to the awful hillbilly accent they saddled these future humans with or the countless CGI threats that are tossed his way. He could have used a puppet or two to act against.
Curse of Chucky: I'm pretty darn excited for this Direct-to-DVD sequel or reboot or whatever. Brad Dourif is still the voice of Chucky, so that's a win, and he's brought his daughter into the franchise as the distraught mother battling the demonic good guy doll from Toys R Us hell. Don Mancini, the writer of the original film and the director Seed of Chucky, returns to helm what is hopefully a twisted tale of goofy horror. What I don't want is a dour retread of the original. Let's see some of those gross out gags made not-so-famous in the later films.
Corruption: I've never seen this one, but I'm always down for some Peter Cushing. Here, the man who held Darth Vader's leash, plays a mad doctor experimenting in diabolical skin grafts. Sounds a lot like Eyes Without A Face to me, but again, who cares when it's Cushing on the prowl. And in HD? Sign me up.
The Hangover Part III: I thought the first film had a few gutbusters. I appreciated it's dark, mean-spirited humor as well as its willingness to jump into the absurd - Mike Tyson. The second film was painfully horrendous in its shot-for-shot remake style approach. Thankfully this third film is not nearly that bad, but it's really just not funny. It tries to reach for an epic status, but nothing that occurs in the film matches the intensity of its poster marketing. A couple chuckles but this frat party is over.
The Purge: I really love the core concept of an America that has become so morally corrupt that one day a year citizens are given a Get Out Of Jail Card. Burglary, Rape, Murder. It's all good. Unfortunately, this bitter pill of an idea is tossed away for a routine home invasion film in which Ethan Hawke & Lena Headey scream, cry, and panic as their children go down dark hallways they shouldn't. Simply long, dull, and annoying.