Your time is short. We know this. So in order to expedite your buying and Netflix decision making, we provide you with a list of the cool and not-so-cool titles coming out for movies, television and everything in-between. So put your feet up, grab some popcorn and check out this week’s selections.
IRON MAN 3 – It’s great that Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to star in AVENGERS 2 and AVENGERS 3 because maybe in-between filming those sure-to-be-blockbusters he’ll have time and desire to crank out an IRON MAN 4. Downey is by far the perfect actor for Tony Stark and it would be ridiculous to have anyone else do it since it would be inferior regardless of how much they would pay for someone. IRON MAN 3 is a lot of fun. While part 2 didn’t do it for a lot of people and was highly criticized, part 3 has a ton of action, a ton of iron suits and a lot of destruction – in particular the scene where Stark’s house is exploding and falls into the sea is amazing in high definition. The film particularly deals with the fallout from the first AVENGERS movie, which makes sense considering how big of a deal the movie was and how massive the alien invasion was, it should have some sort of impact or consideration in at least the first handful of individual Marvel movies.
But there is more here than just this aspect with the classic Iron Man villain The Mandarin introduced (not exactly as expected), other villains emerge and Tony Stark spends much of the time outside of a suit, which is probably one of the complaints about this movie that has been widespread and for good reason. Overall, IRON MAN 3 is fun and will always appeal to those who enjoy action flicks but just don’t expect it to re-create what made the original so much fun – it is more about the action and packing in as much stuff as possible than going for character driven origins. See in high-definition as you are doing yourself a disservice otherwise.
V/H/S 2 – This is how found footage films should be. While many tend to drag on or don’t work with too little of a plotline or too little of believability once things go horribly south, instead a group of vignettes all in the horror genre each short enough to give the whole story without breaching into the whole long in the tooth territory. The first V/H/S was a slew of badly filmed shorts that caught a number of unlucky people getting attacked by demons, creepy haunted houses and serial killers. Part 2 goes one step further and all of the tapes are that much more over-the-top with a group of mud men type aliens, a creepy Japanese cult retreat that turns into a zombie/devil compound, a first person view of a zombie apocalypse and an experiment in eye robotics that allows the viewer to see very angry ghosts. Again all of these tapes are viewed by an unlucky pair of people that are searching for a missing student. Overall, V/H/S 2 is a hell of a lot better than the original – which is saying something considering the first was really good and achieved critical acclaim. The scares are better, the camera work is better and the overall quality of the stories is better.
REDEMPTION – Jason Statham continues his string of single word films that all seem to blend together since they are all about a top-notch military/paramilitary/special forces/detective/mob hitman/driver that fights loads of bad guys that have done him wrong. Of course, there is always a pretty female he has to save/ transport/protect/avenge because she has seen too much/is an ex-girlfriend of a mob boss/has special number crunching abilities/was killed to prove a point. Look at Statham’s list of one-word centric movies: PARKER, SAFE, BLITZ, CRANK, 13, TRANSPORTER , REVOLVER, CELLULAR. It is Mad Libs with an action actor. Needless to say, REDEMPTION follows typical Statham action flick formula with him playing the role of an ex-military turned drunk that tries to find justice for a friend on the mean streets. Now, this is slightly more gritty and dark than much the usual Statham fare which actually gives it a notch up from his usual performances. That said, many Statham fans may not be down for this type of film where he plays more vulnerability and less car chases.
THE KINGS OF SUMMER – A pretty fun movie about three kids that want so bad to break the ties of their parents and all the crap they have been shoveled in their short lives that they decide to build a house in the middle of the woods and live there. This includes hunting for food, managing their own lives and entertaining themselves in various and hilarious ways. Call it a poor man’s STAND BY ME but without a dead body. Of course, along the way they realize that doing everything for themselves, not having their family close to them or having the comforts of a modern life isn’t necessarily the greatest thing in the world. But is it worth having (presumed) ultimate freedom as a kid? A really well made and heartfelt coming of age story that is not pretentious at all which makes for a great film for all of the family who will definitely enjoy the adult humor as well as the bathroom humor that comes about.
BLOODY HOMECOMING – A decent throwback type slasher movie where a slew of kids from the local high school are gathering for the traditional event of Homecoming and all the decorating hallrooms, nominations for king and queen, finding a date for the dance stuff that goes along with it. It could be a low-budget coming of age flick with a bunch of unknowns that find trials and tribulations of high school. However, there just happens to be a cold blooded killer running around in a firefighter’s outfit taking out the student body with the Homecoming spirit stick. While this won’t scare anyone and the special effects are pretty weak, the whole idea of an old school slasher complete with the classic shocking reveal and reason for doing the whole bloody work is fun and is something that is missing from the barrels of remakes and re-imaginings we get from today’s horror.
NIGHT IN THE WOODS – A decent indie horror flick that echoes back to the days where BLAIR WITCH PROJECT clones were running rampant. A couple and a so-called friend take a trip into the countryside of England for a night of camping. Things go terribly wrong when tension fills the group regarding the friend’s allegiance and rumors of a serial killer terrorizing the land get them all into a tizzy. When the two males disappear into the darkness, the remaining woman deals with strange sounds, shaking tents, someone following her and much more as she tries to figure out just what the hell is going on. While it is a found footage film, it really has more of the BLAIR WITCH franticness with a truckload of shaky cams, lots of running off into the dark and a bushel load of screaming into the night. Not bad and as part of the Tribeca Film Festival is now on video on demand. Worth checking out as there are some decent scares here. It is available on VOD right now.
THE FACILITY – Another horror offering from the Tribeca Film Festival that centers on seven guinea pigs that offer themselves up for testing of a new drug from a fictional pharmaceutical firm and things go horribly wrong right from the get go. The seven test subjects are a mish-mash of British people across social classes each doing it for the money. After getting injected with Pro-9, one by one the subjects begin to experience violent reactions to the untested drug where people are killed, lots of sh** gets broken and the remaining subjects desperately try to uncover a way to stave off the effects of the drug before they succumb to a similar fate. The real cool thing about THE FACILITY is the ending which given the nature of this film would typically involve a sole survivor that somehow overcomes the drug or the whole place is burned to the ground to cover it up. This doesn’t happen and in fact is the polar opposite of what happens giving it a very nice twist. Another one definitely worth checking out and is also available on VOD now.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS – One of three excellent Scream Factory, the horror branch of Shout! Factory, releases this week but this is the best of the bunch. John Carpenter’s extremely underrated horror flick about a group of religious and science students that join a professor and a priest to uncover just what the hell is the green liquid swirling in an ancient jar at the bottom of an old church. As a horde of murderous homeless decent upon the church, the students inside begin to fall victim to either crazy visions or direct interaction with the being inside the jar. Of course, given the title, you already know what’s in there. Panned when it first debuted and was a box office bust, but this little gem has always been one of those fascinating movies that really is a great 80s horror flick that over time has gained the recognition it deserves from one of the masters in the game. The cool thing here is that Scream Factory has remastered the entire thing using the latest technology giving it an awesome high definition transfer. This may be the best this film has ever looked. There are also three new featurettes which give more insight into the history of the film and some of the imagery behind it.
PSYCHO II – Shockingly, re-watching PSYCHO II isn’t nearly as bad as I remember it being. It’s enjoyable in a it-will-never-measure-up-to-the-original way but it seems as if it was made as such and they just went for including as much of the original as possible but with a much slower and not as thought out payoff. Anthony Perkins reprises his role as Norman Bates who returns to the Bates Motel after 22 years of being locked away in a mental institution. Right away things go south as he meets Mary (Meg Tilly) that seems reluctant at first but soon is all-too involved in Norman’s business. Soon he starts receiving phone calls from his mother and sees her in the windows of his house. This starts to send Norman down a familiar path and when bodies start showing up, is he back to his old tricks? While the delivery of the plot is not nearly as tight and efficient as the original Hitchcock, there are some decent twists and turns and the familiar surroundings help the lack of efficiency. This is the second Scream Factory release this week and once again they have taken an old horror film and transferred it to high definition where it looks stunning and quite possibly the best it has ever looked.
PSYCHO III – The third release from Scream Factory and certainly the weakest of the bunch. Norman is back yet again and this time he is dealing with a new set of circumstances in his life that come along to test his sanity. But at the end of the first sequel we saw that Norman went full on crazy again, garnering a “new” mother to help him deal with his craziness. Of course, this also means that he has more messes to clean up. When a former nun visits the town that looks exactly like his first kill from the original film, he gets that old familiar feeling and begins attacking those in the motel that may stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time. Given how decent the first sequel was, Part 3 plods along with little to nothing happening during the first two-thirds of the movie. The good news is that at least it maintains a bit of its originality in seeing the dual sides to Norman’s personality. The bad news is that Part 3 begins what would be turning Norman into a full-blown serial killer rather than just a poor man that has lost his marbles. Still, once again, Shout! Factory delivers in making this film look brilliant in high definition with a great transfer.
HALLOWEEN: 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION – Not sure how many anniversary editions we need of the original John Carpenter masterpiece HALLOWEEN – there has been a 20th, 25th, 30th and now 35th anniversary editions issues on DVD and Blu-ray. That said, this may be the anniversary edition you want because it features a brand new high definition transfer as well as a new 7.1 audio mix. That definitely ups the ante in terms of what you will be getting from this version of the film. There is also a new audio commentary with both Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis and a new featurette with Curtis entitled “The Night She Came Home,” with all new interviews with the famous actress. This version also includes some, but not all, of the legacy special features from the many releases of this film. So while you won’t get everything, this has some tantalizing extras that may be worthwhile to a diehard fan.
DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SERIES – With the news of Matt Smith leaving DOCTOR WHO after just a few seasons and the revelation that the new Doctor will be Peter Capaldi, the storied and highly competent actor, Season 7 of the reboot of WHO is that much more special to the fans of Smith saddened to see him go. A lot happened in this season too with the Ponds leaving the show in an extreme way thanks to those pesky Angels and the introduction of Clara (the awesome Jenna-Louise Coleman) at the beginning of the season and into the Christmas special and then finally joining the ride in the second half of the season. But also we learned in the final episode about a Doctor that has been shunned by all the other versions of the Doctor because he was branded evil or something – we don’t yet know the full details. Not sure if this will be addressed in the Christmas special that will be Matt Smith’s final episode or if they will do it during the Capaldi era but it will be quite interesting to see this come about regardless. I also hope they continue to show River Song as it would be very interesting to see her with the older Capaldi given the other incarnations have been young, cute guys. Regardless this is a great chance to see what you missed last season or view again before the new season begins.
MODERN FAMILY: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON – This series continues to prove that sitcoms aren’t just carbon copies of everything that has been done before by being one of the funniest shows on TV. The thing that makes MODERN FAMILY so much fun is that much of the storylines are actually something that you can see happening with your own family especially when dealing with children that have their own idiosyncrasies and hang ups that go along with being kids. Season 4 continues the hilarity with unwanted play dates, a house-flipping that goes totally awry, the weirdest and most embarrassing karaoke you will ever see and raging hormones that get some into hot water. All of the episodes from the fourth season are included here and as the show comes back for a fifth season this is a good time to catch up on what you missed or rewatch the episodes to gear up for the new ones.
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Article: IRON MAN 3 Highlights this week in Blu-ray, DVD and VOD Releases