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.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY – One of the most popular family films of the last decade was MONSTERS INC. that introduced a whole set of characters centered on scaring little kids in order to power their world. So how do you follow up on such a monster of a movie that captured so many hearts? Create a prequel that is equally fun and hilarious and establish how all the relationships from the first film were originally formed. There is a lot of fun to be had with this movie. Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles and end up on opposite sides of the scary community fraternity system. But as these stories go they both must come together in order to be accepted into the accelerated scare program and become the ultimate scare technicians both sorely want to become.
It is pretty impressive that Pixar is able to come up with a storyline and animation that matches the original. But beyond that because we already know the characters and who they become, it is fun to see how they began and how the main characters did not really like each other that much at the beginning and had to grow to become friends. The three-disc version includes the Blu-ray high def disc which this film needs to be seen in as well as a DVD and digital copy so you can take it with your portable devices if you want. A must have for anyone with young kids.
R.I.P.D. – Panned by critics and fans (even the actors involved) R.I.P.D. deserves such bad accolades as it is ridiculously pointless and contains what could be the most horrendous big-budget CGI in a long time. A cop dies by the hand of his bad cop partner and is transported to the Rest in Peace Department – an agency of Heaven that recruits cops from all time periods in order to hunt down the dead living among us that seek to do us harm. The cops of Heaven get put back on Earth in disguise and are very strong as they can take a whole host of damage without having any impact on their person. Ryan Reynolds gets a partner in Jeff Bridges, a Old West sheriff, who is gung ho about his job and knows-it-all and has no problem telling everyone. They uncover a plot by the dead ones to bring about a reckoning on Earth by opening up the gates of hell and, naturally, it is being headed up by his crooked ex-partner that killed him that happens to be a dead guy as well. Needless to say this is why Hollywood has turned to literally every other form of media in order to get ideas because this one is straight-up terrible.
BYZANTIUM – With the TWILIGHT films out there what I am about to say is a stretch but could there be a more boring vampire movie than BYZANTIUM? This is a meandering tale of a mother and daughter vampire team that somehow gets eternal life from a weird cave under a waterfall that bleeds whenever someone gets turned. For hundreds of years she has survived by either being a stripper or prostitute and preying on the weak. While her daughter takes a different path of using the elderly on their last days to feed. In-between there’s a convoluted story about love and finding your way even after centuries of life. It is a tedious film that drags on and on without much purpose other than to try to create yet another, different vampire story with a whole new set of rules for vampires that at the end drags into it a slew of bad guy vampires to threaten the lives of the mother and daughter. While the film is really well acted with Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton putting in good performances, the story is such so dull you keep looking for something else to do.
BOUNTY KILLER – A pretty cool tale of a post-apocalyptic future where the corporations of the world have become their own super power and initiated a war against the world in order to further their own fortunes. Out of the wasteland of this war has come a new breed of bounty hunter that seeks out these corporate executives to bring them to justice and hopefully start the world off right again. There are a lot of cool ideas here: the old west mixed with MAD MAX, corporations being the bad guys that they are portrayed to be, a network of Bounty Killers that use all weapons possible in order to hunt these bad guys down. Plus, there is the super hot Christian Pitre as Mary Death – the best killer on the planet. There are plenty of CGI blood being spilled, loads of arms getting blown off, some cool car chases and more shoot outs than you can shake a stick at. If you are a sucker for post apocalyptic films with a Grindhouse flare, definitely worth checking out.
SNUFF – This is an oddball flick to say the least. Billed as one of the most shocking and controversial films of all time, in today’s age of film, it is anything but. There is a weird story of a cult leader that sends out his legions of willing female followers in order to create chaos and take revenge on those that are privileged. It is a 70s movie to the extreme complete with bad acting, terrible fake blood, loads of nonsensical imagery and a plodding story that seems to go nowhere at times and becomes so long you wish for something else to happen. And just as that story comes to its climax, something does happen. The film ends and we see a set of what presumably we just have seen (even if the set is different and the actors are different). There a poor young woman is dissembled as the cameras keep rolling to give the impression that the film is actually a real life murder happening before our eyes. It is a mess and just plain weird as what we see has absolutely nothing at all to do with the movie we had just seen, which apparently was the point. The real gem here is the interviews with the crew that are on the special features that explain just what they were going for with the fake murder cut and why they did it. It explains it all and from the point of view that this was indeed just a fake thing and not real like many had made it out to be back in the day. The special features are really the shining jewel here as the movie even with the added “snuff” are tame in comparison to some things out there.
THE CONJURING – Being that the horror genre is my favorite when it comes to watching movies, I watch, report and review numerous horror films because they are fun and give you that whole escape from reality aspect that many of us so desire from movies. That said, while I wouldn’t call it desensitized, it is hard to get a rise out of me. Harder to actually creep me out. THE CONJURING creeped me out. There’s just something about it that creates an air of dread and a storyline that while it isn’t unpredictable is just plain bothersome. That’s a good thing. I take anything that can actually give me the willies as a positive because I’ve seen so many horror movies that are bland or so poorly made. The story is simple: A loving family moves into a house to get a fresh start and unknown to them the house they happen to move into has a long history of bad things happening. This is due as we find out to the original owner being a witch that sacrificed her baby to Satan then killed herself not before cursing the land for whoever takes up residence.
When they contact a husband and wife spook busting team (the wife with the gift of clairvoyance) they do everything in their power to help the family survive the rising onslaught of scares coming their way. The addition of the two ghost hunters is not a new thing but it is established early that much of what they do is just proving something is just a leaky water pipe or creaky floorboards. And seeing their reactions to what is happening (which are dread and disbelief) only gives THE CONJURING that much more of a spook factor. While much of what we see is old school props and just creepy imagery, it should be seen in high definition to get the full impact of the film and the fun to be had – plus you get a digital copy so you can scare yourself via tablet or smartphone. Well worth checking out and highly recommended.
RED CLOVER – This is the latest After Dark original that was written by Mr. SHARKNADO himself (and founder of AssignmentX) Anthony C. Ferrente. Originally broadcast on SyFy (where it was known as LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE) RED CLOVER features a young girl on a hunt with her grandfather who touches an odd looking red clover and brings to life an evil leprechaun that systematically kills an entire small town and every single character in this movie before being finally dealt with. I’m not sure why they changed the name but I can only guess it was to lure more people to the movie that had been dreadfully turned off by what they saw on SyFy. Don’t get me wrong, there are some clever things here and I can’t really fault the writer Ferrente for the horrible acting, the terrible editing or the downright laughable reactions to loved ones getting massacred left and right by a midget Pumpkinhead. But let’s be honest, they didn’t just change the name because someone all of the sudden thought “This is much better than the original!” (even if it is). Also, there are just some disastrous decisions here such as letting the Leprechaun drive or end nearly every kill with blood splattering against a wall (we get it, the budget is small, but every death is a blood splat on the wall?). A desperation rental, if your queue is exhausted.
THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION – How cool is this? For the first time ever some of the classic films from one of the masters of horror, Vincent Price, makes their debut on Blu-ray. The collection covers a wide range of material mostly from the 60s as well as one title from the 70s. The movies here include: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE MASQUE OF RED DEATH, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES. While the movies here alone are good for any fan of the classic material, there is a host of content that is added to the movies as well including audio commentaries, new interviews with Roger Corman, original trailers, photo galleries and a 24-page collector’s book. Really a must-have for any fan that has probably been waiting for the day for these movies to get converted to high definition.
DEAD IN TOMBSTONE – Danny Trejo may be the hardest working B movie actor in history. The guy is constantly in action films and has established a cottage industry of films where he is the star regardless of his acting. This one is actually fairly decent as Trejo plays an Old West bandit that gets betrayed by his crew and is killed. When he goes to Hell, he meets the devil and makes a deal with him in order to get his revenge and get the devil some more fodder for his fires of Hell. He then gets 24 hours to track them down and kill them one-by-one in order to appease his contract. Of course, it isn’t easy and he not only has these terrible bandits to deal with but also a meddling devil that continues to get into his way in order for him to renege on the contract. Not a bad film and worth checking out if you enjoy supernatural and the Old West films.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Highlights this week in Blu-ray, DVD and VOD Releases