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.
ALOHA – ALOHA came under fire for a variety of reason and it took the hit at the box office by underperforming and only bringing in an opening weekend of $10 million. Directed by Cameron Crowe, who previously directed ALMOST FAMOUS, JERRY MAGUIRE and a host of other romantic dramedies, and starring Bradley Cooper and Rachel McAdams you’d think it would have done better. However, when the Sony leak happened the then studio boss said the film was the plot of the movie and it got pushed back from its original Christmas release date. Also, various minority organizations claimed the film white-washed Hawaii’s population of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Third, maybe more important, is the film just isn’t that great. It deals with infidelity and mid-life crisis and other things that a majority of the population just do not enjoy seeing. Critics agreed giving it a marginally decent grade overall. Of course, this plotline also follows just about every other Crowe flick in that it involves an older guy that seems to go through some sort of self-discovery and tries to get with a younger chick. It has been done and maybe audiences are sick of it. Still, marginally decent grade means it isn’t all that bad and if you are into such dramedies you can check it out now on Blu-ray and DVD.
BIG GAME – I like to talk about the shifting dynamic of Hollywood in my roundups because I find it very fascinating. In a nutshell, the shift is that many of the well-known actors we have seen for years in big budget movies are being forced to find work in straight-to-video flicks because likely they can’t find work in wide-release films. From Bruce Willis, to John Cusack, to Thomas Jane, to Billy Bob Thornton and many others you wonder why a big name would sign on to a cheeseball or low-rent movie. Now there are some exceptions here and one of them is Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson has long been someone that has played both sides, releasing numerous films right to DVD or Blu-ray and then also being in huge blockbusters such as THE AVENGERS or CAPTAIN AMERICA. I think maybe it is Jackson just accepting whatever he gets pitched? I’m not sure but he is one of the few who are able to balance it out. That brings us to BIG GAME. In this straight-to-video film, Jackson plays the President of the United States who escapes the crash of Air Force One in an escape pod. There he meets a young Finnish boy (because he crashed in Finland) who helps him fight against and escape a gang of kidnappers looking to, obviously, take the President. While unbelievable, BIG GAME isn’t bad and Jackson does his usual serviceable job. It has good moments between the two characters and some decent action but don’t expect a big budget adventure.
BERRY GORDY’S THE LAST DRAGON: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION – The 80s throwback to Blacksploitation movies comes to high definition for the first time for its 30th birthday. THE LAST DRAGON is the story of a martial arts student named “Bruce” Leroy Green that goes on a journey to find a supernatural force. Of course, the journey is filled with danger as he must face-off against a Harlem kung-fu master as well as an ancient warrior (that also knows kung-fu). He must also rescue a singer, participate in a dance-off and of course beat up a whole slew of goons. It is a crazy flick but one with a pretty awesome soundtrack featuring music from Motown. If you haven’t seen it yet, now it looks probably the best it may have ever looked.
CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE – Not a bad horror flick about a small town where each year someone dies around high school graduation. When our leading lady goes to a party and claws out the eye of the competing high school’s football quarterback, things start to go a little off the rails. The guy with the clawed out eye begins to stalk the girl and they believe many of the strange stuff going on is the result of him getting revenge. But all along, the girl keeps having strange visions of things both past, present and maybe even future. Much of the film plays like a show on The CW with teen angst and boys fighting over girls and all that usual jazz but it is a sense of dread that keeps the film going. Unfortunately, the ending is not at all what we get and instead is a crazy home invasion gone wrong scenario. Is the curse real? Or does it just cause others to do stupid things? That is the question everyone is left lying. CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE is available on VOD everywhere.
THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON – This is an interesting release date for THE WALKING DEAD considering the show doesn’t return until Oct. 11. But there is a very good reason for it. See, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD just debuted last Sunday and an effort to get it even more attention (not that it really needs it), the release of the DVD/Blu-ray will give fans a reminder about the show and if they haven’t already set their DVRs will do so now. The fifth season of THE WALKING DEAD, meanwhile, takes the show in a very new direction in that the Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) group finds a place that they may be able to finally call home in Alexandria. Of course, along the way they have to finish the major plotline from Season 4 in Terminus where it looked like Rick and friends’ goose was cooked (literally). Interestingly enough, this last for only a few episodes and soon they are on the road again with survival the main objective. But once a stranger comes and tells them of a place where they can be safe, they take a chance and find Alexandria. Which turns out to be pretty good but not without its own issues. The cool thing here is that the special features has a ton of good content including “journeys” of the lost friends, featurettes on the surviving members, location featurettes, special effects featurettes and more. Being one of the more popular shows on TV, if you haven’t seen Season 5, this is a great way to catch up.
Other titles released this week:
METAMORPHOSIS/BEYOND DARKNESS – Another pretty cool double feature from Scream Factory featuring the debut of two horror classics on Blu-ray.
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Article: Blu-ray and DVD Reviews for the Week of August 25, 2015