September 27 sees an odd mix of new Blu-ray & DVD releases. It’s quite the eclectic group of new releases I had come my way. A couple have their own separate reviews, but since this is a recap of what’s coming out this week, I’ll mention them here as well.
First we have Edge of Winter. Despite being in the really bad RoboCop remake, I really like Joel Kinnaman. He has a great series called Easy Money I enjoyed. He plays a divorced dad who takes his 2 sons into the cold woods to teach them how to shoot and try to bond with them. The boys live with their mom and Kinnaman has a hard time bonding with them and being in their lives. Tom Holland (the new Spiderman) plays his oldest son and man is he going to be a fantastic actor. He goes toe to toe with Kinnaman and handles his scenes perfectly. They get stuck in the cold and woods and run into other men Kinnaman doesn’t trust. Some secrets come out and drama unfolds. I definitely feel like I’ve seen the film done before, but Holland and Kinnaman are really good in the film. The backdrop works to really set the mood and tone and the acting is top notch. Despite feeling like other similar movies, Holland and Kinnaman’s performances are worth seeing. Holland could be the next Daniel Radcliffe.
Second we have The Shallows. This has its own full write-up, but since it’s out this week, I’ll give it a little blurb here. I missed this at the theater, but quite enjoyed it on Blu-ray. Yes Blake Lively looks amazingly hot throughout the film, but she really impressed me with her performance. She plays opposite a shark for most of the film yet gives a solid performance which shows she can be a leading lady. The Blu-ray looks fantastic with beautiful colors and a crisp, clean picture. It doesn’t try to be anything it’s not and if movies like Jaws freaked you out, this will do the same. It’s a fun, easy going watch and worth checking out. Check out the full write up for more.
Next is Slugs. I had never heard of this 1980s creature film and I can see why. It’s kind of bad, but also kind of fun. You have to like these types of movies to enjoy it and I tend to like them. It reminded me of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes a lot. It’s campy, pretty dated and lame by today’s standards yet I had fun with it. There’s some nudity and good kills. The slugs look creepy and gross. There’s blood and people not believing the guy who figures out what’s going on. I’m sure it’s a cult flick for those in the know and the new Blu-ray looks pretty solid. If you know of the film and it was one of your favorites growing up, pick up the Blu-ray, there’s a lot to it.
Fourth we have Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich. I watch a lot of war movies and this is just another one. It’s pretty generic and by the books for a straight-to-video style movie. But it does have a good cast. Stephen Lang, Tom Sizemore and Rutger Hauer have smaller roles, but Sean Patrick Flanery and Kip Pardue play two of the soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. They meet up with some Russian soldiers who tell them that the Allies’ plan to kill Hitler (which was called Valkyrie) failed. They join forces to get back to a meet up spot. I’m a history buff and war movie junkie so nothing about it feels original, but the actors aren’t bad and it’s pretty decent for what it is. It won’t wow anyone, but if you like the cast, check it out.
The Disappearance is next. This 8 part French mini-series is pretty darn good. I’m not overly familiar with French programming, but this feels like a lot of British dramas and I’m a fan of those. It easily compares to The Killing, New Blood, Thirteen and others. I don’t think I know any of the actors in it, but I’m ok with that. All of them are really good and the series keeps you guessing. A 17-year-old girl goes missing and the investigation leads in many directions. Family members are stunned at what they learn and every time you think you get it, something else pops up. It could have easily been just another crime/detective series, but it’s smartly written and I really liked the direction and feel of the show. The talent involved lifts it from being just another generic investigation drama. If there’s more following this mini-series, I’d watch!
Warcraft is another film with a full write-up so here’s a blurb. I didn’t love the movie, but it was better than expected. I figured I’d hate it, but I didn’t. I don’t know if I’d ever watch it again, but the cast and visuals are cool. I’m not a Warcraft player so I can’t tell you if the characters are based on game characters, but I did like some of them. Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga are all good in it, but the CG characters are too much for me. I’m not a fan of CGI so those characters and the world they interact it bore me more than entertain. The 4K does look absolutely stunning though. The visuals are flawless on your 4K high-definition television. If you want to know more, read the full review.
Speaking of visuals The Neon Demon is also out this week. Nicolas Winding Refn’s look at the modeling world and its eat or be eaten lifestyle. Literally. But I’ll get to that. The positives with the film are the direction and style. Refn is a master at coloring, shading and blocking. Other directors are all style without substance, but Refn gives you both. His films look amazing, but also have something to them. Plus he’s one of the best filmmakers in terms of music and score. This film sounds fantastic. Elle Fanning gives a breakthrough performance that shows she’s no longer a little girl. I want to see her work with Refn again because he makes her look stunning, striking and powerful. I will say that the movie takes a hard out of nowhere twist towards the end. If you know nothing about the film you won’t see it coming. I was told there was a twist, but trust me, you won’t believe it. I don’t know if I even understand what I watched, but the film is so flawless and brilliant in other aspects I simply don’t care. One of my favorite films of 2016. Disturbingly great.
The Wonder Years Season Six hits DVD this week as well. It’s also the show’s final season. I loved this show as a kid and it still holds up. One of my all-time favorite episodes is in season six, the fishing trip episode. Kevin, his brother and father do their annual fishing/camping trip and it’s the perfect coming of age episode. They’ve clearly outgrown the trip and you watch these two actors (who you watched growing up over six years themselves) showcase their new, older abilities and it hits you hard. Just a perfect family episode. Other good episode are the wedding where Kevin drinks champagne, Kevin painting a house for money, Winnie staying the night, Kevin taking the SATs, The Rolling Stones episode (a classic!), Kevin trying to get a job at the summer resort and Kevin’s return home. The show is one of my all time favorites and if you have the other seasons, add Season Six this week.
Last, but definitely not least, we have Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. WOW. This is absolutely amazing. I’ve seen bits and pieces of Motown 25 since it first aired in 1983, but again, wow. This six disc set has an extended version of the concert, 14 hours of bonus features, a 48 page book, rehearsal footage, roundtable discussions with some of the most legendary names in Motown, and 25 interviews. Buy it now and put it away for Christmas for a loved one because this is outstanding. The box says Smokey Robinson & the Miracles sing The Tears of a Clown in the show so that immediately had me interested. That’s one of my favorite songs. But don’t think that’s the biggest hit you’ll see. Seriously, this is one of the greatest collections of old school soul and R&B you’ll ever hear. I grew up on this music cause of my parents and pretty much knew every song in this. Sure most people know Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye, but this also has Stevie Wonder doing Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) among other hits of his. There’s a combo performance of The Temptations and The Four Tops. There’s lots of ladies in the mix as well including Diana Ross, Mary Wells and Martha Reeves. Non Motown artist Linda Ronstadt performed with Smokey Robinson. This is an absolute must own masterpiece. WOW.