New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the first week of October sees one of my favorite films of 2016 coming to home video along with a biopic, a video game turned movie and more.
First we have Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, an animated film based on the popular video game series. I’ve never played the games so I don’t know if the characters in this come from those games, but I do know the names doing the voiceovers. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) lead the cast. The movie looks fantastic on Blu-ray. The animation is sharp and clean and really wows you. The story itself isn’t anything new although I did find it interesting that it wasn’t 100% fantasy. I was expecting a futuristic setting or a Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings type setting, but it’s not. I think it’s a bit in the future, but vehicles look normal and there’s normal buildings and what not. There’s mystical powers so I was expecting a mystical fantasy land. Not being a gamer I don’t know if I’m the target audience for the film, but it’s an easy watch and does look brilliant. If you are a fan of the franchise I highly recommend it. I enjoyed the voiceover work and the look of it.
Second we have Swiss Army Man. This has its own full write-up because it’s one of my favorite movies of 2016, but I’ll give you a bit here. It’s easily one of the most bizarre movies I’ve seen in years and I pretty much loved it. Paul Dano plays a down on his luck guy who’s about to kill himself when he sees the rotting corpse of Daniel Radcliffe’s character on the beach. He befriends the corpse that shows signs of live to him. It’s twisted and goes great with films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotlight Mind and Be Kind Rewind. Radcliffe is absolutely amazing as the farting corpse and continues to impress me as an actor. It’s one of those movies you have to see to understand. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Next we have My Many Sons. This is a biopic about Don Meyer, a legendary basketball coach. I can’t say I was familiar with him either. Think Bobby Knight, but not Division 1. It’s a pretty by the book sports biopic. There’s drama, players clashing with the coach, the coach and his family having issues, players not wanting to play for the coach, the coach winning season after season, etc. It’s nothing original or different, but I will say Judge Reinhold was pretty darn good in it as Coach Meyer. Reinhold reminded me a lot of James Spader in this actually. He looks like him (bald on top, some hair on sides) and sounded like Spader in The Blacklist. It’s a Dove-approved family film so it’s safe to watch with kids. Nothing groundbreaking, but I found it educational and enjoyable enough.
Fourth we have Laid in America. YouTube “sensations” KSI and Casper Lee star in this poor man’s American Pie. I literally have no idea who these two people are. I’m an adult, I go to YouTube to watch music videos not videos starring nobodies that tweens and teens make rich. If this movie is an example of what they do on YouTube, you’ll never see me clicking one of their videos. The plot is something we’ve seen a thousand times before. Both are foreign exchange students (even though they look ten years too old) who want to get laid their last night in America. It’s like Porky’s, but for Millenials and younger people with short attention spans. The only people who looked familiar to me are Angela Kinsey (The Office) who plays their host mom, Gerry Bedknob (The 40 Year Old Virgin) who plays their principal and Bobby Lee (Mad TV) who kidnaps them thinking they are rich because they lied to his girlfriend. What I don’t get is how 2 decent looking dudes with accents (South African and British) couldn’t get laid in the first place. If you know these 2 people, you might like it, but if like me you had no idea they existed, avoid this at all costs.
Next is The Wailing, a South Korean supernatural thriller. I dug this. It’s not super scary, but it also doesn’t rely on jump-scares like the garbage horror films the US puts out today. A small town is rocked by disturbing murders and the local police think a mysterious stranger is who did it. He’s a Japanese man no one has seen before and a woman points the cops towards him. The lead cop’s daughter gets sick or possible possessed and maybe their suspect isn’t what they think. It doesn’t try to outsmart itself and has just enough layers to keep you guessing. It has really good pacing despite being 157 minutes long. Don’t expect The Ring or something like that, but do expect a tight thriller with good direction and acting. I definitely recommend this one.
Another recommendation on this list goes to The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson The Vault Series Archive Classics. I’m just old enough to remember seeing some Carson live, but I rely on these box sets to really show me the master entertainer he truly was. Watching old Carson just shows you how awful today’s late night talk shows are. Carson is king because he made the guests the focal point of the show. Jimmy Fallon laughs at himself all night. The British guy (I think he’s British) is known for karaoke in a car. This has some amazing guests and some great back and forth between Carson and Ed McMahon. You get great guests like Paul McCartney, Richard Pryor, Sean Connery, Dean Martin, Muhammad Ali, Burt Reynolds, Rodney Dangerfield, David Letterman, Lucille Ball, and many more. Plus you get wild animals (a segment Carson was highly known for) and Carnac the Magnificent. I recently watched a Bob Hope collection and if you watched that one too, definitely pick this up. Carson fans need this one in their library.
We also have I Love Lucy Superstar Special #1. This includes full length episodes of L.A. at Last and Lucy and Superman. Lucy is a favorite here at The Nerds Templar and we are always happy to get discs of her show. In the first episode, Lucy, Ricky and the gang travel to Hollywood where she meets the iconic William Holden. In the other episode she dresses up as Superman for Little Ricky’s birthday. In this episode, Superman himself George Reeves cameos. Both episodes come colorized and in their original black & white format. Both of course have classic Lucy shenanigans. She disguises herself from Holden the second time she meets him. In the Superman episode, she goes way out of her way to top another boy’s party who is the same day. It’s classic Lucy, classic TV and classic comedy. You are either a fan or you’re not. I loved the Superman episode and it’s worth the price alone. Definitely recommended.
Last we have Vamp, a very 80’s vampire comedy/thriller. Two frat pledges claim they can get booze, strippers and drugs for their frat brothers and head into the city to get a lady. With the help of a rich student, they use his car to head into town where they go to a strip club. Of course the strip club has a secret and the three friends are in for more than they bargained for. I remember seeing it as a kid and it doesn’t fully hold up, but it is entertaining if you take it for what it is. Gedde Watanabe (Sixteen Candles) is fantastic as always as the comedic relief. He’s stereotypical by today’s standards, but this was the 80’s so he’s funny to me. The two leads are standard 80’s pretty boys with one liners and 80’s clothes. Grace Jones is sexy and powerful like she always is. Plus is there anyone that personifies the 80’s like Billy Drago? Not many did it better. The film is cheesy and kind of lame today, but if you like the 1980s, this is right up your alley. Keep expectations low and have some cheesy fun.
There’s a few other films/shows hitting DVD this week that I haven’t received yet, but will be reviewing later on. Vikings Season 4 Volume 1 comes out Tuesday and if you are a fan of the show like myself, it’s a must own. The Last King is based on true events and is set in civil war-ravaged Norway. Joshy stars Sillicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch. Banshee The Fourth and Final Season also comes out. As does X-Men: Apocalypse which I saw in theaters and was highly disappointed in.