Here at The Nerds Templar, we get a lot of movies sent our way to watch. Some are new, some are older. We get Blu-rays, DVDs, online screeners and everything in between. Sometimes we just don’t have time to write a 1000 words about every movie. Sometimes the movie doesn’t deserve a 1000 words. We do like to discuss the movie though and in those situations we do articles like this, Review Round-up. This article will include some movies coming out this week along with other recent film I got after they were released. I’ll start with the new releases.
Although it’s been on DVD before, With Great Power…The Stan Lee Story has new packaging out this week. I had never actually seen it before getting the latest version. Being a few years old already, it feels dated because of the lack of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies talked about. It shows Iron-Man, Hulk, and mentions Captain America, but most of the movies mentioned are pre-Marvel produced films like Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men. The documentary is a look at Marvel creator Stan Lee, his early years, the boom of Marvel, its decline and the early days of animation, TV and film production. As a nerd most of it I already knew and it was sad seeing Stan’s life with his wife Joan who just recently passed. If you don’t know much about Stan, his early days, comics getting the Comic Code, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others who helped make Marvel what it is, check it out.
Sticking with comic documentaries, out this week as well is Behind the Mask: The Batman: Dead End Story. I’ll be honest, I was not familiar with the Batman short film that is the basis of this documentary. Batman: Dead End was an unlicensed short shown at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003 and made headlines. I’ve never seen it and didn’t know anything about it. The writer/director of that short started out as an effects guy once working for Stan Winston. He wanted to be a filmmaker himself and made this unlicensed short that got rave reviews. Unfortunately he comes across as super cocky which seems to have cost him a career. He still makes things on his own, but passed on studio films that he felt weren’t right for him. He reminds me of Troy Duffy, the man behind The Boondock Saints, that seemed to sabotage his own career because of ego. This looks to have been released before (at least digitally), but it’s a pretty interesting watch. If you are familiar with the short, it’s a nice peak inside the making of it and what happened to those involved. If you work in film or independent film, it’s an educational look at how to handle buzz and not let ego get in the way.
Sticking with documentaries that have been out before, third is Kansas vs Darwin. This is a look at the controversy surrounding evolution being taught in Kansas schools. I’m not a religious person and watching this documentary made my skin crawl. The religious folk accused the science folk of pushing their agendas on students when the religious folk were doing exactly that, pushing THEIR ridiculous agenda on the students. The smug faces on the religious side made me want to hit people, hard, with sharp objects. This was a very hard watch for me. It’s not that the documentary is biased, it’s not, it’s just showing the viewer what happened in 2005, but as a non-believer seeing these women and men pushing their god belief and discounting science sickens me. How can you have such biased people on a board of education? That’s why your Kansas I guess. I struggled to get through it to be honest.
Out this week for the first time is Buster’s Mal Heart. I like Rami Malek and really wanted to like this one, but I just didn’t get it. The cover says destined to be a cult classic, but only to people claiming they understood the film. Malek plays a hotel worker who ends up running wild in the mountains breaking into vacation homes while people are gone. He thinks something big is going to happen to the world and once he loses everything in life, he sets off into the wild. I’m thinking there’s something to it like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I missed the point. I can’t tell you if DJ Qualls was real or imaginary. I can’t tell you much actually. Malek is good in it and Halt & Catch Fire’s Toby Huss is in it as well, just don’t ask me to explain it to you whatsoever.
Now for some of the older releases. I received Shooter Season 1 on DVD at the end of last week after it was released in June. I wanted to watch the show because I thought the Mark Wahlberg movie the show is based on of was underrated. Ryan Phillippe plays the Wahlberg character in the show and he’s pretty good. The show is a 10 episode version of the film for the most part. Ryan Phillippe plays Bob Lee, a Marine sniper who is asked by his former commander to help figure out how another sniper would assassinate the president. They have good intel that the threat is real. Of course it’s all a set up to make Bob Lee look like he did it. The Russians are involved, the CIA and Homeland Security as well. The ten episodes go pretty quickly and I binged the show over 2 days. It wraps up pretty well so I’m not sure where they will be going with Season 2. I liked the show overall. If you liked the movie, like Ryan Phillippe or shows like Limitless, check it out.
A special edition Blu-ray of Doberman Cop came out two weeks ago. It stars Sonny Chiba who I have a soft spot for. I’ve said it before that to me he’s the Asian Charles Bronson. His movies are always pretty over the top yet are highly entertaining. I don’t know if they are actually good movies, but I enjoy them. I reviewed Wolf Guy recently and this is a lot like that. This time Chiba plays a cop from a small town investigating murders of prostitutes in Tokyo. He carries around a pig and kicks ass! An up and coming singer is being pushed by a mobster and Chiba thinks she’s someone else. The cops write him off as a hick who wants action only instead of the solid police officer he is. There’s music and action and Chiba doing things a man of his size shouldn’t be able to do. If you are a fan of Chiba’s or like the martial arts exploitation films of the 1970s, grab this new Blu-ray edition.
Last is The Dark Tapes. This is a sort of anthology found footage film which is not something I usually enjoy. I loathe found footage and think it’s cheap filmmaking. Was this any different? Nope. I didn’t like this one. People out there must like these films because they keep making them. I hate “horror” films that rely on gimmicks especially doors moving, fake footage that we already know isn’t real and bad acting. It did have one decent segment where there was a slightly different take on the fake footage. I won’t spoil it, but I did like the originality there. I didn’t like the rest though. They all seemed to slightly connect to the first story about demons or whatever it was. There is nothing scary about these films. I find them stupid and lazy. If you like them, pick it up, but if you are like me and tired of this genre, ignore it.