This Review Round-up is a combination of new releases and a couple of films that I missed over the last few weeks because life happens. I’ll start with the new stuff.
First is the 4K remastered Ichi the Killer from the legendary Takashi Miike. If you haven’t seen this balls to the walls horror action flick then you need to. It’s pretty nuts. It has some crazy gore like a guy being hung by hooks, rape scenes, mob style violence and so much more. Miike films always have a great style to them and this is full of style. It’s equal parts hitman movie with lots of blood and a crime drama. I hadn’t seen it in a while so I’m glad this came my way. It’s one of Miike’s more famous films and if you’ve seen it, you understand why. It also comes with commentary from Miike and Manga Artist/Writer Hideo Yamamoto. If you are a fan of Miike you need to add this to your collection immediately.
Next is Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In The Complete Third Season. If you read me often enough you know how much I love getting these older TV shows on DVD. I’m too young to have seen them when they originally aired and it’s been decades since I’ve seen reruns so I love revisiting them. This third season is big because it introduced Lily Tomlin to the cast. This has a great interview with Tomlin and you can see how she slowly took over the show and became the breakout star. Like previous seasons there are a slew of guest stars like Michael Caine, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, Bing Crosby, Andy Griffith, Carl Reiner, Ringo Starr and more, but Season 3 is worth the purchase for Tomlin alone. Decades later the show is still timely and funny. A must add to your collection.
Next is Newton’s Law Season 1. I was really hoping this would be another Rake but it’s nowhere near as crazy. It’s a pretty straight forward courtroom/lawyer drama. Claudia Karvan plays a lawyer forced to take a job at a different law firm. Whereas Rake is crazy and Cleaver gets into all kinds of trouble, this is more about cases and law. There is drama in her personal life and trying to keep her former workers working (in the garage!), but again, it’s more straight forward. That’s not a bad thing, I did binge through the season over a few days, but don’t expect ridiculousness like I did. Karvan is very good in the role and the show works because of her.
Next is Chokeslam which combines long-lost love and wrestling! Chris Marquette plays a guy who still lives with his mom and has a meaningless job. His high school crush has turned into a famous wrestler who is having troubles of her own. Their 10 year high school reunion is approaching and he struggles to come to terms with going or not. Amanda Crew plays his crush turned wrestler and actually handles the wrestling pretty well. It’s not a great film by any means but it’s kind of cute. Marquette captures that every man/down on his luck guy well and Crew is very easy to look at making his obsession understandable. Wrestling legend Mick Foley also stars and I just love Mick. You know how it will end but it’s fun enough and Marquette is easy to root for. If you like wrestling, check it out.
Basket Case is a 1980s horror flick that recently got remastered. Somehow I missed it as a kid and I kinda liked it. It’s totally 80s horror and I totally dig 80s horror. A conjoined twin is removed and the one normal looking brother goes on to try to be normal. The removed twin is pretty much a lump with eyes and teeth. The normal brother carries him around in a basket. They move into a dumpy hotel in New York and you don’t realize why they are there. They are out for revenge! The effects are fantastically awful. The conjoined twin looks hysterical, but that’s why I love this stuff, it’s so bad it’s good. There are some great deaths and gore. I’m sure there are some diehards out there and they will love this release. It looks great remastered and has a ton of bonus features. If you remember the movie from the 80s or have missed it, definitely check it out.
Last we have Scalpel. This is also a remastered release of a film I hadn’t seen but also liked. Man is it layered. Once you think you figured it out, there’s a big twist at the end. A doctor’s daughter has run away and when he comes across a woman beat up, he makes her look like his daughter in order to get an inheritance. When his actual daughter returns, it gets really good. It has an incest vibe to it and a cool Southern gothic type vibe as well. The twist at the end really worked for me as well as the style of the movie. This also has a ton of bonus features and is THE Version to own if you like the film.