We have a big mix of releases this week from box sets to re-releases and much more. Later on in the week I’ll have more to talk about because I haven’t even received all my shipments yet!
First we have Oh Lucy starring Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, and Shioli Kutsuna. Hartnett plays an English teacher in Japan and Terajima takes his class after her niece persuades her to take it. There she takes on the persona of Lucy. When her niece leaves for the US, “Lucy” and her sister go there to track her down where they not only find the niece, but Hartnett. It’s a quirky little comedy and Terajima is quite good in it. I haven’t seen Hartnett much lately and he has great chemistry with “Lucy”. It has heart, comedy, can be dark at times and overall is just an enjoyable film to watch. It doesn’t try to be anything it is not and it works because of it. If you need a break from Summer Blockbusters, check this one out.
Second is The Steam Engines of Oz with a voice cast that includes Ron Perlman, William Shatner and Julianne Hough. I’m not the biggest The Wizard of Oz fan, I appreciate its historical value, but to me it’s a kids movie. This is even more a kids movie. It’s animated in a style that I don’t like at all. It’s today’s computer generated animation and I don’t like the look whatsoever. As for the story, The Tin Man is the bad guy here with this taking place a century after the original film. The Tin Man fell in love and lost his way and has slowly taken over Oz extending Emerald City with his industrial buildings. Victoria (I’m assuming she’s a new character) bands together a ragtag group to stop The Tin Man and return things to normal. Some of it might be a bit scary for super young kids, but I think the 5-10 year old crowd might like it. It’s steampunk-ish which I liked, but again, I hate this type of animation. If you are an Oz diehard or your family enjoys the stories, you should like this.
The Great Silence is next with a restored 50th Anniversary Blu-ray release. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski star in a film from Sergio Corbucci and score by Ennio Morricone. I had never actually seen the film before and if you want to know what violent films inspired Quentin Tarantino, watch this. It is dark and violent and I was shocked by the ending. Trintignant plays a mute gunslinger trying to stop bounty hunters lead by Kinski. Take the environment of The Revenant and the violence of Bone Tomahawk and you’d have The Great Silence. The restoration isn’t flawless, but the film wasn’t in the first place. This is a nice release with bonus features including 2 alternate endings, a documentary and more. If you are a fan of Corbucci’s work, you need this in your collection.
Altered Perception was a real head scratcher. I liked Jon Huertas in Castle, but this movie has some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a long time. A group of couples are given drugs by the government to help ease trauma and stress, but of course it backfires and bad things happen. The concept is great, but the movie is not. Besides the bad acting, I hated the look of the film. It looked like it was shot on a stage with digital cameras. It looks too pristine and fake looking. There’s a completely unnecessary love scene and I simply didn’t care about any of the people. The meeting room discussion of what happened was just boring and I honestly have no idea what the filmmaker was going for here.
Now for some box sets. Jericho The Complete Series is out. I never watched the show when it aired, but my mom did. She liked it and it grew to have a cult following. Watching it now, I see why. The show is about a small Kansas town trying to figure out what to do after a nuclear mushroom cloud approaches. I knew Skeet Ulrich was in it, but didn’t know Lennie James (The Walking Dead) was as well. I think if the show aired nowadays it would have been a hit because of shows like The Walking Dead, Under the Dome, etc. If you’ve heard good things and wanted to give the show a try, now’s your chance. I recommend it.
The Invaders The Complete Series is also out. This 1960’s series is about an architect who discovers aliens are invading Earth. I wasn’t familiar with it, but overall liked it. It’s got that mid-century space campy-ness to it. I thought it has some decent production value for what it was at that time. My parents don’t really remember it but they aren’t the biggest sci-fi fans in the world. This is 43 episodes on 12 discs and I can see fans eating this up quickly.
Now I’m going to burn through a bunch of Mill Creek Entertainment releases. They provide quality collections for cheap prices and sometimes some really obscure stuff.
First is The Awesomes The Complete Series. I had no idea this show existed because I don’t have Hulu. It’s an animated show about rejected superheroes created by Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. It has a huge voice cast including: Seth Meyers, Ike Barinholtz, Rachel Dratch, Bill Hader, Rashida Jones, Bobby Lee, Taran Killam, Kenan Thompson, Will Forte, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong, Bobby Moynihan, Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, Kate McKinnon and more. I really liked the show. Meyers plays Prock who takes over the superhero gang after his father retires. None of the good heroes stick around so he picks up a bunch of rejects to prove the world wrong. I loved the product placement at the end of the episode. It’s fun, funny, has off beat heroes and villains and is a quick & easy binge. I really enjoyed it. If you like the show or never saw it, check it out on Blu-ray.
Gridiron Gang is getting a special edition Blu-ray release this week. It’s been on Blu-ray before, but this has a cool new slipcover and bonus features. If you don’t know about the movie it’s about a group of teenage delinquents given a second chance to redeem themselves by playing football. It’s based on a true story and Dwayne Johnson plays a juvenile probation officer who uses football to straighten kids out. I’ve always had a soft spot for the film because I was at its premiere in LA with The Rock and Xzibit. I also like it because it’s a genuinely good movie as well. This new release also has the Emmy winning documentary the film is based on. If you don’t own the film, this is a great release to purchase.
The movie also part of Mill Creek’s Action 9 Movie Bundle – Blu-ray out this week. The full list is: Vehicle 19 Starring Paul Walker, You Got Served starring Marques Houston, Omari Grandberry, Jarell Houston, Stomp the Yard starring Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Ne-YO, Gridiron Gang starring Dwayne Johnson, Xzhibit, The Hard Corps Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vivica A. Fox, Peter Bryant, Double Team Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, Mickey Rourke, Maximum Risk Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge,
Second in Command Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Julie Cox, Alan McKenna, William Tapley, Universal Soldier: The Return Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Heidi Schanz, Bill Goldberg. Gridiron Gang is my favorite in the collection, but the JCVD films are worth seeing too.
Vehicle 19 also appears in Mill Creek’s Action Triple Feature Bundle along with Go and The Junkman. Paul Walker stars in Vehicle 19 as an American in Johannesburg that gets a rental car tied to corruption. The Junkman is H.B. Halicki follow up to the original Gone in 60 Seconds and is a bananas car chase flick. But the best film is Go. I’ve always thought it was royally underrated with an even better soundtrack. Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf and more star in this layered flick from Doug Liman involving drugs, cops and Amway. Go is worth the purchase price alone.
5 Family Favorites is next. This features Are We There Yet?, North, Last Day of Summer, Bandit and the Saints of Dogwood,The Big Goofy Secret of Hidden Pines. Are We There Yet? is the biggest name in the bunch and the only one I really knew. My nephews always enjoyed that movie so that’s probably worth the purchase.
The 10th Kingdom has been on Blu-ray before, but now it comes with a digital copy. This was a miniseries that aired long before Once Upon a Time, Grimm and all the other fairy tale based shows/movies of today. I’m not exactly the target audience for the miniseries considering I don’t really enjoy the shows/movies I compared it to, but that being said, I didn’t mind it. The production value is great and I see why there are fans out there. It’s easy to get caught into it and there’s a lot of talent in it that makes it better than it has any right being.
The Merlin 3 Film Collection is the first time all 3 films have been available together and it also comes with digital copies. The films are: MERLIN (1998) A medieval sorceress (Miranda Richardson) pursues true love while the mighty wizard, Merlin (Sam Neill) aligns with King Arthur in the pursuit of the Holy Grail. MERLIN: THE RETURN (2000) Merlin (Rik Mayall) must stop a scientist who might inadvertently release evil Mordred (Craig Sheffer) into the present. MERLIN’S APPRENTICE (2006) – Merlin and a young thief embark on a dangerous quest to find the Holy Grail and save Camelot. The Sam Neill one is a classic TV miniseries. The other 2 are what you expect from sequels, but this being the first time you can get all 3 together is a nice deal for fans.
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns comes out this week. This Emmy nominated miniseries is pretty remarkable with great production value, effects and music. Colm Meaney, Kieran Culkin, Whoopi Goldberg and Roger Daltrey and more perform and it’s pretty stunning. If you like timeless fantasy storytelling, you’ll like this. I think it as a pretty good following so people will want to add this to their collection.
Almost, done I promise. Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island gets another release along with a Digital copy. Five prisoners of war escape captivity in a Confederate prison camp only to land in an uncharted Pacific island where time stands still and dastardly pirates don’t take kindly to strangers. Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan, Vinnie Jones, Omar Gooding and Gabrielle Anwar star. It’s also another timeless story we’ve seen done many times before, but Patrick Stewart is always amazing and he is a great Captain Nemo.
Anime Collection – Kurozuka, Ultraviolet Code 044, Viper’s Creed is out from Mill Creek this week as well. I’m not the biggest Anime fan, but know some crazies who are. I can’t tell you if these are fan favorites, obscure, good or bad to Anime fans. I thought they were ok, but again, not a fan. The box says Kurozuka is popular and that Ultraviolet Code 044 is based on a popular science fiction film so I’m assuming people know and want this stuff. I wish I knew more about this stuff, but it’s just not my type of things.
Last we have Disney’s Ducktales Destination Adventure! I grew up on the original Ducktales but I do respect the voicecast of the latest edition. David Tennant, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz ; Bobby Moynihan and Kate Micucci is pretty impressive. I don’t love the look of the animation, but the story is fun and kids will love it. Plus this contains 2 classic episodes! I don’t have kids myself but I didn’t mind watching this. In fact, I binged it pretty quickly. It’s fast paced, full of fun and adventure and pretty wholesome overall. Lin-Manuel Miranda guests as Gizmoduck in an episode. If you grew up on the original show and have kids, you won’t regret being forced to watch this one. As far as remakes/reboots of things I enjoyed as a kid, this is one of the better ones.