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 group includes some new releases for August 28th and some other randomness. I’ll start with the new releases.
Shadowbuilder was a late 1990’s horror flick based on a Bram Stoker story starring Michael Rooker, Tony Todd, Leslie Hope, and Kevin Zegers. This week marks its first time being released on Blu-ray and comes from MVD’s Rewind Collection. Not only had I not seen the film, I honestly don’t know if I had ever even heard of it. Watching it now I can see why it’s a cult flick and not necessarily a cult classic. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but you need to have a soft spot for lesser known horror, especially 1990’s horror which was a slew of straight-to-video sequels and B-type movies. Rooker plays a priest trying to protect a young boy after a demon is released. If the demon gets the boy’s soul, a gateway to hell is opened. Rooker as a priest is hysterical at this point. Todd plays sort of the local crazy guy. I asked someone if he had seen it and he hadn’t and I wish I knew someone who has because I can’t tell if the special effects are that crappy intentionally or just that dated. The shadow demon is in black and looks odd by today’s standards. I don’t know if it was bad then intentionally, if it was bad then because that’s the best technology could do at the time or bad now because of the transfer to Blu-ray. But besides that, it’s your classic demon/religious/possession type film you expect from the 1990’s. Even in a smaller role Todd is always good. Rooker may be known more now for Guardians of the Galaxy, but he has a ton of B-movies under his belt. If you are a fan of the film, this collection is pretty impressive as well. It comes with commentary from the director, multiple featurettes including making of and visuals. Definitely recommended for the diehard horror crowd.
A couple of TV shows hit DVD this week as well including NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9. This is a show my parents watch every week that I only watch on DVD. It’s not a bad show, but not something I keep track of during the year. Nine seasons in, you probably know whether or not you’re a fan of this spin-off. Season 9 saw episodes involving counterfeit money coming in from Peru, a day trader being murdered, a potential nuclear launch, attacked Border Patrol officers, napalm at a crime scene, two American photographers held hostage in Iran, $10 million in Bitcoin codes are stolen, Sam gets shot and much more. If you are a fan, pick up the latest DVD.
Sticking with TV, next is Criminal Minds: The Thirteenth Season. Yet another show my parents watch that I don’t watch till it hits DVD. It’s also another show that by now you know whether or not you’re a fan of. Season 13 had episodes about the team taking a break, Reid is reinstated, two men killed in Detroit hanging on meat hooks, a drone killing, two people end up dead in Roswell, a small town police chief’s wife is murdered, a mass grave is found in New Orleans, a killer clown in Oklahoma, Bio-terrorism in Virginia, and much more. If you are a fan, pick up the latest season on DVD.
The Blacklist The Complete Fifth Season is also out on home video but I didn’t get it until after its release. When the show first came out I really liked it. James Spader was must see TV, but after a few seasons the gimmick of whether or not Red was Liz’s dad wore thin. Now I only watch it when it comes my way and not on TV. Season 5 starts with Red in ruins trying to earn more money and giving Liz a name on the Blacklist which is followed by episodes about an art thief, police shootings, Tom investigates what’s in the suitcase, Dembe (a personal favorite character) finds himself undercover in a human smuggling operation, Tom goes missing, Liz drastically changes her life, a MAJOR character is killed which becomes a major plotline for the rest of the season. Even though I don’t love the show like I did the first few seasons, it’s still a solid drama and both Spader and Megan Boone are good.
We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited came out last week, but I didn’t get it in time. The documentary takes a look at Cash’s Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian concept album which was about Native American life. It mixes archival footage and interviews with musicians covering The Man in Black’s songs. The album showed what type of man he was. He didn’t care if it made him money, he wanted to shine a light on Native life along with folk artist Peter La Farge. He released the controversial album in 1964 and the hit The Ballad of Ira Hayes is probably the most well-known song. Musicians like Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris cover Cash’s songs but I loved seeing the older footage of Johnny who was such an iconic performer.
Street Mobster came out a couple of weeks ago and I screwed up and didn’t watch it in time. This 1972 Japanese crime drama has been converted to HD and helped pave the way for gangster films in Japan. In the US we think of mafia films from guys like Scorsese or Coppola but director Kinji Fukasaku would go on to have a huge career in Japan including a personal favorite, Battle Royale. Actor Sugawara Bunta would go on to have a pretty legendary career as well. This film sees Bunta as a street kid, born to a prostitute mom, ends up in jail, gets out and wants to run with the same gang but the city has changed. He gets involved with the crooked world again that includes all kinds of violence, happy ending sauna rooms, prostitutes and more. He runs into an old prostitute who he help rape before he went to prison. The film is raw, brutal and extremely violent. It’s not for the faint of heart. There is rape, stabbings, fighting, and everything in between. It makes a film like Mean Streets almost look tame. I enjoy the newer Asian crime dramas and with films like this, I think I need to discover the older movies as well. I’m sure there are some big fans of the flick and this is a pretty sweet release. Check it out.