Pretty random week for releases. There are a couple of films I didn’t get or haven’t received yet so I’ll just talk about the ones I got so far. First is UFO starring Alex Sharp, Gillian Anderson and David Strathairn. The film is more a math drama than it is an arrival flick. It starts out with people at the Cincinnati airport seeing something in the sky and the government trying to keep it hush hush and cover it up. Sharp plays a college student who hears about it and starts doing math that proves what the government and airport are saying isn’t right. Anderson plays one of his professors who he tries to rope into his conspiracy with Strathairn the government agent trying to keep it all quiet. Sharp’s character puts it together that the visitors are trying to communicate with math and that there is a specific time and date coming up they want to get across. What happens on this date? Well I’ll let you watch the movie to find out. I overall liked the movie, but it’s not what I expected. I definitely thought it would be like Arrival or Close Encounters, but it’s not. It’s not quite an X-Files conspiracy type film but it’s more about characters and the government than aliens and space travel.
Next is Brothers and you’ll either love the look of the movie or hate it. I hated it. It’s a CGI background/green screen world with live actors similar to 300 and Sin City. I didn’t like it with those movies, I don’t like it now. The worst part is, I thought the action sequences were fantastic, I just hated the fake CG background. The film revolves around two brothers on opposite sides of the battlefield. The movie gives us a bit of their backgrounds and how they became separated. There is a battle scene with one side coming uphill with others shooting downhill that is cool. There are sword battles, horses, gunfights and more. I just wish the movie wasn’t fake CGI. I understand you want it to look like a graphic novel and it’s cheaper/easier to make because you don’t actually need a set, battleground, 1000s of extras, horses and everything in between, but it doesn’t mean I have to like the look. The two lead actors are good, I just can’t get over how fake it looks. I know it doesn’t bother others, but it irritates me so, so much.
Third is Deep Red from Dario Argento. This 1975 film gets a 4k remastered Blu-ray release this week. I have such a love/hate relationship with Argento. I love his camera movement and camera placement. I love the performances he gets from his actors. But I don’t always love his films. This is one I didn’t love, but love things about it. The score sounds amazing on the remastered disc and really drives the film. There are some great kills and the set design is great as well. I just didn’t love the story or at least the ending. The film is about a musician who witnesses the murder of a psychic through a window and runs towards the murder but just misses the killer. He starts his own investigation and tries to piece it all together with help from a reporter. There’s one death scene involving a hook and a car that is outstandingly laughable and I don’t know if I loved the “twist” at the end, but I’m sure there are diehard fans who will eat up this new release. The remastering is great, especially the score, and there are a lot of bonus features including commentaries, an introduction and more. Argento fans will really like this new packaging.
Sticking with horror, Truth or Dare is out this week. This is not a more mainstream movie with the same name that came out a while back, but it is similar. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from this because I’m not a huge fan of today’s horror. Most horror today is gimmick-y and full of jumpscares, but this surprised me a bit. I actually didn’t mind it. It’s a pretty basic premise we’ve seen before, a group of friends go to a haunted house, play a game of Truth or Dare and bad things start happening. Been done many times before, but there are some good kills and gore and the actors didn’t bother me like they usually do in these types of movies. Ok, the overweight guy in the bad clothes and hat was a walking cliché, but the rest weren’t bad. I liked that they left the house and think everything is over with until the game decides it isn’t done with them. There is a lot of blood in the end which I’m a big fan of. I don’t know if it will “wow” people who like mainstream, The Conjuring type horror, but I liked it. Just don’t confuse it with the other movie with same name.
Guess I’ll stick with genre films and talk about Hostile. I liked half of the movie and didn’t think the other half was necessary. Going into it I expected a post-apocalyptic film similar to I Am Legend. Well I got it half right. That half shows a woman in a post-apocalyptic world that was devastated by a virus trying to survive. There is a small group of people she communicates with, but for the most part, this half shows just her trying to scavenge and not get killed by humanoid type creatures. The creatures look fantastic and this part of the movie I really enjoyed. A lot actually. But this cool part of the movie is intercut with pre-apocalypse life which the trailer doesn’t even hint at. The trailer makes it seem like a Mad Max movie yet there are sequences of the lead’s life, meeting a guy, being a junkie, falling in love, etc. pre-outbreak. By the end they give a reason for why this footage is shown, but honestly, I just didn’t care. The pre-apocalypse life is supposed to give us a reason to root for her and then a twist at the end, but it simply didn’t work for me at all. I don’t need a backstory. I just want a post-apocalypse survival movie. I can’t spoil the exact ending, but even with that, the normal world footage just is irrelevant to me. Shame too because I loved the look of the creatures and thought the “hostile” part of the movie was really good.
Almost done, The Good Karma Hospital Series 2 hits home video this week. The first series was a prime example of “Fish Out of Water” storytelling and series 2 continues it. Series 1 saw Dr. Ruby Walker, a British doctor having a breakdown after a bad break up and stress from work deciding to move to India to work at a hospital there. It doesn’t turn out to be a high-end hospital and she clashes with her new boss and must learn to treat people in new ways. Series 2 starts off with heat stroke patients, a former colleague stealing patients, a new outreach clinic at a tea plantation, a local market is devastated causing massive injuries when a building falls on it, and ends with Ram’s wedding. The show is an easy binge and is pretty delightful with odd characters breaking up the normal medical procedural show.
Last we have Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Sixth Season. If you read me you know I enjoy these collections because it was a show that aired long before I was born. This final season of the award-winning show was more about guest stars than it was the cast. The first few seasons made stars out of Goldie Hawn and others who have long left so at this point the biggest laughs came from others. But it did give us ventriloquist Willie Tyler & Lester who I remember seeing on Saturday morning stuff in the 1980’s as a kid. It being the final season, the show is a who’s who of Hollywood with stars like Carol Burnett, James Caan, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Dom DeLuise, Phyllis Diller, Michael Landon, Rich Little, Don Rickles, Olympic great Mark Spitz, Sally Struthers, John Wayne, and many more. The show was in an era where nothing was off-limits and you could joke about anyone and anything and man I wish I lived through that time. I’m always entertained at these collections, but I’m also sad we can’t be funny anymore.