This week’s releases are a pretty odd mix. I’ll start with The First Purge. The Purge series has been hit or miss for me. I didn’t like the first one at all, but enjoyed the second and third films a lot. This film is a prequel, explaining how The Purge became a thing. I should say, it tries to explain it, but by the end it doesn’t. The New Founding Fathers have taken over the country and Staten Island has been chosen as the city to host The First Purge. This experiment will either prove or disprove what experts are saying. The more people purge, the more it will become a viable option for the country. The government entices people to purge by offering them money, more money for more violence. But a lot of people don’t purge and the government secretly has a back up plan, hired guns (for lack of a better term) to help add fuel to the fire. Locals realize what’s happening and try to prevent destruction. I have two issues with the film, one, the people you are supposed to root for, the locals, aren’t good people. The “hero” of the film is a drug dealer with an arsenal of guns. Sure he’s saving his people and community, but it’s with illegal guns he has from being a gangster. And two, if the people find out the government is trying to get them to purge and hired others to instigate things, how did that news not spread and no further Purge events happen? The original film, The Purge, is after this film in terms of continuity, how did it go from one city where the citizens knew the government was up to no good to a wide-spread national thing? Did no one in Staten Island tell the media? The film really bothered me seeing how it’s a prequel to 3 already established movies in a franchise.

Sticking with action, next is the Dutch flick Molly. The film has a lot of flaws, but I also kinda liked it. It has no one in it you will know and I’m fine with that, but the acting isn’t that great. Quick synopsis, a super-powered young woman roams the violent post-apocalyptic landscape, armed only with a bow and arrow, to confront the dangers around her. A leader hosts fights between humans and doped up zombie type humans and he wants Molly to fight and kidnaps a young girl as bait. The lead actress playing Molly won’t confuse anyone for a martial artist and a lot of the fight choreography is pretty sad, but the camera movement is fantastic. There are a couple of shots that look like long takes with incredible camera movement in and out of the ringleader’s building. I thought they were better one takes than the overrated one in the TV Daredevil series. The movie has a ton of violence and blood and even though the acting isn’t great, I can see this becoming a cult hit.

Third we have Afraid starring Alanna Masterson (The Walking Dead) and George Byrne. There’s nothing exactly wrong with the movie, but there isn’t anything original about it in the slightest either. A couple go to a cabin for a romantic getaway and realize they are being watched. We’ve seen it a thousand times before and it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I watched it a few days ago and I honestly don’t remember anything memorable about it. Their technology gets cloned, there are some jumpscares and the ending is pretty weak. I guess they want you believing there’s something more to one of the characters but I didn’t get much out of it at all. Pretty forgettable and feels like so many other movies before it.

La Familia is next and it’s also a story we’ve seen before, but the acting and production are very good. A young boy learning life on the streets gets himself into trouble. His single father is working and doing the best he can, but the trouble is too much and he takes his son into hiding trying to outrun the backlash his son faces. It’s definitely something we’ve seen before, but the actors playing the father and son are really good. They hold your attention as they bond through this ordeal. There’s obviously more to it I won’t hint at so I don’t ruin anything. Another film where I loved the camera movement along with the backdrop and vibe of the film. Plus it comes in under 90 minutes which keeps the film tight and running fast even if it’s a story been done before. I liked it.

A while back I got a Blu-ray from the Joseph We. Sarno Retrospect Series and now here’s another. This features three films: Confessions of a Young American Housewife, Sin in the Suburbs, and Warm Nights Hot Pleasures. If you aren’t familiar with Sarno’s work, let’s just call it softcore porn. Confessions of a Young American Housewife is about a swinging married couple trying to explain the lifestyle to the woman’s newly widowed mother. It’s super cheesy but also pretty sexy. If you like lines like “I am your daughter, there’s no doubt about that”, then this is for you. Sin in the Suburbs is a black & white film that finds a lonely housewife exploring other options when her husband is working, But as her explorations expand, she finds out a secret herself. Another cheesy film by today’s standards and I definitely laughed at some of the lingo of that era especially the teen boy. Warm Nights Hot Pleasures is another black & white film involving college girls trying to make it big on Broadway. They rent a room from a model and things get sexy! All these movies are more about sex than story, but Sarno has a huge following so his fans will love these now that they have been remastered.

Last we have The Love Boat Season Four: Volumes 1 & 2. I would be surprised if this was the first time The Love Boat has been released on DVD, but I’m not 100% sure. To me the show as always been about the guest stars. Season Four had Debbie Reynolds, David Cassidy and Tom Hanks making appearances! It opens with Nipsy Russell in Episode 1, Don Most (Happy Days) also shows up in follow-up episodes. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are also in this season. Loni Anderson plays a famous movie star along with The Village People. Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jessica Walter, Florence Henderson all make appearances this season as well. As does Jeffrey Tambor, Lee Meriwether, and Joe Namath. It wasn’t a great show, but it still has laughs and it’s a who’s who of 1970s and 1980s Hollywood.

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