Quite an eclectic group of movies this week. I’m not sure if there’s a big release that I didn’t get (yet), but I’ll start with the release that has the biggest names in it, Patient Zero. The film stars Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Clive Standen (Vikings), John Bradley (Game of Thrones) and the legendary Stanley Tucci and it’s a movie I’ve never even heard of. It’s a virus zombie film that clearly wants to be 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later, but despite all the talent in it, it is so blatantly generic. It’s a virus zombie film which means an outbreak turned someone (patient zero) into a rage monster and it’s transferred with bites like a zombie. Most of the population has been turned and the movie takes place in a bunker where they are trying to find patient zero and create a cure. Smith has been bitten but never turned and can communicate with the rage monsters. Dormer is a scientist, Standen a soldier and I won’t spoil Tucci’s character. Producers spent most of the money on the cast because the writing is generic and the dialogue is just as bad. I’m not sure what kind of accent Smith is doing, but it’s not American. I feel like it’s based on a book or whoever wrote it just loves virus zombie movies and was rich enough to pay for his own. The ending leaves the door open for a sequel, but other than some of the kills, there’s nothing worth seeing again. There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this movie, it’s very bland.
Sticking with violent dramas, second we have Trauma. Did you see the Saw and Hostel movies, like the gore and blood but wish they had more incest and rape? Well this is the movie for you. I’m not a big fan of “trigger warnings” but this film requires them. It’s pretty brutal. There is rape, violence, extreme violence, extreme rape and everything in between. It’s allegedly about political turmoil in Chile, but honestly, that didn’t come across to me. Sure it opens with military guys forcing a young man to do something despicable which causes him to be a horrible person, but then it’s about that horrible person later on in life. Four young women go to a family home where the now adult man and his son do very bad things to them. It’s a rough watch. There is a ton of gore that would make Saw proud but so much brutality. It is not for everyone so be warned.
Now for a lighter killer movie, Blood and Black Lace from Mario Bava. Like most Bava films, this 1964 flick has fantastic style even if I don’t know if I like the ending. A model is murdered and her diary might have some secrets in it that people don’t want known. The killer starts to hunt down other models to find the diary and for the most part it all works, I just don’t love the final explanation. But I love Bava’s style and fans of his films will want to add this to their collection. This has gone through a 2K restoration and comes with commentaries, interviews, original trailers, and comparisons of the European and US releases.
Next is Prehysteria! the 1993 dinosaur movie. I think I saw it back in the day, but didn’t remember much of it. Charles Band released a ton of movies when I was a kid and this starred Austin O’Brien of Last Action Hero and The Lawnmower Man. Brett Cullen plays his dad who is a farmer and accidentally gets a cooler that contains prehistoric dinosaur eggs. A museum curator discovered them in a rainforest and wants them back. The dinosaur effects were cool for the time period, but the movie is super cheesy watched as an adult. O’Brien’s character loves Elvis and jumps on his bed with a guitar. The teen sister is a walking cliché. Her boyfriend is even worse. I’m sure fans will love the nostalgia though and the movie looks good on Blu-ray being restored from its original 35mm negative.
Speaking of restored films, Shout Factory puts out a new 4K scan Get Shorty Collector’s Edition. I remember liking the film when I first saw it years ago, but I didn’t love it like other people. People I knew loved it and I never quite understood that. Heck it even got made into a TV show recently. I tend to like Elmore Leonard adaptations, but this one never did much for me. It helped put John Travolta back on the map after Pulp Fiction and also stars Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, and Danny Devito. A release like this you already know if you are interested in it or not. I can’t see too many people trying Get Shorty, but if you are already a fan, the 4K remastering looks really good. It also comes with commentary by director Barry Sonnenfeld and tons of featurettes. Rewatching it I think I understand more of it now having worked in the movie industry a bit but I still only like it and not love it.
Next is Elena Ferrante on Film, a 2 film collection. Those films are The Days of Abandonment and Troubling Love. I was not familiar with the author or either of these movies. The Days of Abandonment sees a husband leaving his wife and son and daughter for a younger woman. The wife doesn’t handle it well and there’s a musician neighbor. Plus there’s a gypsy that was obviously a metaphor I didn’t get. The acting is good, the set design and production are also good, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d watch again. Troubling Love was a bit of a head scratcher. An older woman dies and her daughter tries to find out what exactly happened. There’s an older lover. Her dad and a former friend whose father might be connected to her mother’s death. I don’t know if it made a ton of sense to me, but the lead actress is very good. Both films look good and make sense in this collection. If you are a fan, this is for you.
Last we have 800 Words: Season 3, Part 1. Part 1 focuses on the search and rescue after the boat accident in Season 2. George might be a father again. Shay has issues with a broken heart. Woody has a discovery that might shake up the wedding which later faces a possible power outage. George helps with the best man speech. It’s a quirky show that’s very character driven which I appreciate it. I’ve seen every episode that’s hit DVD so far and the scenery is breathtaking. It’s a mix of drama, comedy and life.