A decent amount of new releases this week for us and the biggest is Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns. I don’t know if it was the worldwide blockbuster they expected it to be but it did well. I didn’t see it at the theater because I hadn’t seen the first film in decades and honestly, these films aren’t really for me. I know some adults who loved it and I can appreciate it for what it is, but I’m just not a song & dance man. I thought Emily Blunt was great bringing the character to a new generation, but again, it’s just not for me. Overall I’m not a big Disney guy in the first place and their non-animated timeless classics stayed in my childhood. The production value is fantastic with great costuming and set design and the music is good too if you like that type of music. It looks and sounds flawless on Blu-ray and comes with over an hour of bonus features including a Sing-Along version. If you missed it at the theater or want to watch it again with your family, the Blu-ray does come recommended even if it’s not something I’d personally watch again.
My favorite film of the week is probably The Quake. The sequel to The Wave, this time Kristian and his family must deal with an earthquake years after surviving a monstrous tsunami wave. This starts out slow showing how Kristian has gone off the rails since the first movie and how his family life has crumbled, but once the quake starts happening it’s a pretty cool SyFy Channel type disaster flick. It’s super CGI but for some reason it doesn’t bother me that much compared to Hollywood CGI-fests. The daughter character was super annoying and half of what happens to her wouldn’t have happened if she just stayed in the car like she was told, but that’s all awful kids characters today. The film is a nice little break from heavy-handed films and it’s fun to watch. If you liked the first film then definitely check this out and the Blu-ray comes with a cool lenticular slipcover!
Sticking with action, next is Accident which really wants to be a cool Hollywood thriller but is made outside the US and definitely looks it. What I mean by that is that it’s a South African and French made film that pretends to be in the US with Americans. The license plates of the cars say California if I saw them correctly and the characters are cliched American types with the two women going to a music festival. The women are gorgeous, but there is a scene in a gas station bathroom that feels so out of place. The filmmakers definitely want to show some skin with two women changing for no real reason. There are a couple of special effects that were ok with one looking like it came out of the first Fast & Furious movie, but overall the film is something we’ve seen before. The girls get in a car with strangers and one has a bad feeling about it. There is an accident and they struggle to survive. One needs an inhaler of course and there’s a twist with bad guys and money that was unnecessary. Someone has seen way too many American films and tried to make their own with every cliche they could come up with. It’s not bad to watch once but that’s about it.
Speaking of action, 1998’s The Minion hits 2K remastered Blu-ray this week. This has nothing to do with little yellow creatures, but rather it stars Dolph Lundgren as a sort of current day (1998) Knight Templar. A mysterious opening is discovered in New York during a construction build and a key is found. Lundgren is sent to get the key but first must help an archeologist do battle with a creature out to get the key himself. It’s very late 1990’s Straight-to-Video-esque but I like Lundgren and hadn’t actually seen this one. People definitely thought the end of the 1990’s/beginning of the 2000’s would bring some type of end of the world experience and many movies were based on that. If you like Lundgren and want to watch him punch people in the back of the head with a spiked glove (and who doesn’t?!) check this one out.
Now for a slew of sex themed movies. First is Losin’ It, an early 1980’s sex comedy starring Tom Cruise, Jackie Earle Haley, Shelley Long and John Stockwell directed by Curtis Hanson. I remember seeing it growing up but haven’t seen it in a long time. It’s about a group of high school friends who leave school to go to Tijuana to lose their virginity. On the way they pick up Shelley Long who gets into a fight with her husband and wants a divorce in Mexico. It’s very 1980’s but it’s cool seeing a young Cruise, Stockwell and post Bad News Bears pre-Watchmen Haley. This is another 2K remastered Blu-ray that I’m sure diehards will be eating up. Cruise comes across as shy and likable with Haley and Stockwell dominating scenes over the now iconic Cruise.
Now for some soft-core porn-ish lesser known flicks. First is She Wolf about a shape shifting woman who has sex with men and kills them. One almost victim turns out to be an undercover cop investigating the disappearances/deaths. There’s also another man who the one entity seems to like. The actresses playing the creature/woman are stunning and it’s filled with nudity and blood. I had no idea what it was about going into it and that might have helped my enjoyment. She Wolf sounds more like a horror movie and sure this has some kills, but it’s more a thriller to me. It’s well paced and wraps up pretty nicely. Not a bad little hidden flick.
Next is Out of Love which has plenty of nudity as well. Viktor meets Varya at his restaurant and runs to her train to give her his number. A romance develops and you see the beginning of their relationship. You also get some sexual abuse, him being a drunk and her having issues as well. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take away from it other than some people have abusive relationships, but I already knew that. The leads are both very good, I just wish the story brought something new to the table. She stays with him longer than you want her to. She pushes his buttons at times that doesn’t help the situation. You can predict the ending, but the leads do hold your attention throughout at least.
The next one is a bit more confusing. Ritual: A Psychomagic Story is a bit of a head scratcher. Looking at the cover and the opening of the movie you think it might be some S&M kinkfest type movie, but instead it takes a wide turn and heads into witchcraft. Yep, the lead character’s aunt is a witch and she returns to her aunt’s home to get help after a suicide attempt. There she sees two pixies and hears a baby crying and a witch in a cave. I have no idea if I understood any of it. The abusive boyfriend finds her and thinks the aunt is crazy and not helping and there’s a doll she thinks is her baby and I have no idea. It’s well made and well acted but the point? Over my head I guess.
Now for something completely different, Craig of the Creek: Itch to Explore. This Cartoon Network show is pretty cute considering I had no idea it even existed. Think of it as an older Dora: The Explorer but with less beating you over head with messages. It’s aimed towards kids but is co-created by three-time Emmy Award nominated Steven Universe writers Matt Burnett and Ben Levin and that show has a huge adult audience so who knows who watches this. It’s light and playful and fun and colorful and overall entertaining enough that families won’t have a hard time sitting through it together. The characters are fun and have adventures across 13 episodes. Think of it as a kid version of Stranger Things minus the monsters.