Just like previous Review Roundups, this is a mix of new releases with older releases that just started shipping out with warehouses reopening. First is Once Were Brothers, a documentary on Robbie Robertson and The Band. If you aren’t familiar with The Band, you most likely know their song The Weight, one of the best songs you’ll hear on classic rock stations. If you are a musician, you either love them or owe them a lot without realizing it. The Band was a mix of some of the best musicians around. Robbie Robertson came from Canada and started out touring as a teen. He would meet others who would join The Band and first hit it big while backing up Bob Dylan when he went electric. They then would do their own thing and their fellow musicians loved them. They never got the mainstream attention they deserved and eventually in-fighting and who deserves money would destroy them, but not before The Last Waltz. This documentary shows highlights from that, which is one of the greatest live performances of all-time. It’s also an intimate look at the group with Robbie Robertson talking about their highs and lows. If you liked The Band, this is a must watch. If you like rock-docs, this is a must watch. It made me go listen to The Weight afterwards.
Next we have Torpedo: U-235. I don’t know what it is, I have a soft spot for submarine movies. This is about resistance fighters during World War II who must take a German submarine to the US to supply them with uranium that ultimately makes the bombs that ended the war. It’s your standard submarine movie with guys (and one female) having to be quiet and diving and torpedoes and all that. Plus it being a German sub they snagged a German captain to train them and drive it. It’s not great, but I had fun with it. It doesn’t rely heavily on CGI which I appreciate. Don’t get me wrong, there is CGI, but I watch a lot of Asian films that everything is CG. The characters are what you expect with various personalities, a love story, a dad and whether or not the German will betray them. It won’t be a huge release in the US, but if you like submarine movies it’s pretty entertaining.
Third we have Ultraman Ace: The Complete Series from Mill Creek Entertainment. They’ve put out a lot of Ultraman releases over the past few months and I liked this more than recent ones. This first aired in the 1970s I believe and really stepped up the action. It’s still sci-fi based, but it feels more like a superhero show with a lot more action. As stated in previous reviews, I grew up on the older shows (in syndication) and prefer them over the newer ones so I quite enjoyed this. It’s the style I like/prefer and it’s a mix of action, practical effects and camp that I have fun with today. The camp has to be there. The new shows are too serious to me. This is about Seiji Hokuto and Yuko Minami losing their lives but being brought back and being able to form Ultraman Ace after touching each other. They need to help the new defense team to take on Yapool. At least for half of the series, but I won’t spoil that. If you are familiar with Ultraman at all, that makes total sense to you. It’s the campiness of the show that I still like. Give me people in costumes stomping on model sets and I’ll dig it. This is a 6 disc set with almost 24 hours of programming so it’s a fun binge with all the extra time we have on our hands currently. If you enjoy the original Ultraman from your youth or watch it on home video releases, this is a must own for the collector.
Next is A Soldier’s Revenge. I grew up on Westerns and one of my all-time favorite movies is Tombstone because of Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday. Kilmer is in this, but as a supporting role/glorified cameo. This is about a Civil War hero turned bounty hunter who sees two kids show up at his house. Their mother is missing and they found his name on a list she had. There is a twist to them you should see coming. Their missing mother is married to the bad guy who’s out looking for the kids. He has ties to the hero as well so it’s all about revenge hence the title. It’s not a bad movie, but I don’t know if I’d watch it again. Liking Westerns it’s more enjoyable for me than those who don’t enjoy the genre. The leads are fine and it has some action although I would have preferred more shootouts because that’s what I like. I did like the setting and backdrops though. You need to get those right for a Western because those are essential to the style/tone of the genre. It probably could have been tightened up a bit and come in just under two hours instead of being over 2 hours long, but I can say that about most movies nowadays. If you like Westerns, give it a try.
Last we have two Romy Schneider releases. Best known for her Sissi films, she would eventually want to distance herself from that character and these are three of her later films. First is a Claude Sautet & Romy Schneider double feature. It contains the films César et Rosalie and Les Choses de la Vie. The first is your classic love story with Schneider playing the woman between two men. She is with an older man, but when her former beau reappears after five years, he throws a curveball into the mix. She enjoys the stability the older man provides while the younger man is the more desirable one. Pretty classic storytelling with three believable leads. The second film in the double feature is also a love triangle, but this time she is the younger woman in it. A man reflects on his life after being in an accident and questions if he should be with his younger girlfriend or his ex-wife. Both films have a great style to them, very French cinema and you can feel the chemistry Schneider built with director Sautet and they would do three more films together after these. L’Important C’Est D’Aimer sees Schneider as an actress that believes shes washed up. She takes bad roles because of her husband, but meets a photographer on set who she starts to fall for. He borrows money to finance a movie for her to star in. It’s another love triangle, but way more dramatic. She’s fantastic in the role really showing range. At this point in life she’s also older and more experienced and really seemed to tap into personal experience. It was my favorite of the three.