A pretty eclectic group of releases this week and I’ll start with the most bizarre, Uncle Peckerhead. Yes that is the name of the movie. No I’m not joking. It’s about a 3 piece band going on their first tour. Their vehicle gets repossessed and they need a lift. They pass out flyers and find a guy with a van. He’s an odd dude, but they are in a jam and they jump in the van to tour. Then they learn at midnight he becomes some sort of creature who eats people, but he says he can control it with a nightly shot. Of course as the tour goes on they bond with him and realize his creature can be useful. They start to gel as a band and have a potential life changing opening act gig, but will the secret come back back to hurt them? It’s odd, but it’s also pretty fun. The special effects are great as well with some fantastic gore and kills. Not really sure why it’s called Uncle Peckerhead when he only refers to himself as Peckerhead/Peck and there’s one awful continuity error with a cassette tape (clear to greenish/yellow), but for a quirky movie you’ve probably never heard of it, it’s worth the watch. It’s out on VOD already and hits Blu-ray this week and if you like movies from Dread/Epic especially horror comedy, you’ll dig it.
Second we have Breezy, a 1970s flick directed by Clint Eastwood, but is one of the few films he didn’t also appear in. It stars Kay Lenz as a free spirit in Los Angeles crashing on couches, being with men until she meets an older man, William Holden, who takes her in and they fall in love. It really captures an era of Los Angeles that showcases the last of the hippie movement with the mix of money and establishment. Holden works in real estate, has a great home, older, established friends. Lenz is barely legal with nothing more than a guitar, a bag and positivity. They shouldn’t work together, they have nothing in common, but both fill a void they are missing. It’s an intimate story with a great score and pacing that jumps in quickly without any dullness. I actually hadn’t seen the film so it was great getting this new release. She is gorgeous and spirited and it’s 100% understandable why Holden’s character would be drawn into her. It may not be one of Eastwood’s more well known films, but you definitely get his touches with it.
Sticking with older films Hell Bent gets a new 4K restored Blu-ray this week as well. This Harry Carey silent film from John Ford continues his Cheyenne Harry character. After a shootout over a poker game, Harry leaves and ends up in the town of Rawhide where he rooms and befriends Cimmaron Bill and dance hall girl Bess. She becomes the love interest of a gang leader who kidnaps her. Cheyenne Harry goes out to save his gal. I love getting these old films because you really see what inspired future cinema. It’s a classic western story and I’m always surprised at the fantastic camera movement in them. The scene of Carey riding his horse inside, up the stairs to where he ends up sharing a bed with Cimmaron is mind blowing considering it was done over a 100 years ago. Sure there is no dialogue, just pop up screens with some words, but the camera movement/direction makes up for it and tells the story beautifully. I hope more of these come my way.
Now for some television releases, first is Dead Still, an Irish period mystery thriller. Michael Smiley plays a memorial photographer (someone who takes pictures of the dead before they are buried) in this 6 episode series. Each episode has its own story with an overall story throughout (a killer who’s posing his victims like a memorial). In the first episode we are introduced to Smiley’s character, his niece, his gravedigger turned assistant, the detective trying to solve the overlapping mystery. It’s a fun show that feels like a mix of Murdoch Mysteries because of its period setting and classic Sherlock Holmes stories. I binged it over two days and liked it. I like how it all connects and yet has individual storylines like ghosts and crime as well. I also like how there’s just enough tricks to keep you interested. Curious to see how it continues.
Next is SEAL Team: Season 3. This is a CBS show I should watch when it airs because I do like it. I don’t unfortunately and wait for the DVDs. It is a show my parents watch weekly though. I think it’s the best show on CBS and I know veterans who think it’s well made. Season 3 opens with a mission in Serbia, with multiple missions across the world including dealing with Ebola, extracting a CIA agent, interaction with a NASCAR driver, and much more. I like the show. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot more watchable than all the NCIS shows CBS airs.
There is a Gunsmoke Movie Collection out this week as well. It consists of all three movie sequels: Return to Dodge, The Last Apache, and To The Last Man. Gunsmoke was a show my parents loved and still watch reruns of today. James Arness returns as Marshal Matt Dillon, the character that made him a star. In Return to Dodge, a criminal returns to town after getting out of prison seeking revenge on the people who put him there, Marshall Dillon and Miss Kitty. The Last Apache finds the Marshall dealing with a rogue Apache who kidnapped a friend’s daughter. To The Last Man finds Marshall Dillon retired but still getting his hands dirty when rustlers are stealing his cattle. These came out in the 80s and 90s and I probably watched them back then because of my parents but I didn’t remember them while watching them. If you’re a Gunsmoke fan these are must own.
Last we have Behind The Line: Escape to Dunkirk. This World War II flick actually came out last week but I didn’t get my copy until this weekend. If it wasn’t for the abrupt ending I would have really liked it. Overall I liked it especially for a film no one is probably familiar with. Two soldiers are taken prisoner by the Nazis in France and put in with other prisoners. A Cambridge educated Nazi leader recognizes the name of one of the prisoners, a famous boxer. He wants the boxer to fight one of his soldiers to entertain his people and impress a higher ranking officer. He sets up a second match as well which the prisoners use to set up their escape. I don’t know if I know anyone in it, but it’s a solid film that’s probably based on a real story or at least loosely based. The exact ending does kind of leave you hanging on a few characters, but for a movie I didn’t expect much from, I was entertained and would recommend to WWII fans.