Up first this week we have Broil. It stars Timothy V. Murphy as the patriarch of a family with Jonathan Lipnicki as a chef hired to cook for a family event. There’s a high school girl trying to figure out the secret to the family after being forced to live with her grandfather (Murphy). What they are, I won’t spoil. It reminded me of Ready or Not with some other similar movies. I liked it overall and didn’t even recognize Lipnicki as an adult. Murphy is fantastic in a creepy role and the teen character holds her own as well. It takes a few turns and for something I hadn’t heard of until recently, it’s a solid watch especially during spooky season! If you’re looking for a horror movie you haven’t seen a thousand times before Halloween, give it a try.
Second we have Warning From Space which was the first Japanese science fiction film to be in color! It’s sci-fi meets Kaiju to me with it having the vibe of a classic Japanese monster movie. There’s destruction and over acting and model effects. The world is going to be destroyed and Tokyo is being overrun by UFOs and one eyed star shaped aliens. But they might not be here to destroy us, but maybe to save us! Sure it’s super campy, but I had fun with it. I like a lot of these old films and they are easy to watch and enjoy. It’s been restored for the US market and comes with new bonus features. I had never seen it before and if you like mid-20th century science fiction with over the top camp, this one is for you!
A Regular Woman is based on a true story about an honor killing that made the news in 2005. It’s about a woman in Germany of Turkish heritage that is forced into a marriage. After her husband is abusive one too many times, she leaves him and returns to Germany pregnant. Her family is against everything she is doing despite the abuse. As she realizes her family won’t support her, she loses more of her faith, stops covering her hair, gets her own place and dates other men. Her brothers won’t stand for the embarrassment she’s causing and well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out the rest. The lead actress is pretty darn great in the role. She 100% carries the film and holds your attention throughout. You root for her and question how anyone could be against her, but that’s cultural differences for you. Honestly, I thought she was just great. I wasn’t familiar with the story, don’t remember it from the news at all so I’m not sure how much the film and the true events differ. But that doesn’t really matter because the film is well made and she’ll grab your attention pretty quickly.
Next we have Carmilla, a sort of gothic coming of age story. It’s about a 15 year old girl shut off from the world living with her father and governess. She was expecting a friend to come, but it doesn’t happen, but instead a carriage crash lands a different young girl at the estate. She’s immediately taken by the stranger and at times you feel icky watching it because you’re not sure how old the actresses are in real life. It has a paranormal twist at times and very much has a gothic vibe because of the era and setting. Costuming is great as is set design and both young actresses are good. Not sure if it’s something I’d watch again, but it’s worth the one time watching for sure.
Bad Mothers Season 1 is out this week. I wanted to like this more, but it feels like so many other shows I’ve watched. It starts out introducing the characters and then there’s a death. One character was having an affair and they think another character’s husband is to blame for her death. As episodes go on, more drama comes out, alibis might not be true, and more. It’s not bad, but I watched Playing For Keeps recently and it’s very similar to that. It’s not bad and I’d probably watch future seasons I just wish it had something more to it.
Next is Burt Sugarman’s The Soul Of The Midnight Special, a 5 disc set packed with live performances of iconic musicians. You may have heard of a few of these performers, Ray Charles, Barry White, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Al Green, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Sly & the Family Stone. Yeah not too bad. The Midnight Special was a 1970’s TV staple that brought soul and R&B into American homes. These are all uncut performances from the show and features classic songs you just have to know. If you don’t know them, I feel bad for you! This was a ton of fun to watch and I took my time with it watching it over a few days to get in all the performances. When music was music!
The next couple of releases come from Mill Creek Entertainment. First we have Imaginary Crimes/Silent Fall – Double Feature. Imaginary Crimes stars Harvey Keitel as a single father to two daughters who’s always trying to get rich quick with schemes. His eldest daughter (Fairuza Balk) is going to a good school and wants to go to college. His youngest daughter is played by a super young Elisabeth Moss! Vincent D’Onofrio is Balk’s teacher who pushes her to write her stories. You don’t root for Keitel because you know nothing will turn out good for him, but you want the girls to do well. Silent Fall stars Richard Dreyfuss as a psychologist who is called in to deal with an Autistic boy after a gruesome murder. A very young Liv Tyler plays the boy’s sister. I wasn’t familiar with this one in the slightest and it takes a super dark turn I didn’t see coming.
Second we have a triple feature of Diabolique/Incognito/The In Crowd. Diabolique stars Chazz Palminteri as a man running a school his wife owns. He’s having an affair with a teacher, Sharon Stone, who teams up with his wife to kill him. When the body goes missing and a detective (Kathy Bates) starts snooping around, their plan unravels but then there’s a twist. Incognito stars Jason Patric as an art forger who’s hired to forge a lost piece of art. When he’s double crossed and someone dies, he goes on the run with an art expert to clear his name. The In Crowd is a sort of cult flick about a crazy girl who’s released to work at a resort for rich people. She starts running with the “in crowd” but their lives aren’t what they seem either. She’s taken under the wing of a girl who has her own issues and when people start getting hurt, the crazy girl is blamed, but is she to blame? It says it’s rated PG-13, but I think this might be the racier non-US cut because it had some topless women and sex scenes in it. I know a lot of people who secretly love this movie so it’s worth the buy for it alone.
Crooner Classics is a collection of 4 movies with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The 4 films are Who Was That Lady?, How To Save A Marriage (And Ruin Your Life), Contract on Cherry Street and Pal Joey. It also comes with 7 bonus documentaries. You watch a collection like this and you’re reminded of why these guys were superstars across multiple formats. They can sing, act, captivate an audience and were just born performers. Sure the films feel dated today, but you watch them for their leading men. Who Was That Lady? is about a professor who lies about being an undercover FBI agent to hide an affair and ends up with the feds and KGB after him. How To Save A Marriage (And Ruin Your Life) is about a guy trying to convince his friend to get back with his wife and it all going wrong. Contract on Cherry Street is about a detective whose partner is killed by the mob and he looks into it off the books. Pal Joey is about a down on his luck singer who tries to convince a woman to pay for his night club. If you like Deano and Frank, this is for you.
Last we have a couple of releases that came out previously, but I didn’t get in time. I had to do some research on The World is Full of Secret after watching it because it feels like a movie from the 1990s, but it’s actually pretty recent. It looks like a movie shot on VHS and is formatted that way too. It’s about a group of girls telling stories, think Are You Afraid of the Dark? minus the reenacting. The girl telling the story at the time looks directly at the camera and tells her story. One is about a Roman girl killed, another about a young gay girl killed by a group of girls, etc. It ends weirdly like you’re supposed to think something happened and the girls do the typical urban legend stuff while together at night. They light candles, the one girl does a trick looking at a mirror to see a skull or her future husband. It’s pretty lackluster though. The stories are tame and lack any oomph to them without reenactment. The vibe of the film is ok, but looking straight at a camera and talking and then at the end being outside didn’t add any scares. Not really sure what the movie was going for.
I had heard mixed things about Star Trek: Picard. Some people loved it, others not so much. I don’t particularly love Star Trek: Discovery so I was curious to see what this was about. I understand the mixed feelings. There’s a lot to like about it. First of all Patrick Stewart is still great in the role. It brings back some favorites as well and introduces plenty of new characters. But something about it feels off, too new and not very Star Trek The Next Generation. Maybe it’s the swearing or how the Federation is portrayed. The writing is nowhere near as good as The Next Generation and the dialogue isn’t as sharp. It lacks the morality of previous shows. It lacks the questioning and broadening of theories and beliefs. It doesn’t expand on universes and to rip off Star Trek, go where no one has gone before. It opens fine relying on nostalgia more than anything. Data and Captain Picard! But it’s still Patrick Stewart and the graphics are top notch. There’s some quality action as well. I wanted more from it, but I do like it better than Discovery.
Last we have Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. This came out September 29, but I didn’t get mine until last week. This is a show my parents watched before I did. I haven’t seen any Penny Dreadful episdes previously so this is all about this spinoff. I love this time period when it comes to TV/film. I think it makes for great storytelling and overall I did enjoy the season. It has its flaws, but something about noir-ish time periods really works for me. From what I can gather this has very little to do with the original so not knowing Penny Dreadful might have helped my enjoyment more than fans. I guess the other is more supernatural based and this really only involves Mexican mythology. To me it’s a classic crime drama which I enjoy. The cast is good including Natalie Dormer, Nathan Lane, Kerry Bishé, Daniel Zovatto and more. If you have zero expectations for the show because you didn’t watch Penny Dreadful, you should like it. If you go in as a fan, you probably won’t.