This Review Roundup are releases that came out in December that I didn’t receive until recently. Up first is Tremors in a 4K restored set. The film has always been a personal favorite of mine and I watched reruns on cable as a kid. It introduced the world to graboids (giant, underground snake-like creatures that don’t have eyes and attack by sound) and starred Kevin Bacon. Fred Ward and Michael Gross co-starred. It’s a throwback creature feature that has spun off countless sequels. The film looks and sounds great in this new release. It comes with a ton of bonus features like new interviews, multiple commentaries, deleted scenes, including the original opening scene and much more. The film is a cult classic and has never looked better. If you are a fan of the film, which I am, this is a fantastic new release of the film. The best of the bunch.
Second we have Cinema Paradiso in a 4K release. The film was the 1990 Best Foreign Language Academy Award winner. Watching the film just goes to show how much the Academy LOVES giving out awards to movies about movies. It’s literally about a boy growing up and working at a movie theater in a small village in Italy. It spans his life and his relationship with the projectionist at the theater. I’m not really sure why this won any awards. I didn’t get much out of it. There’s nothing wrong with the movie, but Oscar worthy? No. I know people who love this movie so obviously it has its fans and they will go crazy over this 4K release. Bonus features include Audio commentary with director Giuseppe Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus, a 52 minute documentary on the director, a 27 minute documentary on the making of the film and more. I don’t consider myself a fan, but if you are, you’ll like this.
Third we have Versus, a Japanese film from 2000. This is a restored version of the film and the 2004 Ultimate Versus cut. I wasn’t familiar with the movie at all and it’s pretty solid. There is sword fighting, guns, Tarantino style violence and oh yeah, zombies. Prisoners escape and are meeting up with others. The meeting spot is the Forest of Resurrection, but no one really knows what it is. The one prisoner, Tak Sakaguchi, learns the truth about his past, the location and the main bad guy who is after him. There is a woman and a gang of crazy personalities. I don’t know if it made a lick of sense, but the violence is fun with some great effects and over-the-top blood. If you are a fan you’ll love this. I enjoyed it and will recommend it to a few buddies who aren’t familiar with it either.
Last we have Survivor Ballads: Three Films By Shohei Imamura. The Ballad of Narayama won the prestigious Cannes Palme d’Or and is about a family trying to survive in a mountainous area. The mother figure is getting close to her 70th birthday which means they need to send her up the mountain to die. A guy has sex with a dog in it. That’s what I remember from the film. Zegen is about prostitution and sex and is sort of a gangster film. It’s not as violent as the Asian crime dramas that I’m used to nowadays. Black Rain follows a family after the bombing of Hiroshima. They open with the bombing and show some pretty graphic details then it jumps 5 years with the family and other survivors trying to live life and get their niece married off. All three have been restored and come with bonus features like new audio commentaries on all three films, mutiple trailers, interviews and more.