Pretty odd mix of releases this week with a couple of lesser known films, a documentary, some Twilight Zone and Ultraman. Up first is Stretch, the royally underrated flick from Joe Carnahan. It looks like this might be the film’s Blu-ray debut in the US. I’ve always enjoyed it and the studio screwed this movie badly. It went to streaming instead of a big theatrical release which is weird considering it’s Carnahan’s follow up to The Grey. Patrick Wilson plays a wannabe actor limo driver who gets caught up in a job with an almost unrecognizable Chris Pine because he owes money to the type of people you don’t want to owe money to. It’s a night of debauchery with great performances from Wilson and Pine and small roles from Ed Helms, Jessica Alba and more. If you like Carnahan films (I love them), this is one of his forgotten films, but might be my second favorite of his. This new Blu-ray features commentary with Carnahan and his son and daughter and an interview with Patrick Wilson. Highly recommended film.
Thursday is another film that didn’t seem to get a bigger release. I had never heard of the 1998 movie that stars Thomas Jane, Mickey Rourke, Aaron Eckhart, and Paullina Prizkova. Jane plays a man who left the crime lifestyle behind him or so he thought. His former partner Eckhart shows up at his door with heroin and Jane’s plain life is thrown for a loop. He’s held hostage by a Jamaican, is sexually assaulted by Prizkova while dealing with an adoption agent, Rourke is a cop after the drugs and money. it has a good style to it and it’s only 87 minutes long so it jumps in pretty quickly and doesn’t wander too much. I can kind of see why it’s not more known, but I’d bet it has a solid cult following especially with that cast. The Blu-ray comes with commentary and a new interview with Thomas Jane.
Continuing the pattern of lesser known films, Buried Alive stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Matheson, William Atherton, Hoyt Axton and is directed by Frank Darabont, but I had never seen it. Tim Matheson plays the husband of Jennifer Jason Leigh who she thinks she kills thanks to poison from her lover William Atherton. They give him a funeral and bury him, but the poison didn’t do its job and Matheson digs himself out of the grave to get revenge on his wife and doctor. From 1990 I believe it was made for TV and is before Darabont started getting nominated for Oscars. It’s kind of fun, but you can tell it didn’t have the budget of a big release movie. Leigh is always great in these crazy characters and Matheson plays the character with subtlety. Another film that I’d bet has a cult following and comes with commentary and interviews.
1952’s Sudden Fear gets a 2K restored DVD release this week. Starring Jack Palance and Joan Crawford, the film was nominated for 4 Oscars. Crawford plays a rich socialite who’s also a playwright that fires Palance from her latest play. On a train from New York to San Francisco, Palance shows her he can be the swooning leading man type and the two fall for each other. Crawford is much older and much more successful, but she’s in love. As he gets accustomed to his new lifestyle with his rich wife, the truth comes out and Crawford must deal with her new sudden fear. Both leads are good and were nominated for their performances. It has a great style to it with lots of camera movement. It’s not quite two hours long, but it doesn’t feel long at all either. The new restored DVD comes with commentary and more.
Beautiful Darling, a documentary on the life of Candy Darling is out this week. Darling was a transgender actress involved with Andy Warhol. I’ve never really gotten into Warhol so I actually wasn’t familiar with the topic of this DVD. She is name checked in Velvet Underground’s Walk on the Wild Side, but again not knowing this person I never got that reference. She wanted to be an old school Hollywood starlet and appeared in Warhol’s earliest films and was very much involved in that scene. The documentary features many people in her life including a friend who kept much of her belongings. Obviously if you are familiar with the topic and/or Warhol you’ll get more out of it than someone not being familiar.
The Jordan Peele remake of The Twilight Zone sees Season 2 out on DVD this week. Just like the first season I liked some episodes and didn’t care for others. The weakest is probably the struggling singer one who gets unwanted fame. The all-girls boarding school episode is probably my favorite with the church handyman dealing with mayor a solid episode as well. The new species episode was weak and the hotel manager one was ok. It does keep a bit of the original’s style I just wish I enjoyed the entirety of the season more.
Spell is a voodoo type horror film starring Omari Hardwick and Loretta Devine. Hardwick plays a big city type who finds out his father has died and flies himself, his wife and two kids south to where he grew up. The plane crashes and he finds himself taken in by Devine, her husband and her giant of a son. He soon realizes things aren’t what they seem and potions, spells and southern magic play a big role in him getting out alive. It’s not a bad movie, not sure it’s something I’d watch again, but they put some thought into the magic and history of it and the 2 main leads are good. It’s a bit predictable and stereotypical, but it’s also pretty short so it doesn’t wander too far. You don’t get a ton of backstory which helps. You are introduced to Hardwick and his family then gets right into it which I respect. I think it might pick up a little bit of a following when it hits streaming.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 12th Season is out this week as well. When the show first aired I was a bit too old for it (or so I thought). I never got into it back then and really have only seen it when DVDs come my way which is a shame because I do find myself laughing more than not. This season has some episodes I’m familiar with even not being an original fan. There’s the episode where they sell krabby patties at a concert. SpongeBob and Patrick must escape from prison. They make a zoo of bubbles. SpongeBob cleans the lighthouse and meets Hiccup Plague. SpongeBob and Patrick babysit an old woman. Plus the infamous birthday episode! There’s some really fun episodes in this season and if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy this new release.
Las we have Ultraman Taro The Complete Series and Steelbook. From 1973 this was the sixth version of Ultraman and is more of what I personally enjoy of the Ultraman franchise. It’s campy and ridiculous fun. The series is about a young man who is hurt in a Kaiju attack but becomes Ultraman Taro thanks to the Mother of Ultra (who I believe makes her first appearance in this series). The series started to gain a younger audience at this point and started to lose some of its adult audience. I still had fun with it because it’s what I remember watching as a kid and has more kid friendly characters and monsters than previous series. It comes in two new releases, the standard Blu-ray release and the special Steelbook release which looks fantastic. The show looks surprisingly good on Blu-ray and cleaned up very well. If you’re an adult who liked the older geared versions this might not be your favorite series, but as a rewatch I had fun with it.