Not a lot for us again this week so I’ll start with the best, Spaceballs. The comedy classic gets a new Blu-ray and 4K release this week and I’m sure you’ve seen it before. I hadn’t seen it in years so I really enjoyed popping in this new release. Mel Brooks spoofs Star Wars and George Lucas himself loved the film. It stars John Candy as Barf, a Chewbacca knockoff, Bill Pullman as Lone Starr the Han Solo of the group, Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet (Darth Vader), Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa (their Leia) and Joan Rivers as the voice of Dot Matrix aka female C3PO. It has all the typical Brooks’ schtick with some iconic moments we’ve been referencing since the film came out in 1987. It comes with audio commentary from Brooks and tons of other fun special features. If you don’t already own it (and you should), these new releases are worth it.
Second we have Far Western, a documentary on country music in Japan. It’s a really interesting documentary on how country and bluegrass music first became popular in Japan after World War II and how Japan has some of its own stars and a country music festival. Country music isn’t huge in Japan nowadays, but still has its fans and they are dedicated. The film focuses on one who’s been country since the 1940s. He even got to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. There are others including a father and daughter who get to perform in a honkytonk in the US as well. The main guy really lives the life with his son runs a country bar and he helps put on the country music festival. It’s just a really interesting documentary about a group of people I wouldn’t have thought existed outside the US.
Third we have My Little Sister a drama about twins, one dying of leukemia and the other trying to help him and also be there for her own family. The dying brother is a stage actor and the sister was a playwright who stopped writing. It’s a pretty straight forward movie that doesn’t wander and sticks to its story through and through. She has difficulties with her husband who wants to take a new job elsewhere and who thinks she’s putting her brother ahead of him and her kids. She wants another playwright to give her brother time so he can perform again, but he changes plays and doesn’t believe the brother will be well enough in time. The two leads are good and the film holds your attention throughout. Just a solid made drama with good performances.
Last we have Sensation Seekers / A Chapter in Her Life a double feature of 1920s films from Lois Weber. Sensation Seekers is about a woman named Egypt, a sort of socialite of her time who falls for a minister. The town gossips and the minister isn’t looked upon in a good light because of Egypt, but he’s just trying to tame her. There’s a pretty good boat scene at the end which was probably amazing for the time period of silent films. A Chapter in Her Life is about a young girl who must live with her rich grandfather while her parents are away. He at first isn’t fond of the child and his help isn’t either, but slowly the delightful child wins their hearts. Think of it as an early Little Orphan Annie. The young actress playing the granddaughter is just fantastic.