Not a lot for us this week so I’ll start with Here Are the Young Men. This Irish film had a ton going for it. It has a great young cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Dean-Charles Chapman (1917, Game of Thrones), Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Sing Street) and Finn Cole (F9) plus Travis Fimmel who I like a lot as well. I was hoping it was going to be the younger generations Trainspotting, but it’s not quite. It’s about a small group of friends who finish up school, get involved in drugs, drinking and girls and all that transpires while trying to find yourself. Unfortunately it’s also kind of weird with Fimmel playing a TV host the one character pretends to interact with while he also may have killed someone while in America. He convinces another boy to give a homeless man drugs that may have been rat poison and also tries to rape the boy’s girlfriend. The one friend tries to kill himself and there are countless tonal shifts that you never quite know what’s going on. It’s trying really hard to be Danny Boyle, but it’s not. I really thought this was going to be a film 10 years from now we look back on and say “Wow, what a cast”, but I think it’ll fly under the radar especially here in the States where I am.
Second we have Scare Us which is a sort of horror anthology film that I didn’t realize was a horror anthology film until I watched it. It opens with two murders in a theater then jumps into small town life. One girl goes to a book store her friend runs and they are talking about the murders. A woman, a man and another boy show up and they sit down to read their short stories they wrote. These stories are acted out making the film an anthology type film. But I say type because at the end it does go back to the original plotline and explains the murders we saw in the beginning. Think of it as Who’s Afraid of the Dark? but with an overlapping storyline. It’s not bad, but like all horror anthologies, some of the stories are better than others. I don’t know if I’m familiar with any of the talent involved in the film, but if you like horror anthologies especially more of the PG13 version you might like it.
Next we have Bonneville, a 2007 film starring Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Christine Baranski and Tom Skerritt I had never heard of. Lange’s husband passes away so she cremates him. That went against his daughter’s wishes so she wants his remains back and will take away the house Lange lives in since the will say it belongs to her now. Lange gives in and sets out to bring the remains to Baranski (the daughter character) and convinces her friends played by Bates and Allen to go with her. They are supposed to fly, but instead drive the dead husband’s Bonneville on a little girls trip. Lange visits some spots she shared with her late husband. Allen comes out of her good girl shell a bit and Bates hooks up with Skerritt along the way. It’s a solid film for adults with so much ridiculous talent involved. Lange is perfect in the role and Bates and Allen are great as well. Baranski has mastered these types of prissy/snobby characters so you instantly don’t like her. It’s just a delightful little movie made for an older audience who will eat it up.
Major Dundee gets a 2-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release this week. The western starring Charlton Heston, James Coburn, Richard Harris and more and directed by Sam Peckinpah is more infamous than famous. Not only was there major in-fighting between cast members, but there was in-fighting with the cast and director, the director and the studio, Heston and the studio and everything in between. The film was originally supposed to be a huge epic with a big budget, but the budget was cut and 15 days were cut off the shooting schedule. Heston offered part of his salary to get what was needed, but it was all a hot mess. As for the film itself, Heston plays Major Dundee, a Union Cavalry officer, who wants to hunt down Apache war chief Sierra Charriba and gathers an army of prisoners, ex-slaves and criminals. I actually kind of liked the film, but you can tell there is a much better movie to be had. The opening should have been shown more and other parts of the film could have been developed better, but there’s no doubt what was shot is beautiful to look at. It’s not quite fully epic, but it has the makings of an epic and even though the cast hated each other, I thought they were great. A lot of them would continue working with Peckinpah and you can see that chemistry early on. It’s an all-time what if film, but with this version I think it’s solid. If you like Heston and/or Peckinpah, I definitely recommend this new release which comes with commentaries, a documentary and tons of bonus features.
Next we have BloodSisters: Leather, Dykes & Sadomasochism. This is a documentary from 1995 which was probably super taboo at the time. It takes a look at S&M, homosexuality, leather and everything in between. People in the film give their definition of things and how it can all mean one thing to someone and something different to someone else. Some people just like leather. Some like pain. Some live the lifestyle 24/7. Others it’s just for at home. Twenty-five plus years later some things have changed, but a lot hasn’t. They were happy about Bill Clinton being elected and marched at the White House hoping to be seen, but also whipped people in the streets which probably doesn’t help your cause. It also shows how they label everything and everyone. Whether you’re a femme, a dyke, top or bottom, they have a label for you. Some agree with it and thinks it helps people know who to look for, others just want to be themselves. If you are familiar with the documentary you will like this release.
Last is Drunk History: The Complete Series. This was a show that ran on Comedy Central that had bits that were laugh out loud hilarious and bits that were cringe worthy. It ran for six seasons and was filled with Hollywood stars telling history while drunk. All the dates, names and events are historically true, but the dialogue told by the drunk celebrity was obviously made up. It used re-enactments to bring the stories to life. The problem with the show was, it got old fast. After a couple of seasons it grew tiresome with the same gimmick over and over again. I don’t even know if the celebrities were actually drunk, I never figured that part out. They say the storyteller came up with the story sober then rehearsed it, then got drunk while telling it. Maybe they did, I don’t know. There are some funny stories coming from celebrities you might not expect to be doing comedy. Those were always my favorite. It was a respectable show too being nominated and winning some Primetime awards. It’s not my favorite show Comedy Central ever had, but I know some people who loved the show and will like that the whole series is available in one box set because not all the later seasons had been available before.