Up first for us this week is a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Josie and the Pussycats from Mill Creek Entertainment. Yep it’s been twenty years since the live-action adaptation of Riverdale’s favorite girl group came out. Starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid as Josie and the Pussycats, the film itself isn’t very good. It feels very early 2000s when Britney Spears, NSYNC and the like were still wildly popular and shows like TRL told a generation what to like. It’s corny and cheesy and the acting isn’t great, but you know what? Twenty years later the film might be more relevant now than it was then. It opens with a hugely popular boy band being killed by their manager (Alan Cumming) for asking too many questions. His boss (the always awesome Parker Posey) wants a new band and Cumming signs Josie and the Pussycats without even hearing them. They have the right look and image and that’s the point. Posey’s company uses pop acts to push the latest fashion and trends with subliminal messages. Even the government knows what’s going on and kids instantly want new shoes and products after hearing altered songs. You can’t tell me that’s not happening now with celebrities and social media telling people what’s cool, who to vote for and other political propaganda. Kay Hanley did the singing for the film so that’s cool. Rachael Lee Cook is good as Josie and Rosario Dawson is solid too. It’s not the edgy and dark reboot that Riverdale the show is, but I know a lot of people who love this film in a cult classic type of way. It comes with some good bonus features as well.
Also from Mill Creek is The Match. This takes place during World War II when a soldier in a prison camp is realized to be a famous soccer player. The man in control of the camp wants the soccer player to put a team together to play against his Nazi team on Hitler’s birthday. If they intentionally lose, most of the team will win their freedom. It’s told through flashbacks of a man when he was a young boy at the prison camp. It’s not bad, but we’ve definitely seen similar. I watched Behind The Line: Escape to Dunkirk last year which is about a prisoner discovered who was a boxing champ forced to fight a Nazi champion. I like seeing historical elements from other points of view, I just wish there was more to this one.
Third we have Wildland out of Denmark. A teenaged girl is forced to live with her estranged aunt after the death of her mother. Her mother wasn’t the best person in the world so she’s hoping living with her aunt and cousins will bring her some stability. Soon she realizes her aunt’s family are a bit of gangsters themselves beating up people and running a club. When an event goes too far, the young girl turns to the cops, but her family finds out. It’s a solid drama that they compare to Animal Kingdom which makes sense if you’ve seen that show. The teen actress is very good and holds your attention throughout.
Next is Curiosa. Based on real events in 1800s Paris, it’s a pretty sexy drama about a poet/photographer and his lover who happens to be married to another man. She wanted to be with the poet/photographer from the beginning, but was arranged to her husband. There is a ton of nudity with multiple partners and photo sessions. I thought the lead actress, Noémie Merlant, was very good. I’m not familiar with the people it’s based on so I can’t tell you how historically accurate it is. I can see a lot of people enjoying this if you like these types of period dramas.
Last we have Sailor Suit & Machine Gun. This 1981 Japanese film is about a young girl whose father dies making her the leader of a Yakuza clan. The clan leader had died making her father the next in line, but with his passing, she is the only family member left. I don’t know if it’s a spoof or just satire about Yakuza films. No way a teenaged girl would actually take over a clan so I’m thinking this film is satirizing the popularity of the genre in the previous years. The young girl is good and it has some decent violence for a somewhat spoof film. It comes with different cuts of the film and some decent bonus features.