Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.
Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle. I know, odd choice for this week's pick right? Why would someone pick an obscure horror movie from 1989 when there are clearly better films to choose from? To tell you the truth, I am not sure. I think I just wanted to see that title in the subject line, I doubt it happens all that often for this title. The movie centers on a biker who is murdered by Hell's Angels while summoning a demon. The demon possesses the dead man's motorcycle that comes into the possession of a delivery boy. He quickly learns his new ride has a penchant for killing people. How can this not be fun? (it would probably be better if you don't answer that)
Funny People (also Blu-ray). This is a good movie, it is not as great as I had wanted it to be but it still shows growth in writer/director Judd Apatow. The film follows a fading comedic star who goes through a life-changing event and an up and coming comedian he confides in. It is surprisingly dramatic and is interesting in how we are taken inside their lives for awhile. The movie also features one of Adam Sandler's finest acting performances.
Angels & Demons (also Blu-ray). I do not plan on adding this to my collection. It will hold your attention and is a better film that The DaVinci Code. At the center of the film is the death of the Pope and drama surrounding the appointment of his successor. Tom Hanks as Dr. Langdon deduces things we have no idea about and spends a lot of time running around followed by long stretches of exposition.
Four Christmases (also Blu-ray). A married couple spend the Christmas holiday visiting their respective separated parents, in turn learning more about themselves and their family. It is not terribly funny or deep. Fortunately it is mercifully brief. The cast includes Vince Vaughan, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Kristen Chenoweth, and Jon Favreau.
Gomorrah (Blu-ray). I have heard very good things about this film. It is an Italian film that takes us inside modern crime families. Could this be a new Godfather?
The Monster Squad (Blu-ray). Kid's who grew up in the 80's invariably have a soft spot for this movie. Kids band together to take on Dracula who has a plan to take over the world with the help of other classic monsters like Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and Gillman. This should look good in high definition. I hope.
Frailty (Blu-ray). I remember loving this on the big screen, but it has been some time since I have seen it. Directed by and starring Bill Paxton, the film recounts a series of murders committed by a father of two boys in an effort to rid us of demons. This is a good and underrated film that will hopefully look nice on Blu-ray.
Shorts (also Blu-ray). Robert Rodriguez's latest family film was born of ideas he developed with his children. I have not yet seen it, but his films are always worth checking out. I love the way he moves back and forth between family films and the decidedly not family films.
Superman: The Complete Animated Series. Many are decrying this release due to the presence of double sided disks. While I would preferred it not be released this way, there is no denying how good the series is and it will be nice to have it all in one place. Now, it is not quite as good as the Batman series, but don't let that hold you back.
My Bloody Valentine (Blu-ray). The original film was released on DVD not all that long ago in a nice special edition that restored some of the deleted footage (while some of it appears lost to time). It has now been ported to high definition. I wonder how good it looks? I thought the DVD was pretty good and the film has old and low budget. We shall see.
New Police Story (Blu-ray). I have been wanting to see this for some time. Actually, I am pretty sure I have the DVD around here somewhere. This sees action star Jackie Chan return to Hong Kong to make a movie after a string of Hollywood features. It is also a loose sequel to the Police Story films of the 1980's and 1990's.
Ichii the Killer (Blu-ray). A Yakuza boss runs off with a lot of his boss's money. The Yakuza head then sends a sadomasochistic hit man after him. That barely scratches the surface of this bizarre Takashi Miike film. Definitely give this a spin i you like out there movies.