We’re back again! Welcome to Daily Grindhouse’s weekly listing of all that’s new and available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD. Everything you see featured here is available in stores or online as of today.
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5 FLIGHTS UP (2014)
Doesn’t look like my kind of movie and it probably isn’t yours, but it’s worth noting that Freeman and Keaton play a married couple here. Can’t believe we’re this far in the future and that’s still considered progress, but this is Hollywood we’re talking about. I’m just glad he isn’t playing her gardener.
Well it’s Seagal in 2015, so you can leave the “abs” part out of it.
ALIEN OUTPOST (2013)
Our pal Mike McGranahan had a few nice things to say about this one, so if you like alien invasion movies, it’s probably worth looking into.
THE BIG CHILL (1983)
This is a single-disc edition of the package that came out almost a year ago. Here’s what I had to say about it then:
By any measure, Lawrence Kasdan is one of the more successful Hollywood screenwriters of the past thirty or forty years. Best known for his contributions to writing THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, he’s back in that territory lately, working on the new STAR WARS sequels. Back in the early 1980s, his own directing career looked much different than these epic fantasy pictures did — he wrote and directed BODY HEAT, a highly-regarded neo-noir starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, and followed that up with THE BIG CHILL, which brought back William Hurt along with a strong roster of then-emerging names, some of the better-known actors of the 1980s. Kasdan’s work is taught in screenwriting courses so it’s not too shocking that the Criterion Collection would select it, but my general sense is that THE BIG CHILL isn’t so universally beloved. The story concerns a group of college friends who are reunited a decade and a half down the road when one of them commits suicide. Notoriously, the soundtrack is stuffed with nostalgia tracks for the baby-boomer generation — it’s a great soundtrack, but this movie is probably the one to blame for every other white-bread drama, comedy, and trailer that make similar plays for audio broad-appeal. Also, a good amount of people just plain don’t like yuppies. (No such judgments here. Me, I’m ambiguous on the breed.) Cheekily, the Criterion release includes an essay by Lena Dunham, who probably represents to the culture now what yuppies and THE BIG CHILL represented then.
THE CELL (2000)
I hated THE CELL when I saw it back in 2000. To be fair, I haven’t seen it since. To be even fairer, screenwriter Mark Protosevich also wrote the most vivid script I feel I’ve ever read, which was his adaptation of I AM LEGEND (which became a Will Smith vehicle in 2007 that conjures only a fraction of the intensity of Protosevich’s screenplay.) So maybe I just don’t dig on what director Tarsem Singh is throwing down. Or maybe this was the movie everyone wanted to make, and it just wasn’t to my liking.
More to the point, I had trouble with the way THE CELL merges artistic visuals in its voyage into the minds of serial killers. It’s the same reason I can’t fuck with that show Hannibal like every single TV critic out there does. You can’t eroticize murder that much. Or you can, but I won’t want to look at it. I’m on unsteady ethical ground with the argument, seeing as how much I love (for example) Clint Eastwood Westerns, but there’s something precious — and pretentious — to the killing in THE CELL, whereas the violent movies I tend to favor have violence that is blunt and abrupt. I don’t cotton to pretension. It’s clearly not that I don’t enjoy violence in movies on some level, and it’s certainly not that I don’t like sex in movies, but it could be that I chafe when the two are so closely intertwined. I don’t want to fuck anybody in a Clint Eastwood Western.
By contrast, by the very nature of placing Jennifer Lopez in a violent movie, it sexualizes everything, since she’s a sex symbol before anything else, and in 2000 this was the absolute height of her sexy powers. Then again, I love sexy-violent things like Raquel Welch in HANNIE CAULDER, so maybe it’s neither the sex nor the violence that’s the problem for me here. My hunch is still that it’s the arty visuals, overtaking a straightforward story. I’d have to look at THE CELL again, and maybe I should, because anything that can provoke me so much is probably self-revealing somehow, even if the movie itself doesn’t turn out to be a big deal either way.
Have yet to see the film, but I can tell you for sure it has a great soundtrack by Goblin. It’s rare that I’ve backed into movies through their soundtracks, but this is one of those rare cases, and I can’t wait to check out this new Arrow Video release.
CRIMINAL LAW (1988)
Now that you know Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman were in a film together, you can win every single Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon challenge that comes your way. Of course, the two of them have been in another legal-themed film together. Can you name it without Googling? (I couldn’t.)
THE CRIMSON CULT (1968)
Christopher Lee. 🙁 Still too sad. But we’ll always have him in movies. This one is also known as CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR. Unlike Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman, I don’t have a strong sense of how many or how few films Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee starred in together. I feel like it had to have happened more than the one time, but this was towards the end of Karloff’s run and on the earlier side of Lee’s ascendance, so maybe not! THE CRIMSON CULT not only gives you Lee and Karloff, but Barbara Steele and Michael Gough too. Worth a look!
DARK SUMMER (2015)
Horror movie. Peter Stormare is in it. Odds he survives? (They’re normally significantly worse than Sean Bean’s odds, for the record.)
DELI MAN (2015)
No good can come out of watching this on an empty stomach. Even writing this much is causing a rumble. Moving on, please.
ELIMINATION GAME (2014)
This guy Dominic Purcell is familiar to you if you’re familiar with a certain type of unpretentious genre fare. For example, while you may have forgotten the movie itself, you saw him in BLADE III as Count Dracula (by way of Sylvester Stallone). That’s how I like to think of him myself, as “Stallone Dracula.” Now ELIMINATION GAME turns out to be a remake of Brian Trenchard-Smith’s TURKEY SHOOT, complete with a role for Roger Ward, a villain from the original. Stallone Dracula is probably a fairer physical match-up for Roger Ward than the original film’s Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey, but who knows if they even fight? Obviously I shall be doing the research and reporting back. Stay tuned.
FIRE BIRDS (1990)
They really should have included the entire statement for that pull quote. “If you enjoyed TOP GUN, you’ll have a great time. But if you could take it or leave it, you’re fucked.” But who can think about the movie when that beautiful cover art is staring you in the face? It’s really all I can look at or think about.
FOR THE EMPEROR (2014)
This is a Korean noir with a promising pitch: “A disgraced pro baseball player goes to work for a mob-connected loan shark, rising through the ranks of money and power. But when his love interest disappears, he finds himself in a deadly battle of wits against his bloodthirsty mentor.” Even still, I want to hear more about the girl…
HOUSE OF CARDS:
THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
I’m so not caught up! I got to do season two still! Aaaaargh!
JOE DIRT (2001)
God bless Jaime Pressly, because otherwise this was one depressing-ass Google search. There’s a sequel on the way, for some reason.
KILL ME THREE TIMES (2014)
Good on Simon Pegg for trying something different. Anybody seen this one yet?
*** PICK OF THE WEEK !!! ***
THE KILLERS (1946) +
THE KILLERS (1964)
Longtime Criterion aficionados know this double-feature well — the company released both films to DVD back in 2003. This here is a technological upgrade. The 1946 version of THE KILLERS is just terrific, well worth seeing on its lonesome, but Don Siegel’s 1964 do-over is transcendent in my eyes. It’s just everything I want out of movies. If you’d like to see me wax poetic at length, please check out my extended appraisal by clicking on this sentence.
KILLING SPREE (1987)
Hahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Okay. So. When they say this is a limited edition, they mean it. There are only 666 copies made to order, so if you want this, you’d better hurry!
THE LOVERS (2015)
The upcoming sequel is called THE HATERS. But seriously folks, how is this guy still getting acting work? Nothing against Josh Hartnett on a personal level, and it’s not like he needs to stop working in movies altogether. It’s just that acting clearly isn’t his thing. Maybe he could find work as one of those apple boxes that short actors stand on when they have to do scenes with taller actresses.
What’s happening with Arnold, whether you’re a fan or not, is so fascinating. Rarely in American movies has a star’s success depended so exclusively on their physicality. Now, as Arnold ages out of his physical prime (a process probably accelerated by his stint in politics), as his muscles diminish and the wrinkles start to spread across his face, his entire persona itself is a question mark. As a movie about a father tending to a teenaged daughter who’s turning during a zombie apocalypse, MAGGIE is a character piece and a horror film, two areas of storytelling Arnold was never well suited for before. As a star he’s neither particularly emotive nor much willing to be vulnerable. So this is a notable change of pace, and again, fan or not, the attempt alone is refreshing.
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT (2014)
Here’s the synopsis of this documentary from the makers of FOOD INC.: “Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.”
I can’t even parse from that what the movie is about exactly, which is maybe the point.
NED KELLY (1970)
In case I wasn’t already confused enough by that last entry, here comes a British movie starring Mick Jagger as an outlaw, with music from Shel Silverstein and Waylon Jennings. Better keep moving things along before my head explodes, which is a real danger most days.
NO GOOD DEED (2002)
Remade last year with Taraji Henson and Idris Elba. You can trust me!
THE PACT 2 (2014)
I dug the first one, which was an under-the-radar chiller. I did not know until just now that a sequel was coming, but I will allow it.
PIT STOP (1969)
Somewhat confusingly, this movie seems to have come out on Blu-Ray in a different outfit, a couple weeks back. Hell, it’s Jack Hill, James Caan, Sid Haig, and Roger Corman. Buy two. It’s only money!
Look, I put up plenty of cheesecake in these columns. There’s one for the other folks.
REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER (1975)
Cool artwork! Cooler cast: Michael Moriarty, Yaphet Kotto, Susan Blakely, Hector Elizondo, William Devane, Richard Gere, Vic Tayback and Bob Balaban. Never heard of this flick before today, but now I’m curious.
THE ROAD WITHIN (2014)
I would watch this especially if they offered it with a Robert Patrick commentary.
ROBOT JOX (1989)
Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMATOR) does jousting robots. YES! So many kinds of yes!
ROLLER BOOGIE (1979)
Not only was this directed by Mark L. Lester (CLASS OF 1984), but it was the first film Dean Cundey shot after HALLOWEEN. It’s pretty terrific. Great party movie.
SLOW WEST (2015)
The good news: Ennio Morricone did the score. The maybe-not-so-good news: Umberto Lenzi directed. Buyer beware. But also, be aware. It could be awesome!
STREET SMART (1987)
Morgan Freeman as a killer pimp — this is long before he met Diane Keaton, kids.
THE TALL BLOND MAN WITH ONE BLACK SHOE (1972)
Congratulations to us all! We just found the most French movie title ever written.
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976)
I’m a big fan of the original. I didn’t mind this remake too much, as far as most remakes go, but keep in mind I’ve been beaten down by remakes for so many years now that my eyeglasses are kind of skewed.
THE TREATMENT (2014)
It’s a Belgian crime thriller. I’ve not seen one of those before, have you? Maybe it’s worth a shot. Worked out well with the waffles.
*** PICK OF THE WEEK !!! ***
TRUCK TURNER (1974)
This film is phenomenally entertaining. I’m going to bank some energy now for when I write about it down the road, so forgive me for being terse.
This movie is a relic from a time where Denzel apparently resembled Boris Kodjoe and Russell Crowe apparently resembled John Stamos. I remember there being some good songs on the soundtrack, but that’s about all I remember. By the time these two guys co-starred in AMERICAN GANGSTER, they had Jay-Z handling the soundtrack. And Denzel never had to dress like Grace Jones again!
WILD THING (1987)
Apparently Robert Davi plays the bad guy in this movie, as Robert Davi is prone to do. That is not him in either picture. Hard to find out too much about this movie, honestly.
WOMAN IN GOLD (2015)
Yeah, I’m done here.
— JON ABRAMS (@jonnyabomb).
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Tags: Blu-ray, boris karloff, christopher lee, dvd, Goblin, Isaac Hayes, Jaime Pressly, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Bacon, Lee Marvin, Morgan Freeman, New Releases, Nicolas Cage, Peter Stormare, Roger Ward, tommy lee jones, Trombones