It’s October! We made it. Yay! 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 as of yesterday. There’s a ton of TV this week, and also a hysterical amount of double-DVDs and multiple-feature options. Seriously. It’s crazy. If you wanted to pick up a good movie packaged with its bad sequel(s) this is gonna be an embarassment of riches. There’s some genuinely good stuff listed below too, but way too much for me to recap in any detail. I’ll weigh in with commentary when the mood strikes. Otherwise: Happy scrolling!
ADVENTURE TIME: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (TV)
This week brings a TON of ALIEN movies to Blu-Ray, though not for the first time. The new editions are due to the fact that the first ALIEN was released in 1979, which makes this the 35th anniversary. You can buy the series installments together or apart. As you’ll see later in the column, you can also get both ALIEN VS. PREDATOR movies, though God only knows why you’d want to do that, and what the hell, there’s a PREDATOR triple-feature also — no major anniversary there, but it seems the two franchises are forever linked now. (How do you possibly make a bad ALIEN VS. PREDATOR movie and manage to live with yourself, by the way? Let alone two?)
ALIEN: 35th ANNIVERSARY (1979)
ALIEN is science-fiction before it’s anything (future, spaceships, aliens = sci-fi) – but it plays like straight-up horror. It’s a haunted-house movie, a ghost story, but one where the supernatural being who is stalking a trapped bunch of people also happens to be an alien. And it’s an alien of a kind no one’s ever seen in movies before or since. The Alien, as designed by HR Giger, is one of the iconic movie monsters, one of the few monster icons from the second half of the twentieth century. And Sigourney Weaver is the ultimate “last girl” – like Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN, she plays a character of depth and resourcefulness that is rare for genre films. She’s a true survivor. Well, her and the cat. Good old Jonesy…
This movie is so crucial, for so many reasons.
It brought a gloss to horror and a new prestige to sci-fi, and it’s the movie that truly launched director Ridley Scott’s career. It has [at least] one of the great shocks in movie history. It has one of the great female leads in action, sci-fi, horror, whatever. And it’s the movie that established how the Aliens are cat people rather than dog people. The Predators are dog people. But this is a conversation for another time.
Hot off the success of THE TERMINATOR, James Cameron took the ball from Ridley Scott and ran long with it. Like all of Cameron’s work, ALIENS is bombastic and emotionally-charged. Unlike its predecessor, ALIENS is short on silence and its scenes of suspense are of a different sort. If ALIEN was a horror movie, ALIENS is a full-on war movie. From here a pattern emerged: The ALIEN movies invited additional genre elements beyond sci-fi. The third movie is a spin on the prison genre, and the fourth is a blend of a POSEIDON ADVENTURE disaster movie and a WILD BUNCH men-on-a-mission movie. I’m still waiting for the Merchant-Ivory take.
David Fincher’s feature debut was on this movie, a dark and grimy and phenomenally nihilistic edition of the ongoing story of Ellen Ripley and the parasitic creatures she’d by now become an old hand at battling. Due to the major character deaths bookending the film, it wasn’t well-received by most fans and still isn’t, but I feel there are many strong and striking moments, and I know it’s a fascinating start to a filmmakers’ gleefully sinister career.
ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997)
Now that the rest of the world has caught up with those of us who appreciate Joss Whedon’s talents, maybe this installment will get more people re-discovering it. He wrote the script. Most of the cooler stuff you will recognize as his. Nothing against director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but he clearly wanted to make a different movie and I think watching the movie you can feel the disconnect between what must have been on the page and what is happening on screen. The authorship is split.
ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN 1 & 2 (1996)
Remember when Charlie Sheen was a dog who went to Heaven? His character’s name was “Charlie” which is I guess where Chuck Lorre got that idea.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS TRIPLE FEATURE
All I know is that I saw one of these rancid little vermin eat an entire turd in one of the trailers. It was too shocking for the mainstream back in 1972 when Divine ate shit in PINK FLAMINGOS but now we’ve got coprohagia in horrible kids’ movies. I’m not sure that’s progress.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN (TV)
ANCIENT ALIENS: SEASON SIX VOLUME ONE (TV)
BAD SANTA (2003)
Like a bunch of titles out this week, BAD SANTA has been on Blu-Ray for a while now. I guess the ownership has changed hands. That’s the only difference in the release that I can see — it was a Miramax title and now it’s being repackaged by Lionsgate. No reason to buy this version if you have it already.
BATES MOTEL: SEASON TWO (TV)
Vera Farmiga rules. Like, a lot.
BIG MOMMA’S 3-FILM COLLECTION
Can’t help but feel Tyler Perry owes both Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence some major royalties. (And isn’t it horrifying to contemplate that there’s somebody out there making shittier fat-suit films than NORBIT and BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE?)
BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (1967)
BLACK NATIVITY (2013)
BRONSON: TRIPLE THREAT COLLECTION
This’d be worth it for number three alone, although please note that, weirdly, the original is not included.
CHILDREN OF THE CORN COLLECTION
My favorite CHILDREN OF THE CORN movie is the one that has this scene:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984)
This is October. Don’t be an asshole.
CHUCK NORRIS SHIT
It’s there if you want it for some reason.
CYBORG/ DEATH WARRANT/ DOUBLE IMPACT
DOUBLE IMPACT is fun, but CYBORG is secretly awesome. If you see a good price on this three-pack, go for it.
THE DEATH KISS (1932)
DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE! (1980)
Hey, that guy was in DARKMAN!
Not sure you need two of these.
DUCK DYNASTY: SEASON 6 (TV)
Yeah but still fuck this show.
DUCK, YOU SUCKER (1971)
This can’t possibly be the first Blu-Ray edition of this film, can it? I’ve been looking for that information without finding a concrete answer. I’ve got it on DVD and I’ll eventually upgrade but it’s hard to believe it took this long for a Blu-Ray to show up. If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it, of course, but it’s Advanced Studies. Sergio Leone is a director whose work is arguably best experienced chronologically — start with A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and work your way towards this one. I don’t suggest starting with DUCK, YOU SUCKER, since it’s a bit of a riff off Leone’s previous films and it spins off in different, more esoteric directions. It’s an important film — as are all of the Leones — but it’s not the major crowd-pleaser the others are. This, the master’s final Western, is definitely the gateway picture to Leone’s last, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA.
EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)
For the trailer for this movie, Emily Blunt perfected the Catherine-Zeta-Jones-in-the-trailer-for-ENTRAPMENT conspicuously posed move. To this day, nobody has heard me complain.
Also, EDGE OF TOMORROW is totally fun and you should check it out if you didn’t see it during the summer.
THE FIRST POWER (1990)
And sometimes you come across a twenty-odd-year-old movie you’ve just plain never heard about before. And suddenly that becomes the movie you want to see the most.
THE FOLLOWING: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (TV)
See Kevin Bacon in that picture? Coincidentally, that’s the same posture I have every time somebody mentions The Following.
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940)
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (1989)
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
As somebody who already owns two different Blu-Ray editions of this movie (not to mention three different DVD versions), as far as I can tell the only thing to set this one apart is that shadow on the right half of the cover art there. It appears to be the individual packaging connected to the recent “Man With No Name” collection
. If you don’t own this movie, get it promptly. If you already have it, you’re good. Unless you’re a maniac like me who needs to have more than one copy at any given time, just in case.
HALLOWEEN TRIPLE FEATURE
HEMLOCK GROVE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (TV)
Watched the first two episodes. The werewolf transformation was good. Can’t say much for the rest. Does it get better?
HOLIDAY INN (1942)
Yes, that is Bing Crosby in blackface as Abraham Lincoln. Yes, this movie gave its name to the hotel chain. Yes, it’s all fucked up.
Great introduction to the Houdini story for those who aren’t familiar.
ICE AGE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
From IMDb: “A grotesquely disfigured harpooner called Iguana is severely mistreated by his fellow sailors on a whaling ship in the 19th century. One night he escapes and takes up residence on a remote island. He makes himself ruler of the island and declares war on mankind. Anyone unfortunate enough to wind up on the island with Iguana is subjected to his cruel tyranny.” THAT SOUNDS AWESOME. ORDERING IT.
IN THE NAME OF THE KING: COLLECTION
ISLAND CLAWS (1980)
Now we know there’s a horror movie about gigantic killer crabs. What we do with that information is up to each and every one of us.
JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART (2013)
JEEPERS CREEPERS 1 & 2
THE KING AND I (1956)
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2005)
Look, they’re not going to stop releasing alternate versions of this movie. So just accept it.
LEGALLY BLONDE 1 & 2
THE MARINE 3-PACK
MILLION DOLLAR ARM (2014)
Is that where Satan places himself?
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (2014)
It’d be neat if this movie really WAS able to make people “die laughing.” That way everyone who paid to see it wouldn’t be around anymore. That sounds harsh, but look at the numbers: We’ve got more than enough people on this planet already. Objectively speaking, we can spare all the ones who consciously make Seth McFarlane rich.
A MIRACLE ON 34th STREET (1947)
Something sad about the fact that the only 65-year-old movies most normal people will ever watch are Christmas movies. Nothing against this one in particular but it’s weird to think more people have seen it than MY DARLING CLEMENTINE.
“Unhinged Bill Paxton” is one of the great pleasures of modern movies. This one’s on my list.
MULHOLLAND FALLS (1996)
That is one hell of a cast. Not entirely sure why I’ve never seen this movie. Also wonder if there’s fan fiction out there connecting Nolte’s role in MULHOLLAND FALLS to his role in last year’s GANGSTER SQUAD, since they appear to be the exact same movie. (This one’s got Jennifer Connelly, though, so it wins.)
Kermit gets a visit from the Absinthe Fairy.
IT’S A VERY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE (2002)
** COVER ARTWORK OF THE WEEK!! **
THE NEVERENDING STORY (1984)
In retrospect, there’s a lot about this movie that isn’t quite right for kids. Don’t let me start up on that subject, because that’s the real never-ending story.
THE NEVERENDING STORY II: THE NEXT CHAPTER (1990)
Kids, that title is what’s known as an oxymoron.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 1 & 2
OBVIOUS CHILD (2014)
This would be a nice way to cap off that HELLRAISER sequel marathon, I think.
PERCY JACKSON DOUBLE FEATURE
Wait, so it’s the white kid whose name is “Percy Jackson”?
PREDATOR TRIPLE FEATURE
That is, PREDATOR, PREDATOR 2, and PREDATORS. The first of those I love like an uncle. The other two are worth watching once or twice I guess. And I like them more than most people I know do.
ALIEN VS. PREDATOR DOUBLE FEATURE
PROMETHEUS/ PREDATOR DOUBLE-FEATURE
Those two? Together? Sure. Why not?
THE PROPHECY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
I’ve seen the first one. I like it well enough. I honestly had no idea there were that many more. Should I investigate further? Anyone have an expert opinion?
** PICK OF THE WEEK !! **
RAW FORCE (1982)
RICK AND MORTY: SEASON ONE (TV)
ROBOCOP DOUBLE FEATURE (1987 & 2014)
ROGER & ME (1989)
SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE (TV)
SHORT CIRCUIT (1986)
SIDEWALK STORIES (1989)
SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)
SOUTH PACIFIC (1958)
SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON (2014)
TAKEN 1 & 2
THIS MEANS WAR / WATER FOR ELEPHANTS
I swear I looked at this double-feature for three minutes before I figured out what these two movies have in common.
Only saw this for the first time recently, since I’ve been going through every movie Jules Dassin made that I can get my hands on. His movies are wonderful, really. Known more for his literate and plausible black-and-white crime films, Dassin made TOPKAPI in color, after he’d left the United States for political reasons. It’s a more light-hearted movie than the others, engaging but more of a romp, and as such it’s not really the place to start if you’d like to get to know the work of this great filmmaker, who was so good humanizing the bleakest situations.
TRUE CONFESSIONS (1981)
“A voodoo romp in the swamp!” — Don King, in a short-lived side career as a blurb provider.
VIKINGS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (TV)
WALL STREET: DOUBLE FEATURE
Remember when Charlie Sheen was in movies worth seeing? And is Shia LeBeouf the new Charlie Sheen? And is it just me or is Michael Douglas really, really creepy (and not only when he’s trying to be)?
WOLVERINE DOUBLE FEATURE
The newer one is better than the previous one, but so was the root canal I had last year so that ain’t saying too much.
WRONG TURN 1-5
I made it three movies deep into this franchise. I think I’ve done my service. Seems like a good place to stop.