Welcome back to The Wall! We’ve scoured the release list and boiled it down, as always, to the absolute must-buys of the week. Yeah, there are more titles that are dropping, but NOTHING this week is as cool as the titles we have listed. Dig the goods, Bastards.
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— DG PICK OF THE WEEK–
Severin is back. I thought they were on the lamb and just when I was about ready to put a toe-tag on the bastards, BOOM, here they are with two new releases. Unfortunatly it’s a bit of a mixed bag. First things first though; THE WILD GEESE is fun as hell. Men on a mission films tend to age like a fine scotch; the older they are the better they get. and THE WILD GEESE is aged to near perfection.
Here’s the deal: Mercenary Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton) has been called to rescue President Limbani, victim of a coup and kidnapping. Like any good MOAM film assembling the crew is the fun part. Though this film gets goofy as hell in the funnest way possible, when Faulkner is getting the team together, it alternates between tragic (Richard Harris saying goodbye to his son) to hardboiled (Roger Moore making a heroin dealer get high on his own dirty supply). There are others; a sergeant (Jack Watson) a gay medic (Kenneth Griffith) and the red-shirts who never really amount to much so you can be sure they are going to be the early ones to get popped. With 50 hand picked troops, Faulkener and company free Limbani and quickly realize they’ve been double-crossed and are on their own to grab a plane and get the fuck out of dodge.
Though Richard Burton delivers lines like a balled up fist (it’s what you want in your Mercenaries), and Roger Moore plays the grizzled cigar chomping vet well, I think this is Richard Harris’ film. He delivers a surprisingly emotional performance. The scenes between his son and some of the later moments with Burton almost feel like they were working from a different film; though they don’t fit the film tonally I appreciated the pause in a journey full of ridiculously fun moments. This is a film made for weekends when the wife is out. When you want to pop a cold one and watch bullets fly. This flick feels like everything THE EXPENDABLES was trying to be but could never manage. Richard Burton died days before a sequel was to begin filming. Shame, I would’ve gone on another mission with him in a heartbeat.
Welcome back Severin!
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK…
I thought this flick was cinematic NyQuil. It’s an odd film; it’s kind of like having a Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey. It has all the fixings but there is no goddamn bird. Michael Caine is kind of phoning in a performance which is still okay, but the film (which is visually striking thanks to the desert locations) moves at the pace of my dead grandmother walking up a hill. The only pleasant moments in this are the times you see Beverly Johnson which quickly leads to impure thoughts thus distracting you from the boredom of the film. You just expect more from a movie that was directed by Richard Fleischer (MR. MAJESTYK, SOYLENT GREEN, FANTASTIC VOYAGE).
Why have I bunched the latest from Scream Factory together? They both play with the same theme of the bond between father and son. In DEATH VALLEY, Peter Billingsley is dealing with moving away from his father… and the crazy man stalking his mom and her new boyfriend. The result is a quick horrific trip that has a TV movie of the week feel. But remember, TV movies of the week were actually scary back in the day. As for THE ISLAND, this is probably the best Michael Caine movie you’ve never seen. At least it was for me. I can remember the title in my video store but fuck if I ever watched it. Shame on me, this one is not only written by Peter Benchley (JAWS) from his own novel, but has an incredible Caine performance. Snag’em both.
I knew when Drafthouse Films acquired the rights to MIAMI CONNECTION that we would soon see a giant pile of WHAT THE FUCK?! on Blu-ray soon enough. This good shit is going to knock the hell outta your plasma and punch your eyeballs with insanity. It deserves all the crazy cred it gets.
How do you keep a franchise running strong after the star and the director of the last two films close the book on a potential return? You could go the reboot route which seems to be the flavor of the year, or you could take the franchise in another direction and tell a story set within in the same world. I commend Universal Pictures for choosing the latter, but they almost messed up a good thing with too much clutter, an uninspired plot, and a talky first half that doesn’t deliver the fast paced action we’ve come to expect from a franchise built on speed and smarts. Aaron Cross can handle himself in a fight, but he’s no Jason Bourne. Read the full review here.
TRACY! TRACY! TRACY! Finally, one of the best comic-book films of all-time comes to Blu-ray. Unfortunately, this is bare bones, not even a DICK TRACY theatrical trailer is on this release. Why? Seems Warren Beatty hates the idea of extras or commentaries. It’s a damn shame. I am still grabbing it though; the DVD transfer that was available prior to this looks like ass.
One of the best times I had in a theater all year. It’s been a while since a film made me laugh this hard. HUGE re-watch on this bad boy.
This flick is far from original but delivers brainless action and has some pretty cool moments. And hey, any chance you get to see Gordon Liu is a chance I am taking.
Just before I wrote this column I watched this movie. Plagued with financial problems and stalled temporarily in 2007, this film finally found funding and thank the backers for that. DOOMSDAY BOOK is a trippy little exercise and deserves an audience. Some of the humor doesn’t translate well, but there is plenty of social commentary that does and it packs a punch.
Ahhh we finally get a decent release of this 1995 UK horror anthology. I seem to remember having a shoddy DVD release that looked like a a VHS transfer, but who gives a fuck? Now we have the goods.
I only knew about the Japanese cut of this classic becuase of the press release. Curiosity officially piqued.
Another Bava flick getting the Kino treatment which is nothing but gold for all of Mario’s fans. This isn’t one of his better films but it still has all the atmosphere you would hope to catch in one of his flicks.
We all know the story; after the success of DJANGO, every film company looking to make some coin put DJANGO in the title to try and put asses in the seat. Some of them were good, most of them weren’t. Out of the four above I have only seen DJANGO AND SARTANA which was a cool film.
We’ll be back next week with: TOTAL RECALL (2012), SLEEP WALK WITH ME, ARBITRAGE, and more.
HERE’S TO GOOD WATCHING THIS WEEK, SALUTE!
SEE YOU ON FORTY DEUCE
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