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.
Crank 2: High Voltage (also Blu-ray). This is the sort of movie that mainstream audiences do not get. It is weird, bizarre, and does not appear to contain any sort of brain, much less heart. That said, those who do get it will recognize the appeal if this sort of material. It almost defies explanation. Just thinking about all that went on gets me out of breath. Once it's over, you are just spit out into the darkness, exhausted, heart pounding, and utterly confused about what just happened. Let's just say our hero finds himself on an operating table after his heart has been harvested. What follows is a madcap chase through the city to get his heart back while trying to keep his artificial one artificially charged. Absolutely insane.
The Office: Season Five (also Blu-ray). Just in time to catch up before the new season starts. This season features the opening of the Michael Scott Paper Company, competing with Dunder-Mifflin. It is another fun season for the show, not necessarily the best season, but definitely worth watching, especially if you work in an office. That makes it even funnier.
Fringe: The Complete First Season (also Blu-ray). Initially this series felt like a rip off The X-Files, but the further in we got, the more of an original voice it gained. It is an interesting series that I do not think I've paid close enough attention to in the first place. Perhaps I will pick this up and take another look.
Requiem for a Dream (Blu-ray). Among the catalog titles this week is this second feature from Darren Aronofsky, his follow up to Pi. This film is strange and dark as it looks at addiction. It is one of those movies that you have to see to believe and is definitely worth seeing.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It has been a long time since I have seen this 1971 Disney film. I do remember it being a little to the strange side, but there is nothing wrong with that, is there? Angela Lansbury stars as an apprentice witch who sets out on an adventure with three children and a con man in search of the missing ingredient to a potion she is working on.
The New World: The Extended Cut (Blu-ray). I have not yet seen this Terrence Malick film. I have heard mixed things about it. One thing I feel fairly certain about, I bet it will look quite nice in the high definition format.
Parks and Recreation: Season One. Not so sure about this one. The first season had its moments, but it feels like it is trying too hard to be The Office. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does put a damper on it heading off in its own direction. It will be interesting to see where season two goes.
The Quick and the Dead (Blu-ray). This is not a great movie, but I think it is an under-appreciated one. It is a fun western from Sam Raimi in his pre-Spider-man days. It features a cast that includes Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Creepshow (Blu-ray). Horror compilation film comes to the high definition format. This is another one I have not seen in a long time, but I think I would like to.
Friday (Blu-ray). Not sure if the Blu-ray treatment will mean much for this comedy, but there is no denying that it is hilarious. This feature brings Ice Cube and Chris Tucker together in a stoner comedy that answers the question of what to do on Friday when you have nothing else to do.
Freddy vs. Jason (Blu-ray). This pairing of iconic slashers was a good, not great, film that did a decent job of capturing the essence of the two bad guys, but did not do so god when giving us regular people to root for. Still, a must have for fans. I suspect this will look pretty good on Blu-ray.
Sphere (Blu-ray). I remember liking this when no one else did. There was something about this Michael Crichton adaptation. Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dustin Hoffman are under the ocean and under the influence of an alien sphere. This should be worth revisiting.
Catwoman (Blu-ray). Wow, is this worth getting the high definition treatment? Well, perhaps for Halle Berry's costume. Not for nothing, I thought this was so bad it was kind of fun. I cannot and will not defend it, but it is worth checking out, once.
Dance Flick (also Blu-ray). The trailer told me everything I needed to know about this. I only list this spoof-flick because I am sure there is someone who would be interested in knowing of its availability.
Sleep Dealer (Blu-ray). I seem to recall seeing this title before, but cannot remember where. It is a science fiction film set in a militarized future where the workforce is virtual. Three characters choose to connect and put themselves in the line of fire.
Night of the Dribbler. A 1990 horror film whose killer wears a modified basketball. How can you go wrong with that? On top of that, the title is classic!