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.
Dead Snow (also Blu-ray). I have not seen this yet, but I have heard good things. It has been some time since we have had a good Nazi zombie movie. This one features a group of friends beset by a horde of the flesh-eaters while out snowboarding for the weekend at a remote cabin. I hear it is quite bloody and over the top. The footage I have seen makes it look like a keeper.
The Box (also Blu-ray). Richard Kelly is a fascinating filmmaker. His movies do not always make sense, but they are always ambitious and exist outside the Hollywood mainstream. This one stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple on the brink of implosion, only they do not know it yet. They are given the explosive material needed to detonate in the form of a box and a choice. The choice made will alter their lives forever. The question then becomes, who is behind the box? Outside forces are at work. Not all will like it, but definitely worth the attempt.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (also Blu-ray). I am not sure where this fits in with the series, but I hear it is quite good. I am a big fan of the series and look forward to seeing the heroes take on their evil doppelgangers.
The Informant (also Blu-ray). This is an interesting film that hinges on a solid performance from Matt Damon as a mentally ill man who blows the whistles on worldwide price fixing. At times very funny, at other times an interesting drama. It feels a little rushed towards the end, but it still works and should be scene, if only for Damon.
Everybody's Fine. Robert DeNiro gives a fantastic and subtle performance as a man who finds himself lost following the death of his wife. The film follows him as he travels around the country to visit his children. It is easy to see where it is going, but I was still swept up in the emotion of DeNiro's aging patriarch. It is not going to be to everyone's taste, but this really got to me.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (also Blu-ray). This is a disjointed tale of brother versus brother with a vampire war as the backdrop. It is not a good movie by any stretch, but it is not without its charms — charms mostly delivered by John C. Reilly's vampire. Reilly is just flat out cool. I would be interested in seeing where a sequel may go, but I am not holding my breath.
FlashForward: Part One, Season One. This is not a bad show, but it is trying a little too hard to be a Lost replacement with its big conspiracy theories and time twisting. The problem is that as much potential as it has, the characters are not all that interesting.
The Crazies (Blu-ray). Just in time for the arrival of the remake, George Romero's original take on viruses and government cover-ups arrives on high definition. I have to wonder how it will work in the high definition format, as the low-budget film is just that, low-budget. It has potential, but I am not holding my breath for a worthwhile upgrade.
Sorority Row (also Blu-ray). The movie has a few decent kills, but it is populated with unlikable characters that I wanted to see die. This is not a horror movie made with any intent other than to collect a paycheck.
Ichi the Killer (Blu-ray). Director Takashi Miike is an interesting character who knows how to push buttons. This is one of his best known films and it involves the Yakuza, stolen money, double crosses, torture, self-mutilation, and an overall odd atmosphere. It is a unique experience and if you like strange films, this one is for you.
Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay. How can you go wrong with a title like this? Seriously. The cover, title, and description tell me that I must see this. An asteroid hits near Tokyo and creates a shield around the city. Gangs rule the streets and a virus brings the dead back to ravenous life. One female soldier is tasked with stopping the dead. Looks like it would be a good one to pair with Tokyo Gore Police and Machine Girl!