Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that 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. It is my opinion based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations upon them 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.
Friday the 13th: Uncut. This is what fans have been screaming for, finally the uncut version is coming out as a Region 1 DVD. I believe prior to this it has only been available in Japan. Now we have to wonder how long it will take to get the uncut versions of the rest of the series. I must admit to having a soft spot for this series and I am really looking forward to the remake, which looks pretty darn good. In addition to being uncut, this release will also have a selection of new features, hopefully they will help make up for what was on the box set released some years ago.
Friday the 13th, Part 2. No, not uncut, but hopefully improved video over the box set release. This release will also feature a selection of new featurettes. I want to check out the new additions, but I am not sure I want to rebuy the film.
Friday the 13th, Part 3: 3D. See the above, but this has the advantage of being released in 3D. All I know is that I do not want to watch this in those red/blue glasses (it comes with two pairs).
His Name was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th. This looks promising, if it is anything like the Halloween documentary, this will definitely be worth checking out. With so many characters and films there is no shortage of history to delve into.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I love Kevin Smith movies. He is a master when working vulgarity and crass language. He is able to treat it like it is still shocking and still inject an immense amount of heart. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks make an impressive couple as they deal with being friends, broke, and porno makers. If you are a Smith fan, do not miss this as it is sure to have some great extras too.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The movie is entertaining enough; it is bright, colorful, and quick-paced. There are few moments where boredom threatens to kick in. This is not a movie that breaks any new ground, but it doesn't need to. It is a safe film that is what it is, fun, fast, and good for the kids. Sit back and enjoy the ride; just don't expect another Kung Fu Panda.
The Secret Life of Bees. The movie is a little odd in the way that the tone shifts through three distinct portions of the film. There is the initial drama with the abusive father, followed by the lengthy middle portion where the bad early feelings go away within the peaceful refuge of the Boatwrights' home and honey business, and finally reality comes crashing back in the conclusion. I was a little thrown by the shifts, but in the end it is a touching film that is more affecting than I was expecting it to be.
Bottle Shock. I have not seen this film, but it could prove interesting. The story centers on California wine country and their battle with French wineries. Alan Rickman stars in this drama built upon real life issues. Think of a more historically accurate look at the business than is shown in the excellent Sideways.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. While I found the plot to be distracting and the music not for me, it is hard to deny these characters their moment to shine. Then, once you set the plot aside and allow the characters to possess center stage, you will discover a screenplay that is a cut above your typical teen rom-com. An intelligence is revealed through words that do not treat the characters as idiots. They may not always be the smartest words to say, but they suffuse the characters with real thoughts and real feelings.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection. I still have not seen the original, so I will have to pass on this for awhile. Samuel L. Jackson as an anime warrior? What's not to like?
Killer Movie. This could prove fun. On the set of a reality show, things go horribly wrong as a killer starts taking out the contestants. It has received some good early word and it does feature Big Bang Theory looker Kaley Cuoco.
Everybody Wants to be Italian. This movie so much wants to be a new My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but it comes nowhere near that film. It has a few moments of humor and poignancy, but the central character is just too much of a psycho to really like for any amount of time.
Dead Noon. Super low budget horror take on High Noon and starring Kane "Jason Voorhees" Hodder. I have not seen anything on this, but with Hodder and some positive buzz it definitely looks like one to check out.
Assault on Precinct 13: Restored Edition. Not sure how much better this will look over the last release, but it is a fantastic movie that you should add to your collection. It is, essentially, John Carpenter's take on Rio Bravo (which he would visit again with Ghosts of Mars). It is low budget, gritty, and a little controversial. Do yourself a favor and check this out.