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.
The Wolfman (also Blu-ray). I know this is not likely to have been your first choice for pick of the week. But this is a rather weak week of releases and I genuinely enjoyed this flawed film. I look forward to seeing if the director's cut improves any on the theatrical release. The movie had a somewhat troubled production and the released film had a nice old school look and a British feel to it. It had a lot of the aesthetic appeal of the original 1942 film, but the narrative failed to take true hold. Still, I enjoyed it for what it got right and was able to forgive what was really wrong. It is worth checking out and hopefully improved in its new form.
Alice in Wonderland (2010) (also Blu-ray). Not one of Tim Burton's better films. It is not a disaster, but it is definitely a let down. For the most part this odd sequel to the classic stories is a wonderful visual experience. The problem lies in a flat narrative that never brings any wonder to Wonderland. I liked bits and pieces, like the March Hare and Mad Hatter, but the Knave of Hearts and Cheshire Cat did not interest as much. It is worth a watch but it is hardly a keeper.
Burn Notice: Season Three. This USA series is a lot of fun. It is an action/adventure spy series that does not feel one bit realistic, but it is just a blast to watch. Jeffrey Donovan stars as a former spy who always seems to have bad guys after him as he and his friends take jobs from the desperate to take out other bad guy. Definitely worth spending some time with.
War of the Worlds (2005) (Blu-ray). Arriving on Blu-ray is one of Spielberg's underrated films. Yes, it did well at the box office, but it ever seemed to gain much critical traction. I found it to be quite an excellent film that is not meant to be taken literally as an alien invasion. It is more of a domestic nightmare that Tom Cruise is having. You see, he is not the best of fathers, but he still loves his children and the alien invasion is the manifestation of his fear of losing them. It forces him to step up. I do not know if that was how it was intended, but that is how I read it and subsequently really enjoyed the movie.
Bad Boys (Blu-ray). Here is an early Michael Bay offering that many seem to love for its over-adrenalized ways. It pairs Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as cops on the trail of some bad dudes with plenty of bullets and explosions. I like this movie and suspect it will look quite good in high definition.
The Man with No Name Trilogy (Blu-ray). A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly comprise one of the best western trilogies ever made. They do not really have much direct connection aside from the star (Clint Eastwood) and director (Sergio Leone), but they do go well together. The three are making their Blu-ray debuts in this set.
Undisputed III: Redemption (also Blu-ray). I have not seen the first or second films, but this one was brought to my attention and the trailer looks pretty good. It is the sort of film I am not planning on seeing for the story or the acting skills; what I am looking forward to are the fights, which is what this movie looks to be about.
Cornered! I do not know much about this movie, but it grabbed my attention as the cover art clearly labels this as a slasher horror movie and also clearly states that one of the stars is none other tan Steve Guttenberg. Good or bad, this sounds like a movie that needs to be seen.