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.
World's Greatest Dad (also Blu-ray). On the surface, I expected this film to be a typical Robin Williams family style comedy along the lines of RV (another Williams vehicle). Based on that albeit incorrect assumption I did not give it much thought. The fact that it did not play near me made it easier to ignore. What got me interested was an interview I heard with Bobcat Goldthwait, the man in the director's chair. I learned some things about this movie and the way he goes about making his films that greatly intrigued me. This movie is not your family comedy; it definitely has a more adult spin and may just dig a little deeper into father/son relationships.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (also Blu-ray). This is sure to be a big hit for the holiday season. This sixth film is actually quite good. Of course, I could never be called the biggest fan of the series, but there is something to be said about the ambitiousness of the undertaking. This movie continues the series' two-pronged approach of growing Harry's "chosen one" status and his development as a teenager. It works well with character development and spell casting action. If you are a fan, get your hands on it. If you are curious it would be best to start with the first one. If the latter is the case, you are in luck as the whole run arrives on Blu-ray this week!
Public Enemies (also Blu-ray). Michael Mann has meticulously crafted this film, showing only what needs to be seen. There are no overtones of niceties: Dillinger is never made out to be a nice guy, or a good guy, and the same goes for Purvis. It is rather refreshing to see a movie portray characters in a way that seems real rather "movie real." This is not necessarily the film that people wanted, but that does not take away from how good it is.
Lost: The Complete Fifth Season (also Blu-ray). Time is running out to prepare for the final season. Be sure to catch up or be ready to be, umm, lost.
Julie & Julia (also Blu-ray). Here is a smile-inducing film that tries to take a different approach with the biopic. It is not a great film by any stretch, but it is one that is highly enjoyable. Nora Ephron did a fine job giving the film a light touch; It is very easy to get swept up in the women's journeys. Julie and Julia is fun, funny, sweet, and did I say fun? The movie never slows down — all of the fat has been cut leaving a pure confectionery treat. The only real issue I had was with the ending; it just sort of stops. I am not sure how it should have ended, but it felt a bit sudden. Don't let that stop you from checking it out.
Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (Blu-ray). Here is a fun, old-school monster movie. I wonder how the high definition format will expose the practical effects used? This horror comedy, featuring an appearance from Robert Englund, is a blast. There is a good story, some nice gooey monster stuff, and a freewheeling attitude that is infectious.
While She Was Out (Blu-ray). Kim Basinger stars in this thriller that I have been wanting to check out. She is wealthy woman who spends all her time caring for the house and her twins. Christmas Eve sees her out for last minute shopping when she is accosted by a group of punks. She takes a toolbox and sets out to survive.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Blu-ray). What if your favorite film slashers were real? What if others wanted to take up the mantle and become a masked killer? This movie takes a look at that. I have seen this on DVD and it is quite good. It is not as good as I had hoped, but it is definitely a solid horror film that you need to take the time to see.
Red Mist (Blu-ray). This is another film I have been wanting to check out. This one sees a doctor administer an experimental drug cocktail to a coma victim that triggers an out of body experience that the victim uses to exact revenge. Sounds like a good time to me!
Gozu: 2-disk Collector Edition. I have an earlier DVD release of this that I still need to watch. This film is from Japanese wild man Takashi Miike and I have not seen anything from this film, know nothing about the story, but I know it is out there and more than a little bizarre. I would not expect anything less.