This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Cloud Atlas, Texas Chainsaw, Dexter ...
This week: Some love for the maligned Cloud Atlas, Sam Raimi's long-lost Crimewave, and Leatherface goes 3D.
► Ambition wasn’t rewarded for CLOUD ATLAS, which doesn’t bode well for more movies like this any time soon. That’s a shame, because this one had it all – a fascinating script, superb special effects (when needed), and most importantly a drive to confront its audience with ideas and questions instead of sci-fi drivel. There wasn’t much middle ground with this movie – people hated it with as much passion as the people who loved it. While technically a box office flop, I’m hoping the risks the Wachowskis took making this inspires more like it. This is the stuff we should support if we ever want another ‘golden age’ of sci-fi cinema.
► When the tank is empty, trot out the 3D. TEXAS CHAINSAW is so lazy it can’t even say the whole title any more, passing itself off as a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s original film and not the recent remake. A young woman is left an inheritance from her grandmother, and when she takes a road trip to check out the property she now owns (with some friends tagging along, of course), she discovers Leatherface comes with the place. Original stars Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen and John Dugan make appearances.
► It's a miracle Sam Raimi didn't walk away form the business after CRIMEWAVE. Riding the buzz from 'The Evil Dead,' he set out to make a stylish black comedy, and instead suffered one indignity after another as the studio (Embassy Pictures) did everything possible to fuck it up. The finished result is a mess, but a loveable mess. Several of the camera tricks he tried out here would show up in 'Evil Dead II,' and the film's crazy energy is classic Raimi. For years it has been genuinely hard to find, so this out-of-nowhere blu-ray release will both thrill and disappoint fans. You get the movie but no bonus features. A Raimi commentary on this would be worth double the price.
► Make it three lousy seasons in a row for DEXTER, but at least the closing moments of Season 7 set the stage for what should be an eventful final campaign. Getting there was a chore though, as Dexter hooks up with another like-minded killer (yawn), goes up against the Ukrainian mob, and Deb comes to terms - in completely ridiculous fashion, for the most part - that her brother is a serial killer. The show’s downfall after the brilliance of Season 4 has been tough to stomach, but admit it – we all have to see how this shit ends.
► Lifetime’s LIZ & DICK is a fine example of stunt casting gone bad. Signing Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor may work for the train wreck publicity, but then the cameras start to roll and the sad realization sinks in that Lohan has either forgotten how to act, doesn’t give a shit any more or her talent has been eroded to nothing. There is no joy in this movie, camp or otherwise, knowing it’s just a pay check for her to squander until the next intervention. As for the movie itself – tepid, dreary and unrevealing. Everything you need to know about Liz and Dick is found in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’
► Stephen Dorff owes a man a favor in TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE as an ex-con who agrees to do a hit for a guy called ‘The Buddha’ (Willem Dafoe) who protected him in prison. Then he hooks up with Michelle Monaghan and gets distracted, as would most guys. Director David Jacobson’s first flick since 2005’s ‘Down in the Valley.’
► Adrien Brody has battled Kong, Predators and Nazis, but BACK TO 1942 might be his worst misery yet. Set during the Henan crisis, he plays a TIME correspondent sent to chronicle China’s misery during its war with Japan, compounded by a widespread famine which killed three million people.
► Katherine Brooks’ documentary FACE 2 FACE is truly a movie for 2013. After major surgery, filmmaker Brooks’ spent her days on Facebook to fight loneliness. She noticed she had 5,000 ‘friends,’ and barely knew any of them. And she needed a hug. So she made a deal: The first 50 people to respond to her would get a personal visit. The trek was funded by hundreds of friends on Kickstarter in 2011. One of those little movies that could really affect you in the right frame of mind.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!