This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Devil's Due, Labor Day ...
This week: Laboring through Devil's Due and Labor Day, some old school Gamera, and the last season of the last Star Trek show.
► Everything wrong about modern American horror is right here in DEVIL’S DUE. The script was originally pitched as a ‘found footage take on Rosemary’s baby’ (sigh), but to be daring and different, they added ‘fun energy’ and ‘a sense of humor’ to the script. Right, we still talk about ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ 46 years later because of its humor. Anyway, a couple go to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon, she gets knocked up after a night they can’t remember, and all kinds of creepy people start watching them as the birth gets closer. The best part of this movie was the promotional video of an animatronic devil baby scaring the shit out of people in New York. I could watch that all day.
► Jason Reitman’s sly comedies have always had romantic leanings, but LABOR DAY is his first outright love story. Based on the Joyce Maynard book, Josh Brolin stars as an escaped con who takes a troubled mom (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) hostage. They end up growing close and plotting their escape to Canada. Of course, the day they plan to leave something goes wonky. By far Reitman’s worst-received movie.
► No one misses the ‘90s more than Renny Harlin. From the heights of ‘Die hard 2’ and ‘Cliffhanger’ to the 3D laugh riot THE LEGEND OF HERCULES. ‘Twilight’ alum Kellan Lutz flexes his pecs as the Son of Zeus, whose destiny is to bring down a king gone mad. The cheap effects and hokey acting would make this the perfect drive-in movie, if that was still a thing (you kids don’t know what you’re missing). Once again, they make $70 million crap like this, but ‘God of War’ has been in limbo since 2005?
► After a pretty kick-ass Season 3 - one of the best ever for a Star Trek show – the fourth and final season of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE stuck to shorter story arcs and more nods to the original series (remember, this was a prequel). The death throes made for an awkward season and a finale which left fans seething with the weird inclusion of two Next Generation characters. Nonetheless, Trekkies tried to save the show by starting a website to raise the $32 million required for a fifth season. They raised $87,000. The finale aired May 13, 2005, ending an 18-year run of Star Trek on TV.
► As a kid, you never knew the names of the GAMERA movies. They were just ‘the one with the laser-shooting bat’ or ‘the one with the knife for a head.’ The flying turtle may have been a B-lister, but his rogues gallery was second to none. All eight of the original Showa-era flicks come to blu-ray this week in two separate releases, restored to their Japanese cuts.. Vol. 1 has the 1965 black and white original with Gamera as a Godzilla rip-off rampaging through Tokyo, only to return as a good guy the next year in ‘Gamera vs. Barugon.’ Things quickly go downhill when kids become the focus in the next two flicks, turning the turtle into the ‘The Friend of All Children’ (I guess everyone forgot how many kids he killed in the first movie). Vol. 2 has him scrapping with Guiron (the knife-head), Jiger (he shoots quills!) and Zigra (a metallic shark thingie) before 1980’s ‘Gamera: Super Monster’ brings them all back via stock footage. It was the final Gamera flick until a new and vastly better series started in 1995.
► In the battle of over-the-top nighttime soaps, DYNASTY had ‘Dallas’s number for a couple of seasons, but the bottom fell out during a ridiculous seventh season which saw the show fall out of the Top 20 for the first time since its first year. With the spin-off ‘The Colbys’ cancelled, Season 8 was to be the comeback campaign with returning cast members Emma Samms and John James, and the departure of pricey Diahann Carroll, but the best they could come up with was a plot in which Alexis (Joan Collins) marries a shady newcomer bent on destroying the family from within. The usual ‘Did Someone Just Die?’ cliffhanger was boring by this point, and the show fell further to #33 in the ratings. As always, the season is divided into two volumes, which you apparently can’t buy separately. So…why isn’t it just one package? For the love of John Forsythe, quit doing this!
► Spanish director Jess Franco, who died last year, made his mark with kinky horror flicks like ‘Vampryos Lesbos’ and ‘The Bare-Breasted Countess.’ One of his more highly-regarded efforts was 1973’s THE DEMONS, where a witch being burned at the stake drops a curse on her killers. With help from her nubile sisters, the men responsible for her death are dispatched. But not before plenty of gore and nudity.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!