This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Jack the Giant Slayer, American Mary, The Last Exorcism Part II ...
This week: Giants, demons, werewolves, psychos, zombies, space vampires ... and Movie 43. It's a week of horrors.
► Before returning to the X-Men franchise, Bryan Singer had a bit of fun with JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. With all the fairy tale re-do's lately, this take on Jack and the Bean Stalk is one of the biggest and certainly costliest. Its limp box office didn't come close to its $190 million budget, reportedly costing Legendary Pictures over $100 million. It faced obstacles from the start - too intense for kids, too juvenile for adults. But once the stench of failure has left, this will be regarded as one of Singer's wittiest and eager-to-please flicks, as a young farm boy (Nicholas Hoult) must rescue his lady crush who was in his house when a bean stalk took root and carried her into the land of giants. Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor are having fun here.
► Despite its dubious title, ‘The Last Exorcism’ was a decent timewaster getting maximum use out of its found footage style and a good turn from Patrick Fabian as the priest doing fake exorcisms. Neither is found in THE LAST EXORCISM PART II, in which the possessed girl from the first film (the bendy Ashley Bell) tries starting over but her inner demon refuses to cooperate. It made $50 million less than the first one, so the title probably isn’t bullshit this time.
► Instead of that overhyped turd we got, imagine if Park Chan-Wook said 'yes' when offered the Evil Dead remake. I want to go to there. Alas, we'll have to settle for STOKER, the first English-language film from the guy who gave us the 'Vengeance' trilogy. After her father dies on her 18th birthday, a distraught teen (Mia Wasikowska) is left in the care of her unhinged mother (Nicole Kidman). At her father's funeral, she's introduced to a charming uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew she had. Once he moves into the family mansion, things get weird. Script was written by 'Prison Break' star Wentworth Miller. The last film produced by Tony Scott.
► Canada’s Soska Sisters (Jen & Sylvia) follow up their demented ‘Dead Hooker in a Trunk’ with the much more polished AMERICAN MARY, starring Katharine Isabelle of ‘Ginger Snaps’ as a struggling med school student who answers an ad at a strip club one night and finds herself a surgeon for hire, specializing in body modifications. Some icky surgical scenes ensue, and Isabelle gives a rousing, brave performance here as a student who snaps after being raped by her teacher one night. This isn’t quite it, but The Soska Sisters are going to make a killer horror film soon, bank on it.
► One of the most reviled flicks of the year, MOVIE 43 is comprised of 14 mostly awful comedy shorts directed by the likes of Brett Ratner, Elizabeth Banks and Peter Farrelly. It’s actually kind of shocking the talent that agreed to be in this: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Uma Thurman … you need to have a long talk with your agents. Some of the hilarious stories include a guy with balls hanging off his face, a girl who wants to be shit on, and an animated cat trying to kill his owner’s new girlfriend. This is like the worst season of Saturday Night Live condensed into two hours.
► Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING has always been an enigma – brilliant creature effects surrounded by a mediocre movie. Dee Wallace plays a newscaster sent to a retreat with her husband after a traumatic event, only to discover it’s a colony of werewolves. Screenplay is co-written by John Sayles, but the only reason this is regarded as a classic is Rob Bottin’s handiwork, which he would soon top with ‘The Thing.’
► I guess it’s a perk of being one of this site’s old-ish writers that I can remember seeing ‘forgotten’ flicks like LIFEFORCE on opening day, wondering how Tobe Hooper was going to top ‘Poltergeist.’ It remains one of the most batshit-crazy movies of the ‘80s, enjoying a second wind nearly 30 years later. It has a script co-written by Dan O’Bannon of ‘Alien,’ it stars a pre-Star Trek Patrick Stewart, it has a score by Henry Mancini, and it has nude scenes by French beauty Mathilda May that are the stuff of legend. Oh, and it’s about zombies. And space vampires. And boobs. The ‘80s, man.
► Season 3 of Comedy Central’s WORKAHOLICS finds our trio of college dropouts bringing Adam’s disabled cousin to work so they can score a handicapped parking spot at their telemarketing firm, worry a former employee (Robert Englund) is haunting the office, and face their worst nightmare at work – an automated calling system. Twenty episodes instead of the usual 10 this time.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!