This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Master, Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Silent Hill: Revelation ...
This week: Making sense of The Master, a stillborn sequel for Silent Hill, and - yes, we can finally say it - the end of Twilight.
► ‘Polarizing’ is the word I hear most often for Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, but I’m not buying it. It was pretty much par for the course for Anderson, who routinely makes movies hard to digest upon first viewing but reveal their greatness later on (‘Boogie Nights’ is the closest thing he has made to a ‘mainstream’ movie, and that one was about porn). Here, Joaquin Phoenix is a repugnant enigma throughout as a World War II naval officer who joins the flock of a cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his movement simply called The Cause (not-too-subtly based on Scientology). It’s two incredible performances in a cold, often confrontational movie, which is how Anderson works best. It’s easier to admire than love, but essential viewing either way.
► Break out the booze, sing to the heavens and kiss a total stranger … our long nightmare is finally over. With BREAKING DAWN – PART 2, we say goodbye and good riddance to sparkly vampires, emo werewolves and Kristen Stewart (I wish). Your reward for sticking through to the end is a somewhat decent final battle between the Volturi and the Cullens. The problem now will be endless wannabes hoping to fill Twilight’s void. Del Toro’s ‘Strain’ series can’t get here soon enough to make vampires vicious again.
► Even 12 years later, ‘Silent Hill 2’ remains one of the creepiest mindfucks of a video game I ever played. ‘Silent Hill 2’ The Movie … not so much. For one thing, SILENT HILL: REVELATION is actually based on the third game of the series, which was a direct sequel to the first set several years after. The now-teenaged Heather (Adelaide Clemons) is drawn back to the alternate dimension ghost town, where the cult plans to use her to birth their god. Pyramid Head – one of the weirdest movie monsters ever – steals the show, but what seemed cool as a game is a mess of a movie.
► THE CLIENT LIST is proof that if you pray hard enough and stick it out a few years, Jennifer Love Hewitt will star in a cable series giving guys happy endings at a massage parlor. Reprising her role from the 2010 made-for-TV movie, she’s a woman forced to do rub ‘n tugs after her husband abandons her. Don’t get too excited, though – despite being a show that screams nudity, J. Hew don’t play that.
► Bad movie buffs, this one’s for you. Even by cheap Nazi zombie flick standards, ZOMBIE LAKE is something to behold. Nude female basketball players. Water scenes filmed in a pool. Make-up that rubs off. One crew member seen in a mirror. Dubbing so bad, the Godzilla films sound state of the art. All told, if you’re into Bad Movie Drinking Games with your buds, you will be hammered before the opening credits finish.
► Criterion’s weekly gem is the game-changing Jean Rouch/Edgar Morin French documentary CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER, which not only brought an experimental new approach to documentaries simply by asking its Paris subjects “Are you happy?,” it got a headstart on the sociopolitical trends which would envelop the ‘60s soon after. Among the extras is a new 73-minute documentary revisiting some of the original subjects.
► Remember that brief window when it looked like Casper Van Dien was going to be a huge star? Right about the time you overlooked his terrible acting only because ‘Starship Troopers’ rocked your world? Things haven’t gone so hot for the hunk ever since, leading to 500 MPH STORM – a direct-to-DVD hurricane movie. Big-ass hurricane movie, actually. He plays a high school teacher trying to get his family to safety after a bunch of energy experiment hurricanes threaten to merge into one. Do you want to see more?
► The young ‘uns know him as Saruman and Count Dooku, but for kids of the ‘70s Christopher Lee meant one thing: Hammer Horror. Along with Peter Cushing, he made the UK company a Saturday afternoon tradition, updating the classic Universal monsters with a gorier, cooler vibe. THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD isn’t Hammer, but it has all the trademarks. Lee and Cushing are both here for an anthology of Robert Bloch stories all linked by a gothic house in the English countryside. Not the assault on the senses of ‘V/H/S,’ but in the early ‘70s it would rock your world if you stumbled upon a station playing it.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!