This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: World War Z, Showgirls 2, Bates Motel ...
This week: Old zombies (Day of the Dead), new zombies (World War Z) and ... Showgirls 2? What the hell?
► Perhaps the reason Marc Forster’s WORLD WAR Z surprised so many people and ended up one of the summer’s biggest hits is that, despite its massive budget, it didn’t feel like a typical summer movie. I’m thinking of that ending, which could have went balls out with undead mayhem but instead had Brad Pitt trying to quietly get from Point A to Point B in a zombie-infested lab. Gripping, scary, unforgettable – you can’t say that about too many things this summer. The only thing this shares in common with the book is the title, so if you can separate the two, it’s one of the best, widescale horror movies of the past few years. Take note, though, the Unrated Cut on blu-ray promises more “action and intensity,’ not gore.
► Normally, a sequel that has nothing to do with the original is a bad sign. But in the case of SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN, it might be a blessing. That's right, the Paul Verhoeven classic - which might be the best or worst movie ever made, depending on how many beers you've had – gets a follow-up someone must have asked for. No Elizabeth Berkeley, Gina Gershon or Kyle McLauchlan this time, but believe it or not a few survivors from the first (Greg Travis, Glenn Plummer) show up. This is written produced and directed by Rina Riffel, reprising her role as Penny from the first film as well. The entire thing is apparently a spoof of the original, which sounds ridiculous – campy trash like 'Showgirls' can't be spoofed. Just the fact this movie exists kind of scares me, really. Let's move on.
► That glorious Shout! Factory blu-ray cover is so kick ass, you’ll desperately hope DAY OF THE DEAD is better than you remember it. Still no. Time has been a bit kinder to this George Romero nugget, but I can assure you, back in 1985 this was considered a bitterly disappointing follow-up to ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ and it’s still the misfit of his original trilogy. Only goes to prove Romero really said everything he needed with this genre in the first two movies. This one’s all about the Tom Savini effects, and they’re some of his best ever. New high-def master with commentary by Romero and Savini.
► Liberace was a creepy dude. He just was, and if Steven Soderbergh’s HBO flick BEHIND THE CANDELABRA delved any further into his weird psyche, it would have been another ‘Mommie Dearest.’ As it is, you can’t stop gawking at Michael Douglas and Matt Damon here as the flamboyant pianist and his way-too-young boy toy Scott Thorson in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, when even an obvious gay dude like Liberace couldn’t announce it. Once again, Soderbergh says this is his last film for awhile, although that ‘Magic Mike’ sequel isn’t going to direct itself, pal.
► Many ‘Psycho’ fans had it in for BATES MOTEL from the get go, for the simple fact it places young Norman Bates and his overbearing mom in a modern setting. After the death of her husband, she buys a hotel in Oregon (as opposed to California in the film) where she helps mold young Norman into a fine young freak. Vera Farmiga got all the praise as Norma Bates, but the show hinges on the believability of Freddie Highmore as young Normie.
► Based on a Vanity Fair article, Sofia Coppola’s THE BLING RING points its snotty finger at wasted youth and spoiled celebrities in suburban L.A. A high school outsider bonds with a fame-obsessed brat who convinces him to check unlocked cars for valuables. They soon target the homes of celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Megan Fox and Orlando Bloom. Leslie Mann and Emma Watson also bring the goods.
► Well, Season 4 of GLEE has suddenly become a downer, hasn’t it? What was already a pretty tired season ends up being Cory Monteith’s long goodbye, and it’s hard to believe it will ever get its Season 1 spark back. Guest stars (which is really all the show hangs on at this point) include Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Whoopi Goldberg.
► A bunch of the Universal’s classic horror movies included in last year’s Essential Collection get separate blu-ray releases this week, and I imagine most people will head straight for THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. It is both the scariest, stylish and flat-out freakiest horror flick of the ‘30s – the height of director James Whale’s demented genius. A superior movie to the original ‘Frankenstein’ in every way.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!