This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Last Stand, Parker, True Blood …

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This week: Arny returns from his ancient slumber in The Last Stand, True Blood sucks more than just blood these days, and 1990's Captain America is back to remind us what Marvel movies used to look like.

Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t really been a box office force for nearly 20 years – that’s an entire generation of moviegoers in no rush to see his movies. So why the big ‘What happened to Arny?’ reaction after THE LAST STAND, his first lead role in a decade, flopped big time? How many senior citizen action stars can still cut it? This is still a decent enough action comedy, with Arny recalling old glory as a small town sheriff up against a Mexican drug kingpin. Fun for what it is, but a dismal failure as a comeback. Years ago in ‘The Rundown,’ Schwarzenegger make a cheeky cameo that was a symbolic passing of the action movie torch to The Rock. He knew it then, we’re seeing it now.

► This is the problem now that 'Twilight’ is over: Even worse shit will try to take its place. Exhibit A: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. Imagine the most nauseating, fluffy pillow version of 'True Blood' to ever assault your brain matter, and you have this insufferable adaptation of Kami Garcia's wretched rip-off of a book. A teenager (Alice Englert) has trouble fitting into her new school, with the exception of dreamy Alden (Ethan Lawson Wate), who discovers she's a 'Caster', capable of performing spells and illusions. The usual forces of light and dark try to mess up their young romance. A bust in theatres, but you know they'll never stop trying to find the next Bella and Edward.

Jason Statham tries taking a few more steps up the quality ladder with PARKER, based on a book by beloved crime novelist Donald E. Westlake (under the moniker Richard Stark) about a professional thief who gets screwed over by his cohorts, then goes on a cross-country road trip to track them all down. Michael Chiklis is the main baddie, Nick Nolte is Parker’s mentor, and Jennifer Lopez is here for no obvious reason.

► It’s a bounce back after the dismal fourth season, but Season 5 of TRUE BLOOD doesn’t shake the nagging feeling they’re running on fumes. Whatever hip cache the show had was used up long ago, now it’s just a soap opera stew of bad storylines and atrocious writing. The best part of this season was Bill’s slow transformation into the big villain. Everything else – Tara’s learning how to be a vampire, the return of Russell, that goofy wolf pack – approaches ‘Twilight’ stupidity. Time to pull the plug on Bon Temps.

► Listen up, kiddies – whenever you feel the need to bitch about today’s Marvel movies, I want you to take a good, long look at the cover to 1990’s CAPTAIN AMERICA. Before Marvel got its shit together and modern special effects were able to do the cool stuff we always wanted to see, this … thing was what passed as a ‘superhero’ movie. We were supposed to be thrilled, but it sucked so bad it sat on a shelf for two years before going direct-to-video. So, ya, I don’t want to hear how the recent Cap movie wasn’t all that. Watch this crap and appreciate how good you got it.

► Just 20 years ago STAND UP GUYS would have been a big deal. Thirty years ago it would have been an event. Today, it slips into a few theatres and the week it’s released on blu-ray and DVD we’re just depressed that Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin can make a gangster movie and no one cares. Sometimes I hate you, 2013.

► Okay, I've lost track. Was 'Magic Mike' supposed to be Steven Soderbergh's final movie, or is it SIDE EFFECTS? Os is it the HBO Liberace movie 'Behind the Candelabra'? Every time the dude says he's going away, I see five more movies with his name on it. 'Side Effects' brings him back to thriller country, with Rooney Mara as a depressed woman suffering crippling anxiety when her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison after four years for insider trading. Her psychiatrist (Jude Law) prescribes her an experimental drug which has tragic consequences. Catherine Zeta-Jones co-stars.

► You think ABC can't do anything right today? Back in the late '70s, when it was the dominant network, some genius moved the #1 show on television – LAVERNE & SHIRLEY – from Tuesday night (after 'Happy Days') to Thursday night, where it tanked and didn't even finish in the Top 30. For Season 6 the girls were back on Tuesday, but the network couldn't stop screwing things up, relocating the girls from Milwaukee to California. Viewers hated it and the show's glory years were over. Cindy Williams left two years later. Penny Marshall went on to direct 'Big.' The rest of us still sing the theme song whenever we hear "Schlemiel! Schlimazal!"

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