SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Horror is still the main course as M. Night Shyamalan's "Old," Rebecca Hall's "The Night House," and the 4K UHD release for the revered 1996 slasher "Scream" make their way on to home video releases.
- Respect - I've yet to see this Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson. I plan on remedying that as soon as possible.
New to DVD and Blu-ray
- Old - M. Night Shyamalan's "Old" sees a group of strangers on holiday find themselves trapped on a secluded beach where they begin to age rapidly. Based on the graphic novel by Pierre-Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters, "Old" is still very much a Shyamalan film as it offers its share of twists and red herrings. The film was fairly divisive. I'm on positive side. [Full Review + M. Night Shyamalan Interview]
- Snake Eyes - Snake Eyes has always been a G.I. Joe fan favorite. He looks cool in his black suit, uses swords in a gun fight, has martial arts skills, never shows his face, and says very little. The general mystery surrounding his origins helps to give him a sense of mystique that is usually reserved for villains. "Snake Eyes" gives the character a backstory that depicts him as a revenge seeking mercenary who will do anything to track down those responsible for the death of his father. There might be a good story somewhere within that storyline. If so, it didn't make it into the film. "Snake Eyes" is more about setting up a franchise than it is about telling a story. The action sequences are decent, the story is not.
- The Night House – The wonderful Rebecca Hall stars as Beth, a woman trying to find her footing in the wake of her husband’s suicide. Their home, a secluded lakeside manor, seems to have become a conduit for something from the beyond. Is it her husband? What secrets had he been keeping?
- The Protégé - Maggie Q stars as Anna, an assassin who looks to exact revenge when her mentor, Moody (Samuel L. Jackson), is killed. Michael Keaton also co-stars. There's nothing particularly new or exceptional here except for the cast.
- No Man of God – Elijah Wood stars as FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier. Working out of the Behavior Analyses Unit, Hagmaier met with Ted Bundy numerous times between when he was on death row. “No Man of God” is based directly from the transcripts of those meetings. Luke Kirby plays Bundy.
- Joe Bell - Based on a true story, this recounts story of Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) a grieving father sets out to walk across America talking to people about bullying. It is the story of a father who feels like he didn’t do enough to protect his son from the world. A father who did his best to embrace his son’s uniqueness but recognizes that he failed to convey his love. It is the devastating story of Jadin Bell (Reid Miller), a queer teenager who kills himself after being constantly bullied by his classmates. [Full Review]
- Injustice – Based on the video game and comics that followed, “Injustice” is set in an alternative timeline where Superman has taken over Earth in a fit of rage after the Joke tricks him into killing Lois Lane.
- Superman & Lois: The Complete First Season – Set in the Arrowverse, “Superman & Lois” sees Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) returning to Smallville with their twin teenage sons after The Daily Planet is bought out by Edge EnerCorp and Clark loses his job.
- Smallville: The Complete Series – It is hard to overestimate the importance of “Smallville.” The series ran for ten seasons between 2001 and 2011 and its storyline continued in comic books until 2015. There were novels, stars Tom Welling and Erica Durance were featured as Clark and Lois in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and currently there are even talks of the timeline being revived returning as an animated series.
For those unfamiliar with the general premise, “Smallville” takes Clark Kent back to when he was a teen growing up in Smallville, Kansas. Midway through, the series shifts to Kent as an adult, his time at the Daily Planet and his relationship with Lois Lane. The first season is a bit bumpy in that the writers weren’t certain that audiences would be drawn to a more traditional coming-of-age narrative that happened to be focused on Superman and tried to insert more action than character development. In the second season, the writers found their stride.
- Corridor of Mirrors – Terence Young directs this tale of a wealthy British artist (Eric Portman) who becomes obsessed with a young woman (Edana Romney) who he believes was a lover in a previous life. The film features Christopher Lee in his debut feature.
- Demons I & II – Directed by Lamberto Bava (son of Mario Bava) and produced by Dario Argento. The first film sees a group of strangers attend a movie screening and are one by one transformed into blood thirsty demons. The second film sees the demons invade the world through a television program. Perfect if you’re looking for shlock, rather than shock, for your Halloween gatherings.
- The Incredible Shrinking Man – Released in 1957, “The Incredible Shrinking Man” sees Scott on vacation surrounded by a mysterious fog. Soon after, Scott notices that his clothes no longer fit. He continues shrinking at a rate that makes him a national story and keeps on shrinking from there. 1981’s remake, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman,” was played more as a comedy. The original film is more of a straight science fiction drama with a meditation on a man’s place in the universe.
- Ratcatcher – Director Lynne Ramsay’s “Ratcatcher” takes place in Glasgow in 1973 as the city went through a re-development program that saw the older, dilapidated housing replaced by new and modern residences. The going, however, is slow and the binmen (garbagemen) are on strike. 12-year-old James refuses to visit his father in jail and goes to play with a friend near a canal. Tragedy follows. The film is a somber meditation on the lower class and a system that sets them up to fail. Or, as Marc Almond sings it, "They're pulling down the old slums to build the new."
- Scream 4K UHD – In 1996 Wes Craven, working form a script by Kevin Williamson, revamped the horror genre with “Scream.” It was too familiar to call original and too loving to be called satire. So, we called it “self-aware” and Ghostface was the villain of the decade. It’s all tropes and mirrors, but it’s hard to deny that “Scream” was exactly what the genre needed. The cast is remarkably good with Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette offering up my favorite performances of their careers. It still feels remarkably fresh 25 years later.
- Yokai Monsters Collection – Based on Japanese folklore, the Yokai Monsters films were released in 1968 and 1969. The three films were connected by their use of ykai or “strange apparitions.” Produced by Daiei Film, the studio behind the Gamera and Daimajin franchises, the trilogy features plenty of actors in monster costumes. “100 Monsters” is the darkest entry in the series as a landowner forgoes a purification ceremony and plays the price. “Spook Warfare” sees an ancient creature awoken by treasure hunters and introduces vampiric themes into the series. “Along with Ghosts” is something of a revenge horror where the yokai appear to avenge the death of a young girl’s grandfather. The set also includes Takashi Miike’s 2005 film “The Great Yokai War,” which is heavily influenced by “Spook Warfare.”