Monday 2 July 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

Finally! After the unfortunate legal wranglings with the makers of Battleship who dared to claim that The Asylum had stolen their idea (they're clearly completely separate properties that both happen to be about an alien invasion being fought off by battleships) we now have American Battleships released under its new name American Warships, just to avoid any confusion. I'll be honest, I didn't really like Battleship that much so if The Asylum have taken that concept and injected a bit more fun into it, fair play to them.

A long time coming, Kenneth Lonergan's belated follow up to his 2000 indie smash You Can Count On Me sees a notably younger looking Anna Paquin as Margaret and a supporting cast of character actor favourites. I don't actually know that much about Margaret, but You Can Count On Me was a great little indie and such is the buzz around this film I'm going to see it without doing any research beforehand. It's been a while since I've had a pleasant surprise when discovering a new film, and despite a bit of foreplanning, I think this might be my next one.
Is this the rule now that every girl friendly film has to have two slightly opposing but equally none threatening boys fighting for the leads affection? I saw the Hunger Games and didn't fully understand why Liam Hemsworth was used so heavily in its promotional campaign as he's hardly in it, but even though I've not read the novels I get that his character is going to become more important as the series progresses. Still, what the hell is this? Am I team Josh or Team Liam? My inner tweenage girl is just dying to find out all the answers. No, not really. I couldn't care less.

And now for a triple bill of numberwang! First is 388 Arletta Avenue, produced by Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube and the underappreciated Splice. Starring Terminator 3's Nick Stahl, from looking at the trailer it's somewhere between a Paranormal Activity knock-off and the early scenes of Lost Highway, which at the very least sounds interesting.

I've seen quite a few of the After Dark Originals now, and it's safe to say that they're a mixed bag of recycled terror and unconvincing gore. I think I've figured out that when their covers look like one thing, they're actually quite different; so although Tape 407 looks like a carbon copy of Red Eye, it's probably more like Snakes On A Plane. They usually throw in a few zombies for good measure.

Oh crap, quick! It's the special collector's edition of Zombie 108! I'm glad I saved up all my pocket money so I can buy it before it sells out! Pshht. This Japanese straight to DVD horror looks like it handles the zombie parts effectively, but I'm not so sure about some of the weird sexual stuff it shows in the trailer. Zombie porn anyone?

After snow zombies and space zombies and weird Japanese sex zombies, I thought I'd pretty much seen all the zombies that could ever be. Silly me. I forgot about the American Civil War zombies! Even though Exit Humanity with Brian Cox sounds like a particularly dark but surely educational BBC TV series, this is Brian Cox the actor we're talking about here. If you're wondering why Brian Cox isn't on the cover it's because he isn't actually in the movie, instead providing the narration for this intriguing blend of live action and animated zombie kills.

God bless Mallrats, what with its dated 90's slacker culture and Magic Eye paintings. There's no real reason to mention this re-issue other than the fact that the cover looks nice and comic book-y, even if the "From the director of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" is a bit superfluous to anyone who would want to buy this. Kevin who? I like that Jason London's character is relegated off to the side as let's be frank, it's Jason Lee who's the real reason to watch this film.

I think the less said about this the better, but a) I'm surprised it took this long for Sandler to do drag, and b) I hate people for making this an actual thing.

I'm tempted to say that it's a good week if you're a Woody Allen fan, but if you are you probably own at least half of this boxset. Still, if you're a recent convert and want to catch up on some of his 70's and 80's comedies, with 20 films at less than £2 a movie this isn't a bad collection to be starting off with. However...

If you want to stick more to the basics, this other collection shows off Woody for the hopeless romantic and ladies man he really is, with films starring his two most important muses, Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. Just for laughs they've also included Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, starring his least favourite leading man; himself.

So, Skins the movie, yeah? Although this one night of teenage debauchery passed me by at the cinema, I heard less than stellar reviews from people, but maybe its natural home is on DVD and Blu-ray so I will be checking it out now it's on disc format, but I'm less intrigued by the involvement of The Hangover's Todd Phillips than I am the involvement of Michael Bacall, co-writer of Scott Pilgrim and writer of the excellent 21 Jump Street. The Blu-ray comes with a DVD copy, an Ultraviolet digital copy and an un-needed extended cut.

2 Different versions of the film and 3 alternate endings? Why is this a good thing? Starring Chris 'Captain Kirk' Pine and Tom 'Bane' Hardy as two spies misusing their skills and spy resources to win the heart of the same woman (Reese Witherspoon), This Means War had one of my favourite trailers from the start of the year but it's starting to sound like a fun idea, poorly executed.

Ahh, John Carter. Loved by a few, hated by many. It seems that most people have discounted this film for struggling to do something new with an often imitated 100 year old story, but despite some obvious flaws I think it deserves a fair try by audiences. Having made a bit of a loss theatrically I imagine Disney are hoping they can draw in as much revenue as possible on home release, so it's a bit disappointing that this reasonably priced 3D Blu-ray doesn't come with more extras than a commentary, deleted scenes and a blooper reel.

Why Steve why? Perfectly timed to be released in the same week they finally confirm the long promised Alan Partridge movie, this is why Steve Coogan isn't allowed to have nice things. God bless him for still trying his hardest to be a movie star, but even though I haven't actually seen What Goes Up (with its oh so cutesy stylised lettering), after looking at the trailer I can't help but think Coogan should never do anything that doesn't also involve Michael Winterbottom or Armando Iannucci.

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