Monday 16 July 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

Welcome to the only place you need to be if you like films with puppets, zombies, real-life Navy SEALs or three breasted prostitutes. Oh, and Mark Wahlberg.

"Get your ass to Mars", or perhaps just down to your local Blu-ray stockists as the Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven sci-fi classic Total Recall is getting a rather snazzy re-release just before the Colin Farrell remake hits our screens. Available in a 'Triple Play' edition with previously seen extras and a new interview with Paul Verhoeven, it's worth shelling out a few extra quid for the trendy-ass steelbookedition, just so you can say "steelbook" in a faux-Austrian accent like Arnie.

Not only did I miss Being Elmo during its theatrical run (in my defense it wasn't showing anywhere near me), I also missed its screening at the recent Sheffield DocFest what with it being shown outdoors in the rain with only a muddy slope to sit on. Even so, this documentary has been high on my 'to watch' list ever since I saw the trailer, and shows the man behind (or more accurately underneath) Sesame Street's most lovable bundle of red fabric.

Aiming to showcase some of British cinema's most exciting up and coming talent, this compendium of four of 2011's most intriguing indies serves as a great introduction to what's happening in the British film industry right now. With films featuring actors like Eddie Marsan, Natalie Press, Aidan Gillen and Chris Coghill, there's no denying the value of this collection; much less than what you'd be paying for each title singularly. 

Instead of being the Vegas set caper the title makes it sound like, Casino Jack is actually a close look at the greed that goes on behind the scenes on Capitol Hill. From the look of the trailer it's Spacey doing what Spacey does best, being all charming and power hungry whilst slowly manipulating you in a sleazy way. Just to be clear, I'm talking about the character's he tends to play, not Kevin Spacey himself.

As Eddie Murphy moves into his 50s, so does his career into a different realm; that of the straight to DVD movie. Taking over 4 years to get released before finally arriving on our shores in a DVD box (it had a brief theatrical run in the States where it struggled to recoup half of its budget), the overwhelmingly negative critical consensus (not forgetting the unimpressive score on Rotten Tomatoes) suggests this is one to avoid. I've got 4 words for you Eddie... START BEING FUNNY AGAIN.

Could this be classed as a video game movie? it may not be officially based on any game title (and has gone to the effort of saying "this is no game" on its cover), but it seems to me that this is trying to sell itself as a feature length version of the Call of Duty cut scenes, even including "real-life Navy SEALs" in acting roles to add to the authenticity. For some unknown reason and as the final nail in the coffin, it's being presented by Tom Clancy despite him having absolutely nothing to do with the production of the film in any noticeable way, just like the computer games that bear his name.

Despite its schmaltz-tastic looking cover and 'based on a true story' label, this Matt Damon starrer has caught my eye for seeing the return of Cameron Crowe to the directors chair after a prolonged absence. Hopefully this makes up for some of the minor sins he committed with the not very good Elizabethtown, even if the idea of living in a functioning zoo sounds like the plot of a Kevin James movie.

Managing to out-crazy Iron Sky (but only just), The 25th Reich might just have the edge over that film by playing up to its B-movie leanings. It's clearly not got the budget that even the super low-budget Iron Sky managed to scrape together, but something about 5 soldiers skipping around 25 different dimensions intrigues me. Maybe it's the robo-spider-nazi's.

More like ContraBLAND, yeah? Actually I don't know as I haven't seen it yet, stemming from my issues with Mark Wahlberg as an action star and the quite stupid looking cover. Seriously, could he have found a worse opportunity to give himself a scratch? We can see all your money, Mark! Still, both Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi are great scene-stealing supporting actors, so there might be some merit to this Wahlberg vehicle.

Don't get me wrong, these Asylum mockbusters are always terrible, but from the look of the teaser trailer they've actually done a pretty good job of making a reasonable facsimile of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Well, 33 seconds of it at least.

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