Monday 20 August 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Blu-rays

With big boats, deadly dolls and one musical Marley, this week's selection of DVDs and Blu-rays offers us a wide range of titles that cover a lot of bases.

The only major release this week is Peter Berg's underwhelming action splashtacular, Battleship. I can just about forgive them for basing a film on a board game, but they needed to make the film more exciting than a lazy sunday afternoon playing said board game. I also can't help but feel that any film that bills Rihanna ahead of Liam Neeson on its cast list is fundamentally misguided.

God bless Nuts magazine for providing the most Nuts magazine-y box quote in history. "Die Hard in Space!" may be a fairly accurate summation, as this Luc Besson produced/Guy Pearce starring action flick does look to 'borrow' a large amount of its plot from other films, most notably Escape From New York in my eyes. Luckily, it does look like a lot of fun, and the presence of Misfits' Joe Gilgun as the villain raises its watchability by about 1000%.

How does Bob Marley like his documentaries? Well, I couldn't tell you as I haven't seen this yet, but in the hands of Last King of Scotland director Kevin MacDonald it's sure to be a revealing, in-depth study. Made with the co-operation of Marley's family, this looks at the life and music of Jamaica's most iconic son.

Trying its best to look like a sort of sequel to Trainspotting, this film from author Irvine Welsh (based on one of his short stories) has got on the wrong side of me by not creating its own identity, instead stealing liberally from its big brother. The promotional campaign for the theatrical release offered sly winks to Trainspotting's iconic marketing campaign, but the re-jigged DVD cover does little to sell the movie on its own merits, tainting it before I've had a chance to see it.

Whit Stillman's first film since 1998's Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress sees him team up with mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig for a Heathers-esque tale of a college clique who take a new girl under their wing and teach her the ways of the world. I'm largely unfamiliar with Whit Stillman's work (due to the fact his film's are quite hard to get hold of, but are available with Criterion editions), but this is one I'll be tracking down, if only for the presence of Gerwig.

As a fan of zombie films, it's such a disappointment to see inferior sequels shuffle along with the name of its forebearer attached. In the case of Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation it's a bit of a strange one, as this isn't a sequel to the 1968 Night... or the Tom Savini directed/Romero endorsed 1990 remake, but rather a prequel to the 2006 remake starring Sid Haig that only exists due to Romero's failure to copyright the original film. Apparently Sarah Palin is still ripe for parody, and despite Jeffrey 'Re-Animator' Combs' name on the cover, there's no sign of him in the trailer. One for zombie completists only, the less said about it being in 3D the better.

Re-released on Blu-ray for a new generation to enjoy, 1989's Puppet Master is up there with the ultimate of 80s schlocky horrors that spawned a series of sequels. It's nice to see that even the most random of movies are being given the high definition treatment, but there's something to be said for tracking this down on a grainy old VHS.

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