BLU-RAY INVASION Weeks of 3/22 & 3/29
The Hateful Eight – PICK OF THE WEEK
In The Hateful Eight, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Demian Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…
If you were to combine the essence of Death Proof with the intensity of the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds, that would sum up The Hateful Eight quite perfectly. It’s an amazing blend of fantastic dialogue with great performances and characters as cool as anything that was in Pulp Fiction. All of Quentin Tarantino’s work is within an inch of each other as far as quality so it’s hard to say where this ranks, but it’s absolutely worth a purchase. Even without a ton of special features, it’s worth it. BUY IT
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
One of the most celebrated movie series of all time comes to its thrilling conclusion in the last chapter of The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who began her journey fighting to survive the brutal Hunger Games, and rose to lead the rebellion against Panem’s tyrannical president (Donald Sutherland). Now, Katniss and a team of rebels from District 13 prepare for the final epic battle that will decide Panem’s future.
The final entry into the Hunger Games saga was a fitting end. While the previous movie felt like an incomplete version of a film (because it was) this one in and of itself feels like a full movie. Jennifer Lawrence is spectacular as always but the real gem of this release is the nearly 5 hours of special features an episode of a reality series that visits film sets, an exceptional behind the scenes photo gallery, and a number of informative featurettes. BUY THIS especially if you’ve gotten the previous films up until this point.
In the halls of Cradle Bay High School, something sinister is happening…something dark…something disturbing. Sure, the “Blue Ribbons” – the clique that’s at the top of the food chain at Cradle Bay – appear perfect in every way. But underneath their clean-cut, well-mannered facades lurks a shocking secret – one that a group of Cradle Bay High’s outsiders and rebels must uncover in order to save their school, their town… and their own lives.
This is still a great little slice of the ’90s in horror movie form, but this release is a tad disappointing in the sense of how often Scream Factory puts out releases that often have tons of special features. This one, sadly, does not, but it’s still worth recapturing some of the ’90s glory. Queue It
A serial killer is stalking the peaceful town of Cherry Falls. At first, it seems that he is just targeting teenagers, but after the third killing, it becomes clear that all the victims have been virgins. When the town’s students hear about this, they realize that there is only one way to protect themselves and being planning a “Pop Your Cherry” party where they will all lose their virginities together. Meanwhile, Jodi (Brittany Murphy, Clueless, Sin City), the virtuous daughter of the town’s sheriff (Michael Biehn, Aliens Grindhouse), decides to take matters into her own hands and trap the killer herself.
This is more typical of what Scream Factory normally puts out. This relatively obscure horror movie features old interviews with the cast and how Scream Factory always manages to find them is always a great feat. It won’t retroactively go on any best of horror lists but this is a good film that’s a little different than from what you’re normally used to seeing. Queue It
Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Dunwitch Horror
A pair of horror’s most famous authors – Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft – provide the inspiration for a most diabolical double feature.
Murders In The Rue Morgue:
Your first frightening film is 1971’s Murders in the Rue Morgue. In early 20th-century Paris, a theatrical company with a specialty in Grand Guignol undertakes their most gruesome production yet. But when a madman with an axe to grind arrives on the scene, the stage is set for real mayhem and murder most foul. Will the backstage bloodshed by quelled – or is it curtains for the cast? Jason Robards and Herbert Lom star in this marvelously macabre mystery.
The Dunwich Horror:
From the City of Lights (and frights), our tour of terror moves on to a small New England town in 1970’s The Dunwich Horror. When a beautiful student named Nancy catches the eye of the weird Wilbur Whateley, it’s up to her professor, the good doctor and occult expert Dr. Henry Armitage, to warn her that no good will come of it. But as Armitage digs deeper into the Whateley family history, he uncovers a buried secret – and a plot intended to call forth an evil beyond imagination. A cult favorite that proves that The Old Ones are good ones, The Dunwich Horror stars Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley and Sandra Dee.
A pair of really intriguing films based on the work of two of the most legendary genre writers. Fans of both Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft owe it to themselves to pick up this double feature of classic films. It would have been nice if there were more special features on this disk, but there are a couple of new commentaries recorded. Queue It
In 1872, John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) retires as a gunfighter and returns to his hometown of Fowler, Wyoming in hope of repairing his relationship with his estranged father, Reverend Clayton (Donald Sutherland). However, he soon learns that the town is in turmoil, as the railroad will be coming through the area and a criminal gang is terrorizing ranchers who refuse to sell their land. John Henry is the only one who can stop them, but his father does not want his son to return to a life of violence.
This isn’t merely a vehicle with a gimmick of two Sutherland’s for the price of one, after a few minutes it certainly doesn’t feel that way. This is a fantastically acted that is a must see for any fan of Westerns. It would have been nice if there were some special features, especially if someone would have sat the two Sutherlands down for an interview to discuss working together. Queue It