China Film Co.
The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.
The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.
It had been decades since I’d seen The Legend of Billie Jean, but the new Blu-ray (and its $5 price tag on Amazon) was too appealing to pass up. I expected it to feel even cheesier and more dated (obviously) than I recalled, and I was not disappointed. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy the damn thing so much. Yes it’s cheesy, dated and loaded with flat line delivery from glorified extras, but it’s also an underdog-fueled crowd-pleaser with a fine (albeit simple) message at its heart as well as a charismatic and attractive lead in mid-eighties Helen Slater. Plus, not for nothing, but director Matthew Robbins — a man I don’t recall ever hearing of — also wrote and/or directed the likes of Dragonslayer, The Sugarland Express, Mimic and Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming Crimson Peak.
Scream Factory is releasing two titles this week, and the far lesser known of the pair is Without Warning. The film has been a VHS staple for horror fans for thirty years as it’s never been available on DVD or Blu-ray until now. Often cited as an influence for Shane Black’s Predator (and not just because Kevin Peter Hall plays the alien in both films), the film really only bears a slight resemblance. Yes there’s an alien hunting humans, but the targets here are a bunch of tools and wackos. There’s some fun to be had and the gore effects are solid, but the highlight remains Jack Palance running around calling “Aliennn! Aliennn!”
The premise of WolfCop should be clear from the title — that’s its genius — but a movie called WolfCop should be a hell of a lot more fun than WolfCop actually is. There are some fun bits and some fine effects, but even at 79 minutes it’s a bit of a slog that never really lands most of its jokes and gets muddled in its unnecessary and unsatisfying plot. That said, I’m still looking forward to the inevitable sequel because come on he’s a werewolf and a cop and that’s awesome.
I also watched Ejecta, a new Canadian horror/sci-fi flick from the writer of the brilliant Pontypool, and I am not a fan. There’s a great performance by Julian Richings here, but almost everything around him — from the script to the other performances to the found footage angle — is a major letdown.
Lastly, I finally got around to watching an import dvd of Jackie Chan’s Police Story 2013 and was surprised to find I didn’t hate it. My expectations were low because of how abysmal Chinese Zodiac is, but I was holding out hope as I’m one of an apparent few fans of 2004’s New Police Story. This new one keeps that film’s heavy and very serious tone — a drastic departure from the four earlier and far superior Police Story films — and on its own merits it tells an okay story and sees a strong performance by Chan. But even beyond the tone it in no way resembles the earlier films thanks to a severe lack of real action. There’s one solid fight — solid for today’s Chan anyway — but the rest is pretty much drama and plot twists. I’d recommend it for Chan fans, but it won’t win him any new ones. As a side note, Tian Jing co-stars here but is far more entertaining and capable in Donnie Yen’s recent Special ID.
What did you watch this weekend?