Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Masaharu Fukuyama in

August is hot and sticky, to the point where many days it gets too uncomfortable to go outside even after the sun has gone down. That’s where a reliable air conditioner and a Netflix account come in handy. There’s bound to be at least a couple days out of this month where you just want to draw the shades, crank up the AC and avoid the sun. But what movies to stream while you’re in seclusion? Start with this list of new additions to the service, which are all worth a look. As always, click on the films’ titles in order to be taken to their Netflix page, where you can add them to your My List.

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discs the worlds end

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The World’s End Twenty years ago five friends attempted an epic pub crawl, but their effort fell apart before reaching the final bar, The World’s End. Now the group is reluctantly back together again to try and rewrite history, but the past is an ever-growing obstacle thanks in large part to how much remains unchanged in their old stomping grounds of New Haven. Things get worse though when they realize why exactly that is. Edgar Wright‘s final entry in his thematic Cornetto trilogy found a divisive reception from fans of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, but in many ways it’s the best of the three. It’s incredibly funny, highly energetic, and perfectly cast (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Pierce Brosnan, and Rosamund Pike to name a few), but it stands out for two other reasons too. First, the film’s structure and execution are incredibly deep and detailed to the point that multiple viewings continue to reveal new connections. Second, and most surprisingly, it has the best fight scene of any film this year. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, storyboard, trivia, featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes]

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top shelf invasion of the body snatchers

Most home video releases are mass produced and marketed by faceless conglomerates interested only in separating you from your hard-earned cash. If you look closely though you’ll find smaller labels who love movies as much as you do and show it by delivering quality Blu-rays and DVDs of beloved films and cult classics, often loaded with special features, new transfers, and more. But yes, they still want your cash too. Top Shelf is our new bi-weekly look at these labels and the films they’re releasing. The movies won’t always be classics in the traditional sense and you may not even recognize the titles (or stars or directors), but somebody somewhere loves them which is enough of a reason for us to shine a light their way. This week we’re taking a look at two new releases from the UK’s Arrow Video. They’re the sleazier, more entertaining brother of Arrow Academy, and while they predominantly focus on resurrecting horror films like Squirm, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and anything Dario Argento has ever pointed his camera towards, they also dabble outside the genre with releases like The Last American Virgin. Horror is their bread and butter though, so horror is where we’ll start. Two of Arrow’s releases this month are considered classics from acclaimed directors Philip Kaufman and Wes Craven, but while they both have their fans only one of the films still holds up today.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; the only thing we haunt is casino breakfast buffets. You’ve arrived at the most unsettling of bad movie columns on the perfidious den of wickedness known as the interwebs. Every week we present for your viewing displeasure a particularly ghastly piece of cinematic schlock unearthed from the vaults of unspeakable horror (alias the Rubbermaid trash can full of VHS in the garage). As we force your unsuspecting eyes to behold the nightmarish horrors of the movie’s shortcomings, we cackle with sinister delight. We go so far as to then reveal our morbid appreciation for said filmic abomination. To top off the torture, we will force a fiendishly tasty snack food, themed to the film, down your cowering gullets. This boys and ghouls, is Junkfood Horror. October is the month that everyone watches horror movies. From the hardcore weirdos to the sissiest of sissy babies, for at least a few weeks, we all enjoy a good scare. As we sit on the front porch of Junkfood Labs, devouring bag after bag of “fun”-sized Snickers because the trick-or-treaters apparently won’t be showing up for several hours, and several days, it occurred to us that there is really no getting away from the horror genre. When November 1st arrives, you can lock away all your copies of The Exoricist and Amityville and Maid in Manhattan, but the irrepressible evil there contained will not relent. “Oh wait,” you say interrupting my column with your smelly internal monologue, “I can […]

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Mmmm. Grab a snack and get ready for some hot viscid action because we’ll be talking about movie sludge today! We’re talking creeping and colorful gunk – the thicker and scarier the better. Why? You ask? Because behind every adult – every respectable member of working society – is a little kid, morbidly fascinated with the creepy and slimy. This is why Reality TV thrives like it does.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Jack Finney’s novel “The Body Snatchers” gets its second film adaptation by Philip Kaufman in 1978. This time, the setting is changed from a small California town to the teeming metropolis of San Francisco. Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennell, a health inspector who stumbles across reports of people claiming their loved ones are not themselves. His colleague Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) faces similar stories and even suspects her live-in boyfriend Geoffrey has been infected. After conferring with Matthew’s pop psychology guru friend David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), they settle on mass hysteria as a cause. However, when Matthew’s other friends (Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright) discover a mysterious body in the back of their spa, the group soon discovers an insidious alien force has come to earth with the ability to duplicate people.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: this editorial contains spoilers for Rise of the Planet of the Apes (and, for that matter, the original Planet of the Apes). Consider yourself warned, you maniacs! The original Planet of the Apes lends itself quite readily to allegory. 1968, the year of the film’s release, was the peak of one of the most tumultuous eras in American social history. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in April of that year, and Robert F. Kennedy’s death followed a mere two months later. Student resistance and campus demonstrations grew increasingly violent in their opposition to the Vietnam War, the Chicago DNC broke into an all-out war, and racial discord mounted. Of course, none of this had happened yet when Planet of the Apes went into production, but the intersections of intent and circumstance that permit the film to be read so heavily, so variously, and so often in allegorical terms enrich the original film and its sequels with resonance that outlives whatever else may date it. Beyond entertainment value, the Planet of the Apes series has lingered in the popular imagination not because of any strong connection to a specific associative meaning, but because of the many possible allegorical readings it is capable of containing. One of several reasons that Rise of the Planet of the Apes succeeds where previous reincarnations of the series did not is its reclaimed capacity for allegory.

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Super 8 pays its respects to master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, but here are a few films that walk the fine line between tipping the hat and stealing!

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Chances are that you stumbled upon this list while googling “Amber Heard Clothed.” It’s okay. We get mistaken for The Huffington Post all the time. Our feelings aren’t hurt at all. Cases of mistaken identity are not a daily occurrence (unless wrong numbers count) for everyone. They’re something we shouldn’t be able to relate to in any way, something relegated to the world of secret agents and people with houses on top of Mount Rushmore. Yet, for some reason, they work incredibly well as a plot device – most likely because they represent one of our greatest fears. Being mistaken for someone else robs us of our own identity, places our sanity into question, and can lead to physical danger if the person we’re being mistaken for is in trouble. Movies that use them well ask a question of how quickly your life can change because of someone else and how far reality can be turned on its head. In celebration of reality being called into question, we present the list of The 10 Most Confusing Cases of Mistaken Identity.

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Transformers

Whether it’s a mythical beast or a horrifying monster, we love it when characters change into something right before our eyes. Here’s a look at the best flicks featuring transformations.

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