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Pick of the Week
What is it? The somewhat true story behind the life and legend of Elton John.
Why see it? Much was made of last year’s underwhelming Bohemian Rhapsody, but when it comes to music biopics this year’s entry is the gold standard. Taron Egerton gives a stellar performance as Elton John — and sings the songs — in a film that plays around with the truth in creative, entertaining, and affecting ways. It’s a truly fantastic and rousing watch whether you’re a fan of the man’s music or not. But really, you’re a weirdo if you don’t love at least a few of his tunes.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, sing-along, featurettes]
The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice [Criterion Collection]
What is it? Not all marriages are built to last.
Why see it? The legendary Yasujiru Ozu’s filmography is filled with tales both warm and captivating in their exploration of pre/post World War II Japan, and while less flashy than some this 1952 effort is an affectingly human watch. The focus is a married couple whose relationship is slowly, gently falling apart, but Ozu follows them throughout their days and nights among friends and strangers with an eye towards the community around them both.
[Blu-ray extras: New 4K restoration, bonus feature, video essay, documentary]
Aspen Extreme [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Two friends head to Aspen for work and play.
Why see it? Imagine Hot Dog: The Movie but with less nudity — while, less female nudity and more male giblets — and inappropriate shenanigans en route to its big ski finale, and you’ll have a slight idea what to expect here. Paul Gross and a young Peter Berg headline as friends with differing personalities and ambitions, and both are perfectly solid in this frequently serious but otherwise romp-ish drama.
[Blu-ray extras: None]
The Banana Splits Movie
What is it? A children’s TV show recording turns into a bloodbath.
Why see it? Look, I’m old enough to have watched reruns of The Banana Splits show on Saturday morning television, so the announcement that the original characters would be returning for a horror film understandably piqued my interest. The resulting movie is a bit gorier than you’d probably expect, but it’s also far dumber than you’d hope. It’s a mild diversion for fans of the show, but I honestly don’t know what anyone else would see in it.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
What is it? Godzilla holds court.
Why see it? The latest entry in Legendary’s monsterverse is another mix of big monsters and dumb humans, and while we get some fun with the former there’s far too much of the latter. Worse, while some of the big creature face-offs deliver impressive and fun visuals far too much of it is obscured in nighttime shots, bad weather, and such — all done most likely to shield the f/x work, which is unfortunate as what we can see looks fantastic.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes, commentary]
Hell Comes to Frogtown [Vinegar Syndrome]
What is it? One man must save the post-apocalyptic world from bad guys and infertility alike.
Why see it? Rowdy Roddy Piper takes the lead here in this goofy sci-fi/action romp, and what he lacks in acting ability he makes up for in charisma and personality. The effects are a mixed bag of cool frog heads and everything else, but honestly you already know if this is for you. Seriously, read that title again. The movie gives what it promises — a fun time that’s far from serious — and Vinegar Syndrome’s new Blu-ray backs it up with a great release.
[Blu-ray extras: New 4K scan, commentary, interviews]
What is it? A support group for killers erupts into violence.
Why see it? I’d say you can never go wrong with a Gary Oldman flick, but he’s not above taking a paycheck gig here and there so that’s not entirely true. His latest is an oddball crime picture also including Jessica Alba as a tough cookie caught up in an increasingly violent whodunnit of sorts. It’s fine if you like these two, although they’re both supporting players here, but don’t get too excited for it.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, commentary]
Let My Puppets Come [Vinegar Syndrome]
What is it? A puppet porno.
Why see it? The idea here is sound — make a porno film populated by puppets. I didn’t say it was a great idea necessarily, just that it has potential, and the resulting feature definitely takes full advantage of the premise. It results in some laughs too, albeit sparse ones, and ultimately suggests this works best in short bursts. Or with the volume low and playing in the background during a party. It’s an interesting conversation piece.
[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, audio snippets]
Also out this week:
9 Lives of a Wet Pussy Cat [Vinegar Syndrome], Butley, Decoder [Vinegar Syndrome], The Flash – The Complete Fifth Season, Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, In Celebration, Into the Badlands – The Complete Third Season, Jezebel [Warner Archive], Killers Anonymous, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Vanishing Shadow
Related Topics: Home Video