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Pick of the Week
What is it? The sequel to Offspring (2009) and The Woman (2011).
Why see it? As horror trilogies go few have been more tonally varied as this one originating from Jack Ketchum’s novel. The first film is sloppy, forgettable cannibal horror while Lucky McKee’s sequel took things in a more politically charged and cruel direction. Now Pollyanna McIntosh — who plays the Woman in all three films — writes and directs the third film, and the result is a funny, bloody takedown of male dominated culture. It’s unexpectedly entertaining, and while it has rough spots the humor, violence, and personality make for a compelling and fun concoction.
[Extras: Commentary, featurette, deleted scene]
What is it? A couple raises their three children in isolation and madness.
Why see it? Yorgos Lanthimos may have broken through to English-speaking audiences with his brilliant The Lobster (2015) and dumb The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), but it was this earlier film from his native Greece that cemented him as a madman interested in blending humanity’s worst traits with a wicked sense of dark humor. This one takes some turns both absurd and icky, but it’s never less than fascinating and ends on a pitch perfect note.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews]
What is it? Rambo goes on vacation in Burma.
Why see it? Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo character has been out of favor for some time since fighting the Russians in the late 80s, but this fourth film from 2008 brought him back in bloody great fashion. It’s a simple enough story, but the action is top notch, explosive, and extremely gory — like, ridiculously gory — and I love it. The back half is pretty heavy with action making for a thrilling watch for fans of the character and of fleshy giblets flying through the air. The disc is loaded with extras, and the already sharp looking action looks even better with the 4K upgrade.
[Extras: Theatrical and unrated versions, commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes]
What is it? A group role plays to help people with grief, but things get out of hand.
Why see it? Yorgos Lanthimos is a filmmaker with a very unique point of view. This follow-up to Dogtooth is nearly as odd and a bit less dark, but for fans on his wavelength the film’s tone and character work their way under the skin in fascinating ways. It doesn’t quite take hold like the best of his work, meaning you’re not likely to be thinking about the film and where it goes after the credits roll. Still, it’s an oddly interesting watch.
What is it? Two friends decide the finally cut loose the night before graduation.
Why see it? Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut has been labeled a female Superbad, but it doesn’t need to be compared to something else to find its own value. It offers a sweet and humorous tale of friendship focusing on two teenage girls who realize they spent all of high school studying when they could have been having more fun the whole time. Both Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are terrific, and while the film isn’t exactly hilarious its sincerity makes for a fun watch.
[Extras: Featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes]
The Good Mother [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A single mother finds trouble with a new man.
Why see it? The great Leonard Nimoy directed this drama about a woman who faces a custody battle after her ex-husband accuses her current boyfriend of inappropriate behavior involving her daughter. The film finds time for romance before the legal drama begins, but prior even to that we spend an odd amount of time on the woman’s childhood and the cousin she admired. It’s a weird choice, but once she reaches adulthood it’s Diane Keaton in the role and Liam Neeson as the man who enters her life. Watch for the talents as the story seems to fade by the end.
Into the Ashes
What is it? An ex-con tries to go straight but his past catches up with him.
Why see it? We’ve seen this story before as a man tries to go good but is given no choice by bad guys from his past, but while this one offers no surprises it does keep things simple enough by forcing our hero’s hand in dramatic fashion. It takes a while getting there, though. Instead, it’s the cast that offers the biggest pull with appearances by James Badge Dale and Frank Grillo. Both play supporting roles, but their presence is welcome.
What is it? A lonely and deranged woman befriends some teens.
Why see it? Octavia Spencer plays the title role here as a woman who’s bonkers from frame one, but while that early awareness hurts the narrative it’s a fun watch all the same. She grows more maniacal by the minute leading to some crazy third act shenanigans, but it’s a bit of a chore getting there as the script is more frustrating than thrilling. Still, it pulls together an odd but appealing cast — Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Diana Silvers, and more — which makes things a bit easier en route to the nuttiness. And if nothing else, Spencer is having an absolute blast.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]
Men in Black International
What is it? The fourth Men in Black film.
Why see it? Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones may not have returned, but Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are charismatic enough replacements for this new MiB adventure. Even with the new cast, though, it’s still more of the same with crazy aliens crashing its blend of comedy and sci-fi/action. Your mileage may vary, but those beats just aren’t all that great here, and while it’s perfectly okay it’s not a film that feels capable of launching its own trilogy.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, gag reel]
Also out this week:
Batman – 80th Anniversary 8-Film Collection, Cold Blood, I Got the Hook-Up 2, Kind Hearts and Coronets [KL Studio Classics], The Lavender Hill Mob [KL Studio Classics], The Man in the White Suit [KL Studio Classics], Mary Magdalene, The Night Sitter, Nightmare Cinema, True Detective – Season 3, The Wind [Scream Factory], Young Sheldon – The Complete Second Season