Ginger Snaps (2000): Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray/DVD]

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Great werewolf films are hard to come by, so it’s a shock to see such an under the radar low budget horror film like “Ginger Snaps” not only get the formula right, but make its own mark in the sub-genre. Most times, the entire werewolf motif has been used to convey feelings of oppression and unbridled savagery as we saw with “The Howling,” and “The Wolfman,” but director John Fawcett aims toward a more feminine message. This werewolf film is about lycanthropy as a metaphor for blossoming in to womanhood. With such overtones and outright straight forward explorations of the themes, “Ginger Snaps” surprisingly knows how to balance its narrative themes well.

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Lake Placid: Collector’s Edition (1999) [Blu-ray]

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Director Steve Miner and writer David E. Kelly’s “Lake Placid” is a B monster movie that knows what it is, and almost works against its type to offer something of substance. The harder it tries for satire and meta-storytelling, the more absurd “Lake Placid” is, thus more surreal. I wouldn’t classify “Lake Placid” as a great monster movie, but it has a strange energy to it that elevates it above usual monster movie tropes, but also keeps it firmly planted in the corner of a horror comedy bordering on a spoof quite often.

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The New Adventures of Superman: Season 2 & 3 (DVD)

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“The New Adventures of Superman” are mainly just shorts trimmed from the series “The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure” from the sixties, and given their own spotlight. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but you can sense that the shorts here were once a part of something bigger and more diverse. That said, “The New Adventures of Superman” works considerably well if you’re okay with crude animation.

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Snowpiercer (2014)

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Director Bong Joon-ho’s science fiction epic is a maddening and often demented commentary on society and class structure. It brilliantly devises its premise to reflect the rise to a power that may or may not be necessary to the survival of society. Is it worth living like an upper class yuppie if it means maintaining a stratum that can keep others alive for one more day? Even if it’s in the trenches with the lower class and degenerates? Does every part of life serve a purpose right down to the wealthy elite?

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“The Burka Avenger”: Fighting Ignorance with Knowledge

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Knowledge is true power and Miss Jiya, a teacher for a local school in Pakistan wields her knowledge with the ferocity of the superheroine “The Burka Avenger.” In a world where heroines are sexualized, it’s interesting to see that the Burka Avenger primarily clothes herself from head to toe in a burka, which allows her a stealth and grace that make her a deadly opponent; but definitely not deadly in the violent sense, but deadly in implementing non-violence and her intellect to defeat her foes.

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Jersey Boys (2014)

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Comparisons are no doubt going to be made to the Broadway musical and already have been when it comes to Jersey Boys, the new film directed by veteran director/actor Clint Eastwood. I have not seen the Broadway musical, so I come at it with a fresh perspective and I’m not comparing which is better and why. As a standalone biopic, Jersey Boys succeeds. The performances are top notch, the music is outstanding, and the film, which runs at two hours and fourteen minutes, never drags or feels tedious or boring. It all fits together and works together nicely for an enjoyable motion picture.

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Life Itself (2014)

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Whether you agreed with Roger Ebert or his ideas in his last days of life, you have to agree after watching “Life Itself” that he followed the age old adage. He stood up to live to before he sat down to write. Folks that wrote off Roger Ebert as a rotund movie geek will be surprised to find out that beyond film, he was obsessed with living life. And though he was in some ways egomaniacal, he was also filled with humility, and used the power of the written word to boost the lives of people like Martin Scorsese.

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Five Great Home Invasion Films

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Home invasion films have been a staple of cinema for decades. A family or group of strangers are held hostage by a group of people, and are forced to learn something about themselves, and others. Often times when the home invaders are monsters, the flaws come seeping to the surface. In either case, in honor of “The Purge: Anarchy” which seems to have gotten its own concept right, hopefully: we posted five great home invasion films. “The Purge” was by no means a great film, nor a good one, but it helped us re-live a lot of our favorite home invasion thrillers, and here are five of our favorites.

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The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) [Fair is Fair Edition Blu-ray]

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You could likely consider “The Legend of Billie Jean” a precursor to “Thelma And Louise.” It’s a film about female empowerment, and young women dealt terrible injustices that become folk heroes. Not to mention “The Legend of Billie Jean” has every chance to become exploitative man hating trash, but very cleverly straddles the line between goofy eighties adventure, and compelling coming of age drama. I won’t claim “The Legend of Billie Jean” is a straight faced character study, but it’s a fun and often exciting tale of a young woman who takes the world by the balls when she stands up for herself.

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