Director Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale” explores the prospect of a family at war, and a family that will likely always be at war. Director Baumbach has a lot to say about family and how parents can decide what kind of people we ultimately grow up to be. “The Squid and the Whale” is a weird, darkly comic and often demented look at how the eternal grudge of a man and his ex-wife will likely keep their sons at odds with then and one another for the rest of their lives. Director Baumbach contorts the dynamic of a grudging family, but also stays true to a lot of themes that find two sons on a diverging road and a dark path. Jessie Eisenberg is great here as the son of Jeff Daniels’ Bernard, an educated often pompous individual who has a keen sense of attempting to make his equals feel inferior.
Halloween has come early this year! Lionsgate has graced horror fans with a ton of really interesting documentaries from the History Channel and A&E Network in America. For folks that always wanted to know the “Real” story behind “Frankenstein” and “The Wolfman,” well this is where you can turn. Truth be told, the entire double disc DVD set garners an array of forty five minute documentaries, with the Frankenstein topic taking center stage. With all three documentaries clocking in at 178 minutes in length, it’s a treasure trove for individuals that love Frankenstein and Mary Shelly. Featured in the first disc is “In Search of the Real Frankenstein,” “Frankenstein,” and “It’s Alive! The True Story of Frankenstein.” Oddly enough while all three documentaries can sometimes become repetitive, they offer up a unique look at Frankenstein with different angles and approaches.
In case you missed it, here’s what has happened so far in “The Peepshow Collection” movie series: The first nineteen volumes were filled with a lot of adult porn performers having sex, and engaging in general sexual acts. The next volumes will likely have those events unfold, too. Now that you’re caught up, for folks that value this kind of nostalgia and once thought lost series of stag films and porn theater shorts, “42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 19” from Impulse Pictures is back to the basics once again. As always the volume, which clocks in at almost two hours, is split in to man on girl, girl on girl, and basic shorts with orgies, threesomes and the like.
Setting aside that DC pretty much slaps Batman in to their newest film, “Justice League Dark” is actually a fun celebration of the supernatural element from DC Comics. Taking a much needed peek in to the darker universe from DC, “Justice League Dark” is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel, involving supernatural characters from DC who team up to take on a threat beyond the capabilities of Superman and Wonder Woman. “Justice League Dark” is a fairly well realized horror take on the DC universe that suffers, sadly, from a short run time. With a group of characters filled with such immense, and complex back stories and amazing powers, it’s sad “Justice League Dark” is only allotted a scant eighty minute run time. John Constantine alone deserves a thirty minute introduction.
Bryan Bertino has a talent for depicting the inexplicability of evil, first with “The Strangers,” and now with how a seemingly chaotic force of nature threatens to destroy a mother and daughter. What’s worse is that when we do meet the titular monster, it’s about to completely obliterate a relationship already on the cusp of falling to pieces. Director and writer Bertino succeeds in creating a creepy monster movie that also builds a compelling relationship that pulls us through the emotional wringer time and time again. Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballantine are an excellent pairing as Kathy and Lizzy, an estranged mother and daughter that are constantly at war with one another.
Courtesy of Undercrank Productions, “Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers” starring Douglas Fairbanks garners a brand new DVD restoration. With a new score by Ben Model (along with new color tinting digital restoration, and stabilization), and with restoration by Karl Malkames, “The Three Musketeers” can be appreciated in a new edition and new vision. One of the many iterations of the classic action tale, “The Three Musketeers” stars film icon Douglas Fairbanks as the noble swordsman D’ Artagnan a young man who goes to Paris to become an ally to three of the best swordsmen alive. They are, of course, Athos as played by Leon Bary, Porthos as played by George Siegmann, and Aramis as played by Eugene Pallette.
Gary Sherman’s “Poltergeist III” is such a disappointing movie, and goes even further to stretch the mythology of the first film, so much so that I almost welcomed the loose spin off TV series from 1996. It’s very disheartening to see Carol Anne now under the care of her aunt and uncle in the big city, especially when the first and second “Poltergeist” films pushed the whole “Love” and “Family unity” themes on us so aggressively. Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne has gone from side character to the principal heroine of the entire series, now living with her aunt and uncle in a very high class skyscraper and apartment building filled with mirrors. This, of course, allows Gary Sherman to concoct a lot of very surreal moments of horror here.
The original “Poltergeist” was like a fine tuned car that ran well and delivered all kinds of surprises. “Poltergeist II” is like an addition to said car, but it’s not a necessary addition and comes off kind of gaudy when you take a second look. It’s like someone added fins, stripes to what was an already great model in and of itself. The follow up to Tobe Hooper’s original is a childhood favorite of mine. It’s one I watched over and over on local television. While it may not make much sense as an extension of the first film, with a redundant premise, “The Other Side” is an okay sequel. That is, if you want to accept it as a sequel to the original film. It’s more an exploration of the spiritual world involved with the initial haunting from the first film, when all is said and done.