Mill Creek Entertainment is getting the jump on the massive library of blaxploitation action and crime thrillers with a six pack collection of some of the finest and most notorious. With many of the titles from the sub-genre being re-released, it’s only fitting that “Soul Team Six” could act as a discount basic course for the sub-genre that managed to convey a unique voice in the sixties and seventies.
After years on the market being pretty hard to find Mill Creek Entertainment are making many of the films from director Andy Sidaris available on Blu-Ray. That may be a good thing to some, and an awful thing to others. I’m right there in the middle, as Andy Sidaris’ films are somewhat similar to Russ Meyer’s. They’re cheaply made, exploitative, and pretty much just softcore porn, all with the vaguest facsimiles of a narrative that unfolds somewhere. And there’s an escaped killer snake, for some reason.
I’m one of those people that always saw many of the Elmore Leonard cinematic adaptations very dull and often painfully smug in their cooler than thou attitudes (“Jackie Brown” excluded). “Get Shorty” attempts to mix gangster cinema, with Hollywood satire and neither of it is ever quite as interesting as its think it is. “Get Shorty,” even at its darkest, is never quite as clever or immensely cynical about filmmaking as Robert Altman’s “The Player.” It proves it with a climax that’s more of an ending based on a more comedic look at the filmmaking process rather than the dark world void of creativity it can be and often is.
With America’s opioid crisis, much of the most acclaimed dramas involved stories about family, and two of the most interesting involved drug addiction. While “Ben is Back” completely drifted under the radar, it’s an interesting and often compelling drama about drug abuse, and how often times drug abusers can drag much of their personal demons and past in to the lives of those that they love. I won’t say that I completely loved “Ben is Back,” but I appreciated its inherent tale of a mother racing to help her son, in spite of the odds being stacked against her over and over.
It’s a wonderful time for fans of grindhouse cinema and collectors of physical media. Great studios are all rushing out to offer collectors some of the rarest and under seen movie titles of all time, including some of the best martial arts films ever made. With Arrow Video releasing the pristine Sister Street Fighter Collection on Blu-ray recently, Shout! Factory follows up from the rear unleashing the Street Fighter Collection. If you loved both series, now is the time to grab them, as they’re finally on Blu-Ray, with the original article starring Sonny Chiba in a great box set with a ton of extras and restorations.
I kind of see what Aaron K. Carter is going for with “An Hour to Kill.” What his film tries to be is a basic meshing of the gangster politics of “Pulp Fiction” with the horror tales of “Creepshow.” I don’t begrudge him for trying something completely different and unique, it’s just sad that “An Hour to Kill” never comes together as a coherent or even entertaining horror comedy anthology. Even taken as a silly horror comedy, it’s tough to find any real redeeming aspects here, as Carter seems to work hard in keeping his film together as it falls apart from minute one.
Take the unabashed violence of the eighties action films where all that stood between peace and war was one guy with a gun, throw in a slasher film, and you have what is one of my absolute childhood favorites. “Cobra” brings me back to a time where I’d watch Marion Cobretti bring down a thug with the cold hard steel of his Colt .45 and still have time to go home and unwind with some left over pizza. Thankfully “Cobra” still pretty much holds up today as a mixing of two very popular genres from the decade, and it works for the most part.
I wish I liked “Lost Holiday” a lot more. While I think the premise has a ton of potential to be an off kilter drama mystery, it works a little too much in the bizarre comedy spectrum to really involve the audience. Michael and Thomas Matthews mix a coming of age comedy with a crime mystery, focusing on a gum shoe of a woman who has no idea how to keep herself from falling over, but decides to solve an unusual kidnapping that only sees her descend deeper in to catastrophe.