Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The problem with prequels is that you already know what you’re getting, because you already know what’s going to happen to certain characters within the canon, so, “Solo” doesn’t pack much surprises. I will say though for arguably safe genre entertainment, it’s exciting and also delivers some well timed twists within its narrative. After the much ballyhooed problems during the making of the film, “Solo” ends up being a surprisingly competent popcorn movie that keeps a brisk pace, and channels the original tone of the episodes IV-VI better than the previous prequels/mid-quels (?).

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Species (1995): Collector’s Edition [2 Blu-Ray]

If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.

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It’s Alive Trilogy [Blu-Ray]

Larry Cohen’s horror film “It’s Alive” didn’t always get the respect it deserved. While it’s certainly a seventies shock horror film about a mutant baby, it’s also about fear of genetic and birth defects, the question of abortion, and the idea of euthanasia in children. It thrives on being a horror cult classic, but it’s also a socially relevant movie that pounces on a lot of important issues. Larry Cohen’s classic film gets a wonderful treatment from the folks at Scream Factory with all three “It’s Alive” films on one box set, and it’s a collector’s set that’s impossible to pass up.

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Cargo (2018)

It’s a tough task to take a short film and stretch it in to a feature length adaptation worthy of the original concept. Often it can fail and other times if we’re lucky, we can end up with something pretty special. Thankfully “Cargo” falls in to the latter category, as it’s a touching, heartbreaking and eerie tale, about finding hope when all hope is lost. The original Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling short film “Cargo” is one of my favorite independent short films of all time, and the team of Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling thankfully keep in touch with the original short’s idea of a dad trying to give his daughter a second chance in a horrible world, while also expanding on the premise.

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

After the shocking success of “Deadpool,” it didn’t seem very likely that Ryan Reynolds and FOX would be able to follow up the first act in Wade Wilson’s arc. Lo and behold years later, “Deadpool 2” not only serves as a great second act of the Merc with a Mouth’s misadventures, but it’s just as good as the original. What I liked most about it though is that “Deadpool 2” further bridges the gap between Wade’s universe and his X-Men origins, proving that ironically these films understand the “X-Men” mythology so much more than any of the actual X-Men films combined.

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The Return of Swamp Thing (1989): 2 Disc Special Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

Jim Wynorski’s “The Return of Swamp Thing” is one of my bonafide childhood favorites, and a favorite of the rental places. “The Return of Swamp Thing” was my introduction to the character when I was a child and it’s a definite favorite that’s become more about sentimental value than quality. I admit that viewing “The Return of Swamp Thing” through nostalgic glasses helps improve the campy direction Jim Wynorski takes for this second outing.

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Lawnmower Man (1992): Collector’s Edition [2 Blu-Ray]

This was a time where the internet was capable of everything, and virtual reality was the wave of the future, which is what “Lawnmower Man” banks on to tell its yarn about the dangers of mind expansion. “Lawnmower Man” for a movie allegedly based on a Stephen King novella is really just a pastiche of other Frankenstein tales and tech gone bad stories from the past. It’s infamous, also, for being “based on” a Stephen King novel in name only (leading to a very notable lawsuit). Instead of a King tale, we get Jeff Fahey turning in to a computer and knocking boots with a very delectable Jenny Wright.

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