Leave it to Disney and Pixar. They have the stable of Marvel superheroes at their disposal and they approach “The Incredibles 2” not as a cash grab but a sincere look at the idea of superheroes in the modern era. Sure superheroes seem like a great idea in theory, but “The Incredibles 2” uses its concept as a means of exploring the world with superheroes and how it can have its definite upsides and crushing downsides. The first film had the concept of the idea of the meaning of being exceptional, our natural advantages, and how mediocrity has become the norm for society that only accepted stellar, once upon a time. “The Incredibles 2” takes it a bit further dissecting the need for heroes and whether self-reliance is the only thing we have in this world.
It’s a shame that “Prey at Night,” the long awaited sequel to “The Strangers” hit like a thud in 2018, because it sure is a top notch follow up to the atmospheric original we saw a decade ago. Where as the original was more an homage to the Manson family murders, “Prey at Night” is a slick hodgepodge of slasher and thriller nods and winks that paint our trio of Sack Face, Pin Up Girl, and Baby Doll as more aggressive individuals that spend less time tenderizing their victims before they go in for the ultimate kill.
Director Bryan Bertino’s horror debut is a masterful thriller about the presence of pure evil and the relentlessness of it. Some of the best horror villains of all time are those without much conscience or logic, and the trio of killers that stalk a hapless pair of married people in “The Strangers” are almost horror incarnate. While “The Strangers” is based on the whole Manson Family murders, truthfully it pits its focus on how purely evil humanity can be. Even when obscured by masks, the trio of stalkers prominently featured is human down to the core, acting without much rhyme or reason.
For the first time together on one DVD, Mill Creek assembles the “Merlin” film trilogy, which chronicles the epic beginnings and legacy of the iconic wizard who helped King Arthur in his battles against evil. “Merlin” is one of my all time favorite miniseries and appeared during a time where miniseries on basic network television was still a thing that was used to grab big ratings, and I fondly recall visiting this miniseries again and again. I enjoyed “Merlin” so much, in fact, that I bought the oversized black clamshell VHS from Blockbuster video back in late 1998 and watched it almost every weekend.
Don’t Be a Hero (USA) (2018)
In this short film by writer/director Pete Lee, Missy Pile plays Lizzi Jo a middle-aged woman living with her mother, working a dead-end job, who robs bank to break her monotonous life every once in a while. In this inspired by a true story film, the storytelling is strong and the acting is on point. The costumes are fun and the way this is all shot is fantastic. The film starts off with synthwave which feels annoying at first, but then becomes a big part of the film and of what helps it feel complete. It’s a short that is potent on emotions and filled with talented people in all positions.
Many years later, director Sam Firstenberg’s “Ninja III” is an out of left field mix of horror, action, and ninjas, all of which were very popular in the eighties. I was never quite sure what happened to “Ninja” one or two, but when I was a kid, “Ninja III” was a bonafide favorite of mine that I’d indulge in every time it was on network television. Thankfully I’m not alone as “Ninja III” has become a cult classic that stands alone, much like “Troll 2.” There’s just something fascinating about a young woman and aerobics enthusiast being possessed by the ghost of a ninja, who begins to seek revenge on his past foes.