Sheena fans are in for a treat when Mill Creek releases a collection of Sheena entertainment on DVD. Are there Sheena fans? Are there enough to warrant a big crowd surrounding the TV hoping for Sheena? In either case, for fans of pulp comics and just all around good old fashioned camp, the “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Collection” packs a ton of content in to a small package, and spans a pretty hefty time period where Sheena was portrayed in various mediums beyond the comics. The 1984 movie “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle” is a camp and cult classic that’s managed to re-emerge over the years mainly for being such a weird and awful movie.
Director Henry Corra’s exploration of what New York was in 1977 is quite fantastic and a surprisingly rare chronicle of the political and economic turmoil that ironically bred timeless art and music. As a born and bred Bronxite, 1977 is a mythical year, and a period of the decade that I’ve heard about very often from elder family members. In particular, the night of the infamous black out of New York, my mom and uncle were stuck in the edge of downtown Manhattan and had to brave their way home during the mass looting and rioting. “NY77” garners a very unique tone that balances out the inherent importance of the year, the depressing living conditions of the city, and the obvious fun that was had by most, who managed to endure poverty with laughs and creativity.
The Nicholas Hammond starring TV movie* “Spider-Man” is also the two hour TV pilot for the cult classic series “The Amazing Spider-Man.” When you consider the decade, and the budget, “Spider-Man” isn’t too bad of a movie. When I was a kid it was about all we had in the realm of live action Spider-Man, and sadly with its budget we never got banner foes like Green Goblin and or Doctor Octopus. We were instead granted a lot of gangsters, and cronies, as well as the occasional ninja or two (and in this instance, three martial arts thugs with wooden sticks). “Spider-Man” the Movie that sets the stage for the series is a solid iteration of Spider-Man that is altogether a mixed bag.
Karl Thomasson is back and is still tortured by his days serving in the military. After flashing back to his old days with a military buddy named Macy who made him swear an oath before he died while imprisoned, he visits his Macy’s daughter. She so happens to be a teacher at a fictitious college where the dominant force is the school football team, all of whom are juicing up on some kind of experimental steroids. After she’s attacked by local drug dealers, Thomasson takes it upon himself to go undercover as a professor and begin investigating who attacked her. While trying to figure out the identity of her attackers, he uncovers a drug ring and begins learning about the dangers of steroids as players slowly either turn up dead or become increasingly violent.
I was surprised there was even such a thing as a “The Substitute 2” since the first film barely warranted a sequel if at all. Tom Berenger is a fine character actor, but the original film only grants a viewing thanks to some okay action moments. I initially thought the sequel series featured Berenger’s character on various adventures as an undercover mercenary playing a substitute, but thankfully the writers dodge that trap. “The Substitute 2” is a sequel in that it is set in the same universe as Berenger’s character. New character Karl Thomasson, as played by Treat Williams, served in the military alongside Berenger’s character O’Shea, and is helped by the surviving mercenary from the first film. Hey, that’s about all you’re getting.
ABC Television’s remake of “Dirty Dancing” is a god awful and ill conceived version of the eighties classic. I don’t say that as a fan of the original, or an eighties kid, but as someone who just can’t abide a truly awful reworking for a film that didn’t need it. Did we forget “Havana Nights” already? ABC goes for an over two and a half hour remake that is just about as listless and ridiculous as you can imagine. For some reason the writers thought it’d be a good idea to add a story frame for the actual story that ensues between Baby and Johnny.
Then there’s a verbatim remake of the original, a goofy melodrama about Baby coming of age, and a musical that stages a bunch of forgettable tunes. Not to mention a relationship drama about Baby’s parents experiencing a crossroads in their marriage. Lest we forget an interracial romance with Baby’s sister falling in love with an African American singer for the country resort, and the steamy torrid love affair between Johnny and a local middle aged resort guest (as played by Katey Segal).
Once called “Stake Lander,” the follow up to the fantastic 2011 apocalyptic vampire film may be just a TV movie, but it’s thankfully a pretty excellent follow up to the original vampire thriller. “Stake Land 2” reunites just about everyone from the original film to extend the mythology of the original film and continue the epic journey of the enigmatic Mister and his young sidekick Martin. Except now, Martin is an experienced apocalyptic hunter who has managed to settle in to a life he loves, even in the midst of the end of the world. Despite Mister venturing out on his own, Martin has established a farm as well as married and had a son.
This time around “V” embraces its science fiction roots more, allowing for a lot more looks in to the rebellion, and the inclusion of new corners of the visitors’ world and the rebels. Most of all, there’s the introduction of a Visitor/Human hybrid that becomes one of the larger symbols of the war, and is pushed back and forth between the resistance and people that think the visitors can stop the invasion and work with Earth. Months after the humans sent out the beacon for other alien species to help them take down the Visitors, nothing has happened and the humans are still trying to stop the Visitors and their plans. Now the Visitors are building new tactics, which includes armor that can deflect bullets, and a form of torture leader Diana has concocted that allows her to convert humans to the side of Visitors for programming.