Blu-ray Today: Disney, The Devil, Triple H and Lon Chaney

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs, zombies
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Frozen - I remember when Disney movies didn't have to resort to jokes about farts and nose-picking, but those minor missteps aside, Frozen is a reasonably fun time and has that one good song by that Dazeem chick who got the Oscar, as well as a somewhat disturbing number in which the snowman obliviously wishes for summer without realizing he will die horribly if it ever comes.

It's also a movie that can bring everybody together - both our own Eric Diaz and some conservative Mormon grandma who blogs agree that it's Disney's gayest feature yet. And I'm not sure which of them has seen it more times.

Saving Mr. Banks - Weird of Disney to put out two of their big Oscar-bait movies on the same day, but this one's more for the parents - a slightly sanitized tale of the arguments between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers en route to making Mary Poppins. Whether it is or is not accurate - as far as I can tell, it's as "mostly true" as any Hollywood biopic - the culture-clash between the American big kid archetype of Walt and the prim, mannered English decorum of Travers is pitch-perfect. As the child of parents who were so very similar to these onscreen portrayals, I found it endlessly amusing in that regard. Also notable for being the first movie I've seen in forever that portrays an alcoholic fuck-up of a parent (Colin Farrell) without dismissing his better qualities too.



Slumber Party Massacre - Originally written as a feminist satire of slasher movies, but played straight, only to so quickly become cliche that it now plays like parody anyway, this Roger Corman-produced cult hit stars Brinke Stevens and mostly features a guy with a power drill stalking nude and nearly nude teens around a house. A pretty solid example of "what you see is what you get."

Here Comes the Devil - Creepy as hell Spanish horror, sure to be remade here eventually, in which two kids go missing, sparking their parents into a homicidal rage at the suspected perpetrator. But then the kids show up again...only they're not the same. A stint inside a mysterious cave has changed them, and they're occasionally prone to levitating and screaming when they're not supposed to, or manifesting bruises that looks like they were attacked by something invisible. It can be a slow burn at times, but it's worth it: the ending is one of the best of its kind.

Mysterious Skin - One of the first movies to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt a star, Gregg Araki's movie makes explicit the connection between people who believe in alien abudctions - with their attendant anal probes - and sexual abuse. At the time it came out, I suggested Michael Jackson would enjoy this movie quite a bit, and word got back to me that Araki was really pissed off about that. But the sex and young boys bent of it is extremely uncomfortable, as perhaps it should be - you just can't really call it a fun time.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - It's "The Blackhawk Collection" rather than the Criterion Collection, but the point remains the same: a high-quality restoration of the original silent Lon Chaney classic. Sorry, no comic relief gargoyles in this one.

Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnatz - You know how it is - you're burned out on Nazi zombies being in everything. So with Russia acting more villainous on the world stage, you see a Blu-ray cover that implies, for once, that you're gonna get COMMIE zombies. "Great!" you think. Then you pop it in, and...nope. Nazi zombies again. What a Putin, I mean put-on.

Atlantis: Season 1 - A show about Atlantis, from the producers of Merlin. I haven't seen it, but I hope the writing is better than the cheap-ass costumes.

Jeff Dunham's Achmed Saves America - However edgy you think a ventriloquist dummy resembling a skeletal Taliban member is, I think you'd have to concede some of that edge is lost when you turn him into a cartoon and make him have a change of heart about America. Not that this is made for anybody who would think about it in such terms.

Inside Out - I totally forgot WWE's Triple H had made this movie with Michael Rapaport. What's funny, if you're a wrestling fan, is that his character is named A.J. - same as the current women's champion.

Those are my picks from today's releases - what are yours?

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