Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus: The G Annihilation Strategy, Godzilla: Final Wars / Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Ebirah Horror of the Deep (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster), Godzilla vs. Gigan (Godzilla on Monster Island) – I’ve worked in movie theaters at various stages of my life, and one thing you can absolutely count on, as surely as death and taxes and Michael Bay’s unfealty to any nerdy property, is that no matter how plainly obvious the title of a movie is, somebody will be confused by it. “What’s Spider-Man about?” is indeed a question that is asked of box-office employees nationwide, in case you were wondering.
I like to think my readers are smarter than that, but I suppose there is an outside chance that somebody reading this might be wondering what the plot of Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla could possibly be. Here’s the thing – I suspect many people who’ve watched it are still wondering the same. Plot in most Godzilla movies is a formality lost in bad translation, as we stall for time in the buildup to the moment where guys in rubber monster suits quit stomping on plastic toy tanks and start throwing each other around. The three single-feature discs are the movies distributed by Kraken releasing, which are more deliberately campy and kid-oriented, while the double-feature discs are Toho’s, and mildly more poker-faced.
And yet this still does not cover the Big G’s complete filmography – a boxed set inside a giant roaring head would have been a better idea, but maybe this many kaiju movies is overkill, and they figure the casual viewer will only want one (or two). As long as you know what you’re in for, you can’t really go that wrong with any of them.
Veronica Mars (The Movie) – Yes, our own Peter Paras laid out a lengthy case for why I’m supposed to be interested. I really can’t say he pulled that off on me, but for those of you who paid to fund this on Kickstarter, you now get to pay again to own it. But not too much – it’s only like $15, and includes an hourlong documentary about the process that made it happen.
Son of Batman – In the latest DTV DCU animated movie, Bruce Wayne’s illegitimate son, who has been raised to become leader of the League of Shadows, moves in with dad, who’s more of a disciplinarian than momma Talia. David McCallum voices Alfred, which is a pretty damn awesome call.
Revenge of the Nerds – Hard as it may be to believe now, there was a time when people who were smart and liked science and fantasy were considered to be of little societal value, relative to borderline homicidal meathead athletes. In an attempt to reverse the pecking order, as depicted in this film, the nerds of the ’80s apparently spied on naked women, exploited the photos they surreptitiously and nonconsensually took in the process, and in one instance pretended to be someone else so as to have sex with that person’s girlfriend under a mask and false pretenses. And it worked – in this telling, they win and become popular by taking advantage of women who are essentially asking for it.
This played as hilarious back in the day, when I was ten and the film had more female nudity than I’d ever seen in my life. It sounds really creepy and illegal in hindsight, and makes me wonder if some of the online forum trolls who live to make awful rape threats towards women had their priorities partly skewed by seeing this type of thing at an early age. I feel like watching it now might be akin to watching the cartoons where Popeye beats up buck-toothed Japanese soldiers – something to study rather than laugh with.
Blazing Saddles: 40th Anniversary – Here, on the other hand, is a politically incorrect comedy that does hold up, and could probably teach Seth MacFarlane a lesson or two about making a comedy western. Lesson one – if you’re going to laugh at racism, make sure the joke is on the racists, and hard.
While many of its tropes – unexpected fart jokes, anachronistic mash-ups, blunt sex references and the finale’s all-out destruction of the fourth wall – have become commonplace today, Mel Brooks’ spoofy tale of a black sheriff sent to fail but destined to succeed (a slightly tweaked version of The Producers‘ formula) was groundbreaking in its day and stands as one of his absolute best, alongside Young Frankenstein. The disc comes with a set of reproduction lobby cards in a faux-telegram envelope.
Speed 2: Cruise Control – Nearly every bad action movie, after a certain amount of time has passed, attains its share of defenders. Except Speed 2. I have never once heard anybody proclaim nostalgia for possibly the only sequel in existence that had audiences complaining there wasn’t more Keanu Reeves in it.
Look, I’ll support Willem Dafoe and his bathtub of leeches. I appreciate Sandra Bullock being, as usual, game for any and all humiliation. But a cruise ship going fast, just fundamentally, is not scary. At all. We’ve seen more frightening real-life tales of actual stranded cruise ships since then.
After the Dark – Don’t be misled by the apocalyptic imagery on the cover, as this a movie about high-school students undergoing a thought experiment. Hypothetically, if a nuclear war happened, what would they do and who would they save? In other words, the same conversation you may have had if you were ever stoned. And yours was probably better, or at least felt deeper at the time.
White Zombie: Cary Roan Special Signature Edition – Long before the title of this movie inspired Robert Bartleh Cummings to grow dreadlocks and make the same rock album over and over again, it was a horror classic in which Bela Lugosi played a warlock amassing an army of zombies (the old-school, pre-Romero, Haitian variety of the revived dead in trancelike states). This new 4K restoration comes from the same folks who cleaned the movie up for Laserdisc, and it is said to be siginificantly better than the previous Kino version which used public domain elements.
Mr. Jones – A young couple moves into a remote cabin near the residence of a reclusive, insane artist. I really hope they don’t make the mistake of playing him that Counting Crows song.
Many of today’s other “new” releases today appear to be reissues/repackages, including several Hitchcock films and some Universal steelbooks. I may have missed something…but I’m sure you’ll let me know below.