Blu-ray Today: Giant Robots! Zombies and Arnold! Lovecraft! Joe Dirt?


Robot Jox – Decades before Pacific Rim, Robot Jox imagined a world where nations built giant effin’ robots, and used them to fight…not monsters, but a surrogate Cold War for control of disputed territories. Uncharacteristically directed by Re-animator‘s Stuart Gordon, the movie does clever things with elaborate miniatures. However, being ultimately a low-budget film, it rations out the robo-action to the point that most of the good bits are in the trailer already. The rest involves champion robo-jock Gary Graham deciding to quit the games following a nasty accident rather than defeat his Soviet foe, only to come back when a younger female pilot has to take his place in the rematch. It’s fairly by-the-numbers stuff in white rooms with futuristic jumpsuits.

The new Blu-ray features a slightly grainy transfer, and commentaries by both Stuart Gordon and the effects team. Worth watching once, but only worth the own for completists of giant robot movies. Blink and you’ll miss young Jeffrey Combs in a small role.

Maggie – Feeling bummed about Terminator: Genisys? Check out a totally different Ahnuld movie, as he deals with his daughter becoming a zombie. I haven’t had the pleasure yet myself, but the Blu-ray includes director’s commentary, cast and crew interviews, and a sole deleted scene.

Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights – Stop, yer killing me with the fright puns. “When Clawdeen Wolf gets the chance to apprentice for the legendary fashion designer Madame Ghostier, she and her best ghoul friends immediately pack their bags and hop on a plane to beautiful Scaris, France. As Clawdeen competes against two worthy opponents, Skelita Calaveras and Jinafire Long, her pals Frankie Stein and Rochelle Goyle uncover clues to a spooktacular secret hidden deep beneath the cobblestone streets. Join the ghouls from Monster High for the fangtastic adventure of a lifetime in Scaris – the city where screams really do come true!” Clawdeen was also the name of Catra’s cat in the She-Ra toy line, owned by Mattel too. Synergy! (Wait, that one’s Hasbro…)

Virtuosity – Cop Denzel Washington has to take on Russell Crowe’s Sid 6.0, a computer hybrid of multiple serial killers who has developed sentience. Not a very good movie at all from the director of The Lawnmower Man, but notable for the fact that you could tell by watching that Crowe had a bright future. Bare-bones disc.

Joe Dirt – Surprisingly NOT bare-bones is this David Spade redneck comedy about a janitor with a mullet wig permanently stuck to his head, featuring Kid Rock as the local bully. It fincludes two commentaries, one with Spade and one from director Dennie Gordon, deleted scenes and bloopers, and a featurette about the making of the direct-to-online sequel. My memory is that it’s far from the worst movie an Adam Sandler pal has ever made – and it might be the only one with a female director.

Alien Outpost – Found-footage movie about a war with extraterrestrial invaders, starring ex-Highlander Adrian Paul. So that’s where he went.

The Cell – Beautiful looking dreamscape about cop Jennifer Lopez entering the mind of killer Vincent D’Onofrio, though like many late-’90s/early aughts New Line sci-fi/fantasy flicks, it has way to much over-explanatory dialogue that doesn’t trust the viewer to handle anything surreal. Thus it’s probably best watched in another language, like The Phantom Menace (trust me on that one). A decent handful of extras includes two commentaries, deleted scenes, effects breakdowns, and a documentary about director Tarsem Singh.

Deranged – Like Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it’s a film inspired by real-life killer Ed Gein. Unlike them, I haven’t heard of it until now. I assume there’s at least one scene involving preserved bones or skin – I should be very disappointed if not.

The Color out of Space – German H.P. Lovecraft adaptation in black and white that is apparently one of the more faithful ones out there. Not that there’s a ton of competition.

Those are my picks this week. Anything else grabbing you lately?