A wild whirlwind of a mess, without any coherence, without even a guiding principle.
10 NEW TO NETFLIX
"The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography"
"Field of Dreams"
"The Hateful Eight"
"Heal the Living"
"Meet the Robinsons"
"While We're Young"
8 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
It used to be incredibly rare for a horror sequel to surpass the original. Sure, we got a "Wrong Turn 2" every now and then, but horror sequels are usually quickie garbage designed to make a buck. Something has changed lately. "Ouija: Origin of Evil" is undeniably better than the first film and the upcoming "Beyond Skyline" will make you forget "Skyline" if you somehow have yet to do so already. Which brings us to "Annabelle," a movie I viscerally hated. It's a cheap piece of garbage that felt designed to make a quick buck from the success of "The Conjuring." So no one is more surprised than I am at the artistic success of "Annabelle: Creation," one of the most accomplished horror films of 2017. Trust me. Genre fans don't want to miss this one.
The Horror Continues
Horror Shorts: Attic Panic and Coffer
Deleted Scenes Featurette
I kinda feel bad for "The Dark Tower," even though my negative theatrical review certainly didn't help. I think it's because years of anticipation about the long-delayed, many versions of Stephen King's hit series have put me in a position where I can't believe it's over. That's it? This minor movie that was totally overshadowed not only by "It" but even other Stephen King projects like "Gerald's Game" and "1922"? Roland deserved SO much more. So what do we do? Should we ignore "The Dark Tower" and hope that maybe they completely try again in a few years? Or maybe we need to turn this into a Blu-ray hit so they make a much-better sequel? As I mentioned in the entry above, anything seems possible with sequels nowadays. And I can't accept that we've heard the last of The Gunslinger on film or (perhaps a better format) television.
A Look Through the Keyhole
"Last Time Around"
"The World Has Moved On…"
"The Man in Black"
"The Gunslinger in Action"
"Stephen King Inspirations"
"Dawn of the Dead"
There's a trend this week: surprises. While horror sequels are rarely worthwhile, horror remakes are an even more ignominious genre. For every "The Fly" or "The Thing," there's a "Nightmare on Elm Street" or "Halloween" to remind you that you can't tell the same ghost story twice. So why is "Dawn of the Dead" so surprisingly effective? The main reason is James Gunn's clever and zippy script, but the cast also helps greatly, and it feels like this was a project for which Zack Snyder was kept under enough creative control that he could do the tightest, best work of his career. Once again, Shout Factory pulls out all the stops under their horror-driven Scream Factory banner, releasing one of the most packed special editions of the year. It came out just in time for Halloween. Get it to watch on your favorite horror holiday next year (or any time in between).
HD Master Derived From The Digital Intermediate Archival Negative
Take A Chance On Me – An Interview With Actor Ty Burrell
Gunn For Hire – An Interview With Writer James Gunn
Punk, Rock, & Zombie – An Interview With Actor Jake Weber
Killing Time At The Mall: The Special Effects Of Dawn Of The Dead – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artists David Anderson And Heather Langenkamp Anderson
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Zach Snyder And Producer Eric Newman
Audio Commentary With Director Zach Snyder And Producer Eric Newman
Splitting Headaches: Anatomy Of Exploding Heads
Attack Of The Living Dead
Raising The Dead
Andy’s Lost Tape
Special Report: Zombie Invasion
Undead And Loving It: A Mockumentary
Drawing The Dead Featurette
Hidden Easter Egg
The other fantastic Scream Factory Halloween season release this year was one of the most underrated horror films of all time, George A. Romero's return to the series that changed genre filmmaking forever. I'll never quite understand why people were so quick to dismiss this 2005 flick, Romero's first "Dead" movie in two decades and a film that I'd put next to "Day of the Dead" in terms of its cultural/satirical power and possibly even higher in terms of overall filmmaking. "Land of the Dead" sees Romero playing with social commentary through horror filmmaking, as he did in really all of the "Dead" films. It's a movie that feels both purely of the mid-'00s and timeless, and Scream Factory's release feels like a great step in getting it reappraised as one of the best horror flicks of its era.
2K Scan Of The Interpositive
Cholo’s Reckoning - An Interview With Actor John Leguizamo
Charlie’s Story – An Interview With Actor Robert Joy
The Pillsbury Factor – An Interview With Actor Pedro Miguel Arce
Four Of The Apocalypse – An Interview With Actors Eugene Clark, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks, And Jasmin Geljo
Dream Of The Dead: The Director’s Cut With Optional Commentary By Director Roy Frumkes
Deleted Footage From Dream Of The Dead
Audio Commentary With Zombie Performers Matt Blazi, Glena Chao, Michael Felsher, And Rob Mayr
Audio Commentary With Writer/Director George A. Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald, And Editor Michael Doherty
Undead Again: The Making Of Land Of The Dead
Bringing The Dead To Life
Scenes Of Carnage
Zombie Effects: From Green Screen To Finished Scene
Scream Test – CGI Test
Bringing The Storyboards To Life
A Day With The Living Dead Hosted By John Leguizamo
When Shaun Met George
"Personal Shopper" (Criterion)
Are we finally past the point where we see Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as just "Twilight" stars? Probably not quite yet, as evidenced by the comments on the review for this film, which is honestly one of the better movies of 2017, and contains Stewart's best performances to date. With "Clouds of Sils Maria," "Certain Women," even "Adventureland," Stewart is an engaging, fascinating performer, and she brings her all to this examination of grief in the form of a very unusual ghost story. Criterion's deal with IFC (and their growing Assayas catalog) made this a perfect fit, but I have to admit that the special features are a little slight. The best of the bunch is an excellent essay by our very own Glenn Kenny.
2K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Yorick Le Saux and approved by director Olivier Assayas, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with Assayas
2016 Cannes Film Festival press conference featuring actor Kristen Stewart and other members of the film’s cast and crew
PLUS: An essay by critic Glenn Kenny
Marvel pretty much only makes comedies nowadays, right? It almost feels like "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" is their most serious film of the year, which is remarkable. Much has already been written about the comedic tone of "Thor: Ragnarok" and this July release is practically a John Hughes comedy for at least the first hour. While I love the return of Peter Parker to the shoes of an actual teenager, and think Tom Holland is perfect for the role, I really disliked the clunky, bloated first half of this film. Once it settles in, it becomes something interesting, and I'm hopeful for the sequel. But this is minor Marvel, only included here because fans will want to know it's out and comes with a pretty loaded collection of special features.
The Spidey Study Guide
10 Deleted Scenes
“A Tangled Web”
“Searching For Spider-Man”
“The Vulture Takes Flight”
“Jon Watts: Head of the Class”
“Pros And Cons of Spider-Man”
Rappin’ with Cap: Captain America PSAs
"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" (Criterion)
I never would have believed you a few years ago if you told me that 2017 would be the year of "Twin Peaks." Not only was "The Return" one of the best shows of the year, Lynch's film got the Criterion treatment last month and it's one of the most visually striking releases of the year. "Twin Peaks" has never looked this great and this release includes the excellent "The Missing Pieces" from the last "Twin Peaks" TV box set, which definitely adds some connective tissue from the show to the most recent series. I'm not completely on board with the reappraisal of this film as a lost Lynch classic (it's no "Blue Velvet" or "Mulholland Dr.") but the revival of the show has allowed one to see it in a new, more accomplished light, even if it's just as the stepping stone from the ABC program to the Showtime one.
Restored 4K digital transfer, with 7.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, both supervised by director David Lynch
7.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, supervised by Lynch
Alternate original 2.0 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
The Missing Pieces, ninety minutes of deleted and alternate takes from the film, assembled by Lynch
Interview from 2014 by Lynch with actors Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, and Grace Zabriskie
New interviews with Lee and composer Angelo Badalamenti
PLUS: Excerpts from an interview with Lynch from Lynch on Lynch, a 1997 book edited by filmmaker and writer Chris Rodley
2017 will be remembered for a LOT of things, most of them much more important than film, but the movie story of the year may be the creative resurrgence of the blockbuster. 2016 was kind of awful in this department, but this year has already given us "Get Out," "Dunkirk," "Baby Driver," and "Wonder Woman," four films that made an absolute fortune and wowed critics at the same time. See, we're just like you! I'd add to the list of intellectually satisfying blockbusters, the third and final film in the Caesar trilogy of "Apes" movies, and possibly the best. This is brilliant, daring filmmaking, featuring some of the best cinematography and possibly THE BEST score of the year. Don't miss it.
Audio Commentary by Director Matt Reeves
Concept Art Gallery
10 Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
Waging War For The Planet Of The Apes Documentary
5 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
All About Caesar
WETA: Pushing Boundaries
Music for Apes
Apes: The Meaning of it All
The Apes Saga: An Homage
The 2020 Oscar nominations.
A review of Netflix's Dracula, from the creators of Sherlock.
A review of the new Netflix crime docuseries about former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
A collection of the reviews given our highest possible grade in 2019.