Last year’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic 1986 massive horror novel IT proved to be a huge draw for horror fans. The film grossed $700 million worldwide, the biggest horror movie of all time. And the great thing is, IT is absolutely outstanding as both a film with frights and a coming of age tale.
The documentary D.O.A. was filmed almost guerrilla style, funded by High Times magazine, with director Lech Kowalski following the Sex Pistols on the doomed 1978 tour of America. The band didn’t want him there, Johnny Rotten was suspicious of High Times, and as it runes out, the Pistols would fall apart after just seven gigs. Despite all that, Kowalski captured an important moment in rock history and peppered it with a few other notable acts.
Throughout 2017, lots of movies arrived for the writers of Biff Bam Pop! to take a look at, including several in 4K Blu-ray format. With the holidays here, there’s a good chance you might wind up with a 4K player or television, or be shopping for someone who is all up on the latest tech. On that note, here are reviews of some solid films (in our opinion) from the last year, and the format we watched them in.
The Harry Potter Movies in 4K: 2017 saw the entire collection of Harry Potter films released in 4K packages (complete with Blu-ray and digital copies). If you’re looking to introduce the franchise to your kids, or you simply grew up with the movies and want to have them in the best format possible, this the way to do it. The earlier films aren’t as “amazing” in 4K, just based on the fact that they’re older; however, when watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with the Princess, she said it was as though they were “actually in the room with us.” A bold proclamation, methinks, and reason enough to invest in the films.
Dunkirk : Christopher Nolan’s masterful film should be seen on the big screen, in 70 mm. Nobody is going to argue about that fact. BUT, if you didn’t get a chance to have that experience during the film’s first run, and can’t make it out during its current rerelease, Dunkirk in 4K is absolutely the way to go. The package also comes with a standard Blu-ray and digital version, so you’re covered wherever you want to watch the battle go down.
mother!: Now, I know this one is going to be divisive, but I absolutely loved Darren Aronofsky’s mind-fuck of a movie. Go in looking at it as an allegory (I’m not going to spoil what the allegory is, mind you – Google it), and the film immediately makes a certain kind of sense. The performances from stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem are both top-notch, and make the film well worth checking out just for that. BUT, for fans of dream-style, David Lynch inspired movie-making that doesn’t play by any rules except its own, mother! is going to be right up your alley. Yes, it goes absolutely bat-shit crazy in the final act, and you won’t believe your eyes, so if that doesn’t sound like fun, skip it. However, if you can go in with an open mind and willingness to take something of a psychedelic trip, mother! comes highly recommended. Read the rest of this entry
“These Aren’t Kids. They’re Morons!”
Alamo Drafthouse’s The American Genre Film Archive (AGFA), the world’s largest non-profit film archive, have teamed with Something Weird Video to bring us a lost film from the so-called world’s worst director. You either know writer/producer/actor/director Ed Wood from the Tim Burton film or from his magnum opus Plan 9 From Outer Space. You may have even seen his films skewered on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
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There’s always an abundance of DVD and Blu-ray offerings for the holiday season, many of them in box set form. Complete series, various season collections, and standalone seasons – whatever you’re looking to grab for someone, there’s something waiting. Here’s a rundown of some recent releases that should be solid gifting for the pop culture tv geek in your life:
Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Complete Series: Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has once again been compiled into a complete collection. I say once again, as there have been a few different sets over the years (I know, as I had at least one of them). While hardcore fans can probably skip out on this one, it is definitely a beautifully put together package for anyone you want to introduce the world Buffy and the Scoobies to. This set features the extras from previous separate individual season collections, along with a reprint of the Dark Horse Season 8 Issue 1 comic book and a page to colour, illustrated by Season 8 artist George Jannety.
The Strain The Complete Series: Speaking of vampires, the recently completed FX series The Strain is now available in a no frills, nice boxed set of its four seasons. Created by Guillermo Del Toro, Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan, the series lasted for four successful seasons. The DVDs feature a variety of extras, and also some attractive slipcases for each individual season. For fans of episodic gore, The Strain is your choice this holiday season. Read the rest of this entry
When the Museum of Modern Art announced they would be doing a 4k restoration of Frank Henenlotter’s 1982 Basket Case, my reaction was “it’s about fucking time.” I relayed this news to someone nearby and they rolled their eyes hard. Fine. Basket Case is that kind of movie, I guess.
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Are you curious about the film that made Clive Barker throw up his hands and start directing his own story adaptations? Rawhead Rex is that film.
As always, I’ve been playing catch up with a few films that have been sent my way for review. Here are three – two worth watching, and one must avoid:
CHIPS (Warner Brothers) – This big screen film based on the beloved tv series from the late 70s got zero audience and poor reviews when it was released earlier this year, but guess what: this Dax Sheppard-directed film, that co-stars Sheppard and Michael Pena is a hell of a lot of fun. The two have genuine chemistry together as reluctant highway patrol partners who wind up as friends, as they work to take down corrupt members of the California Highway Patrol, led by the always entertaining Vincent D’Onofrio. The humour is fairly low brow, but there are some genuine laughs, and the cast definitely give it their all. While far from a classic, CHIPS deserved better than it got in theaters, and now is the perfect time to catch up with it. And I don’t think you’re going to hear a better line all year than “Shut up and turn down the fucking Toto.”
I’ve had a ton of Blu-rays and digital movies come my way the last few weeks, and I’ve wanted to highlight a few of them, in case you’re looking for something to watch this weekend or over the next few weeks.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO Films): I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’d never heard the name Henrietta Lacks or her amazing story before. This was simply one of those films sent my way which I thought I’d give a chance. I’m certainly glad I did, as the legacy of Ms. Lacks is remarkable – she was an African American woman who, in 1951, had her cancer cells immortalized in the HeLa line of cells. Basically, these cells have been used countless times in major medical breakthroughs over the last 60 years. Sadly, nobody asked Ms. Lacks if her cells could be taken or used, and neither her nor her family ever received any sort of compensation for what essentially is her immortality.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, who is portrayed in the film by Rose Byrne, who wrote a series of articles on Ms. Lacks and her family. Oprah Winfrey plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, and is absolutely captivating on screen. Deborah is hesitant to share her mother’s story with any reporter, and Oprah delivers the character as guarded but loving. It’s a bravura performance that can’t help but overshadow the rest of the film, which sometimes gets muddled as it moves across various timelines. However, Byrne and Winfrey have a great chemistry together, and help The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks rise above some of its pacing and script issues.