August is going out with a bang starting with one of the coolest releases in quite a while, Upgrade. Logan Marshall-Green stars as Grey Trace, a man living in the not too distant future with his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo). Trace works for a tech company called Cobalt and lives a full life full of amazing technology. But after a tragic event, Trace is left alone and quadriplegic. But Trace gets a second chance at life and revenge when he is offered a new technology called STEM that will not only enable him to walk again, but to have incredible power at his fingertips thanks to built in A.I. But his mission of revenge takes some unpredictable turns as Trace not only deals with the people behind his wife’s death, but the people behind the technology helping him do it.
Upgrade is a fantastic new spin on the classic Terminator style sci fi thriller. Logan Marshall-Green is one of the best up and comers out there after some stellar performances in The Initiation and the TV series Quarry and Upgrade may be his best yet. His ability to make us believe that something is taking control of his body is astounding to watch. Written and directed by Leigh Whannell, who is best known for writing the first three Saw movies and the Insidious series, does a fantastic job here and may find himself in the company now of his old friend James Wan. Whannell is making some impressive leaps here and created what should be considered a modern cult gem.
Next up is Tag. Based on a true story of a group of friends who have been playing a consistent game of tag since they were in third grade. Now all grown adults with lives of their own, they set aside one month a year to try and tag each other using the most outrageous techniques and trickery. Only Jerry (Jeremy Renner) has never been tagged in 30 years and this year Hoagie (Ed Helms) is determined to break that streak. Along with Bob (Jon Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson) and Kevin (Hannibal Buress) the men will stop at nothing to tag Jerry, even if it means crashing his wedding.
Considering Tag is a true story, this is one crazy tale. And based on the actual footage of their tags at the end of the film, the movie is not much of an exaggeration either. Helms, Renner, Buress, Hamm and Johnson have great chemistry together and really pull off the lifelong friends thing, and the situations their game of tag get them into are pretty hilarious to witness. Couple that with the extraordinary supporting power of the always fantastic Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones and Nora Dunn and you have a pretty damn good recipe for laughs.
Lastly this week is another true story albeit a very different one in American Animals. Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) and his friend Spencer (Barry Keoghan) are feeling particularly lost in life and are looking for excitement. They decide to plan a heist and steal a valuable book from the local Transylvania University Library in Lexington, Kentucky. Their plan is detailed, researched and completely crazy. But it just might work.
American Animals, like Tag, is a true story so crazy it is hard to believe it is actually true. Writer/Director Bart Layton intercuts interview footage of the actual men who attempted the heist with the story as it progresses giving a truly unique angle to the goings-on. Peters and Keoghan are two of the best young actors out there and both give great performances here and the great Anne Dowd also puts in a memorable turn as the librarian in charge of the valuable tomes. A fun and quirky heist comedy.
Also of note this week is the lost at sea tale Adrift starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Clafin, the Diane Keaton/Jane Fonda/Candice Bergen/Mary Steenburgen comedy Book Club and the Blu-ray debut of the Wachowski’s early classic Bound starring Gina Gerson and Jennifer Tilly.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 28, 2018
A Kid Like Jake
Autumn in New York – MVD Marquee Collection*
Blast - MVD Marquee Collection*
Bound: Signature Edition*
Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder – MVD Rewind Collection*
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Five
Chicago Fire: Season Six
Chicago Med: Season Three
Crazy Six - MVD Marquee Collection*
Criminal Minds: The Thirteenth Season
DC Freedom Fighters: The Ray
Dear Dead Delilah*
Lucifer: The Complete Third Season
Memories of Underdevelopment – Criterion Collection*
Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The Poetic Trilogy*
Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 35
Straight to Hell: Director's Cut*
The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season
The High Chaparral: Season One
The Horror of Party Beach*
The Little Vampire
Tucker: The Man and His Dream 30th Anniversary Edition*
Woman Walks Ahead
WWE: Extreme Rules 2018
WWE: Twist of Fate: The Best of The Hardy Boyz
*Catalog Blu-ray debut