It is still darn cold out there, so settle in with some of this week’s great titles starting with Overlord. In June of 1944, a small group of American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to destroy a vital Nazi radio tower to help the allied forces at Normandy. But once in the old French town the soldiers discover much more than a radio tower in control of the Nazi’s, they also discover a laboratory in which horrible experiments are taking place that could empower Hitler’s forces and change the fate of the world. Now the soldiers have mere hours to destroy the tower and stop the Nazi experiments once and for all.
Overlord is directed by Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams, and you can definitely feel Abrams fingerprints all over this movie. The production design is spectacular with an amazing opening scene in the night skies over France, but when the movie starts rolling in the small French town, it is full of humor, heart, and awesome action and suspense. The entire cast are excellent, the horror factor is there but never overwhelming, making it very entertaining even for those who are not horror die hards, and the best part is the genre blending of action, war, suspense, drama, horror, sci fi and comedy is done perfectly making Overlord extraordinarily entertaining.
Next up is one of the most acclaimed movies of last year, A Star is Born. Bradley Cooper directs and stars as seasoned music superstar Jackson Maine, who is becoming jaded and tired of his life and struggling with depression and substance abuse. One night Jackson stumbles upon a woman named Ally (Lady Gaga) singing at a drag bar and the two form a close relationship as Jackson mentors Ally to a singing career of her own. But as Jackson’s issues continue to progress, it affects their relationship and begins jeopardizing Ally’s career as well forcing both of them to reexamine their priorities and their feelings for each other.
A Star is Born is a remake of a film that has been done a few times, but most notably in 1976 with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand. While that film is quite beloved, I have to say in my opinion I much prefer this new version. I was never too fond of the music in the 76 version, particularly Streisand’s numbers, and I always thought they made Kristofferson very unlikable. Much of that is remedied in this version with some really fantastic direction from Cooper in his directorial debut as well as a great performance from him that better balances Jackson’s issues with his being a good person at heart. Lady Gaga is wonderful as well and proves to be a real natural in front of the camera. The two lead performances coupled with a great supporting cast and some fantastically memorable original songs makes this the definitive version of A Star is Born for me.
Lastly this week is the Blu-ray debut of one of my favorite little seen gems ever, Mad Dog and Glory. In this 1994 comedy drama, Robert De Niro plays Wayne ‘Mad Dog’ Dobie, a shy and reclusive police crime scene photographer who saves the life of crime boss Frank Milo (Bill Murray) during a convenience store hold up. Trying to show gratitude, Frank insists on becoming Wayne’s friend and gifting him the temporary companionship of a young woman who works for him named Glory (Uma Thurman). Wayne isn’t sure how to handle this new relationship with a known criminal and doesn’t want anything to do with Glory until he starts falling in love with her. Now Wayne must find a way to save Glory from Frank without losing his own life as a result.
Mad Dog and Glory is an unusual movie to categorize. It has tons of laughs, but it is also introspective, gentle and romantic, and has thriller elements worked in as well. But it is the genius teaming of De Niro playing against type as the furthest thing from a tough guy and Bill Murray playing against type as the heavy that makes this wonderful film work. Add in great supporting performances from David Caruso, Mike Starr, Tom Towles, and Kathy Baker and Mad Dog and Glory is a guaranteed winner.
Also of note this week is Between Worlds with Nicolas Cage, a new Blu-ray edition of the 80's horror classic Fright Night, and the new incarnation of Robin Hood with Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday February 19, 2019
A Star is Born
Color Me Blood Red*
Damages: The Complete Series
Death in Venice* - Criterion Collection
Doctor Who: Resolution
Dracula's Fiancee/Lost in New York Double Feature*
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1995)*
Fright Night (1985)*
Iceman: The Time Traveler
La vérité* - Criterion Collection
Mad Dog and Glory*
Mazinger Z: Infinity
My Name is Julia Ross*
Neighbors - Retro VHS Collection
Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie
Sgt. Will Gardner
Sheena - Retro VHS Collection
So Dark the Night*
Songwriter - Retro VHS Collection
The Legend of Billie Jean - Retro VHS Collection
The Real McCoy*
The Return of the Vampire*
The Street Fighter Collection*
VeggieTales Easter Double Feature: 'Twas the Night Before Easter / An Easter Carol
*Catalog Blu-ray debut