Well I don’t know about any of you out there, but I am getting some serious TV and movie watching done (even though I am still working). This week is a mostly catalog week, but we kick it off with one of the biggest releases of the year, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker. Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues to fight with the Resistance, still led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and including Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), but their numbers and hopes are dwindling. News reaches the rebels that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is alive and well and creating a massive fleet of Star Destroyers to bring his Final Order to life. Now Rey must set out to find the Emperor and to face Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) once and for all to find a way to bring balance back to the galaxy.
As a massive Star Wars fan, I gotta say there were a lot of great feels in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker, and for me it did course correct some of the problems I had with Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. Having J.J. Abrams return to the director’s chair was a big win for me, I think Abrams just gets Star Wars and knows how to handle the huge scale of the Star Wars universe. The look of the movie is lush and gorgeous and the action scenes are outstanding. Some of the best performances in the sequel trilogy are also in this film, mainly from leads Ridley and Driver. It’s a shame they will not be part of the future Star Wars universe as they have created characters that are just as beloved as characters from the original trilogy. There are some negatives in The Rise of Skywalker, mostly pacing and plot hole issues, which I think stem from trying to tie up so much in a limited timeframe. Apparently Abrams has a much longer director’s cut that fixes much of that and I seriously hope we get to see it someday. But as it stands, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker is still a massive, rollicking, fun and action packed closing chapter to one of the greatest saga’s in the history of filmmaking.
Also out this week is a new 4K box set entitled Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. This set includes all 9 films in the original saga tale of the Skywalker family, with the first 7 films appearing here in 4K for the first time and for now is available exclusively at Best Buy. The set comes in an epic horizontal box set with dark and ominous artwork depicting the Death Star with a beautifully crafted interior book featuring all the discs and pages and pages of stunning artwork. The set includes 27 discs in total, one 4K, one Blu-ray and one bonus disc per film. For die hard fans, this is the set to get as it probably won’t be around forever and will eventually be replaced by a standard collection box. But if you love the films and want something that goes the extra mile, this is the set for you and surely a centerpiece of any film collection.
Lastly this week is a new film from director Joe Begos (Almost Human, Bliss) called VFW. A group of longtime friends, all war veterans have gathered at their rundown local VFW outpost, owned by one of their grizzled own, Fred (Stephen Lang). Walter (William Sadler), Abe (Fred Williamson), Lou (Martin Kove), and Thomas (George Wendt) are celebrating Fred’s birthday when a desperate young woman, Lizard (Sierra McCormack) arrives seeking refuge from the town's chief drug dealer, Boz (Travis Hammer). But with all of Boz’s men laying siege to the VFW to get Lizard, the veterans have no choice but to live by their code of honor and protect her at all costs leading to a violence filled night of carnage.
VFW is a throwback action film that bleeds a little into the horror genre as well, much in the vein of classic films like John Carpenter’s brilliant 1976 film Assault on Precinct 13. All the grizzled actors are in top form here kicking ass and taking names, and doing so in the most inventive and gory ways they can think of. VFW even boasts an 80s inspired synth score that really amps up the retro vibes. If you want a fun and insane escape film to take out your pandemic anxieties with, VFW is pretty much the perfect film for you. Action, gore, laughs and a fantastic group of classic character actors you can’t help but root for. VFW is just what I ordered.
Also of note this week is Standing Up, Falling Down with Billy Crystal and the classic 80s exploitation films Angel, Avenging Angel and Angel III: The Final Chapter hitting Blu-ray for the first time.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 31, 2020
7th Heaven: The Complete First Season 2020
Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988)*
Avenging Angel (1985)*
Beau Brummell (1954)*
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980) 40th Anniversary Edition*
LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar
Mr. Robot: Season 4.0
Mr. Robot: The Complete Series
Munster, Go Home! (1966)*
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Show Boat (1936)* - Criterion Collection
Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete Eleventh Season
Standing Up, Falling Down
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 4K
Terror in Woods Creek
The Current War: Director's Cut
The Kyoto Connection
The Prince of Tides (1991)* - Criterion Collection
The Purge: Season Two
The Stalking Moon (1968)*
The Transformers: The Complete Original Series
Trailer Trauma 5: '70s Action Attack
Why Don't You Just Die! (2018)*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut