Now this is more like it. I hope you have your couch change saved up, there are lots of great titles this week including a huge box office hit, lots of television and a nice chunk of catalog. These are your new releases for September 1, 2015.
First up this week is one of the biggest box office hits of the year and pretty much the definition of an instant cult classic, George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road. This time around Max (Tom Hardy) has been captured by the servants of a tyrannical ruler in the middle of the stark desert landscape. But after being freed and joining Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman escaping the ruler’s kingdom, together they must fight off legions of warriors and try and make it to Furiosa’s childhood homeland.
Mad Max Fury Road is unlike any other films that have played our big screen’s in a long time. George Miller, the underappreciated director of not only the original Mad Max trilogy but The Witches of Eastwick, the Happy Feet films, and the inventive Babe: Pig in the City. The film is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen. Every frame is like a complex and expressionistic oil painting. For many film that would be enough but we also have phenomenal performances by Tom Hardy (the finest actor working today in my opinion), Charlize Theron in a role that actually outshone the character whose name is on the poster, and Nicholas Hoult who continues to impress in everything he does. Again, this would be enough but to max out the cool potential Miller also got Junkie XL to do the pulsing retro laced score. Not too shabby. On top of all of this cool you have an absolute overload of action with inventive scenario’s that literally take your breath away. This is raw, kinetic action that was filmed practically with real people and real cars and is action poetry in motion. Mad Max Fury Road just may be the must see movie of the year.
Next up is the latest television venture into the Star Wars universe, Star Wars Rebels: Season One. The show revolves around Ezra, a normal boy who finds himself inadvertently caught up in the beginnings of a rebellion against the Galactic Empire, who have been systematically tightening its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights. Ezra finds allies in the crew of ragtag starship who are determined to stand up against the Empire at every turn.
Star Wars Rebels: Season One is my favorite incarnation of the Star Wars universe of TV. The Clone Wars was a phenomenal show but I always found it concentrated too much on the clone soldiers instead of the humans. Star Wars Rebels remedies that with a great roster of characters that Ezra has to grow with. The plot lines are great and really feel like the Star Wars universe we are used to with sly humor, great battles and great characters. The animation is a little more cartoon-ish than Clone Wars but you tend to not even notice once the story starts unfolding. And the space battles are still jaw dropping thanks to CG. And if you are a fan of Star Wars, catch up with this season because Season Two, airing now on Disney XD, ups the ante considerably with beloved characters like Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader joining the cast. And the real kicker? They are both voiced by their original actors, Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones. How cool is that?
For the third flick this week I am skipping back two weeks to a title I didn’t have at the time but I think deserves some mention now. Cub is the story of Sam, a 12 year old with an active imagination who is on a camping trip with his cub scout group and three cub leaders. When Sam claims to have seen Kai, a feral boy who lives in the woods and is the subject of campfire tales, everyone thinks he is crazy. But when members of the group start turning up dead things take a more serious turn as Sam tries to figure out how to stop Kai once and for all.
Cub is a Belgian horror film but definitely has lots in common with our North American scout traditions as well. Not to mention the campfire killer stories we have all heard. Cub is deliberately well paced and tense with excellent performances by the entire cast with Maurice Luijten really standing out as Sam. He has a River Phoenix intensity about him that really plays well on screen. There are some good laughs as well but mainly Cub is all about the killer in the woods being real and as the story develops there are some great twists and surprises in store as well. Highly recommended.
Also of note this week is the inventive and terribly fun Army of Frankensteins, the grizzly gone bad flick Backcountry and the emotional drama Boulevard starring Robin Williams in one of his last performances.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday September 1, 2015
Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters Collection
Alpha & Omega: The Legend of Saw Tooth Cave
Army of Frankensteins
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts
Chicago P.D.: Season Two
Curious George: The Complete Eighth Season
Dark was the Night
Dior and I
Hawaii Five-O: The Fifth Season
I Am Dale Earnhardt
I’ll See You in My Dreams
Littlest Pet Shop: Halloween Fest
Lords of London
Lost After Dark
Mad Max Anthology
Mad Max Fury Road
Madam Secretary: Season One
Murder in the First: The Complete First Season
Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Volume 1
Panic 5 Bravo
Quiet Riot: Well Now We’re Here, There’s No Way Back
Run Hide Die
Scorpion: Season One
Shameless: The Complete Fourth Season
Star Wars Rebels: Season One
Steven Seagal 8 Movie Collection
The Curse of Downer’s Grove
The D Train
The Mentalist: The Complete Seventh and Final Season
The New Girl: The Complete Fourth Season
Tickety Tock: Pirate Time
Vampire Diaries: Season Six
*Catalog Blu-ray debut