As the days cool off so do the new releases with a catalog heavy week. But we start with the newest entry in the X-Men series, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. With the X-Men now established as a fighting force for the good of all mankind. But when a mission goes wrong, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is exposed to a dark and ancient power that until now has destroyed everything in its path. Now with the power within her, Jean struggles with containing it as it feeds off her anger and she begins to unleash it with devastating power. Now the X-Men, led by Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) must try and stop one of their own if they are to save the world.
The X-Men franchise has been a very popular one, crossing many storylines and even weaving in and out of time travel and alternate universes. X-Men: Dark Phoenix tackles one of the most beloved storylines from the comics and does so well for the limited time it had to tell it in. Sophie Turner is a great Jean Grey and this entire cast of mutants just nails the characters from McAvoy’s Xavier to Fassbender’s Magneto and Nicholas Hoult’s Beast. Director Simon Kinberg takes up the directing mantel after years of serving as producer on many of the other X-Men movies, but his inexperience behind the camera shows a little with the film feeling somewhat disjointed in some places. But overall there is plenty to enjoy in X-Men: Dark Phoenix with a fast pace and tons of action.
Next up is a new documentary about one of the unsung heroes of horror films, Kane Hodder in To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story. Featuring interviews with cinema legends, including Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story tells the story of Kane Hodder, the man behind Jason’s mask in many of the Friday the 13th films as well as one of the most prolific stuntmen in horror films. But it is also the story of a stuntman overcoming a dehumanizing childhood filled with torment and bullying in Sparks, Nevada. After surviving a near-death burn accident, he worked his way up through Hollywood and become the legend he now is, beloved by horror fans around the world.
To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story is a fantastic documentary for a few reasons. First off it is a great accounting of a horror legend and has plenty of great stories behind the scenes of many fan favorite horror films. But it is also an inspiring and intimate portrait of a man who has been through so much trauma and managed to come through it a stronger person. Hodder is indeed an inspiration and hearing his story is fascinating and heart wrenching. If you have ever been curious about the man behind the mask, To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story is worth the watch.
Lastly this week I want to take a look at a Blu-ray set that came out a few weeks ago, True Detective: The Complete Third Season. Arkansas detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff ) are assigned to a case investigating the murder of a young boy and the disappearance of the boy’s sister. The case becomes an obsession for Hays that spans decades and changes his life in ways he could never have imagined.
True Detective has been a mixed bag of a series. Season One featured Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey and was a trippy puzzle box of a series with very strong performances. Season Two featured Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn and while the performances were still strong, the story was very convoluted and didn’t seem to have the same spark. But then along comes True Detective: The Complete Third Season which ends up being the best of the three seasons by far with an outstanding performance by Mahershala Ali as tortured soul Hays. Stephen Dorff also turns in one of the best performances of his career (he has always been underappreciated in my opinion). The story is deliberately paced, intriguing and had me hooked from the first episode and obsessed along with Hays for the rest of them. This is crime TV at its best and even if you have never seen the first two seasons, True Detective: The Complete Third Season is the one to check out.
Also of note this week is the so bad it’s great fun The Velocipastor, Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season and a new Blu-ray special edition of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes: Part II.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday September 17, 2019
Batman: The 4K Blu-ray Collection
Cluny Brown (1946)* - Criterion Collection
Do or Die (1991)*
Elementary: The Complete Series
Elementary: The Final Season
Find Me Guilty (2006)* - MVD Rewind Collection
Galaxy Quest 20th Anniversary SteelBook Edition
JoJo Siwa: Sweet Celebrations
Kung Fu League
Lassie's Greatest Adventures Collection
Lost City of the Jungle (1946)*
Manson: Music from an Unsound Mind
Miss Tulip Stays the Night – Juno Selects Series
Mock & Roll
My Son (2017)*
My Wife’s Lodger – Juno Selects Series
Noir Archive Volume 3: 1957-1960 (9-film Collection)*
Philadelphia, Here I Come (1975)*
Pokémon Black & White Movie Collection
Polyester (1981)* - Criterion Collection
Return of the Scarecrow
Straight on Till Morning (1972)*
Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season
Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)*
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)*
The Black Forest (A Mata Negra)
The Bloody Ape
The Case of Hana & Alice
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)*
The Films of Sarah Jacobson (1993-1996)*
The Good Fight: Season Three
The Heart of Man
The Hills Have Eyes: Part II (1985)*
The Homecoming (1973)*
The Illusionist - MVD Rewind Collection
To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story
Who Saw Her Die? (1972)*
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
*Catalog Blu-ray debut