September is upon us and the days of warmth are dwindling! But the releases keep rolling in starting with the twisted Ma. Octavia Spencer plays Sue Ann, a lonely woman in a small town who befriends a group of teenagers looking for someone to buy them alcohol. After suggesting the kids party in her basement so they drink somewhere safe, Sue Ann’s basement becomes the place to be for the town’s teens to party. But when the kids start to lose interest, Sue Ann, or Ma as the kids call her, starts to obsess over her new friends and starts injecting herself into their lives, threatening their social lives, their relationships with their parents, and even their lives.
Ma is the newest horror flick from the awesome folks at Blumhouse and as with most of their films, it does not disappoint. Octavia Spencer brings a high caliber lead to a horror film and really goes all out for the role. She is lovable at first but when things start to go downhill, Spencer really digs her teeth in and takes the role well past where others might have taken it. She is one evil, sick and twisted woman who stops at nothing to get what she wants. The teen cast are all excellent as well and Juliette Lewis puts in a great performance as teen Diana Silver’s Mom. Ma is a crazy ride and worth every minute if only for the great Ms. Spencer.
Next up is a new comedy that also happens to be the directorial debut of actor Olivia Wilde. Booksmart is the story of two teenage friends, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein). Both girls are academic superstars who on the eve of graduation realize they maybe should have enjoyed their lives more. Determined to go with a bang, they set out on a wild night to find the best party and cram four years of high school fun into one night.
Booksmart is a hilarious comedy in the same ballpark as films like Superbad. Dever and Feldstein are both absolutely fantastic here and have phenomenal chemistry as best friends. As their night goes on and they start to discover more about themselves and each other, there is a warm heartfelt undercurrent throughout the film that really sets it apart from the usual high school teen night out flick. Wilde does a great job of crafting a realistic portrayal of teen girls while still keeping the laughs coming fast and furious. Highly recommended.
Lastly this week is a new horror anthology film, Nightmare Cinema. Mick Garris directs a wraparound story featuring five strangers lured into a haunted movie theatre run by The Projectionist (Mickey Rourke). Once inside they are shown a series of screenings featuring their greatest fears. The Thing in the Woods, directed by Alejandro Brugués features everything from slashers to alien spiders. Mirare, directed by Joe Dante deals with cosmetic surgery obsessions. Mashit, directed by Ryûhei Kitamura is the tale of a Boarding School where staff and pupils are possessed by Demons. This Way to Egress, directed by David Slade, is a monochrome nightmare about a woman who seems to have crossed into a frightening parallel universe. Dead, directed by Mick Garris, is set in a hospital where a boy fights evil spirits and a real life murder.
Nightmare Cinema is truly a return to the great horror anthologies of the past like Creepshow, Trick ‘r Treat, and Tales from the Crypt. Mick Garris assembles a fantastic line up of filmmakers that deliver five dark and very different tales that are all strong entries and feature great casts and awesome visuals and effects. Fans of horror anthologies will surely be pleased with this one.
Also of note this week is Men in Black: International with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, True Detective: The Complete Third Season, which is the best of the seasons so far and features incredible performances by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff, and the new Batman: 80th Anniversary Collection featuring a whopping 18 animated films.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday September 3, 2019
Batman 80th Anniversary Collection
Bull: Season Three
Fists in the Pocket (1965)* - Criterion Collection
Into the Ashes
JAG: The Eighth Season
Men in Black: International – Sony
NCIS: The Sixteenth Season
Rambo (2008) 4K
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! :The Complete Series (1969-1978)*
Squadron 303: The Battle of Britain
Sunny Day: Welcome to the Pet Parlor
Superman: The Complete Animated Series
Terry and the Pirates
The Goldbergs: Season 6
The Wind Demons of the Prairie
True Detective: The Complete Third Season
When Calls the Heart: Disputing Hearts
Young Sheldon: The Complete Second Season
*Catalog Blu-ray debut