Another week of indie releases, catalog releases and TV with some really solid releases you may not have heard of. The big box office titles are coming soon, but here are some great titles to tide you over. These are your new releases for September 8, 2015.
First up this week is Gotham: The Complete First Season. Comic book fans were very excited to hear that the world of Batman was getting it’s own TV show but I don’t think anybody expected it to be the hit it became. The show mainly follows young Bruce Wayne, finding his way in the world after the loss of his parents with the guidance of his butler and guardian Alfred (who is an absolute badass in this telling of the story). It also follows the exploits of police detective Jim Gordon as he deals with the unique criminal element in Gotham City. With two warring crime families and a host of interesting thugs things are never dull for Gordon.
Gotham: The Complete First Season was a huge surprise for fans as it took the already established world of Batman and gave it a new identity. And the show never takes itself too seriously either. This is probably the best example of combining the world of Christopher Nolan’s Batman universe and the classic Batman 60s TV show universe. Gotham has a great sense of humor that is ever present yet it keeps the storylines tense and action packed and takes the time for great character development across the board. From Ben McKenzie’s insanely determined Jim Gordon to Jada Pinkett Smith’s ferocious Fish Mooney to scene stealer Robin Lord Taylor as slimy double crosser Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin. And as I mentioned previously, Sean Pertwee’s Alfred is not only an emotional anchor for David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne, but he is a tough and relentless guardian with a badass past. Gotham is an addictively great show well worth checking out now before Season Two arrives.
Next up is a new sci-fi horror that takes alien encounters to a new level. Appropriately titled Extraterrestrial, the story here is a familiar one. A group of young friends travel to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend away and encounter a UFO that crashes in the woods. After shooting one of the aliens, they find themselves hunted by them and must find a way to survive the night.
Here is the thing about Extraterrestrial. It is not a unique or original film in terms of the story. But what it does do is strip away all the dressing found in most alien films and gives us a straight up horror flick about how freakin scary aliens can be. The acting is decent throughout, the pace is great, the production value is very good for a small film and the twists are unpredictable and fun. Instead of always catching glimpses of aliens poking around corners or running quickly between trees, the aliens in Extraterrestrial are front and centre and they are pissed off. A great sci-fi horror blend, this one was a hell of a good time.
Lastly this week is an 80s cult classic and an appropriate way to end this column since the film’s director, Wes Craven, sadly passed away last week. Shocker was released in 1989 and written and directed by Craven. It follows Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg), a young man whose mother and siblings are murdered by a crazed lunatic named Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi of X-Files fame). After Jonathan’s police detective father catches Pinker thanks to premonition dreams Jonathan had of the murders, Pinker is executed in the electric chair. But thanks to a ritual he performed before he was killed, Pinker returns from the dead as an electrified entity that can transfer from body to body and continue his killing spree. Now it is up to Jonathan to find a way to stop Pinker before he kills everyone left he cares about.
Shocker was written off in 1989 as a rip off of Craven’s own Nightmare on Elm St series but Shocker was much more of a film about the times and the growing dependence on technology. Pileggi is excellent as the crazed Pinker, Berg is great in his early role as Jonathan and the effects were pretty groundbreaking for the time. In the climax of the movie Pinker and Jonathan face off in a virtual TV landscape as the channels keep changing throwing them into different environments as they try to kill each other. Very inventive and above all, loads of fun, Shocker arrives on Blu-ray for the first time with a killer transfer and tons of great special features.
Also of note this week is The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, the new film by Canada’s own twisted horror geniuses Astron-6, The Editor, and Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season of the huge cult TV show.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday September 8, 2015
10 to Midnight*
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein/Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
At Close Range*
Barbie in Rock n’ Royals
Blue Bloods: The Fifth Season
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Two
Call Me King
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
DCI Banks: Season Three
Emperor of the North
Friday the 13th Part V/Part VI
Friday the 13th Part VII/Part VIII
Gotham: The Complete First Season
Haven: Season 5 Volume 1
Hill Street Blues: Season Six
Homeland: The Complete Fourth Season
Mickey’s Monster Musical
Morituris aka Legions of the Dead
Mr. Belvedere: Season Four
Ranma ½: Set 7
Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season
The Age of Adaline
The Epic of Everest
The Life of David Gale*
The Man Who Wasn’t There*
Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons
When Calls the Heart: Heart and Home
*Catalog Blu-ray debut