Cinemas & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with our most anticipated feature to spring from the ocean since PIRANHA 3D on the big screen while home entertainment serves up the latest teen offering from Blumhouse Productions.
Thursday August 16th
Despite the lukewarm reviews, we’re still eager to catch Jason Statham and his aquatic cohorts go toe-to-fin in this high concept creature feature! A deep-sea submersible—part of an international undersea observation program—has been attacked by a massive creature, previously thought to be extinct, and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific…with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer, against the wishes of his daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li), to save the crew—and the ocean itself—from this unstoppable threat: a pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. What no one could have imagined is that, years before, Taylor had encountered this same terrifying creature. Now, teamed with Suyin, he must confront his fears and risk his own life to save everyone trapped below…bringing him face to face once more with the greatest and largest predator of all time.
Spike Lee returns with his best film in over a decade, so good in fact that it could comfortably sit with the strongest of his oeuvre. At times suspenseful, hilarious at others yet powerful throughout, this is the tightest rolled Spike Lee joint in many years. It’s the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department’s rank and file. Undaunted, Stallworth resolves to make a name for himself and a difference in his community. He bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Posing as a racist extremist, Stallworth contacts the group and soon finds himself invited into its inner circle. He even cultivates a relationship with the Klan’s Grand Wizard, David Duke (Topher Grace), who praises Ron’s commitment to the advancement of White America. With the undercover investigation growing ever more complex, Stallworth’s colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), poses as Ron in face-to-face meetings with members of hate group, gaining insider’s knowledge of a deadly plot. Together, Stallworth and Zimmerman team up to take down the organization whose real aim is to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.
Wednesday August 15th
TRUTH OR DARE
Purveyors of modern Hollywood horror, Blumhouse Productions return with their latest teen offering that shifts familiar faces of the small screen, Lucy Hale (PRETTY LITTLE LIARS) and Tyler Posey (TEEN WOLF) to the big screen for what’s a surprisingly fun though nonsensical effort. A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone or something begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare. Universal Pictures Blu-ray contains two cuts of the film, the theatrical and an extended director’s cut that runs approximately 30 seconds longer as well as a commentary track and two featurettes, ‘Game On: The Making of Truth’ or Dare and ‘Directing the Deaths’.
Carved from the darkest recesses of CHARLIE’S FARM filmmaker Chris Sun’s twisted imagination, BOAR is a commendable effort in Aussie genre cinema and for what it lacks in originality and overall texture, it makes up for in bang for your buck. In the harsh yet beautiful Australian outback lives a beast, an animal of staggering size, with a ruthless, driving need for blood and destruction. It cares for none, defends its territory with brutal force, and kills with a raw, animalistic savagery unlike any have seen before. Believed nothing more than a myth, a legend brought to life by a drunken local, the beast ventures closer to civilisation, closer to life, and ultimately, closer to death. It’s brutal, it’s bloodthirsty, it’s BOAR. Universal Pictures Blu-ray & DVD releases contain a making-of featurette, interviews with cast & crew and a gag reel.
LIFE OF THE PARTY
What’s a week without laughs? Depressing. Thankfully Melissa McCarthy returns to home entertainment this week to deliver a few in this feel-good slightly second-rate BACK TO SCHOOL (1986). When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) turns regret into re-set by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock— embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected. Roadshow’s Blu-ray is loaded with special features that include two production featurettes, two ‘Line-o-Rama’ featurettes, 17 deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.