Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week include key dates to dismember with two long overdue sequels hitting the big screen and a mixed bag of genre-esque films arrive on home entertainment!
Thursday February 23rd
Arriving twelve years after the last instalment of THE RING’s US franchise, RINGS has been meant with poor international box office and even poorer reviews, currently sitting at 5% on the Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, we have to admit it doesn’t look promising. A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a ‘movie within the movie’ that no one has ever seen before.
Another long overdue sequel arrives this week in the form of TRAINSPOTTING 2, a follow-up to the 1996 cult classic that sees director Danny Boyle, screenwriter John Hodge and all of the original cast return. Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home. They are waiting for him: Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.
Television director Richie Keen (IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA) helms what appears to be a loose reworking of THREE O’CLOCK HIGH (1987) with Charlie Day & Ice Cube going toe to toe. On the last day of the year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that put jobs on the line. But things go from bad to worse when he accidentally crosses his much tougher and deeply feared colleague, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), who challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned throw down after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire and ends up becoming the very thing this school, and Campbell, needed.
Wednesday February 22nd
Denis Villeneuve, the director behind such gritty outings as SICARIO & PRISONERS takes his first foray into sci-fi with ARRIVAL, ahead of the long gestated BLADE RUNNER sequel that’s tentatively due in October of this year. When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team – lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.
ROGER CORMAN’S DEATH RACE 2050
Despite carrying the prefix of Roger Corman prior to the title, Corman merely serves as a producer on this DTV effort that’s sitting at a glorious 3.6 on IMDb. In the not-too-distant future, America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government that keeps the masses placated with violent virtual reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, where a motley assortment of drivers compete in a cross country road race, scoring points for driving over pedestrians and killing each other. The reigning champion is Frankenstein, a half man, half machine favorite of the people, but little does he know he’s taken a rebel spy as his co-pilot.
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
Hail Thetan! Tom Cruise reprises his role as Jack Reacher, the macho intellect from author Lee Child’s best-selling series and all we can say is KSW…KSW…KSW! Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns with his particular brand of justice in the highly anticipated sequel “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.” Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is the Army Major who heads Reacher’s old investigative unit. She is arrested for Treason and knowing that she is innocent, Reacher must break her out of prison and uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear their names and save their lives. On the run as fugitives from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.
DOG EAT DOG
Paul Schrader directs this ultra-violet adaptation of Edward ‘Mr Blue’ Bunker’s best-selling novel, starring Nicholas Cage & William Dafoe, DOG EAT DOG was an official selection at Monster Fest 2016. When three desperate ex cons are offered a job by a Mexican mob boss, they know they should refuse, but the payoff’s too rich to turn down. It’s enough to buy their way out of the Life and start over. All they have to do is kidnap the kid of a colleague who’s ripping the mob boss off. But the abduction goes awry when the kidnappers are forced to kill an unexpected intruder who turns out to be the child’s father — the very man the mob boss intended to extort. Now unwelcome in the underworld and on the run for murder, the ex cons find themselves as the most wanted fugitives in the City of Angels. And each vows that none of them will ever go back to prison. No matter what the cost.
KING KONG ESCAPES (Blu-ray Only)
It’s King Kong vs a giant robot in Tokyo, enough said, we’re in! The action begins when the conniving Dr.Who builds a robot Kong in order to retrieve a highly radioactive element for his mysterious benefactor, Madame X. When the robot proves less than reliable, the devious duo scheme to kidnap the real Kong from his remote island home of Mondo. Interfering with their plans are the heroic trio of U.S. Cmdr. Carl Nelson, Lt. Jiro Nomura and Kong’s current crush, Lt. Susan Miller. It’s up to them to outwit the greedy ape-nappers in this sci-fi adventure that takes Kong to unprecedented heights of excitement.”