Cinemas & Home Entertainment This Week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with the latest Stephen King adaptation opening in cinemas and a lost New Zealand genre classic hitting home entertainment!
Thursday April 4th
Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer, the directing duo behind the 2014 cult favourite STARRY EYES, helm this all-new adaptation of the seminal Stephen King classic, PET SEMATARY, with mixed results. Feeling more like a faint photocopy of Mary Lambert’s 1989 adaptation with unnecessary changes, this new retelling lacks the atmosphere, depth and genuine scare value of its predecessor. That said it does carry a gripping and punchy final act that elevates slightly above other contemporary retreads of similar ilk. Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.
Actor come director Jonah Hill makes his feature-length directorial debut with this period-set coming of age story that balances humour and heart. Thirteen-year-old Stevie spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
Based on the novel by Ryû Murakami, PIERCING is the sophomore feature from filmmaker Nicolas Pesce (THE EYES OF MY MOTHER) and despite its impressive style and genuine what-the-fuckery, it lacks narrative drive and suffers a limp finale. Reed is going on a business trip. He kisses his wife and infant son goodbye, but in lieu of a suitcase filled with clothes, he’s packed a toothbrush and a murder kit. Everything is meticulously planned: check into a hotel and kill an unsuspecting victim. Only then will he rid himself of his devious impulses and continue to be a good husband and father. But Reed gets more than he bargained for with Jackie, an alluring call girl who arrives at his room. First, they relax and get in the mood, but when there’s an unexpected disruption, the balance of control begins to sway back and forth between the two. Is he seeing things? Who’s playing whom? Before the night is over, a feverish nightmare will unfold, and Reed and Jackie will seal their bond in blood.
DEATH WARMED UP
DEATH WARMED UP makes its international high-def debut courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment who have painstakingly restored this lost New Zealand genre classic from the last remaining 35mm elements! Locked away in a psychiatric hospital for the murder of his parents, no one believed Michael Tucker when he told them he was programmed by a genetic surgeon. Released into the world, he wants revenge. Dr Archer Howell has been experimenting on humans at Trans Cranial Applications, drilling the skulls of his patients and injecting drugs into their brain to create psychotic killing-machines. Isolated on an island and left to his own devices, Dr Howell is about to have a deadly visitor. Umbrella’s Blu-ray contains an Audio Commentary with writer Michael Heath and director David Blyth, Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary, the original New Zealand VHS Cut, two interview Featurettes including ‘I’ll Get You: David Letch on DEATH WARMED UP’, Trailers and an Image Gallery!
THE NAVIGATOR: A MEDIEVAL ODYSSEY
Visionary filmmaker Vincent Ward’s multi-awarding masterpiece makes its Australian hi-def debut courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment and complete with Exclusive Special Features that trump Arrow Video’s release from last year. A visionary boy, Griffin (Hamish Gough) leads five men from the 14th Century into a 20th Century city. Their quest: to save their village before sunrise. It is Cumbria 1348, the year of the Black Death. A medieval mining village lives in fear of the advancing plague. Griffin’s older brother, Connor (Bruce Lyons) returns from the outside world in a state of despair, until Griffin tells of his dream – and reveals the only hope of survival. Make a tribute to God. Place a spire on a distant cathedral. Do it before dawn or the village is lost. Umbrella’s Blu-ray release contains an Audio Commentary with actor Paul Livingston and production designer Sally Campbell, a forty minute interview featurette with writer/director Vincent Ward titled ‘Path of the Navigator: Vincent’s Odyssey’, trailer and an image gallery!
SLAUGHTERHOUSE RULEZ – DVD Only
Despite a strong concept, talented cast and fantastic practical effects, we’re sorry to say that SLAUGHTERHOUSE RULEZ is an absolute snooze. For a comedy-horror, it manages to do neither, the humour is juvenile and laboured while the scares are completely non-existent. Welcome to Slaughterhouse, an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness. This ancient and ordered world is about to be shaken to its foundations – literally – when a controversial frack site on prized school woodland causes seismic tremors, a mysterious sinkhole, and an unspeakable horror to be unleashed. Soon a new pecking order will be established as the pupils and teachers alike become locked in a bloody battle for survival.
After the decade’s worth of cinematic discharge that TRANSFORMERS fans have endured, it was only a matter of time before we either gave up trading our hard-earned for constant disappointment or the studio heard the public’s cry and actually delivered something of genuine worth. Thankfully it’s the latter, BUMBLEBEE exceeds any expectation we had for the franchise and is more inline with the 1986 animated film than any of Michael Bay’s output. Regardless of whether BUMBLEBEE acts as a prequel to Bay’s films or is a complete reset on the franchise, it’s a charming, character-driven, action-packed and crowd-pleasing entry to the TRANSFORMERS universe, fit for the whole family.
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug. Paramount’s 4K Ultra-HD and Blu-ray releases contain eight Featurettes, Deleted/Extended Scenes and Outtakes.
Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.