With his good looks, Liev Schreiber (TV's Ray Donovan) seems born to play an astronaut. In Magnet Releasing's The Last Days on Mars, he finally gets the chance. As chief systems officer Vincent Campbell, he's part of Aurora's six-month mission on the red planet with only 19 hours left to go before heading home. What could go wrong?
According to The Slumber Party Massacre, young women love to have group sleepovers so fun that the girls don't have the good sense to leave the house when their party is crashed by the arrival of a drill-wielding serial killer.
We vilify people for bad behavior in real life, yet celebrate it in our entertainment, particularly on the small screen. When the results are as strong as the current crop, all new (or new-ish) to DVD and/or Blu-ray, why question the disconnect?
Prior to his Spider-Man trilogy, director Sam Raimi cut his superhero-movie teeth on 1990's Darkman, a character of his own creation. Although it's clearly not the most polished of his works, the summer sleeper plays even better as the years tick by. Look no further than Shout! Factory's colorful re-release on Blu-ray.
Someday, celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong may regret hiring Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney to document his 2009 "comeback," but I doubt it. As The Armstrong Lie demonstrates time and again for two mostly gripping hours, the athlete is still unable to tell the whole truth and nothing but.
You asked for it, you got it. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Birdemic 2 is every bit as incompetent as its big bro, and then some: blurred images, sound dropouts, repeated establishing shots, public high-fives and leaden dialogue (“I don’t know about the movie business, but I know how to read”).
The difference is that this time, self-delusional writer/director James Nguyen seems to be in on the joke, if only a little.
Available now on demand and download through Chill.com, this continuing chapter brings back the zero-chemistry couple of Rod (Alan Bagh) and Nathalie (Whitney Moore), but pairs them with another dense twosome, Bill (Thomas Favaloro) and Gloria (Chelsea Turnbo). Bill is an indie filmmaker looking to get his next project off the ground — Sunset Dreams; do not take a drink each time you hear it, lest you die of alcohol poisoning — and Rod has just the software riches to put up the $1 million needed.
Then the killer birds, crudely animated as ever, suddenly show up to swoop down and slaughter, this time accompanied by red rain; warns a sullen newscaster, “Have umbrellas handy.” In one scene, the birds invade the shooting of a movie with three topless women, so that’s new.
There’s also a “giant jumbo jellyfish” attack for no discernible reason, which is now Nguyen’s modus operandi. That accounts for the (adequately) unexplained rise of zombies in the back half, not to mention the abrupt ending that resolves nothing, thus paving the way for Birdemic 3D, one assumes. Should you watch this sequel as recommended — with a group of friends, preferably drinking — you’ll want that trilogy to come to fruition.
What keeps Birdemic 2 from reaching the first film’s level of fun is Nguyen’s penchant for treating this go-round like a greatest-hits reel. He’s forever calling back to the midnight-movie sensation with cameos from all the characters you laughed at the first time and whom they shouldn't logically come across this time: the steely eyed, oddly bewigged Tree Hugger (Stephen Gustavson), now with a wife (former Playboy Playmate Carrie Stevens); the scientist who specializes in meaningless exposition (Rick Camp); and — brace yourself — nightclub singer Damien Carter, still hangin’ out and havin’ himself a party with wretched dance tunes.
Moore seems barely able to keep her smirk in check at the craziness of it all, while her three co-stars appear clueless as ever. You’ll be right along with her. —Rod Lott