The new release void that is August continues but we have another great week of small films, obscure catalog and indie gems. These are your new releases for August 16, 2016.
First up this week is one of my all time favorite psychological horror films arriving on Blu-ray for the first time, Brad Anderson’s Session 9. Gordon (Peter Mullan) and his crew are desperate for work and accept a good paying but short timeline gig removing asbestos from a gigantic and abandoned psychiatric hospital. But as their time in the cavernous and decaying halls increases so does the strange effect the hospital has on each of them. Gordon is hearing voices, the cantankerous Hank (Josh Lucas) is finding hidden treasures and Mike (Stephen Gevedon) has become obsessed with listening to session recordings of a patient named Mary Hobbs. But how will the presence affect each of them when the time comes to go back home, or will they even make it out alive?
Session 9 is a masterpiece of atmosphere and tension. The cast including Mullan, Lucas, Gevedon, David Caruso, Paul Guilfoyle and Brendan Sexton III are all phenomenal, especially Mullan who seems to be genuinely possessed throughout the film. The whole thing was filmed on location in the actual Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts with almost no production design at all. The extremely high creep factor was achieved by filming everything as it was when they found it. Combining the incredible location, a cast of talented character actors, brilliant writers and the keen eye of Anderson behind the camera makes Session 9 one of the best movies you have never seen. Seek this one out, it is fantastic.
Next up is a new documentary for everyone who ever loved films as a kid. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is the story of a group of 11 year old kids in Mississippi in the 80s that were so taken by the film Raiders of the Lost Ark that they decided they were going to make their own version, frame by frame. After seven years and lots of help from their friends, they filmed all but one scene, then split up after an incident broke apart their friendship. Now years later they reunite to film that final scene as adults and mend the wounds of their relationship through their love of movies.
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is a movie that will absolutely rekindle your childhood and remind you of a simpler time and the magic of the movies. The scenes the kids filmed are incredibly impressive considering they did them around their homes with whatever was within arms reach. They were very inventive and passionate and to see it all come together with their reunion and the completion of an unfinished part of their lives is intimate, funny, and heartwarming. It made me want to watch every movie I have ever loved over again.
Lastly this week is one of my biggest guilty pleasures from the 80s also having its debut on Blu-ray, American Ninja. Michael Dudikoff plays Joe, an American soldier assigned to an Army base in the Philippines. During one of his first assignments his convoy is attacked by a group of mythical ninja’s who try to kidnap the base colonel’s daughter Patricia (Judie Aronson). But Joe also happens to know the mysterious ways of the ninja and fights them off and rescues Patricia. But the ninja who was thwarted vows revenge and it is up to Joe to stop him.
American Ninja was from the much adored 80s action studio Golan/Globus and is easily one of their most enjoyable romps. The fights are great, the production value is great for a low budget feature, and Dudikoff is a great strong silent leading man. Golan/Globus pretty much cornered the market on ninja movies in the 80s with their Ninja Trilogy starring Sho Kosugi and American Ninja easily holds up against those cult classics. For a really fun 80s throwback action night, check out American Ninja.
Also of note this week is the Blu-ray debut of John Carpenter’s Elvis starring Kurt Russell as The King, all three American Ninja sequels on Blu-ray and a fantastic group of four classic 80s comedies coming to Blu-ray for the first time, The Burbs, The Great Outdoors, The Money Pit and The Dream Team. A fantastic week for 80s film lovers!
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 9, 2016
A Fatal Obsession
American Ninja 2: Confrontation*
American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt*
American Ninja 4: The Annihilation*
God’s Not Dead 2
Gotham: The Complete Second Season
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words – Criterion Collection*
John Carpenter’s Elvis*
LEGO Scooby: Haunted Hollywood
Lou Grant: Season Two
Not Without My Daughter*
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season
Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season
Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Ratchet and Clank
Shimmer and Shine: Welcome to Zahramay Falls
Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon*
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension*
The Affair: Season Two
The Angry Birds Movie
The Dream Team*
The Great Outdoors*
The House on Cuckoo Lane
The Money Pit*
The Pride and the Passion*
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Seventh Season
Wild in the Streets*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut
A film fan since he was a wee child and received a full sized Terminator movie poster as a gift, Bill lives for movies. An avid collector of Blu-ray and DVD (and VHS, Beta, and Laserdisc before that), Bill also has his own review site, Fountain Pop.com and has recently completed his first horror novel, 10 Minutes from Home. Bill is often a crusader for the films that no one likes or no one has heard of(he loves Ishtar, Superman Returns, the Star Wars prequels and almost all of the horror remakes...) and just wants everyone to share their love for movies instead of spreading their hate for them.