A nice quantity increase this week with some solid catalog titles, some great TV and a couple of big studio pictures as well. These are your new releases for August 23, 2016.
First up this week is the new film from writer/director Shane Black, The Nice Guys. Ryan Gosling plays Holland March, a bumbling Los Angeles private eye in 1977 who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous porn star. But when he discovers the key to the murder may be a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), Holland runs into another PI on the same case, Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe). Although they are complete opposites the two men must work together, with a little help from Holland’s daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) to find Amelia while also dealing with goons, strippers and a possible government conspiracy.
Shane Black has a knack for quirky, funny and memorable dialogue in such films as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr. and the original Lethal Weapon. But The Nice Guys may be his quirkiest and funniest writing to date. He also handles the action well too. Crowe and Gosling have amazing chemistry together and really play off of each other well. Crowe manages to still play the tough guy while also keeping his lighter, funnier side intact. And Gosling proves he is more than the brooding serious actor by playing the clumsy, not too bright and lovable Holland perfectly. He is almost Charlie Chaplin-esque with his physicality. Angourie Rice also deserves a shout out as Holland’s daughter. Even though it seems Holland is maybe the worst Dad ever, Gosling and Rice play their relationship tenderly and hilariously with Rice stealing pretty much every scene she is in. The Nice Guys is something different in a sea of familiarity at the movies and is highly recommended.
Next up is The Strain: Season 2. When this Guillermo Del Toro-created show hit the airwaves in 2014 it became an instant hit and now Season 3 is set to start in only a week or so. So what better time to catch up on Season 2. After the events of Season 1 with the Master escaping Setrakian’s grasp, Eph (Corey Stoll), Setrakian (David Bradey) and the rest of the gang try to regroup and find a way to track down the Master again. After a meeting with the Ancients Setrakian discovers he must find an ancient book called the Occido Lumen which may contain the only way to stop the Master. But Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) and Eichorst (Richard Sammel) are also out for the Lumen so it becomes a race against time to find a way to obtain the book and stop the Master once and for all.
The Strain is easily one of the most entertaining shows on TV right now, especially for horror fans. The entire cast are great, the makeup effects are stunning, and the action is plentiful. The Strain: Season 2 even manages to best the stellar first season with even more WTF moments and tons of backstory on many of the characters including the Master, Eichorst and Eph. If you haven’t checked out The Strain yet get in there before Season 3 starts, you won’t regret it.
Lastly this week is a sequel/prequel to one of the most famous films of all time and a curious movie to revisit now considering the current success of the TV show Bates Motel on A&E. Psycho IV: The Beginning once again stars Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, now married and living free, finding himself calling in to a radio show to discuss his childhood and relationship with his mother. With his wife pregnant Norman fears his offspring may turn out to be more like him than he would like.
Psycho IV: The Beginning was written by Joseph Stefano who actually wrote the original Hitchcock film in 1960 and is directed by Mick Garris who I have always considered to be the horror genre’s greatest ambassador. Garris has a deep love for the genre and has championed it his whole career, even creating the landmark TV anthology series Masters of Horror. Psycho IV: The Beginning is a well crafted film centering much more on the story of Norman than on his murders, although there is still plenty of suspense to keep horror fans satiated. Henry Thomas (E.T.) portrays the young Norman superbly with Olivia Hussey turning in a disturbing and gleefully over the top performance as Norma. Anybody who is a fan of the Bates Motel series should especially take an interest in Psycho IV as it provides an interesting alternate take on Norman’s history. With two excellent sequels before it Psycho IV: The Beginning is an excellent cap off to the underrated Psycho film series.
Also of note this week is The Huntsman: Winter’s War with Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, Ash vs. The Evil Dead: The Complete First Season and a new film starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke, Maggie’s Plan.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 23, 2016
A Taste of Honey* - Criterion Collection
A Woman in the Dunes* - Criterion Collection
Ash vs. the Evil Dead: The Complete First Season
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Three
Castle: The Complete Eighth Season
DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler
Elementary: The Fourth Season
Endeavour: Season 3
Inspector Lewis: Series 8
Lucifer: The Complete First Season
Narcos: Season One
NCIS: The Thirteenth Season
NYPD Blue: Season Ten
Private Vices, Public Virtues
Psycho IV: The Beginning*
Ratchet and Clank
Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season
Snow White and the Huntsman Extended Edition 4K
Superstore: Season One
Tab Hunter Confidential
The Bloodstained Butterfly*
The Huntsman: Winter’s War
The Nice Guys
The Strain: Season 2
The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season
*Catalog Blu-ray debut