I write a weekly column discussing all the cool things I’ve discovered in a given week. I typically spend time on IMDB in preparation for that column watching new trailers, looking at new posters, and generally trying to stay abreast of what new movies are coming out. Even so, nearly every week I am surprised when writing this column over various new Blu-ray releases that I’ve never heard of, especially ones with big names attached to them.
This week includes several releases star people like Shia LaBeouf, Rosamund Pike, Ellen Page, Jon Hamm, and others that somehow slipped right past me. So much so that they’ll get a notice in this article, but they do not get to be my pick. For that, we must go back in time to 1972 when a young up-and-coming director named Wes Craven was trying to break into the film industry. Raised in a strict religious household, Craven first tried academia then headed to New York to try his hand at the movie business. He got his actual start in the pornographic film arena, which is where he met future Friday the 13th creator Sean S. Cunningham. After working together on a T&A flick, Cunningham gave Craven the funds to make an envelope-pushing horror film, which became The Last House on the Left. It is a pretty nasty piece of work featuring rape, torture, and pretty graphic murders. It was banned and censored across the globe which only caused it to be more successful and influential. Arrow Video has restored it and filled this new set with loads of extras including three different versions of the film.
Craven would go on to change horror two more times (with the Nightmare on Elm Street series and then the Scream series) but this is where it all starts. For my money, those later movies are much better films, but Last House has definitely secured its place in horror history and this set is an excellent one. You can read my full review of it here.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Beirut: Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike star in this espionage thriller about a U.S. diplomat trying to save a colleague from the group responsible for killing his own family years before. The trailer generated a lot of controversy over its portrayal of the Lebanese people. Not enough controversy for me to have actually heard about it, but these days there is so much controversy over everything it's hard to take it all in.
7 Days in Entebbe: Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl star in this crime thriller about a terrorist hijacking of an Air France flight.
Borg vs McEnroe: Shia LeBouf and Stellan Skarsgard star in this drama about the tennis rivalry between these two tennis stars.
The Cured: Ellen Page stars in this zombie flick with a twist. Years after the zombie apocalypse, society must learn how to reintegrate former zombies into polite society.
The Complete Sartana: Arrow Video brings together five films from this Italian western series that was part of the wave of films trying to cash in on the "Clint Eastwood - Man with No Name" success.
Blockers: Comedy about three parents trying to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom Night. Normally, this is the sort of thing I automatically skip, but the reviews have been surprisingly good and the word I hear is that it is rather smart with its raunch.
Submission: Stanley Tucci and Kyra Sedgwick star in this drama about a cynical college professor taking an interest in a talented young student.
The Female Brain: Whitney Cummings wrote, directed, and stars in this comedy about a female scientist who studies the differences between the male and female brain. Reviews have been pretty bad.
Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood (Criterion Collection): Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich teamed up for these six films (Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, The Devil is a Woman) during the 1930s. Criterion has bound them together with their usual flair.