Rian Johnson has made a career out of subverting genre tropes and creating something wonderful and new. From his first feature film, Brick, where he took the classic film noir formula and set it in a modern high school, to the Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery of Knives Out to our beloved Star Wars, Johnson loves taking apart a classic genre, figuring out what makes it tick, and then puttering with it in imaginative ways.
His most recent project, Poker Face, is a mystery-of-the-week television series for the Peacock streaming network. It stars Natasha Lyonne as a casino worker who has the innate ability to detect when people are lying. After a suspicious death at the casino, she goes on the run, entangling herself in various murder mysteries along the way.
That sounds exactly up my alley. I’m happy to finally have a chance to watch it and thrilled to make it my Pick of the Week.
Also, out this week that looks interesting:
Final Cut (Kino Lorber): A French remake of One Cut of The Dead, a Japanese horror film about a low-budget film crew making a zombie movie that gets attacked by real zombies.
The Postman Fights Back (88 Films): A young Chow Yun-Fat stars in this martial arts film about four soldiers sent on a secret mission during the early years of the Chinese Republic.
The Prodigal Son (Arrow Video): Kung fu flick about a son who believes himself to be the best fighter in all the land and his father who pays off all of his son’s opponents to lose.
After Dark, My Sweet (Kino Lorber): Jason Patric, Rachael Ward, and Bruce Dern star in this neo-noir that is based upon a book by Jim Thompson about three crooks who hatch a plan to kidnap a rich kid for ransom money.
Walkabout (Criterion 4K UHD): Nicolas Roeg directed this drama about two white people stranded in the Australian outback and the aboriginal boy who tries to teach them how to survive.
Air (Warner Brother): The story of Nike shoes and their relationship with Michael Jordan.
The Last House on the Left (Arrow Video 4K UHD): Remake of Wes Craven’s bleak and dirty horror film about a woman who is kidnapped by some crazed lunatics, escapes, and runs home, only to find that her attackers have come there to seek refuge.
The Walking Dead: Dead City: I can’t believe the original The Walking Dead lasted as long as it did, let alone that it spawned a seemingly endless number of spin-offs. This one follows Maggie and Negan as they traipse around Manhattan.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Warner Bros.): Batman is wrongly implicated in a series of murders of mob bosses actually done by a new vigilante assassin.
Saw 8-Film Collection (Wal-Mart Exclusive Steelbook): I thought the original Saw was a pretty good horror film with an interesting concept. I did watch the second one but I don’t remember anything about it. I must have not liked it because I’ve never seen any of the others. I cannot for the life of me find any information about this set other than it contains the first eight films in the series (leaving out Spiral from 2021 and the upcoming Saw X). So, I have no idea if there are any new extras. At a guess, I’d say no since no one is touting them. But at under $40, it’s a pretty good price if you are a fan and on a budget.