August 18, 2009

DVD Pick: The 5 Deadly Venoms

Also out this week:
The Last Starfighter
Dexter: Season 3

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

The 5 Deadly Venoms. It has been a long time since I have watched this kung fu classic. It will be nice to get my hands on this to not only see it again, but have reason to ditch my crappy old DVD copy for a nice new spiffy release. This is one of those classic martial arts films that any fan needs to have in his collection. Directed by Chang Cheh, this gave rise to the Venoms, a quintet of Shaw Bros. stalwarts that would go on to star in a successful string of films for the studio. As for this one, it concerns the dying leader of the Poison Clan who sends his students out to find his five deadliest students who have been living under assumed identities. Put it in, press play, and prepare to see a variety of styles and some great action.

Dexter: The Third Season (also Blu-ray). I have only seen the first season of this series, but I really need to catch up with the rest of them. I really like what I saw. Dexter is a fascinating character unlike any I have seen on television.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One (also Blu-ray). This is a show that I have heard mixed feelings on, although I have not yet had the opportunity to see it myself. I do like Ron Perlman, so there is a reason to see it. The series centers on a man trying to find a balance between his family life and his membership in a biker gang.

The Simpsons: The Twelfth Season. Sometimes I wonder if they will ever reach the end of this series. Every few months I feel we are doomed for another season release. Still, the longevity and staying power of the show is unbelievable. This season features the head of Comic Book Guy.

Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (Battle for Outer Space, H-Man, and Mothra). Of these three films, I have only seen Mothra, but I would like to check out the others. Toho is a legendary studio, most famous for their Godzilla films, this set showcases some of their other entries in the science fiction genre.

The Last Starfighter: 25th Anniversary Edition (also Blu-ray). This release was very nearly my pick for this week. I really like this film, and even though it feels a bit dated now, I still have a lot of affection for it. I can also see it being reimagined for today rather successfully. The film features a teen who is a great at a video game, which is actually a test for potential pilots in an interstellar war. Great stuff, it has certainly been awhile.

The Last House on the Left (also Blu-ray). This remake is fantastic. It is mean, nasty, and doesn't pull any punches. This will hit you in the gut, drag you around for awhile and then spit you out into the night. The original may have a grittier edge, but there is something to be said for this new take and its ability to disturb the viewer. The movie is essentially a revenge film that finds group of nasty dudes commit terrible atrocities upon a couple of teen girls, and then the subsequent actions by one of the girl's parents. Garrett Dillahunt can be one creepy fellow!

Eli Stone: The Complete Second Season. Sadly, this series has been canceled. I liked it, I liked the idea of faith and a Higher Power being dealt with in a weekly series, and one that did not immediately belittle it. It was well acted and told interesting stories. I would have liked to have seen where it would go. At least we have the DVD's to revisit.

Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete and Final Second Season. Never a great series, but definitely an entertaining one. This is another show I am sad to see leave the air too soon. Sure, it was the stuff of soap operas, but the characters were interesting and I liked watching the actors dig into the roles. It is a show that went inside the lives of a ridiculously wealthy NY family and the son of the family's deceased (murdered?) father who steps into the vacated position.

Surveillance (also Blu-ray). Like Rashomon, only with a distinctly lower target. This movie has a couple of FBI agents investigating some brutal murders, and their witnesses all give different accounts that must be pieced together.


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