THE EPITAPH: VOL. 26 - COVID-19 EDITION!
ULTRAMAN ORB: THE ORIGIN SAGA (2016-2017) - THE NINES (2006)- GHOST KILLERS VS BLOODY MARY (2018) - INFECTION (2019) - BONES (2001)
It is certainly a strange age we're living through right now, with this plague upon us we've had to alter our lives to some degree or another. Like myself I am sure a lot of you are locked away in your homes and watching a lot of TV and movies while we observe "social distancing". To those of you keeping away from the masses and doing what needs to be done to do to keep this thing as controlled as we can I say to you - keep it up! Stay strong, avoid going out if you can, and binge all those TV series you've fallen behind with, watch a bunch of shitty movies, and maybe dig out those dusty old board games from the family room closet. I now find myself working from home for the first time ever, and I totally dig it, but I am anti-social anyway. I think I am actually way more productive when I have one of my favorite films on in the background, or listening to podcast, while I tap out reports on the keyboard, something I unfortunately cannot do at work usually. I do wish each and everyone one of you the best, please stay safe, don't overreact and use common sense. Stay sanitized, keep away from public gatherings, and if you're one of those "essential employees" that cannot escape working in public spaces or among others I salute you. Thank you for everything that you do, whether your'e in the medical field, food service, working in any sort of store, I want you to know that I appreciate that you're out there doing what you do, now go watch some movies!
ULTRAMAN ORB: THE ORIGIN SAGA (2016-2017) the 12-episode series lands on a 2-disc Blu-ray set containing the bonus episode Ultra Fight Orb (30 min), which is the only extra on the set. The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen with Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo with optional English subtitles, we also get a slipcover and a digital code for the series on the movieSPREE streaming service. While I love the aesthetic of the vintage Ultraman series these contemporary incarnations feel a bit too much like the 90's Power Rangers series for my tastes. The story this time around involves a pair of planets at war with each other in distant outer space, there's a princess with a psychic-link to an Earth scientist, a quest for the power of light, and a bad-guy who thinks he can solve all the problems of the cosmos by eliminating free will. The plot is actually quite intricate but the visuals just don't appeal to me the same way as the vintage series does, I am the same way with comics books when I was younger, even if I dug the story if I couldn't get into the artwork it's a non-starter, but if you're a fan of these more recent series this should be pleasing. (Mill Creek Entertainment)
THE NINES (2006) stars Ryan Renyolds (Dead Pool) a few years before he was a huge deal, just a year after Waiting... (2005). It starts with Reynolds as a fading TV star on an ill-advised crack-spree, during which he accidentally burns down his house and wrecks his car. In the aftermath he's placed under house arrest under the watchful eye of his publicist played by Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), who is so dang cute here. Not long after he meets his lonely neighbor (Hope Davis, American Splendor) and they begin a fling of sorts. Things seem to be going alright for him but he begins noticing the number nine popping up in all facets of his daily life, and he's hearing voices. The ambitious film is a three-part story with each act featuring Reynolds as a different character, we see him again as a struggling TV screenwriter trying to get a TV pilot made, and again as a famous video game creator stranded with his wife and kid on a winding mountain road. Both Davis and McCarthy show up playing different characters n each segment, each time feuding with each other, all of it somehow intertwined. When all is revealed I have to say I was not all that impressed, it's the sort of film that's aiming for the distant stars but only ends up landing on the moon, but I can enjoy an ambitious failure to a deghree, and so I did this film. Reynolds, not surprisingly, is charming and charismatic, plus the supporting cast is outstanding with appearances from Elle Fanning (Neon Demon), Octavia Spenser (Ma) and David Denman (Brightburn). The 1080p widescreen presentation like the film itself is just alright but not stellar, it's definitely not anything to write home about and there are no extras, but at least you can pick it up on the cheap. (Mill Creek Entertainment)
GHOST KILLERS VS BLOODY MARY (2018) is Brazilian indie splatter-comedy that was a ton of fun. It might be a bit long in the tooth for a comedy but the humor and gore FX throughout were highly enjoyable. In it we have a group of amateur ghost hunters, going by the name Ghoul Hunters with a logo that is very similar to a very famous 80's ghost-hunting team, hired by a desperate highschool principle to battle the supernatural entity that has beset his school. It's a fun premise and it's well-executed with some very cool practical FX, fans of the early films of Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and Peter Jackson (Bad Taste) are sure to appreciate the kindred spirit of it. The film is presented in scope widescreen with Portuguese audio and English subtitles, no extras. (Dark Sky Entertainment)
INFECTION (2019) is another foreign indie flick being distributed by Dark Sky Films, this one about an outbreak of a new strain of rabies in Valenzuela. It's not a film that offers anything new to the genre, if you've seen The Crazies, 28 Days Later or [REC.] you have seen it all before and you've seen it done better, though I do give credit to the first-time director, while it lacks originality it has scope, suspense and some decent looking rage-zombies, in addition to a emotional core that never keeps things focused and entertaining. (Dark Sky Films)
BONES (2001) starring rapper Snoop Dogg as a 70's ghetto-gangster murdered by a corrupt cop and a rival gangster when he refuses to allow drugs to be peddled in his neighborhood. He's accidentally resurrected decades later when a music promoter opens a nightclub in the supernatural gangsters former headquarters. Directed by Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight) the urban nightmare is not without it's charms, channeling a bit of Candyman, Hellraiser and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Snoop Dogg as the spirit back to have his revenge on those who betrayed him looks to be having fun. The ace up it's sleeve though is bringing in bad-ass blaxploitation goddess Pam Grier (Coffy) as Bones former lover whii is also a psychic, I will watch just about anything she appears in. The tongue-in-cheek humor and old school Gothic visuals are fantastic, even if the early 00's digital FX are terribly dated. This is not a Collector's Edition but Scream Factory have packed this release with a wealth of new and archival extras that make this an attractive release even if you're only mildly into the film itself. (Scream Factory)