Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat.”
20th Century Fox
“SLAP SHOT,” starring Paul Newman and Strother Martin. Still the gold standard to which all sports comedies aspire, this notoriously foul-mouthed 1977 hit finds normally straight-laced Newman tossing off f-bombs with the best of them as Reg Dunlop, a washed-up hockey player/coach who reinvigorates his unpromising team by encouraging them to play as dirtily as they can get away with. Much violent hilarity and creative vulgarity ensues, and the new transfer captures the goings-on in all their grimy glory. Special features include the all-important audio commentary from The Hanson Brothers. Rated R. Running time: 2:03. Suggested retail price: $19.98.
“A HIJACKING,” starring Pilou Asbaek and Soren Malling. Resorting to absolutely no CGI or cinematic trickery of any sort, this Danish import manages to drum up enough suspense for several big-budget Hollywood offerings with its unbelievably stressful tale of a cargo ship taken over by Somali pirates, who menace the few tired and ailing people on board while attempting to negotiate a potentially enormous ransom from their ruthless superiors. Writer/director Tobias Lindholm (“The Hunt”) keeps the tension mounting without resorting to unbelievable heroics or explosions, and gives us living, breathing characters instead of cartoons, resulting in a class act of a thriller deserving of a far wider audience than it has garnered to date. Rated R. Running time: 1:43. Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
“MANIAC,” starring Elijah Wood and Nora Arnezeder. We like a good, lurid exploitation movie as much as the next bunch of video store geeks, and 1980’s “Maniac,” starring the great Joe Spinelli as a lowlife wandering the streets in hopes of adding to his collection of scalps, is a classic of the genre. It’s a proudly irresponsible sicko-fest with pitch-perfect performances, effectively cruddy cinematography and some truly clever special effects and camerawork. So needless to say we were skeptical upon learning that Elijah Wood, of all people, would be filling in for Spinelli for the remake, but it turns out Frodo outfits himself just fine as a psychopath, slicing up his ill-fated female companions with vile flair. Obviously, “Maniac” is, to say the very least, not for all tastes, but as horror remakes go, it’s top shelf, boldly depicting madness and the carnage that can accompany it. Horror fans with a few “video nasties” under their belt are most likely to appreciate its “charms,” but at the end of the day “Maniac” is a skillful and queasily entertaining example of its chosen genre. Not rated. Running time: 1:29. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
– Courtesy of Videoport