Blu-ray Review “Kevin Can F**K Himself: Season 1”

Actors: Annie Murphy, Mary Hollis Inboden, Eric Petersen, Alex Bonifer, Brian Howe, Raymond Lee
Run time: 5 hours and 54 minutes
Release date: ‎November 16, 2021
Studio:‎ IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT

Season: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “Schitt’s Creek” and love Annie Murphy like I do, this new show “Kevin Can F**K Himself” is a winner. Definitely darker than “Schitt’s Creek”, Murphy gets to take a rather different role here and she nails every second she is on the screen. I love how the show work that when she is with her husband everything is lit up and laugh track plays but once she closes the door or walks out where she is alone everything gets a little more real and we get some great comedy/drama throughout the season. The show was already renewed for season 2 and will release on AMC+ and AMC in 2022, so can’t wait here!

Created by Valerie Armstrong (“Lodge 49”), Kevin Can F**K Himself is directed by Anna Dokoza (“Up All Night,” “Flight of the Conchords”) and Oz Rodriguez (Vampires vs. the Bronx, “A.P. Bio”). The series stars Emmy winner Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”), Mary Hollis Inbodin (“The Righteous Gemstones”), Eric Peterson (“Kirstie”), Alex Bonifer (“Superstore”), Brian Howe (“Vice Principals”), and Raymond Lee (“Here and Now”).  

Official Premise: Allison McRoberts is the prototypical Sitcom Wife married to Kevin, her self-centered husband. When she learns that the perfect future she envisioned is impossible, she teams up with her neighbor Patty as she attempts to escape her confines and take control of her life. A completely original new dark comedy, Kevin Can F**K Himself shows what happens when you leave the brightly lit sitcom set and see the reality behind the laugh track.

The Blu-ray looks amazing with the differences between the dark and light scenes. I also noticed differences in the score when the set changes, I didn’t notice that the first time I watched on TV, so the audio track definitely delivers. In terms of special features, there are a few behind-the-scenes featurettes. First up we have “A Look at the Series”, then we have “Meet the Characters”, which dives into our cast and lastly there is “Making of the Show”, which is worth checking out for sure. I would have loved to see a commentary track or two. Well, there’s always season two.

Blu-ray Review “Prisoners of the Ghostland”

Director: ‎Sion Sono
Run time: ‎1 hour and 42 minutes
Release date: November 16, 2021
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Bill Moseley, Nick Cassavetes, Tak Sakaguchi
Studio: Image Entertainment

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When I see Nicolas Cage coming up in a movie, I am first in line with my money out! “Prisoners of the Ghostland” was no different, especially with the film being branded with Cage’s quote “The wildest movie I’ve ever made”. My expectations were wicked high. Damn, what a let down. If you want to see Cage’s “wildest movie” that definitely has to be “Mandy” from 2018. Hands down, bat shit crazy! This film tries way to hard and fails on nearly every turn.

The film is directed by this (self-proclaimed) acclaimed Japanese director, Sion Sono (Why Don’t You Play in Hell), I have never seen any of his films and after this I want to keep it that way. Other than Nicolas Cage (Mandy) there isn’t any talent for him to work with. Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), Nick Cassavetes (Face/Off), Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Franchise), Tak Sakaguchi (Tokyo Tribe) and Yuzuka Nakaya (The Forest of Love) also co-star. Kudos do need to go to Joseph Trapanese (Tron: Legacy, The Greatest Showman), who composed the original score.

Official Premise: Prisoners of the Ghostland” is set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber (Cage) is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor (Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Boutella) has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.

As a Nicolas Cage hardcore fan, I am obliged to see all of his films and if you are in the same boat as me, I know you are going to at least be curious about this film. But personally, I wouldn’t purchase this Blu-ray. I would though try and purchase the separately-available 4K/Blu-ray Steelbook. That’s just my opinion. In terms of a Blu-ray, this film does have a 1080p presentation (but it would look better in 4K) and a solid DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. Sadly, there is only one quick featurette, The Making of Prisoners of the Ghostland, included on this release.

Win a Blu-ray Copy of the New Film “Caveat”

 

Media Mikes is giving two random readers a chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the new film “Caveat.”

All you have to do is comment below what film you are most looking forward to seeing this holiday season.  Two random comments will be chosen and they will each receive a Blu-ray copy of the film.  Pretty simple!  This giveaway ends at 10:00 pm EST on Thursday, November 18th.  Good luck!

Written and directed by Damian Mc Carthy in his feature directorial debut, CAVEAT stars Ben Caplan (“Band of Brothers”), Jonathan French (The Anniversary), Leila Sykes (“Missing Something), Inma Pavon (Felicidad) and Conor Dwane (Christmas at Draculas).

SYNOPSIS: In desperate need of money, Isaac accepts a job looking after his landlord’s niece, Olga, for a few days. But there is a catch. He must wear a leather harness and chain that restricts his movements to certain rooms in order to protect Olga’s extremely frail mental state. Once left alone with Isaac, Olga exhibits erratic behavior, while Isaac makes horrific discoveries in the house that trigger a deeply buried, traumatic memory.

Win A DVD or Blu-ray Copy of Season One of “Kevin Can **** Himself”

 

Media Mikes is pleased to be able to offer to our readers the chance to win either a DVD or Blu-ray Copy of the first season of the AMC series “Kevin Can **** Himself,” starring Emmy Award winner Annie Murphy.

To win you just need to do two things:

  1.  Let us know in the comments below what television series you would like to see get a home video release.
  2. Your preference of format, DVD or Blu-ray.

Two random entries (one for DVD, the other for Blu-ray) and those chosen will receive their preferred copy of the series.

This contest runs through Sunday, November 14 at 3:00 pm EST.  GOOD LUCK!

 

Blu-ray Review “Respect”

Director: Liesl Tommy
Release date:‎ November 9, 2021
Actors: ‎Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Tituss Burgess, Audra McDonald
MPAA rating: ‎PG-13
Running Time: 2h 25m

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love the beautiful voice of the Queen of Music, Aretha Franklin?! The film stars Oscar® and Grammy® Award winner and vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) as legendary singer. I didn’t know this when watching but Hudson was actually hand selected by Aretha herself for the role. It was a role that Hudson was born to play. She hits every note with love and respect (See what I did there 😉 ) for the late singer.

Official Premise: Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career — from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom — it’s the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.

Besides the lovely Hudson, the all-star ensemble cast includes Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (Black Panther, The Butler), Marlon Wayans (Sextuplets, Fifty Shades of Black), six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald (Beauty and The Beast, “Private Practice”), Marc Maron (Joker, “Glow”), five-time Emmy Award® nominee Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and Grammy® Award winner and Academy Award® nominee Mary J. Blige (Mudbound, Rock of Ages) along with Tony Award® nominees Saycon Sengbloh (“The Wonder Years”, “Delilah”) and Haley Kilgore (“Amazing Stories”). There is no shortage of talent in this film.

As you can image the soundtrack for this film would be very important. Well, this Blu-ray includes a solid Dolby Atmos 7.1 audio track, which perfectly features Jennifer Hudson’s uplifting vocal performances of 17 Aretha Franklin classic songs along with the original song “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)”. The song sound amazing on this track and deliver the spirit of Franklin perfectly.

The special features include all-new exclusive bonus content including behind-the-scenes featurettes about Jennifer Hudson’s transformation into the Queen of Soul, director Liesl Tommy’s filmmaking process, the creation of the beautiful sets and custom wardrobes, Aretha’s experience at Muscle Shoals, and more taking audiences deeper into the empowering story and world-renowned chart-topping music that has become a global anthem for strength, independence and positivity. If you are a fan of the movie these extras are a solid addition to this release.

PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND – Available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD/Blu-ray SteelBook on November 16, 2021

LOS ANGELES, (October 14, 2021) – RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, will release the action-adventure thriller PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD/Blu-ray SteelBook on November 16, 2021. The film made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

<>Directed by the acclaimed Japanese director, Sion Sono (Why Don’t You Play in Hell), the film was written by Aaron Hendry and Rexa Sixo Safai (Western Wonderland). The film stars Nicolas Cage (Mandy), Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), Nick Cassavetes (Face/Off), Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Franchise), Tak Sakaguchi (Tokyo Tribe) and Yuzuka Nakaya (The Forest of Love). Joseph Trapanese (Tron: Legacy, The Raid: Redemption, The Greatest Showman) composed the original score. The DVD will be available for an SRP of $29.96, the Blu-ray for an SRP of $29.97 and the 4K UHD/Blu-ray SteelBook for an SRP of $35.97.

PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND is set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber (Cage) is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor (Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Boutella) has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.

PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND DVD, Blu-ray and UHD/Blu-ray SteelBook includes the bonus feature, “The Making of Prisoners of the Ghostland.”

ABOUT RLJE FILMS

RLJE Films’ recent and upcoming features include the critically acclaimed horror film The Dark And The Wicked from director Bryan Bertino; David Oyelowo’s directorial debut The Water Man; the intense PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND starring Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby from director Amber Sealey; and Sion Sono’s 2021 Sundance Film Festival premiere Prisoners of the Ghostland starring Nicolas Cage and Sofia Boutella. us.rljentertainment.com <about:blank>

ABOUT AMC NETWORKS

AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically-acclaimed content. Its portfolio of brands includes AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films, and a number of fast-growing streaming services, including the AMC+ premium streaming bundle, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind award-winning owned series and franchises, including The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history. The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.

Enter to Win a Copy of “The Forever Purge” Blu-ray Combo Pack!

To celebrate the Blu-ray release for “The Forever Purge”, Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win this great prize. If you want a chance to win, please leave a comment below or email us with your favorite Purge film to date. This giveaway will remain open until September 28th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The old rules of the Purge are broken as members of an underground movement, no longer satisfied with the annual night of anarchy and murder, decide to overtake America through an unending campaign of mayhem and massacre. No one is safe. On the morning after the Purge, a masked gang of killers attacks a wealthy Texas ranching family and their workers. Exposed by daylight, the two groups are forced to band together and fight back as the country spirals into chaos and the United States begins to disintegrate around them. THE FOREVER PURGE stars Ana de la Reguera (Cowboys & Aliens), Tenoch Huerta (Days of Grace), Cassidy Freeman(“The Righteous Gemstones”), Leven Rambin(The Hunger Games), with Josh Lucas(Ford v Ferrari) and Will Patton(Halloween). The film is directed by Everardo Valerio Gout (Days of Grace) and from the mind of Franchise-creator James DeMonaco.

Win A Free Blu-ray Copy of “The Water Man”

Media Mikes is offering four of it’s readers the chance to win a Blu-ray copy of the film “The Water Man,” directed by and starring David Oyelowo as well as Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina.

All you need to do is comment “Yes” below. Pretty simple! Four random entries will be chosen and they will receive a Blu-ray copy of the film. This contest ends at 12:00 a.m. (Midnight) on August 29th. Winners chosen will be notified by email. Good luck!

You can watch the trailer HERE.

4K UHD / Blu-Ray Review “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”

Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Running time: 100 minutes

Film – 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-Ray – 4 out of 5 stars

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is the sequel to the 2017 film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which was surprisingly a ton of fun due to its fun action sequences and great chemistry with its cast. While the sequel doesn’t necessarily do anything radically different with the formula and it doesn’t quite hit the same heights of entertainment value as the original, it still remains an entertaining time due to the talent and comradery between everyone involved. 


That being said, one thing the film does consistently well is balancing the comedy with action, and with an action-packed movie like The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard it’s imperative that the picture and sound quality on the 4K Blu-Ray is up to standard. Sometimes the color grading with these things can feel a bit off or even the great surround sound of the theatrical experience doesn’t transfer over properly, but in the case of this film, I actually think this is one of the rare ones that surpasses the theatrical experience and adds greater colors/sounds to the mix.


As I previously stated, this film is action-packed so there’s plenty of moments where explosions go off and the characters are caught in the middle of gunfire. All of these moments pop very nicely and genuinely wowed me at points. But the aspect of the Blu-Ray that I was the most impressed by was the audio. The conversion here is so amazing and dynamic that it gave me a newfound appreciation for the sound design in this movie. From the gunfire to the way the music is stitched into the narrative, it’s wildly impressive and this Blu-Ray just elevates it greatly.


Even though the Blu-Ray surpassed my expectations in terms of presentation, I wouldn’t put this up with some of the finest films I’ve watched on the format like Blade Runner 2049 or 2001: A Space Odyssey – but… obviously it was never going to! The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is genuinely just a ton of fun to watch and played greatly on a rewatch for me, and the quality here genuinely did a lot to elevate the experience. It’s well worth adding to your collection! 

Blu-ray Review: “The Marksman”

  • THE MARKSMAN
  • Starring: Liam Neeson, and Teresa Ruiz
  • Directed by: Robert Lorenz
  • Rated: PG 13
  • Running time: 1 hr 48 mins
  • Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Jim (Liam Neeson) s a former Marine who lives a solitary life as a rancher along the Arizona-Mexico border. But his peaceful existence soon comes crashing down when he tries to protect a boy on the run from members of a vicious cartel. And that’s pretty much the story here. Though Neeson gives a solid performance, the story may be a bit too formulaic. 

Jim basically has had some rough times. He lost his wife to cancer, and his property is being foreclosed. All of this happens in the beginning of the film, so it’s hardly a spoiler. Jim spends his days sport hunting with his canine companion, Jackson. He’s excellent with a rifle, which earned him a medal in the Marine Corps. Jim reports anything suspicious to his step-daughter, a border patrol agent, whilst hunting on the grounds. A woman and her son are on the run from the Mexican drug cartel and Jim gets involved. What I do appreciate about this film is that it’s a road film. Like Rainman,” most of the film takes place on freeways, highways and small town bi-ways. And with the cartel in hot pursuit, you can rest assured that it’s going to be a helluva commute.

 Now Jim’s life has taken a turn. He’s on the run with a kid (Miguel) who is stunned into silence due to his mother being shot by the cartel. Jim makes a promise to the kid’s mother to take him to her sister in Chicago. Unbeknownst to Jim, the cartel can track his whereabouts every time he uses his debit card with a sophisticated computer system. And so what follows is a series of close calls with the cartel and the bonding of Jim and Miguel.

Much of the film is uninspired as we have seen it before and as I previously mentioned, a bit formulaic. Screenplay is weak but the more interesting scenes are when Jim and Miguel are bonding. As I also mentioned, I personally love  road films and “The Marksman” is a road film indeed. Here Neeson does put on a good performance with what little he’s been given. It’s just Liam fighting the baddies. They are now calling his films “Your yearly Neesoning”. Overall it’s worth a rental but it comes up short in comparison to “Honest Thief” and “The Commuter.”

SPECIAL FEATURES

Making of “The Marksman” featurette.

Blu-ray Review: “The Father”

  • THE FATHER
  • Starring:  Anthony Hopkins and Oliva Colman
  • Directed by:  Florian Zeller
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  1 hr 37mins
  • SONY Pictures Classics

I turned 60 last September and, as I get older, one of my biggest worries is that I’m going to slowly lose my faculties.  As someone that loves to write and communicate, I think that would destroy me.  I preface this review with that statement because that MIGHT be what’s going on in THE FATHER.

Anthony (Hopkins in an Academy Award winning performance) likes to relax in his flat, listening to music and taking occasional glances out the window.  He is looked after by his daughter, Anne (Colman) and things appear to be well.  Until one afternoon when Anne informs him that she will be hiring a caretaker because she is moving to Paris to be with the man she loves.  At least Anthony thinks this is what she told him.  Things get more puzzling when the next moment Anne’s former husband appears, but claims to be her current husband for the past eight years.  What the hell is going on here?

A true psychological thriller, “The Father” is a very non-linear descent into what could either be madness or gas-lighting.   Director Zeller leaves it up to the viewer to decide which it is.

The film is brilliantly acted, with, as noted earlier, Hopkins winning his second Best Actor Oscar for his performance.  Colman, herself an Oscar winner – and a nominee for her work here – matches him beat for beat.  Supporting work by Imogen Poots and Rufus Sewell, among others, carry the story along smoothly.

With theatres opening up to usher in another summer of fast cars and explosions, take a moment to stay home and watch “The Father.”   

Special Features:

  • Homecoming: Making “The Father”
  • Perception Check: Portrait of “The Father”
  • Deleted Scenes

Enter to Win a Copy of “The Marksman” Blu-ray Combo Pack!

To celebrate the Blu-ray Combo Pack release for “The Marksman”, Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to to win one of five Blu-ray combo packs of BOTH “The Marksman” and Liam Neeson’s also recent title “Honest Thief”. If you want to win one of these great prizes, please leave a comment below or email us with your favorite Liam Neeson film. This giveaway will remain open until April 23rd at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Oscar® nominee Liam Neeson is Jim Hanson, a former Marine turned rancher who defies the law to save a young boy’s life from a group of merciless cartel assassins in the suspenseful and powerful action-packed film, THE MARKSMAN, available to own for the first time on Digital April 27, 2021 and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on May 11, 2021 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
 
From Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment, THE MARKSMAN is a tense thriller that follows one man and the boy he promised to protect on a dangerous cat-and-mouse race across America that leaves audiences on the edge of their seat from start to finish. The film is directed by Academy Award® nominee Robert Lorenz (American SniperMystic River) and showcases remarkable performances by Neeson (Taken franchise, The Grey) and the film’s supporting cast including Katheryn Winnick (The Dark Tower, “Big Sky”), Juan Pablo Raba (Peppermint, “Narcos”), Teresa Ruiz (“Narcos: Mexico,” “Here on Earth”) and Jacob Perez (Papa BearWilly Goes Way Back). Featuring never-before-seen bonus content with cast and crew, THE MARKSMAN on digital, Blu-ray™ and DVD includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes piece that dives deeper into the deadly cross-country road trip of the captivating story.
 
Ex-Marine and hardened Arizona rancher Jim Hanson (Neeson) simply wants to be left alone as he tries to make a living on an isolated stretch of borderland. But everything changes when he witnesses 11-year-old migrant Miguel (Perez) and his mother (Ruiz) fleeing from a band of assassins sent by a ruthless drug cartel. After being caught in a shoot-out, Miguel’s mother begs Jim to take her son to the safety of their family in Chicago. Defying law-enforcement, Jim and Miguel hit the road and slowly begin to forge an unlikely friendship, while the cartel’s relentless assassins blaze a bloody trail, hot on their heels.

Blu-ray Review: “Honest Thief”

  • HONEST THIEF
  • Starring: Liam Neeson and Kate Walsh
  • Directed by: Mark Williams
  • Rated: PG 13
  • Running time: 1 hr 39 mins
  • Universal Home Video

The film opens with Carter (Neeson) pulling off a final heist, in which he is very meticulous in his methods. In fact, he’s been nicknamed “the In & Out Bandit”. Carter then ventures into a storage facility to store personal items and “some of the funds”. He’s wise not to put the money all in one place. But here’s when our protagonist or antagonist, depending on where in the film you’re referring to him, makes his complete 180 degree turn. At the storage facility, Carter meets a woman and falls in love. So now he no longer wants to rob banks and wishes to give back the money and turn himself in. Hence he is now earned his title character, “Honest Thief”.

The film is directed by Mark Williams, who has worked on the television series “Ozark” (which I haven’t seen) and “The Accountant” with Ben Affleck (on both of those projects Williams also served as a producer). Set in Boston, the movie also stars Kate Walsh, Jeffrey Donovan, Jai Courtney, Anthony Ramos and Robert Patrick.

In this film Liam Neeson is not the good guy we’re used to seeing. This isn’t Taken nor The Commuter. He’s a bad guy that wants to do good. So Carter informs the FBI of his crimes and they don’t believe him. Who robs banks and now wishes to turn ithemselves in? Someone who has met the right woman. And as one character put it, “that’s got to be some woman.” Carter’s girlfriend is portrayed by Kate Walsh, who is caught up in the chase towards the 9 million dollars that Carter wants to turn in.

The film has some great action scenes including a house explosion that I loved! Carter is also a demolition expert, something he learned in the Armed Forces, which is how he blows the bank vault. Narrative in the film moves at a brisk pace. When Carter is on the run, he gets into some scuffles where I wanted to see the fighting skills Neeson is famous for in other films, but this isn’t “Taken.” He just knows how to blow up things. The baddies in the FBI are atypical. One has a heart change and the other is bent on getting that $9 million. Robert Patrick makes an appearance as an FBI supervisor (you will definitely remember him from Terminator 2 as the villainous T-1000).

I watched the film on Blu Ray where the sound and picture were crisp and clean. “Honest Thief,” to me, was a slight let down at first because my expectations were too high. I was looking for “Taken” or even “The Communter” but that’s okay. It just shows that Neeson is more than one dimensional. He has an amazing range and can play various roles.

There are no extras included in this set.

Blu-ray Review: “Psycho Goreman”

  • PSYCHO GOREMAN
  • Starring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre
  • Directed by: Steven Kostanski
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Running time: 1hr 39 mins
  • RLJE Films

     As the mark of a full year of shutdowns and quarantines goes sloth-crawling by and we begrudgingly re-examine (for the thousandth time) the trials we’ve survived (however barely) … there’s still a piece of us constantly looking for a beacon of hope. There’s questions to be asked. Will you continue to mask up and socially distance or are you moving to Texas? Will you be getting the vaccine or waiting it out? If you’re a monster kid… you have one more important question: are you going to rent Psycho Goreman or buy the damn thing and watch it on loop until you break your Blu-ray player?  Your answer better be BUY because this movie is that good. Except Psycho Goreman ‘PG for short!’ isn’t a blinding beacon of hope… he’s a foul-mouthed alien overlord sent here to destroy the universe and resurrect the creature feature genre.

     Canadian Director/Writer Steven Kostanski, who previously delivered the Lovecraftian THE VOID in 2016, clearly has a tremendous affinity for practical effects and eccentric storytelling. Psycho Goreman takes us onto the battlefield in a crazy war of good vs. evil and evil vs. evil — with blood, guts and meme-worthy Gigaxian one liners flying everywhere. Ninety nine minutes  that plays like an R-Rated visit with Power Rangers in the most hilarious and bonkers capacity imaginable. Psycho Goreman drop kicked exactly what I needed into my lap when I genuinely COULD NOT handle a single extra day of “2020 Part 2″‘s regularly scheduled SNAFU lineup.

I hereby present to you…my wish list for movies from BEFORE Psycho Goreman came to earth:

[✓] A resurgence of credit-roll theme songs. This was one of the greatest things about the 80s and 90s. Remember when they commissioned artists to write completely asinine lyrics and roll them into absolute BANGERS? It’s musical slapdash that I’m, honestly, 105% here for. Calling it now — this will be the next thing to make a comeback in cinema of a certain brand.

[✓]  Millennial 80s/90s nostalgia vibes…with heart. Not something that feels like a filmmaker googled ‘what were the late 80s like?’ and used an immersion blender to make an on screen disaster. I’m honestly so exhaustively far past being done with branded cookie cutter faux 80s-kid content. I want someone and something to bottle the feelings I felt watching shows after school but bigger, grosser and more fucked up… because I’m not six, I’m thirty six. I’ve humbly traded in Pogs and Gushers for IcyHot and Tums and so NOW I want to see body parts flying. I want kids using bad language and monsters who talk dirty. I want to root for a kid who is authentically and effortlessly cooler than I ever was and a monster who is sexier than I’ll ever be able to be.

[✓]  Practical effects out the yinyang. I don’t care what the story is… CGI in horror, generally, should be outlawed. Go big. Then bigger. Keep going. Did everything explode all over the place? Turn it up to eleven. More alien guts! Look at these costumes! We’re almost there. Make me look up who did the fx work. “Give ALL these people a raise!”  Ahhh. That’s perfect. If this is the only redeeming element then so be it… but if it works in tandem with a story that makes me want to suspend disbelief in every capacity then all the better. I’m in.

[✓] A soundtrack that I need to buy, like, yesterday: I consume a lot of tunes and I appreciate the greatest cinematic needle-drops as much as the next dweeb but good lord, there is something to be said about an original score that lets me live my own personal version of on screen adventures with outrageously, bombastic earworms. I’m there. You wanna release it on vinyl in deluxe packaging? Take my money. I want you to deliver to my ears… big hair, big drums, big synth, big aural explosions and none of this Stranger Things nonsense. I don’t like being manipulated. Bring those things and mean it because I very much am paying attention to the man and the noise behind the curtain.

(https://waxworkrecords.com/collections/all/products/pg-psycho-goreman in case you want to buy your own.)

[✓]  Yo, literally just anything to be excited about? I don’t have the mental or emotional bandwidth anymore to recreationally consume anything that requires work. I want something that’s easily digestible and leaves me feeling amazing. I’m just getting back to the point where I’m willing to roll the dice and try to connect with something media-wise but, directly, I’m telling you that I’m looking for lightning in a bottle. So much of what we’re getting now is just more of the same thing we’ve just recently seen: major IP fatigue up in my brain. Show me something new and weird and make him ugly but charming so I can do a hard swipe right. Give me light and snappy. Let me cheer for and also laugh at and with him. Anything that makes me feel bad is getting turned off.

[✓] Make me want a whole line of action figures and a series of school supplies. I need a trapper keeper with gay-friendly alien monsters and a thermos to take soup to work in. Why are things meant for adults never flashy or covered in drippy, neon, monster madness? I’m sad that I’m not represented.

[✓] Give me a monster-kid I identify with and hey… it’s 2021 so it better be a girl and no one better be sexualizing her. We’re done being here for that purpose. I want a little girl on screen who I believe, with every fiber of my being, could save or destroy the universe with her death-glare and smart mouth alone. Not a single super power required.

[✓] Make me LOVE this movie. I want to authentically insist that the people I care about see this movie so they’ll be able to have the same magical feelings I did. I’ve spent much of my adult film-watching experience itching for just one more opportunity to dip my toes into the syrupy pool of Spielbergian kid-adventure but that’s not really where I’m at anymore. You never TRULY outgrow the things you loved in your formative years but now, as a parent, I think I’ve dropped the desire for a newly packaged version of that.  I want to see what someone like MY kid would do with an E.T. like experience. My daughter isn’t the Elliot type and, if we’re being honest, I never was either.  Maybe if an alien comes to earth, I don’t want it to be a sob fest. Maybe I want it to be a party. Maybe I want to see aliens play rock music? Quick…add that to the list.  [✓]

     There’s a fine line when you expect originality. There’s formulas that flourish because they’re dependable. The Hero Cycle’s Call to Action will forever exist because deep down most of us want to be emotionally guided to a promised feel-good moment. We want to feel like our however-fleeting emotional investment to characters and their story has contributed to our own personal journey… and temporarily that’s totally fine.

     For those of you who find your viewing habits to be influenced by the current social atmosphere, there’s absolutely something to be said about returning to things-familiar. Sharing a moment, or ninety, with characters who are in the time of their lives before developing a sense of reflexivity is really comforting. Envy inducing. I think we’ve all had many moments during this past year where we wish we were in our childhood and entirely unconcerned with adult stressors or problems. Re-examining things we loved as children seemed right and safe because we knew what to expect. However as movie fans we have to encourage the continuation of new storytelling. Steven Kostanski had the opportunity to go big and went huge. I think someone must’ve told him to go nuts and he really went for it. In a time when so many things within the genre lean hard into serious, dark and emotionally exhaustive arthouse-horror… this was a bold move that at this moment in time I’m incredibly grateful for. He made something new and he made it really damn fun. Fun: Little word. Means everything in this moment.

     The world is seriously scary enough right now but that doesn’t mean we can’t still like horror. I’m happy someone lightened things up by making it weird, gross and thrilling. Go watch Psycho Goreman and keep an eye on Steven Kostanski. And Steven, (if you see this) can we make sure this toy line happens? We’re all here for tiny, plastic hunky boys!

PSYCHO GOREMAN, available on DVD and Blu-ray starting March 16. 

Blu-ray Review: “News of the World”

  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • Starring:  Tom Hanks, Helena Zendel and Ray McKinnon
  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  1 hr 58 mins
  • Universal Pictures

News is everywhere today.  Back in my day, you needed to watch television to learn what was happening, both locally and around the world.  Or subscribe to a newspaper.  Today there are 24 hour television news networks, Facebook, Twitter and all other assortments of way to get the word out.  So imagine having to gather in a darkened room, pay ten-cents and have someone read you the news.  If you can then allow me to introduce you to Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd.

Now that the Civil War has ended, Captain Kidd (Hanks, outstanding as usual) earns his living traveling the country on horseback, picking up newspapers along the way.  He is known as a “News Reader,” and his choice of stories, and the way he tells them, earn him a decent living.  It’s 1870 and tonight we find him in the town of West Falls, Texas preparing for an evening of reading.  As he continues on his travels he comes across a young girl named Johanna (Zendel) who had been raised by Kiowa Indians but is now being sent to live with her remaining living relatives (her parents having been killed). Kidd takes her to the local settlement but is told by the authorities that he can either wait with her for three months – when the necessary people are scheduled to arrive – or take her to her family himself.  She is now his responsibility.  Determined to reunite her with her relatives, Kidd sets out with Johanna into the wild Texas wilderness.

Though well-paced, “News of the World” is not the type of film I expected from Paul Greengrass, whose amazing action work includes three “Bourne” films, “Captain Phillips” and the heart-wrenching “United 93,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Director.  Along the way to San Antonio (where Johanna’s relatives have settled) the pair run into all kinds of problems, including a band of no-goods who at first try to buy Johanna then decide to take her with violence. But Captain Kidd is a sharp guy – and a hell of a good shot.  As the film progresses, Kidd and Johanna form a bond.  He is protective of her as a father would be and she does her best to help him with his business, imploring those interested in Kidd’s news service to ante up a dime. 

Hanks is his usual excellent self, seemingly able to inhabit any character he plays, much like Jimmy Stewart did in his career.  Ms. Zendel is equally outstanding.  Already the youngest actress (she is currently 12 years old) in history to win the Lola for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” at the German Film Awards for her performance in 2019’s “System Crasher,” her inability to speak English only intensifies her work as most of her communication is done through body language and with her eyes.  It’s plain to see that Johanna has seen plenty in her young life and Ms. Zendel lets you see it on screen.

The film is beautifully photographed, with much credit due to Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (“Sweeney Todd,” “The Martian”).  He shoots the Texas landscape beautifully and a scene where Kidd and Johanna are caught in a sandstorm is breathtaking.  

The film has been released on home video to coincide with the Academy Award nominations, of which it received four: Original Score, Production Design, Cinematography and Sound. Surprisingly, besides containing one of Hanks’ best performances, the actor was not nominated.

The disc also comes with plenty of extras, including Deleted Scenes,several Featurets and an Audio Commentary by director Paul Greengrass.