What a month! Criterion knocks it outta the park with its October releases, trailers abound with the San Diego Comic Con in full swing, reviews from the ongoing Fantasia Film Festival keep rolling in, and I’m scheduled for 14 screenings at the Gimli Film Festival later this week! Wheeeee!
The stand out title in Criterion’s stacked October announcements is Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). It’s taken me quite a while to become comfortable with the contrasting beauty of Kubrick’s compositions and the coldness of his direction, but this tension has always felt right in Barry Lyndon, where the great director dissects the shallowness of his subject with great insight and depth. Everything about the Criterion Collection’s edition of Barry Lyndon looks amazing and I suspect I may need to re-write my Top Ten as a result.
Arrow Video’s George Romero box set, George Romero Between Night and Dawn, is most likely the banner title of the label’s October announcements, but I was taken by surprise with J.D.’s Revenge (Arthur Marks, 1976), the story of a law student who becomes possessed by the spirit of a 1940s gangster bent on vengeance. I’d never heard of Marks’ film but based on the trailer, J.D.’s Revenge looks like the most outlandish blaxploitation horror/revenge movie this side of Sugar Hill (Paul Maslansky, 1974).
Shout Select continues to announce a variety of forthcoming titles including three films specially revealed at the San Diego Comic Con – MMC! favourite Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993) and two films from MMC!‘s list of future proposals, The Plague Dogs (Martin Rosen, 1982) and Into the Night (John Landis, 1985). Into the Night may be best known for its myriad director cameos, but I’m most fond of David Bowie’s small role that seems to anticipate the smirking cheek of Ricky Gervais.
Guillermo del Toro seems to be channeling inner Jeunet and Caro with his new film, The Shape of Water (2017). In what almost looks like an Abe Sapien prequel to the Hellboy films, del Toro explores a fanciful, “Beauty and the Beast” friendship (romance?) between a mute janitor and a gill-man from within a government facility. Looks like required viewing.
I recently put The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003) on my Mount Rushmore of bad movies (along with Tip Toes, Child of Peach 2: Magic of Spell, and Miami Connection), so a dramatization of the movie’s production sounds fantastic. I’m not completely sold with James Franco’s Wiseau (although he does nail that final line reading) and the whole thing looks like it might just be some silly sandbox for the cast to play in, but it could be a riot if The Disaster Artist (James Franco, 2017) is done right.
My wife and I really enjoyed the horror pastiche of Stranger Things but part of me was reluctant about a second season. All those reservations have gone away after seeing the “Thriller” trailer for Stranger Things 2. God bless MJ and Vincent Price for still giving after all these years.