A Sound of Thunder (Widescreen Edition) by Peter Hyams (Dir.)
(Warner Home Video 28 March, 2006 / $27.98) - I'm not happy about giving this a bad review, because director and cinematographer Peter Hyams is woefully underrated, and his most interesting work has been science fiction; Capricorn One, Outland, and 2010 are all, though flawed, well worth watching. (Outland in particular has aged with unexpected grace; if you haven't revisited it on DVD, do yourself a favor and do so.) Hyams has helmed a steady stream of big studio B-pictures his whole career, and a wide theatrical release is usually his due. This one didn’t make the grade, and comes fresh to DVD for most of us, because it has very serious problems. (see review)
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown by Carlos Saldanha (Dir.)
(20th Century Fox March 2006 / ) - The Ice Age is nearing its end and Diego, Manny, and Sid are worried that it also means the end of their valley. They set out to make sure all the other animals know that about the change in the weather.
Slither by James Gunn (dir/wr)
(Universal / ) - Every several years someone makes an "old fashioned monster movie," and those of us who care about monster movies enough to hope they'll pull the trick off properly are almost always disappointed - though these failed or semi-failed attempts tend to draw cult followings anyway, on strength of character (Jeepers Creepers, for instance). However, I'm proud to report that Slither is a fabulously entertaining and thoroughly engaging old fashioned alien monster/invasion picture, that will completely deserve the cult following it’s sure to accrue.
Slither opens with a meteor landing in the woods near Wheelsy, a tiny redneck town where bored cops use their radar guns to time birds on the fly, and hunting season opens with a don't-miss line-dancing event called Deer Cheer. The meteor, of course, contains an alien invasion, in the form of a pile of slime, which is equipped with an organic dart launcher. This critter, or contraption, victimizes local rich jerk Grant Grant (Michael Rooker, best known for the title role in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer); a living dart strikes his chest, wriggles into him through the wound, and by way of nifty x-ray cam, we see it squirm up his spinal column and latch onto his brain. Thenceforth under alien control, Grant shows a sudden ravenous appetite for food, in the form of raw meat, and sex, by way of his formerly neglected wife Starla (the lovely and talented Elizabeth Banks); meanwhile, the wound on his chest develops into a lumpy rash, which suddenly, while he's sneaking up on his wife in the shower, sprouts two hideously active clawed tentacles... (see review)
Stay Alive by William Brent Bell (dir/wr)
(Touchstone Pictures / ) - While playing an online horror game, a group of teens discover that the gameplay is taking on a sinister reality -- as characters in the game are killed off, the players start to die as well. Can they solve the mystery of the game? Because there's no replay here... (see review)
V For Vendetta by John McTeigue (dir)/The Wachowski Bros (wr)
(Warner Bros / ) - Based on the bestselling comic book series by Alan Moore (uncredited) and David Lloyd, the movie tells of a Britain in the grip of tyranny-- and of one man who dares to fight back, behind a grinning mask, as his reluctant protegee and a police inspector struggle to understand what made V into an anarchic anti-hero... and what forces will be unlocked by his quest for vengeance.
[For another viewpoint see Rogan Marshall's review in next April's issue.] (see review)
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