MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: The Thing (2011)

There have been bad ideas before and there will be bad ideas again, but the idea of making a prequel to a movie considered a classic like John Carpenter’s The Thing and using CGI when that movie was infamous for its volume of practical gore…well, look it’s just not a good idea.

Directed by commercial vet Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and written by Eric Heisserer (ArrivalBird Box) this movie, if anything, tell us more about the two men chasing the dog and trying to shoot it in the 1982 film.

Dawn of the Dead producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman had such success with that film that they looked for other Universal movies to remake, convincing the studio to make a prequel instead of a sequel to The Thing. Newman said, “I’d be the first to say no one should ever try to do Jaws again and I certainly wouldn’t want to see anyone remake The Exorcist… And we really felt the same way about The Thing. It’s a great film. But once we realized there was a new story to tell, with the same characters and the same world, but from a very different point of view, we took it as a challenge. It’s the story about the guys who are just ghosts in Carpenter’s movie – they’re already dead. But having Universal give us a chance to tell their story was irresistible.”

Heijningen had been scheduled to direct the sequel to the remake of Dawn which eventually became Army of the Dead. When that got canceled, he was available for this, noting that his favorite movies were The Thing and Alien, which is why Mary Elizabeth Winstead is playing Ripley in this.

This movie really had a major issue to deal with: fans of the original probably were going to hate it and new viewers that had no idea of that film would be lost. It failed, as you’d expect.

I’ve really tried to watch this movie with an open mind. That’s impossible, to be honest. I belong to the group that loves the original, sees this as sacrilege and doesn’t want to even admit that this exists.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe DilemmaThe Adjustment BureauYour HighnessContraband, Safe House, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: Your Highness (2011)

Before David Gordon Green started remaking every horror movie you ever cared about, he was making cute comedies like this one, written by Danny McBride and Ben Best.

This is the journey of Prince Thadeous (McBride) and Prince Fabious (James Franco), the sons of King Tallious. After they defeat the wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious plans on marrying the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who he has just rescued. Thadeous skips the ceremony after hearing the royal guard, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis) insult him for his laziness. As he leaves with his friend Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Leezar attacks, takes back Belladonna and plans on having sex with her during the convergence of two moons. She will give birth to a dragon that will help him conquer King Tallious’ kingdom. Thadeous must help his brother or be banished.

Their quest is complicated when they learn that the king’s Knights Elite have staged a coup and joined with Leezar. What follows are episodes right out of an Italian sword and sorcery movie, like a tribe of Amazon warriors, a hydra creature, a labyrinth containing a minotaur, a quest for the Blade of the Unicorn and meeting warrior woman Isabel (Natalie Portman).

When you see the scene with Leezar’s three witch mothers, they are played by Matyelok Gibbs (Erik the Viking‘s mother), Anna Barry and Angela Pleasence from SymptomsThe Godsend and From Beyond the Grave (and Donald’s daughter, of course).

This movie was not well reviewed and James Franco has been said to outright despise it. I had fun, but as you know, I’ve watched so many some of the wildest barbarian movies that cinema has to offer.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe DilemmaThe Adjustment BureauThe ThingContraband, Safe House, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Hollywood has had a love affair with Phillip K. Dick, even if they rarely understand or make good movies of his books. Based on the short story “Adjustment Team,” this was directed and written by George Nolfi.

Brooklyn Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) has failed to be elected to the Senate. While rehearsing his concession speech, he meets Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) and they have a passionate kiss which inspires him to deliver the kind of speech that gets one remembered. He never gets her name.

An agent is supposed to spill coffee on David but sleeps in, causing the politician to meet Elise again and get her name and number. That agent — Richardson — explains to David the existence of the Adjustment Bureau, an organization that ensures people’s lives proceed according to their Plan. David was to never meet Elise again, so he destroys her number and warns him that he will be erased if he reveals the truth. Oh yeah — the shadowy agents can also teleport into any doorway. This makes sense if you read enough Phillip K. Dick, a man who believed a satellite named VALIS was speaking to him.

David and Elise keep crossing paths because of remnants from earlier versions of the Plan in which they were meant to be together. Now, he is to become President and she is to be a world-famous dancer. Yet they must not be together. Who are we, the normal people, to doubt the plan?

So is the Chairperson God? Are his agents angels? Is this all just an Illuminati hiding in plain sight movie? Nolfi has said that the goal of this movie was to “raise questions.”

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe Dilemma, Your Highness, The ThingContraband, Safe House, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: The Dilemma (2011)

Directed by Ron Howard and written by Allan Loeb, this is a film about the decisions that friends have to make when they learn too much. Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends who are partners in an auto design firm. In the midest of their most impotant project ever, Ronny sees Nick’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kiss another man (Channing Tatum). The dilemma — yes, the title makes sense — is what does he do next?

This is the kind of Hollywood movie where Vaugh can be married to Jennifer Connelley and James to Ryder and I guess we accept that these angels on earth can see something in them. If you can accept that fact, then enjoy the comedy. If not, perhaps see this as science fiction?

That said, if you’re expecting a slapstick comedy, this gets pretty dark, as Geneva fires back on Ronny, threatening to tell everyone that they once had a fling in college, which will ruin his friendship and business. This is all a movie parable to explain something very important to you that I wish I had learned: never start a business with people who you think are your friends.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe Adjustment BureauYour HighnessThe ThingContrabandSafe HouseSeeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Macgruber, Balls of Fury, Your Highness (2010, 2007, 2011)

Mill Creek has released this DVD set of three 2000s comedies that is totally worth your money. You can get it from Deep Discount.

MacGruber (2010): Directed by The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, MacGruber does what all SNL films do: stretch a short segment into a full movie. However, because this movie has a rich history of spy films and MacGyver to make fun of, it does much better than most.

Star Will Forte would tell The A.V. Club, “What you see with this movie is exactly what we wanted to do. It’s the three of us having a bunch of fun writing it, then having fun making it with a bunch of our friends—old friends and new friends. I think that fun comes across when you watch it. It’s rare that you get that kind of creative freedom.”

Basically, MacGruber is the greatest secret agent of all time, but he’s been retired ever since his archnemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) killed his wife (Maya Rudolph) on his wedding day. Of course, he comes back. And oh yes, as I always say, hijinks ensue.

WWE wrestlers Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kane, MVP and The Great Khali appeared in this movie as past agents that have worked with MacGruber, which led to Forte, Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Wiig hosting Monday Night Raw. And one of the henchmen is remake Jason, Derek Mears.

I’m for any movie that has Powers Boothe as an authority figure and Kilmer as a villain who ends up getting his hand chopped off, machine gunned, blown up real good and then, as MacGruber prepares to marry the love of his life, pissed on.

There’s going to be a series of this on the NBC Peacock streaming service. I can’t wait. Hopefully it’s as much fun as this movie.

Strangely enough — and this feels like complete BS because there’s no attribution on IMDB — Kilmer and Forte almost ended up being on Amazing Race as a team, as Kilmer later stayed at Forte’s house for a few months after this movie and they became such friends that they watched the show all the time together.

Balls of Fury (2007): As silly as this movie is, it’s important to remember that it comes from The State‘s Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, which means that yes, it will be incredibly ridiculous but in a way that makes you feel good about how dumb it al is — and I say that with affection.

Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) loses the semi-final ping pong game against semi-final game against Karl Wolfschtagg in the 1988 Summer Olympics and when he finds out that his father (Robert Patrick) bet on the game, he learns minutes later that the loan shark money that he used for the bet is collected by a near-supervillain named Feng (Christopher Walken) who makes Randy’s dad pay with his life. Therefore, no more ping pong.

Or maybe not. Nearly two decades later, Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him Enter the Dragon-style to infiltrate Feng’s table tennis tournament and break up his guns for money empire. Oh yeah — the tournament is sudden death and that means that the loser dies, as his henchwoman Mahogany (Aisha Tyler) kills whoever drops the ball with a poison dart.

After training with Master Wong (James Hong) and his daughter Maggie (Maggie Q), he must defeat table tennis bosses like Freddy “Fingers” Wilson (Terry Crews), The Hammer (Patton Oswalt) and his old enemy Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon).

The idea that Asian masters can’t teach skills to white people was a big part of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. The star of that movie, Jason Scott Lee, is in this as Siu-Foo.

Your Highness (2011): Before David Gordon Green started remaking every horror movie you ever cared about, he was making cute comedies like this one, written by Danny McBride and Ben Best.

This is the journey of Prince Thadeous (McBride) and Prince Fabious (James Franco), the sons of King Tallious. After they defeat the wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious plans on marrying the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who he has just rescued. Thadeous skips the ceremony after hearing the royal guard, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis) insult him for his laziness. As he leaves with his friend Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Leezar attacks, takes back Belladonna and plans on having sex with her during the convergence of two moons. She will give birth to a dragon that will help him conquer King Tallious’ kingdom. Thadeous must help his brother or be banished.

Their quest is complicated when they learn that the king’s Knights Elite have staged a coup and joined with Leezar. What follows are episodes right out of an Italian sword and sorcery movie, like a tribe of Amazon warriors, a hydra creature, a labyrinth containing a minotaur, a quest for the Blade of the Unicorn and meeting warrior woman Isabel (Natalie Portman).

When you see the scene with Leezar’s three witch mothers, they are played by Matyelok Gibbs (Erik the Viking‘s mother), Anna Barry and Angela Pleasence from SymptomsThe Godsend and From Beyond the Grave (and Donal’s daughter, of course).

This movie was not well reviewed and James Franco has been said to outright despise it. I had fun, but as you know, I’ve watched so many some of the wildest barbarian movies that cinema has to offer.

MILL CREEK BLU RAY RELEASE: Up All Night (2011-2012)

Emily Spivey worked at Saturday Night Live from 2001-2010 and developed this series based on her life when she went back to working after having her son, working late nights making comedy and coming home to raise a family.

Lasting two seasons on NBC, Up All Night stars Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, a producer for the Ava show and Will Arnett as stay at home dad Chris. Maya Rudolph is Ava Alexander, the host of the show who Regan works for. The show reverses the typical sitcom dynamic by having the father as the one who is level-headed while the wife is obsessed with work.

NBC wanted major changes for the third season, switching the format to the traditional multi-camera sitcom and having Applegate, Arnett and Rudolph all playing actors who star in a fictional show-within-the-show called Up All Night. Spivey and Applegate left the show and it was canceled and not due to low ratings.

It’s great to have all of these in one set, as I missed this show when it first aired and really enjoyed it.

You can get the entire series on blu ray at Deep Discount.

Almighty Thor (2011)

Directed by Christopher Olen Ray (yes, his son) and written by Eric Forsberg (Mega Piranha), this Asylum film debuted on SyFy on May 10, 2011. If I can say anything nice, it’s that Kevin Nash plays Odin. And oh yeah, Richard Grieco as Loki.

The god of deception has destroyed Valhalla itself to steal the Hammer Of Invincibility and only Thor (Cody Deal) — with the help of the valkyrie Jarnsaxa (Patricia Velásquez, The Curse of La Llorona) — can save everyone.

Released at the same time as the first Thor movie from Marvel, this is another Asylum movie that prominently features brick walls substituting for cities. But hey — Detective Dennis Booker and Big Daddy Cool fighting during Ragnarok. The MCU isn’t giving you that.

You can watch this on Tubi.

 

Masks (2011)

Decades ago, Matteusz Gdula invented an acting technique that made his students the best in the world. Of course, a bunch of them also died mysteriously and he ended up killing himself, so his method was banned. So why is there now a school devoted to his teachings? And why would they invite Stella (Susen Ermich), a driven if unaccomplished actress?

If you weren’t thinking Suspiria already — remote performing arts school, young girl unsure why she was asked to attend, mysterious past — the fact that Stella arrives just as Britt (Franziska Breite) is running away from something. To hammer it home, no one is warm to our heroine at all — not the students, not headmistress Yolanda (Teresa Nawrot), director Janowska (Magdalena Ritter) or Dr. Braun (Michael Balaun). Only Cecile (Julita Witt) — a young actress who teaches Stella how to open up her emotions while creating new emotions of her own that she doesn’t quite understand — is kind, but then why is her body covered with bruises?

Someone attacked Britt. Cecile disappears. And Lydia (Katja Lawrenz) has shown up dead. Maybe going to far off-performing schools run by dead people isn’t necessarily the best of higher education.

Then again, Stella is becoming a better actor. Instead of only using the pain in her past to become angry, now she can draw on it to become someone else. Perhaps this is the place for her. But at what cost?

Where films like The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears copy the look of the giallo, Masks goes further and understands the story and pacing of the best films in the form. Plus, the idea of a hidden part of the school where you must literally allow a mask to take over your mind so that you can become a role is a great one and the film does so much with it. It also understands something that the new school of giallo has forgotten: the kills must be as spectacular as your camera angles, your lighting and color theory. This is filled with genuinely shocking murders that stay within the giallo world without resorting to being torture porn.

Director Andreas Marschall also made German Angst and Tears of Kali, as well as music videos for Coroner, Moonspell and Sodom.

All Superheroes Must Die (2011)

What if you combined a superhero movie with Saw? Well, this would be it.

Directed, written and produced by Jason Trost, who made The FP and also stars in this movie as Charge, this movie finds him, Cutthroat (Lucas Till, who was Havok in X-Men: First Class and MacGyver in the reboot of the series), The Wall (Lee Valmassy) and Shadow (Sophie Merkley) waking up in an abandoned town, their powers gone and facing their arch foe Rickshaw (James Remar, always amazing) in the kind of death trap Arcade used to put the X-Men through.

This is probably as close as we’ll get to a Brat Pack movie. I kind of liked way more than most reviews I’ve seen, as I liked the end of the superteam dynamics of the film, the way we learn about the heroes dynamics and origins through the actions and how Charge must continually make tough choices.

Did you read stuff like Grips and Aircel comics in the 90s? Or the post-Image grim and gritty comics made by comics fans that did one comic and never another one again? Do you like Stephen Platt? Then you’re going to like this way more than the average filmgoer.

There’s also a sequel, All Superheroes Must Die 2: The Last Superhero, that I need to find.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Mill Creek Zombie Collection: Harold’s Going Stiff (2011)

Harold Gimble was the first man to be infected with Onset Rigors Disease and unliked everyone else, he hasn’t become a zombie yet, unlike everyone else. He’s just growing old, but inevitably, he’s going to become one of the undead, unless a nurse helps him. Or the scientists trying cure after cure. Or, most probably, he’s beaten to undeath by a gang of vigilante zombie killers.

This is a movie that really stands out in the zombie genre, using it to tell a story about how we treat the aging, how nationalism destroys the innocent and about the inevitability of death. The fact that it does this within a humorous zombie film is a major achievement, breathing some life into what has become a moribund collection of films.

Director, writer and editor Keith Wright hasn’t made anything since this movie. Here’s hoping that he’s planning something else, because I ended up really enjoying this.

The Mill Creek Zombie Collection has four different comedic zombie films, including Attack of the Lederhosen ZombiesGranny of the Dead and Attack of the Killer Donuts. You can learn more on the official page and buy it at Deep Discount.