At AndersonVision, we have crazy periods throughout the year. The End of Year is no different, as I spent the last month of 2019 trying to keep up with the sheer volume of wonderful movies in release. Let’s start.
Semper Fi feels like Diner if made by people who were really into superficial reads of the newspaper. You’ve got it all from accidental manslaughter to Veteran healthcare and a touch of PTSD for that extra bit of spice. Things carry on and on until Jai Courtenay snaps to help his half-brother. The pals come together in a movie that continues to make no sense to me as I write this.
Jake Speed was one of those films that would have snuck past me. But, thankfully Arrow dug this New World Production out of storage. Playing off the Indiana Jones fan hysteria of the time, Jake Speed lends way more into the pulpy aspects of those stories. Wayne Crawford and Dennis Christopher carry the film on their backs, but John Hurt turns in a fun performance as the big heavy. Fun special features and a constant reminder that Jake Speed star Wayne Crawford was the guy that stopped MGM from ruining Valley Girl. Great all-around.
Funan is a film that I’ve seen a handful of times over the last few months. While I appreciate seeing anime that tackles historical issues, the art style kills me. Playing somewhere between in-between shots on King of the Hill and the Austen run on Elektra, it’s kinda ugly. Still, the killer interview and storyboards take you deep into the world of surviving the Khmer Rouge. What Denis Do does here is quite inspiring and I hope to see fare well around Awards Season.
BATTLE OF LENINGRAD
Battle of Leningrad is another one of those movies that readers have seen promoted on AndersonVision a ton. As the end of year stuff comes, I finally get a chance to sit down and talk about them. I dig seeing a Russian production about one of their major early battles during WWII. However, it’s so matter-of-fact and by the numbers that it’s hard to get that excited. Amazing direction coupled with so-so acting doesn’t floor me. The Blu-ray comes with no special features.
2019 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
The 2019 World Series Champions is another one of those stellar MLB releases that Shout Factory puts together every year. I tell all casual baseball fans just to get the news highlights and wait for Shout to capture all the big moments they need to remember. That’s because baseball is boring and needs a Wiki style video to cut together anything that matters into something fit for human consumption. The usual special features are there and the Houston Astros lost again. So, all is good in the world.
FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES
Feast of the Seven Fishes almost made another one of my End of Year lists. But, that’s coming soon. If you’ve checked out that cool cooking video from last week or the trailer, you’ll note that Feast of the Seven Fishes is all kinds of awesome. It’s a loving throwback romantic tale and it was based on a graphic novel that is underappreciated. Plus, it had ex-Spidey artist Alex Saviuk drawing it. That’s got to count for something.
I don’t know what it is, but even small films can dial into that visual aesthetic that just makes me smile. The costume design on Madison Iseman and Addison Timlin made me smile. It’s hard to pinpoint a place in time with costume design, but between that and the story…I was hooked. The Blu-ray is loaded with a commentary featurettes, trailer and a short film. What makes it even better is the graphic novelist wrote and directed the thing. Just imagine what results when you get that kind of synchronicity! Will Eisner could have made a less creepy The Spirit.