The Best of September 2019
Guns and Do or Die are the Andy Sidaris releases from Mill Creek this month. I love beyond all reason that Mill Creek is giving these releases some proper releases. The introductions, commentary, featurettes and trailers are fun special features. But, you know what matters most about these releases? They ruined how my wife viewed Erik Estrada.
She only knew him in passing from CHIPS, so she wasn’t quite ready for action hero Estrada. Next thing I got to do is show her Sealab 2021.
In The Aisles is a workplace romance arriving from Germany. I dig Sandra Huller’s work, but I’m also a big fan of seeing how World Cinema handles things like people working in a grocery. The DVD includes interviews and a press conference.
Echo in the Canyon is another one of my favorite documentaries of 2019. While I plan a far more in-depth bit of coverage later, I felt I would wrong not to include it in our September 2019 recap. Jakob Dylan’s love of the Laurel Canyon sound was something I needed to see in September 2019. Tom Petty’s last film interview is the highlight, as we get to learn and grow along the killer sounds of the era.
Hesburgh is simply one of my favorite documentaries of 2019. I plan on a more extensive piece for Year in Review. However, I feel the story of Rev. Hesburgh needs to be heard by a lot more people. Well, those that aren’t obsessed with Notre Dame. It’s a regional thing, I know. The DVD comes with bonus interviews and archived speeches. Truly one of the best September 2019 releases.
Bottom of the 9th is a baseball movie. While that doesn’t exactly blow people away anymore, there is something rather American about it. Sports dramas went removed from melodramatic bullshit become fascinating character studies. Throw a married couple into the lead roles and you have a chemistry match that produces a romantic look into what it takes to be a professional. Truly amazing and quite the surprise. Don’t be shocked if this makes the Top 25 of 2019.
The perfectly decent September releases
Find Me Guilty is one of those Sidney Lumet films that arrived in the mid 00s. Vin Diesel did a bang-up job, but you started to realize that Lumet’s best years were behind him. The Blu-ray comes with the special features from the earlier FOX release. Still I wish they weren’t in standard definition. If you dig this sort of film, you’ll want to check out the Peter Dinklage supporting role. It’s quite a trip.
I-Spy is another film based on a 60s show. Plus, it shows that Eddie Murphy still can carry even the worst movies. The premise is super thin, but so was the TV show. What hurts the film is that Owen Wilson is too passive and Murphy keeps stealing focus. It kinda hurts to make a buddy film when the buddies don’t gel.
Duplicity was a middlin’ Spy film that most don’t remember existing. Don’t cheat and go on IMDB to see if you can remember it. Tony Gilroy wrote and directed this misfire about Clive Owen and Julia Roberts crossing over from spy work to corporate work and it didn’t work. I love that Mill Creek is getting to release these Relativity/Universal movies. I just wish they got some of the better ones.
The Mad Adventures of “Rabbi” Jacob is a funny bit of world cinema that I had never seen before. Working as a Hebrew/French production, it’s a funny mistaken identity film about beating ignorant criminals. You’ve seen a ton of movies like this, but few had to brush up against anti-Jewish terrorism. When France brings it, they bring it hard. The Film Movement release comes with an interview and new essay as the special features.
The Third Wife is a Vietnamese lesbian romance about arranged marriage leading to the middle sister wives getting it on. It’s a complex movie that doesn’t shy away from its subject matter. The DVD comes with a NYAFF chat and a commentary with the director. Plus, you get the delightful Vienamese short film Grasshopper.
Chicago Cab is a loose take on Night on Earth. But, this time it’s loaded with the biggest and best in Chicago acting talent. Hell, you even get to see a super young Michael Shannon in the movie. The DVD comes with no special features.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is an informative documentary on the recently deceased writer. While I dig the nature of Morrison’s work, the documentary felt like an extended HBO doc. That’s not a knock, but it doesn’t stand up to repeat viewings. The DVD comes with deleted scenes, portraits and trailers.
Mock and Roll was previously reviewed here.
Cassandro the Exotico! is a fascinating look at Mexico’s openly gay wrestlers. The French documentary goes out of its way to give a history and explain where the movement is going forward. Still, I feel like it’s Part 1 of a much larger series. I still enjoyed it.
Time Life has brought the hammer home on the CMA Awards. The CMA Awards Live Greatest Moments is a repackage of previous releases. If you want to read those reviews, they are listed here on the site. Check them out. Yeah, I hate doing this but there was literally nothing new in this release.
I’ve seen better September releases
Dead Water is about a Marine with PTSD fighting pirates to save his family. While that sounds like a much better movie, the end result leaves a ton to be desired. Hell, Judd Nelson was doing better work back in his Relentless days. Casper Van Dien is a long way from fighting for our freedoms and the memory of Buenos Aires. But, oh well. Somebody out there is going to enjoy this kind of thriller.
Modern Family: The Complete Tenth Season arrives as the second-to-last season for the blended family of our times. Stealing many a page from the Bluths, ABC managed to water this idea down to something that’s tamer than SOAP was 40 years ago. But, it wouldn’t be September without giving a pass to a modern TV series. I like that the Dunphy kids are starting to age properly. Still, as a casual viewer…I’m at a loss.
Curious George: Royal Monkey is the latest Curious George animated release. Naturally, I tried it on the AV Kids peanut gallery and they were indifferent. But, boy did they tear apart the stickers that came with the DVD. The brief viewing I had of the film showcases a Prince and the Pauper type situation with a ton of forced singing. Why in the name of Katzenberg, did it become a thing to turn every middlin’ animated outing into a musical?
House of Hell comes with four movies . These are a mix of DTV and TV-movie scary stories. I have no idea what I was expecting, but the best entry has to be the Jeffrey Combs starring Dunwich Horror adaptation. Everything else is pretty forgettable.
Canal Street is about a young man accused of a murder, then has to have his dad defend him in court. What’s crazy about the movie is that what is pretty typical gets filtered through dramatic complications. I enjoyed the movie, but I felt that while the cast was amazing…it would have had a little more relevance if I was part of the target audience. That being said, I feel like a director’s commentary could have helped this one out.