Dark Skies - Weinstein Company - Blu-ray and DVD
Director: Scott Stewart
Cast: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, J.K. Simmons, Ron Ostrow. Full cast + crew
Dark Skies got kind of a bum deal here in the States. It was basically sold as a haunted house movie, but with something that wasn't your average ghost. It also wasn't screened for press, which tends to be a sign that the studio isn't confident in its movie. As I wrote when it hit theaters, it deserved more than that.
Scott Stewart's latest film is the best of his career, and while that still may not make it the finest horror movie of the year, it's still an above average family-in-peril movie with some cool, memorable ideas and more than enough freaky bits to satisfy the horror fans.
Special Features: an audio commentary with Scott Stewart, producer Jason Blum, EP Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and editor Peter Gvozdas; 14 minutes of deleted scenes
Other Notable New Releases
The Numbers Station is a piece of fiction based around a very intriguing real-world mystery that involves untraceable radio broadcasts that repeat numbers that are meaningless to all who are listening but the intended recipient. And if you can decipher the code, it probably means you're a spy about to be sent on a mission. The movie version stars John Cusack as a burned-out CIA agent who is tasked with protecting one of the people whose job it is to transmit the codes. It's an easy way to retirement, but things hit a bit of a violent speed bump when someone tries to hijack the station to send out their own covert commands. It's a low-key, slickly produced thriller that's not quite good enough for theaters, but certainly better than you'd expect given the straight-to-DVD nature.
Speaking of low-key movies... Cleopatra is the exact opposite of that. It's one of the grandest, most lavish productions ever put to film. Directed by Joseph L. Mankieweicz and starring Liz Taylor, this is the kind of movie that truly earns its epic status, unlike many movies these days that think a few massive CGI backdrops make anything a masterpiece. The production design downright shames its modern counterparts, and while it may be hard to buy some of the film's very British-y actors as Egyptians in this day and age, it's still a movie that stuns from beginning to end. Plus, this Blu-ray just looks phenomenal and comes loaded with a bunch of special features (though they're mostly all ports from the last DVD release).
Also out this week are a batch of comedies that most people haven't thought about in quite some time. I'm personally a big fan of Airheads (perhaps the last time Adam Sandler playing a simpleton was actually charming) and Bedazzled (a legitimately funny, lightly sexy remake of a highly charming premise). Then there's Chasing Papi, a comedy about a trio of Latinas who find out they've all been dating the same guy. It's not amazing, but Modern Family fans may want to check it out for one of Sofia Vergara's earliest comedy roles.