With his good looks, Liev Schreiber (TV's Ray Donovan) seems born to play an astronaut. In Magnet Releasing's The Last Days on Mars, he finally gets the chance. As chief systems officer Vincent Campbell, he's part of Aurora's six-month mission on the red planet with only 19 hours left to go before heading home. What could go wrong?
According to The Slumber Party Massacre, young women love to have group sleepovers so fun that the girls don't have the good sense to leave the house when their party is crashed by the arrival of a drill-wielding serial killer.
We vilify people for bad behavior in real life, yet celebrate it in our entertainment, particularly on the small screen. When the results are as strong as the current crop, all new (or new-ish) to DVD and/or Blu-ray, why question the disconnect?
Prior to his Spider-Man trilogy, director Sam Raimi cut his superhero-movie teeth on 1990's Darkman, a character of his own creation. Although it's clearly not the most polished of his works, the summer sleeper plays even better as the years tick by. Look no further than Shout! Factory's colorful re-release on Blu-ray.
Someday, celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong may regret hiring Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney to document his 2009 "comeback," but I doubt it. As The Armstrong Lie demonstrates time and again for two mostly gripping hours, the athlete is still unable to tell the whole truth and nothing but.
Don’t feel stupid: I didn’t know who Ralph Zavadil was, either. After
all, we can’t be faulted for living in Oklahoma City instead of Ontario,
Canada. Ultimately, it makes no difference, because Beauty Day,
the documentary about the man, is a fun viewing nonetheless. That’s
because there’s something about watching stunts of bodily harm that
holds universal appeal.
As Beauty Day informs us, Zavadil was a man before his time as cable-TV personality Cap’n Video, a David Lee Roth-looking, Jackass-style camcorder prankster who was doing his thing in the mid-1990s, before Johnny Knoxville and the gang even dreamt of getting paid to puke. Director Jay Cheel’s doc opens with footage of the Cap’n’s apparently most notorious stunt, in which he jumps from atop a very tall ladder onto the cover of his swimming pool.
Or at least that’s what he intended to do. The ladder wasn’t properly stabilized and ... well, y’know, physics is one mean em-effer. I mean, Zavadil still hit the cover ... but only after hitting the cement, breaking his neck in the process. It’s a miracle he survived.
But he did, and the film spends time with the chain smoker reminiscing about those good ol’ days of walking through an automated car wash, snorting raw eggs, eating a homemade pie of Cool Whip and dog hair, sledding off his roof, lighting his face on fire, skiing on clothesline, and licking chocolate sauce off a puppy. Hey, it was for Easter.
Zavadil claims he wasn’t doing it to be famous; instead, “It's just being a fucking nutbar and being the nutbar in everyone.” And yet, the back half of the movie follows him attempting to revive Cap’n Video for a 20th-anniversary special.
Cheel certainly found a ready-and-willing subject in Zavadil, an individual — boy, is he ever! — who has no problem saying what’s on his mind, whether about the past, present or future. Oft-spoken is a phrase from which Beauty Day takes its title — one that is out-of-context odd and not entirely indicative of the mild mayhem contained within.
Cap’n Video had a small, but loyal audience in his original run, but his profile should expand as this entertaining documentary spreads and streams. —Rod Lott