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.
I’m of two minds about the documentary feature Skull World, now available on VOD: On one hand, its subject is not your ordinary, everyday guy who’s been doc’d to death. On the other, why encourage him?
Greg Sommer is a grown adult, yet lives in the basement of his mom’s house with his girlfriend, a blow-up doll. Since high school, he’s operated under the pseudonym of Skull Man, so named for the full mask he dons. His passion appears to be turning cardboard into homemade armor for the ongoing “box wars” he wages against others, but he holds down a day job as a cemetery worker and also has a public-access sketch show on the side, Variety Store TV.
The problem is that while Sommer is undeniably manic, he’s not particularly funny. The times when I laughed were not when he was cracking jokes, which is almost always, but when he was worshiping his terrible taste in music: “I've been rockin' Clutch since 1993. I rock Clutch loud ’n’ proud,” he tells the camera with pride. Later, he pays tribute to other bands while he’s doing push-ups: “This one's for Sepultura! This one's for Fear Factory!”
While watching Skull World, I was reminded of the recent Beauty Day, which is another documentary on another Canadian quasi-celeb / gadabout who doesn’t look before he leaps. The difference is that a fully formed arc exists in the storytelling of Beauty Day, whereas the intermittently entertaining Skull World feels like Justin McConnell (The Collapsed) was capturing footage of a crazy friend, which is the case. It’s quite possible that, given a span of more years, Sommer will do something to merit such a treatment. As is, setting up a “piss box,” a “shit box” and a “puke box” at a party he’s hosting doesn’t cut it.
The energetic film has its moments of greatness, but I think Sommer would be better suited to a short subject. His immaturity wears on the nerves ... or at least I simply don’t possess the enormous amount of patience that McConnell must for his pal. He’s all the better for it. —Rod Lott