Blu-ray Today: Cheerleaders Die, Holmes Gets Private, and a Dick Samurai



All Cheerleaders Die – The original ACD is a movie almost nobody has seen, though I still have a VHS copy of it somewhere: a no-budget zombie movie shot on video by then-recent USC alumni Chris Sivertson and Lucky McKee. Both went on to solo directorial careers: Lucky with May and The Woods, and Chris with The Lost and I Know Who Killed Me. It may be a sign of how rough the marketplace is for indie horror that they rejoined to remake their first feature, and it feels, creatively, like a step back. There are a lot of plot threads going on in this movie about a spurned high school girl who wants to avenge her friend’s accidental (?) death by infiltrating the cheerleading squad and ruining them – only for them all to wind up as undead flesh-eaters thanks to some magic glowing stones. But there’s too much unnecessary soap-opera stuff for what needs to be a simpler premise, and the film’s blatant set-up for a sequel at the end all but acknowledges there are more loose ends here than could be handled in one movie.

if there ends up being an ACD trilogy, this likely won’t matter…but as a stand-alone, it’s frustrating.

Sabotage – Old man Arnold Schwarzenegger teams up with Sam Worthington and Terrence Howard for an ensemble movie about a DEA team who steal some money, only to find themselves getting picked off one by one. I want to see this. I need to believe Arnie can be as hilarious as he once was while pretending to be a human being.

Transcendence – I was more positive than most when it came to this sci-fi thriller in which a dying Johnny Depp gets his brain mapped onto an A.I. that then intends to perfect the planet. Is he going to wipe out all of humanity, or will his forced utopianism actually work? I like the way the dilemma plays out, but you may well not.

Applessed: Alpha – In this CG-animated prequel to the prior Appleseed movies, odd couple Deunan (a mercenary prone to wearing outfits that point to her breasts) and Briareos (her ex-lover’s brain awkwardly inside a robot body) negotiate post-apocalyptic terrain to get out of a deal with demonic robot criminal Two Horns, only to run afoul of a fascist cyborg named Talos. Though the animation doesn’t surpass PlayStation 4 levels, the battles are more fun to look at than in most DTV actioners.

Godzilla vs. Megalon – It’s tag team action when the big G teams with giant robot Jet Jaguar to take on Gigan and Megalon, monsters controlled by an undersea race fed up with us pesky humans testing nukes over their heads. They kinda have a point, but something tells me Godzilla wins anyway.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes – Billy Wilder’s satirical take on the great detective, featuring Christopher Lee as smarter brother Mycroft. Alas, while this film is famously missing some footage, none of it seems to have been found or restored as yet.

Ginger Snaps – Cult classic female werewolf movie that I need to see, which spawned at least two sequels and is being reissued with new interviews and extras. Harry Knowles raved about it when it came out, which means absolutely nothing, though I thought it did at the time.

Dom Hemingway – This movie came out already? Jude Law as a cockney criminal, or something.

Shogun – Acclaimed ’80s miniseries in which Richard Chamberlain tries to become the first caucasian samurai. Tom Cruise learned something from this, I think, though Chamberlain had the benefit of Toshiro Mifune, and Orson Welles narrating.

Insomnia – That movie Christopher Nolan remade that one time, that was kind of like live-action Frogger.

Those are my picks for this week – what are yours?