New Releases for Tuesday, September 4, 2017
Directed by: Alain Desrochers
Run time: 92 minutes
The Lowdown: It’s been 22 years since Antonio Banderas blazed across the screen as writer-director Robert Rodriguez’s titular El Mariachi in Desperado, one of the best pulp action movies from the 1990's.
Seeing Banderas now relegated to discount bin fare like Security is sad, but despite the film’s pilfering of Die Hard, and with an over-the-top assist from Ben Kingsley, the former action icon stills has some gas left in his tank when it comes to cracking heads with style.
Banderas plays a former military soldier struggling to find employment and provide for his estranged wife and child. When he jumps at a minimum-wage, graveyard shift mall security job, you know it’s only a matter of time before the poop hits the fan.
Banderas is aging well, and the years since his heyday (and likely living with Melanie Griffith) has given his face a weathered, weary determination befitting this role.
The basic plot is pure silliness: A young girl arrives distraught, banging on the locked mall doors, begging for help. Almost immediately, a slew of dark vehicles arrives with Kingsley’s campy crime boss in tow. Give us the girl, he says, and everyone in the mall gets to live.
Of course, you know what the answer will be. A big, fat middle finger.
Banderas rallies the rag-tag group of security castoffs and orchestrates a military-level response once Kingsley’s henchmen breach the mall’s inadequate security. From there, the body count rises, a few annoying supporting characters get a moment of redemption and Banderas does what we expect – he kicks ass and kills bad guys.
If you can turn off your brain, Security is a fun, if feather-weight, slice of action entertainment. You keep hoping it will elevate to a cult classic, but you’re not thoroughly disappointed when it falls short.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No. Gore – Gun violence.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Ben Kingsley, doing his best Hans Gruber.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Mr. Mom: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory, 91 minutes, PG, Blu-Ray): As far as early Michael Keaton roles go, I will always choose Bill Blazejowski in Night Shift as my all-time favorite, but it was his turn in 1983’s Mr. Mom as Jack Butler that won over the collective heart of American audiences.
Watching Mr. Mom today, though, you can’t help but notice that the film’s depiction of family politics, workplace politics and non-traditional gender roles feels incredibly dated.
Did we really find it hysterical to watch a grown man so outmatched in a war with a washing machine?
Martin Mull is still fantastically skeevy as Ron, the new boss of Jack’s wife Caroline (the always great Teri Garr), but his overt sexual harassment and complete disregard for Caroline’s abilities as a working female professional no longer feel as funny in the age of Weinstein.
Mr. Mom is a time-capsule classic, meaning it exists to remind us of how far society has come in the 21st century and also that Keaton, regardless of the role, never failed to entertain, even when he was faced with simply defeating mundane household chores.
The Ghoul (Arrow Video, 85 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Co-produced by Ben Wheatley, and written-and-directed by Gareth Tunley, The Ghoul is as unsettling as it is clinically calculated and methodical. Tom Meeten is fantastic as Chris, a homicide detective haunted by his own demons, who goes undercover as the patient of a psychotherapist’s patient to try and solve a grisly double murder. As Chris loses himself in his investigation, viewers are asked to discern between two queasy possibilities: Chris is criminally insane, or we’re being fed an unreliable narrative that’s essentially one long red herring. This isn’t a title you’re likely to revisit, but for a one-time watch, it’s an effective, and chilling, neo-noir.
A Dark Song (Shout! Factory, 100 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): A Dark Song toys with greatness, and delivers several extended sequences of pure horror gold, in telling the tale of Sophia and Joseph – a distraught mother unable to accept the ritualistic killing of her child, and the flawed occultist she enlists to help her perform a dangerous ritual in an effort to exorcize her personal demons. Catherine Walker and Steve Oram are fantastic as Sophia and Joseph, and writer-director Liam Gavin wisely keeps his camera laser-focused on them as they navigate the preparation and possible ramifications of using dark magic to summon forth some closure for Sophia. This one comes highly recommended.
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