Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August '16 Digital Week II

Blu-rays of the Week 
Female Prisoner Scorpion—The Complete Collection
These four cult films following the travails of Scorpion, who after her time in prison vows to get back at the powerful man who sent her to prison (Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion; Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41; Beast Stable; #701’s Grudge Song), were made in a flash in 1972-73, and if that shows in the slightness of the story and characters, there’s so much action and gleeful stylistic flourishes that this set is nothing less than trashy, frenzied fun—not least with the stunning Meiko Kaji in the title role. It’s too bad, however, that the new hi-def transfers are problematic, with some of the colors off, occasionally muting some of the visual excitement. Plentiful extras include interviews new and old, visual essays, appreciations and a lavish booklet.

The Girlfriend Experience
(Starz/Anchor Bay)
The original Girlfriend Experience, which failed to make a mainstream star of porn veteran Sasha Gray in 2009, was one of director Steven Soderbergh’s most disposable works, and that same feeling permeates this inert 13-episode mini-series. Although Riley Keough is far more plausible as a student who becomes an upscale escort for often-loathsome older men, creators Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz never really do much original or interesting with the material, which promises insight and titillation but provides too little of both. The hi-def transfer is first-rate; extras comprise three on-set featurettes.

The Tunnel—Complete 1st Season 
This 2013 French-British remake of the original 2011 Danish-Swedish series The Bridge (which is currently shooting its fourth and last season) is more credible and absorbing than the 2013 American-Mexican dud, also named The Bridge. Stephen Dillane and Clemence Poesy are superbly mismatched—then later, equally well-matched—as British and French detectives who pair up to solve a series of increasingly bizarre and lurid crimes. The 10 intelligently constructed episodes build to a creepy climax. The series looks sumptuous on Blu, and extras are interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

DVDs of the Week
Careful What You Wish For
(Anchor Bay)
In this tepid knockoff of Body Heat, a sleepwalking Nick Jonas plays a young man who has an affair with the impossibly gorgeous young wife of the older rich businessman who takes the vacation home next door to his family. That she is played by the impossibly gorgeous Isabel Lucas is one of several hard-to-believe twists, with my favorite (aside from the twist ending) the quickie the couple has behind the local convenience store just as hubby walks up to the back door to have himself a smoke—but ends up deciding not to.

Dark Diamond 
(First Run)
In Arthur Harari’s twisty and elegantly-shot thriller, a young man decides to avenge his father’s death on the rest of his wealthy, diamond-dealing family by infiltrating the business and plotting the perfect heist. Although Harari doesn’t bother with a subtle approach in this convolutedly plotted thriller, he smartly shows the intricacies of the diamond business just enough to prepare us for the ramifications—personal and moral—when his protagonist’s imaginative revenge slowly but inexorably takes shape.

Meet the Guilbys
(First Run)
In directors-writers Arthur DeLaire and Quentin Reynaud’s meandering road-trip comedy, an occasionally amusing but most often exasperating dysfunctional family travels to attend the mother’s estranged father’s funeral. Although there are nicely understated performances by Isabelle Carre and Stephane de Groodt as the matriarch and patriarch of a brood of mix-and-match stepchildren, after 80 minutes of forced melodramatic whimsy, the whole thing completely dissolves from memory.

No comments: