The Age Of Adaline – Blake Lively stars in this intriguing romantic drama about a woman who stopped aging at 29 and shuts herself off from the world until she falls in love and has to come out of her self-imposed exile. Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker co-star as the parents of her romantic interest, and the cast is one of the things that makes this film enjoyable. I really like Blake Lively, and I think she does a pretty good job of carrying a film here. There’s also a little bit of a twist (hinted at in the trailer, sadly) that makes things interesting. It’s not a revolutionary film any any means, but the film has charm and some humor and overall I enjoyed it.
Gotham: Season 1 – It took me several episodes to warm up to Gotham, but I eventually found myself hooked. In theory, the show’s concept is fantastic: a prequel to the Batman mythos, the storyline focuses on a young Lieutenant Jim Gordon (eventually to become Commissioner Gordon) in the time after Batman’s parents were murdered, as he tries to bring justice to a lawless city. The show incorporates future villains like The Penguin (one of the show’s breakout characters), Catwoman, The Riddler and several others, all in pre-super villain guise. The show has some flaws; it doesn’t quite capture the world of Batman the way I think a lot of fans see it, but it gets better as it goes along and is a fun new take on a familiar legend.
Supernatural: Season 10 – I’ve been a fan and a champion of Supernatural since the very first episode. For ten seasons now I’ve been proclaiming my love for what I consider one of the single greatest TV shows of the past couple of decades. It almost gets a little tiresome, actually, continually having to try to convince people what they’re missing out on. But, of course, I don’t give up, because Supernatural is such a great show. With a few major shake-ups to the show and some neat novelty episodes, Season Ten was as sharp as ever. Supernatural remains one of my favorite shows on TV. How many shows can make that claim?
Wes Craven’s Shocker – I know not many people will rank this as one of Craven’s best movies, and it’s probably not, but I have a real soft spot for it. It’s one of the very first horror movies I ever saw in theaters, and I loved it. It was that perfect blend of being a good horror movie without being so scary as to keep me up at night, and I loved the humor in it. When Horace Pinker (played by a pre-X-Files Mitch Pileggi) and Peter Berg’s Jonathan go hopping through TV channels, it’s true creative genius. This is one that I think a lot of people should either revisit or check out if they’ve never seen it.
Crystal Lake Memories: Complete History of Friday the 13th – This six-hour plus documentary is actually better than some of the Friday the 13th movies themselves. Inspired by a book of the same name, this in-depth making-of spectacular looks at the creation of each and every film in the franchise, and features interviews with dozens of key players from the films, including original director Sean S. Cunningham and actors Corey Feldman, Robert Englund, Alice Cooper, Betsy Palmer, Erin Gray, and Kane Hodder, as well as the late Wes Craven. And that’s just a few of the people interviewed; almost anybody who ever had a scene in a an F13 movie is represented here. The director’s previous film was Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, which was another superb horror franchise documentary. Here’s hoping he tackles the Halloween films next.
The Goldbergs: Season Two – Set squarely in the ’80s and with a comedy dynasty cast that includes George Segal and Wendi McLendon-Covey (one of the most underrated comedy actresses today), The Goldbergs is a lot of fun. It’s a funny, goofy sitcom that anyone can enjoy, but for those of us who grew up in the ’80s, there’s an extra slice of funny watching all of the things we know and love reappear in the TV screen. This isn’t one of those shows that’s particularly deep or sentimental, but it will make you laugh — out loud and often.
Also available this week on Blu-ray & DVD:
- American Heist – What is marketed as a big-action heist movie is really a drama about two brothers who can’t quite stay on the right side of the law. Adrien Brody turns in his typical A+ performance as an ex-con loser trying to hit the big time (a nice change up from his usual roles) and Hayden Christiansen plays his brother who’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow. Christiansen apparently took some acting lessons, because he’s actually pretty good here. The film is slow but it’s not bad; if you’re looking for a movie that wants to be The Town but isn’t quite there, this will fit the bill nicely.
- Blue Bloods: The Fifth Season – I’m a huge Tom Selleck fan, and I have been since I was a kid, so of course I was going to watch Blue Bloods. And with a supporting cast that includes Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynihan, and Will Estes — all actors I like — I assumed this show would be a slam dunk. And it isn’t; at least not quite. Instead, five seasons in, it remains a very solid cop drama, with relationships at the heart of it, but ultimately, I can’t get passionate about the show. I’m not sure what it is, either. The quality of the writing and the acting is very good, and the production values are good, but I never feel like this is must-see TV for me. Still, fans of the show get a good fifth season, with a few new storylines along to keep things interesting.
- Haven: Season 5, Volume 1 – As a science fiction fan, I always look forward to any efforts in serial television from SyFy. Early on, Haven seemed like an interesting enough show to watch. Described as a cross between Twin Peaks and The X-Files, I figured it had to be good for some typical sci-fi fun, right? Well, that’s exactly what it started out as, playing out exactly like a cross between Eureka and Warehouse 13: a very typical genre/cop-hybrid show. That being said, the show has certainly evolved over the past three seasons, developing a central mystery and recurring overarching themes. It’s certainly entertaining enough, and if you long for new X-Files episodes, this might fill in a part of that void (although it’s certainly isn’t as good as The X-Files). The lead actors are charismatic and the overarching mystery is tantalizing, and while it took me a while to warm up to this show, I have become a fan.
- The Editor – This fun horror film pays tribute-slash-sends up the Italian giallo horror films of the ’70s. It’s filled with blood and gore, nudity, and plenty of horror cliches. It even features purposefully off-kilter audio and little touches like that to really make it feel like you’re watching a ’70s Italian horror film. Even if you’re not familiar with the giallo genre, this neo-giallo entry will be a good introduction to it for you.
- When Calls The Heart: Heart And Home – How many books has Janette Oke written? Because I can count at least a dozen TV movies based on them. In fact, I’m not sure why this series isn’t just a weekly show instead of a series of TV movies, as they come out so often. When Calls The Heart: Heart and Home is the latest in the series, and it stars Erin Krakow, Lori Loughlin and Jack Wagner. I’ve said this before, but you don’t see a lot of romances where one of the main characters is a Canadian Mounty. Well, in this case you do. It’s pretty typical Hallmark fare, but I imagine the target audience will enjoy it.
- Hill Street Blues: Season 6 – Once in a great while a television show will come along that defines a genre, and Hill Street Blues was one of them. Although it wasn’t the first police drama, it certainly was one of the first of its kind to add the element of gritty realism to the genre. Following Hill Street Blues there were a variety of imitations; many of them were good in their own right, but you can thank Hill Street Blues for later police dramas like Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacey, T.J. Hooker, NYPD Blue, The Shield and even to some extent, the CSI shows. Hill Street Blues: Season Six is the latest single season collection and fans will be thrilled to see it. While it may not be as cutting edge or racy as many of today’s television shows, Hill Street Blues is as sharp as they come.
- American Experience: Blackout – In the 1970s, there was blackout in New York City during the Summer of Sam that resulted in chaos, looting, and destruction like the city had never seen. This engaging documentary looks back at the events and also provides interviews with a number of people who lived through it all. It’s quite an interesting look back at a major event that is mostly a footnote for those of us who didn’t live through it.