Mill Creek released several noteworthy Blu-ray releases on Tuesday, most of which were re-issues, but The Legend of Billie Jean makes its high-def debut. Those of you that are familiar with this film, or its practically non-existent home video presence, will realize immediately how big of a deal it is to have this film released to the Blu-ray format. The Legend of Billie Jean has always been an eighties favorite of mine. A lot of really cool movies came out during the decade, but this one always stood out. It could be that it got away with being as dark as it is, even with a PG-13 rating, or it could be it is one of Helen Slater’s few, and very best roles. I know, I know, Supergirl, The Secret of My Success, blahblahblahblah, but I genuinely consider this to be the seminal Helen Slater role. It doesn’t hurt that it has a soundtrack that deserves to be ranked among probably the top 10 movie soundtracks of all time. Mix in an intelligent, dark and seductive script, extremely interesting characters and countless horror and genre references, and you have a recipe for badassery. The Legend of Billie Jean just barely even made it to DVD, being released just a couple of years ago, and on a MOD(Manufactured-on-demand) disc to boot, regardless of how vanilla this Blu-ray release is, I still feel it is an important day in home video history.
The last thing she ever expected was to become a hero…
“Fair Is Fair” Edition
“Billie Jean is Rambo, the Pied Piper and Pat Benatar all rolled into one Botticelli blonde” – People Magazine
When local rich kid Hubie Pyatt (Barry Tubb) steals and wrecks Binx Davy’s beloved motor scooter, Binx’s older sister, Billie Jean (Helen Slater), demands the $608 it costs to fix it. Binx (Christian Slater) shoots Mr. Pyatt (Richard Bradford) by accident and he and Billie Jean flee town accompanied by Billie Jean’s girlfriends, Ophelia (Martha Gehman) and Putter (Yeardley Smith). They become fugitives and when they pick up a very willing hostage, Lloyd (Keith Gordon), they become criminals. Billie Jean becomes a legend in her own time, a symbol of freedom to teenagers everywhere!
Also Available From Mill Creek Entertainment:
It seems that I went to great lengths to scrub Anaconda from my memory. I knew that it was made, and I knew that I had seen it, but beyond that I couldn’t tell you any specifics, other than the fact that there was Ice Cube mugging for the camera, and a big ass, poorly-rendered CGI snake. Yeah, I know that some of the closeup scenes are of a puppet, but in every action scene, the CGI is so bad that I can’t even believe this movie made it into the theaters at one point. Take a piece of advice from me. If you don’t remember liking this movie the first time you watched it, you’re going to dislike it even more this time around. The only reason to even consider sitting through Anaconda again if you’re not a fan of the film, is to listen for every time that Ice Cube overemphasizes a random word within a sentence, and because you get to see J-Lo’s nipples through her braless wife-beater.
When you can’t breathe, you can’t scream!
“A slick, scary, funny creature feature…” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight
A documentary film crew headed by anthropologist Steve Cale (Eric Stoltz) and director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) travel down the Amazon River in search of a mysterious Indian tribe. On their journey they save a man, Paul Sarone (Jon Voight), from a sinking boat. He offers to help in their search for the tribe, but he is actually a snake-hunter looking for the legendary Anaconda snake. When an accident leaves Cale unconcious, Sarone takes charge of the boat, leaving the rest of the crew in grave danger.
Flatliners is another reissue, and also another personal favorite. Flatliners was technically released in 1990, but as far as I’m concerned it still qualifies as an eighties film. It was produced in the last part of the decade, and it retains all of the flare of the era, with a touch of that confused, new-decade sensibility that some films in the first couple of years of the nineties maintained. I honestly can’t believe that there are so many people that have never seen this one. Even my mother, aunt, grandmother etc were all huge fans of this film when it was released. I’m almost certain that’s how I came to see it when it reached home video, because my mother brought it home from the video store. I immediately made a VHS dub of the film, and revisited it quite often. The cast of this film, for the time, was almost unrivaled. Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and William Baldwin were all at the top of their game when this was produced, and their professionalism translates into solid performances, in a dark, funny, seductive and haunting – if not a little preachy – mixture of scientific analysis and spiritual belief.
Some lines shouldn’t be crossed.
“Flatliners is an original, intelligent thriller” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon
Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure.
And finally, another SONY reissue, we have the Mill Creek Blu-ray release of Last Action Hero. This film, one could say, was way ahead of its time. Sure, it wasn’t the first meta film, but it certainly predates Scream, and most other popular examples of that style of film. This is a lot of people’s favorite Schwarzenegger film, I have learned recently. I remember liking it quite well, but this isn’t a film that I watched more than a time or two. In fact, I pretty much forgot it even existed until very recently. So, when I saw that Mill Creek were reissuing the disc soon, I reached out and asked if I could receive a copy for review, and I’m glad I did. I probably enjoyed revisiting Last Action Hero more than I enjoyed it the first time that I watched it. Granted, it’s not a super-violent, profanity-laced Schwarzenegger film, but for a PG-13 “big kids” film, it gets away with quite a lot. The language is quite coarse for the type of film it is, and the violence, while not bloody at all, is huge, and well choreographed. It’s purposefully over-the-top, and filled with references to Schwarzenegger’s previous works. To sum it up in just a few words, Last Action Hero is just a fun film to watch.
He’s Mean . . . And He’ll Blast Through Your Screen! Now In High-Definition!
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) knows the first three Jack Slater movies by heart and the fourth one is just about to be released. With the aid of a magical ticket, Danny gets to know the latest movie really well, literally speaking. While watching the opening action sequence during an advance screening, Danny is transported right into the movie! While on the other side of the silver screen, Danny becomes the sidekick of Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the toughest cop on the police force. Complications arise while Jack and Danny are working on the case, when one of the bad guys gets ahold of Danny’s magic ticket and escapes out of the movie into the real world. Now Danny and his hero Jack Slater must chase the arch villain in the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win!