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article imageReview: New on DVD for October 28 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 28, 2014 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a horror writer’s second directorial feature; a slimy tale not for the squeamish; and the long-awaited reunion with TV’s most beloved DJ personalities.
My Little Pony: The Complete Series (DVD)
Shout Factory
Return to Ponyland, the home of the original classic Little Ponies, including the Earth Ponies, Unicorns, Pegasus Ponies, Flutter Ponies, Sea Ponies, Baby Sea Ponies, their human friends Megan, Danny and Molly and, of course, their dragon friend, Spike. Together, they live a life of games, songs and harmony with allies like the Bushwoolies and Furbobs. But, occasionally, there are problems in Ponyland and the Little Ponies of Paradise Estate must face evil witches, goblins, Stone Backs, Grundles and more.
In 1986 these mystical creatures debuted, capturing the hearts of little girls and spawning an endless line of toys. The small plastic ponies came with hair you could comb and a special line of scratch-n-sniff animals. Rebooting the franchise has generated a new set of male fans known as “Bronies,” but this is where it all started. Over 12 hours and 65 episodes, the overly sweet four-legged creatures have whimsical adventures that include the same sorts of lessons typical of this era in cartoons and apparently appropriate for all ages.
There are no special features. (Shout Factory)
Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut (Blu-ray)
Scream Factory
Boone (Craig Sheffer) may be a troubled young man, but his troubles are just beginning. Set up as the fall guy in a string of slasher murders, he decides he'll hide by crossing the threshold that separates “us” from “them” and sneak into the forbidden subterranean realm of Midian. Boone will live among the monsters.
Needless to say, Clive Barker has a particular style of storytelling. A master of creating bizarre worlds ruled by even weirder supernatural beings, his work in writing and film is generally captivating if not memorable. This picture, adapted from his novel Cabal, features a variety of creatures who are each uniquely derived from Barker's peculiar imagination. The classic battle of good versus evil is turned on its head when it becomes unclear which side actually represents the good. The parallel story of a serial killer initially seems extraneous, but takes on more significant meaning as the narrative continues. While the scripts are interesting, Barker's films focus considerably on the visual effects that are often brought to life by the same team of actors and artists.
Special features include: commentary by writer/director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller; introduction by writer/director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller; “Tribes of the Moon: The Making of Nightbreed”; “Making Monsters”; “Fire! Fights! Stunts! 2nd Unit Shooting”; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)
Plastic (DVD)
Arc Entertainment
A racket of young and gifted white-collar criminals con their way into a luxurious life of other people’s money. But when they inadvertently steal from a sadistic crime boss, they’re on the hook for $2 million in two weeks or their days of wine and plastic are over. The only way they can acquire that much cash is to scheme their way through the most high-stakes heist of their lives.
The caper film is a fast-paced thriller that if done correctly, keeps the viewer guessing until the end. The movie opens by demonstrating how the small crew conducts their business, which consists mostly of credit card theft and extortion. They target wealthy men and steal large sums of money to fund their comparatively extravagant lifestyles. They’re not particularly likeable as any relationship seems to simply be a means to an end. Thomas Kretschmann portrays an excellent villain, able to deliver the severest threats while remaining totally cool. These intimidation tactics and major lapses in judgment lead the group to a $20 million heist of nearly Ocean’s Eleven proportions. The various paths the characters choose to follow are not especially surprising, though some actions do prove more clever than expected. And even though it’s based on a true story, it can be hard to believe some aspects could have taken place — with the most problematic being a bone-headed jeweller’s oversight, which is key to the success of the robbery.
There are no special features. (Arc Entertainment)
The Squad (Blu-ray)
Scream Factory
All contact with a military base high in the desolate wastelands of Colombia has been lost. The authorities — believing the base to have fallen to a terrorist attack — send a nine-man squad to investigate. When they arrive, the men discover a shocking scene of carnage and only one survivor: a mute woman in chains. Gradually the isolation, the inability to communicate with the outside world and the impossibility of escape begin to undermine the sanity of the soldiers. They start to question the identity of their enemy and the true nature of the strange, silent woman. Is she a terrorist? A victim? Or something more sinister? Something supernatural? Paranoia takes root. Prisoners of fear and the terrible secret they share, the men abandon their humanity and turn savagely on one another.
When an army base becomes unresponsive and there's no indication of enemy activity, it's almost always a bad idea to investigate the cause. In this picture it's never really revealed what happened to the men stationed at the facility, though there are several theories. As a result, the only story to follow is the gradual unraveling of the soldiers following their arrival at the empty base. The underground bunker plays a significant role in the narrative, though it's not necessarily positive. The plot goes around in circles, revisiting the same characters trapped in the singular location. The result is unfortunately monotonous with incredibly slow pacing.
Special features include: making-of featurette; and trailer. (Scream Factory)
Squirm (Blu-ray)
Scream Factory
When a powerful storm knocks Fly Creek, Georgia's power lines down onto wet soil, the resulting surge of electricity drives large, bloodthirsty worms to the surface — and then out of their soil-tilling minds! Soon, the townspeople discover that their sleepy fishing village is overrun with worms that burrow into their skin. Inundated by hundreds of thousands of carnivorous creatures, the terrorized locals race to find the cause of the rampage before becoming tilled under themselves.
If you have an aversion to creepy crawlies, it's probably best you avoid this picture. Even though only brief close-ups are shown for the first half of the film, the second half gets pretty icky with thousands of worms executing a mass invasion. It's definitely as ridiculous and gross as it sounds. The most iconic scene from the picture is a man being attacked by the biting worms that burrow only partially into his face. The secondary tale of a city boy's first real experience in the country is exaggerated, but totally in-line with the rest of the movie. Labelled a troublemaker within minutes of arriving in town, few are willing to listen when he begins to peddle his crazy worm theory. This film is the epitome of an '80s creature feature complete with outrageous scenario and gross-out monsters.
Special features include: commentary by writer/director Jeff Lieberman; “Eureka!” discussing the film’s origins; “Digging In”; still gallery; TV spot; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)
WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series (DVD)
Shout Factory
Favourite radio DJs — the rockin' Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) and the soulful Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid) —weave through the inner-office antics of the crazy WKRP staff including the station's steady program director Andy (Gary Sandy), indecisive manager Carlson (Gordon Jump), smarmy advertising executive Herb (Frank Bonner), quirky news man Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), shy ingénue Bailey (Jan Smithers) and, of course, the station's lovely receptionist, Jennifer (Loni Anderson).
Whether you watched the original broadcast or caught the reruns in the years following, the show's memorable characters undeniably survived the test of time. The antics of Johnny Fever and Les Nessman can never be forgotten, whether it's the rock DJ's betterment with inebriation or the stickler's masking tape office walls. And no one will ever forget the group's first Thanksgiving. It took considerably more time to commit this series to home video than others from the same era because of the extensive music rights required from numerous artists. They couldn't convert everyone, but there are more than a few big names still playing on the WKRP airwaves. The show also dealt with serious issues, including race, death, unwanted children, emergency planning and addiction. The series was unexpectedly cancelled after four seasons, never allowing them to resolve the abrupt and unhappy conclusion.
Special features include: “WKRP in Cincinnati: A Paley Center Reunion”; "Do My Eyes Say Yes?"; "A 'Fish Story' Story"; and a conversation with Gary Sandy. (Shout Factory)
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