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article imageReview: Genre films dominate this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 2, 2020 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a new superhero that inspires hope; an adaptation that blends genres; a series brings together some cinema’s biggest names; and a horror movie that finds multiple ways to scare audiences.
Gundala (Blu-ray)
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Well Go USA
Indonesian orphan Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya) spent his life on the streets trying to attract as little attention as possible, but when greed and violence reach a fever pitch in Jakarta, it soon becomes clear that he is the people’s only hope for peace.
This film is based on the classic Indonesian comic of the same name. Since he was a child, Sancaka has been afraid of thunderstorms, convinced the lightening was out to get him — turns out he wasn’t entirely wrong. Forced to grow up quickly, he’s taught early on that minding his own business is the best mode of survival. However, in a town of rampant crime, he can only turn a blind-eye for so long before finally standing up for the underdog. His fighting skills already make him a formidable opponent, but having unexpected superpowers definitely give him the upper-hand. Even though this evolves into a superhero movie, it begins as a tale of someone who is repeatedly presented with opportunities to help people and be an everyday hero. This origin story picture runs a little long at two hours as Sancaka’s evolution is thoroughly portrayed, but this appears to be the first film in a series and it will be interesting to see the next chapter.
Special features include: behind-the-scenes featurette; production vlogs; and trailers. (Well Go USA)
James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction (Blu-ray)
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RLJE Films
A uniquely intimate look at science fiction's roots, futuristic vision and our fascination with its ideas through interviews by James Cameron with A-list storytellers, stars and other whose careers have defined the field, including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Guillermo Del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver, among many others. Cameron takes us on a journey of discovery and exploration, helping us understand where science fiction's ideas came from — and where they're taking us.
This six-episode series is a fascinating conversation about one of cinema’s most versatile genres. Speaking to some of the industry’s most accomplished filmmakers and performers, Cameron explores how their movies have not only transformed the fictional landscape but also paved the way for films — and innovations — that came later. Each episode focuses on a specific theme: aliens, space, monsters, dark futures, intelligent machines, and time travel, which also happens to be the realm of at least one of the show’s interview subjects. Demystifying the origins of the Star Wars scroll, discussing the nuances of turning the same character from villain to hero, and exploring how some of the films have questioned and/or informed our reality are just some of the subjects covered by Cameron et al.
Special features include: extended interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (RLJE Films)
The Outsider: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, the series follows a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy. When 11-year-old Frankie Peterson’s body is found mutilated in the Georgia woods, police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate with eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a popular high school teacher, Little League coach, doting husband and father. While the case appears ironclad, Ralph is baffled by the emergence of contradictory evidence that places his suspect in a neighboring city at the time of the murder. The mysterious set of circumstances surrounding this horrifying crime leads Ralph, a seasoned cop still grieving the death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.
Adapting King’s work to the big and small screen has always been popular and this is the latest series to bring his work to life. The show begins as a fairly straightforward crime procedural. A series of reliable witnesses and physical evidence build a concrete case against Terry… until the same amount and quality of proof makes it impossible for him to have committed the murder. Holly’s introduction into the narrative is the first indication that whatever is happening may not be easily explained as she herself falls outside the realm of reason. As time goes on, the crime drama is seamlessly merged with a supernatural thriller that tests the characters and their ability to accept the unknown. Excellent performances engage audiences for the length of this 10-episode series, while the narrative keeps them wrapped up in the mystery.
Special features include: “El Cuco. The Baba Yaga. The Outsider”; “Invitation to Set”; “Stephen King and The Outsider”; “Jason Bateman and The Outsider”; “Adapting The Outsider”; “Analyzing Holly Gibney”; and “Inside Episodes 1-10.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Thirteen Ghosts [Collector's Edition] (Blu-ray)
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Scream Factory
A family inherits an elegant steel-and-glass mansion from a deceased relative. The catch is that along with the house comes a slew of ghosts that can be seen only through special goggles. Meanwhile, the house itself is a design marvel and a mysterious puzzle-cube whose eerie corridors, sliding walls, spinning floors and phantasmic fiends may allow no escape.
This remake of the 1960 William Castle haunted-house movie takes the concept to a whole new level. Using a variety of special effects, the house is transformed into a frequently changing maze that separates the family and puts them in the path of a series of deadly, terrifying souls. All of the ghosts are representative of a horrible life and/or death, and it’s reflected in their gory, spectral forms. Rather than rely entirely on the jump scare, the film builds an eerie atmosphere that intensifies as it goes on — a technique director Steve Beck would expand on in his next feature, Ghost Ship. Matthew Lillard brings his frenetic energy to a conflicted character who holds the answers to many questions, while Tony Shalhoub portrays the family’s patriarch and protector.
Special features include: commentary with director Steve Beck; commentary with director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and special makeup effects artist Howard Berger; “Haunted in Canada,” an interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth; “The Voice of Reason,” an interview with actor Matthew Harrison; “Sophomore Spookshow,” an interview with producer Gilbert Adler; “The Juggernaut Speaks,” an interview with actor John DeSantis; “The Hammer Speaks,” an interview with actor Herbert Duncanson; “Thir13en Ghosts Revealed”; “Ghost Files: A Haunted Houseful of Poltergeist Profiles”; TV spots; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)
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