Acting is a tough gig. You go up for auditions trying to score a part, and you fail left and right. Even when you find success, you can feel locked into a certain role because that’s what people expect of you. In A Woman, a Part, writer-director Elisabeth Subrin’s feature debut, we get the tale of an actress stuck in a rut who goes back to her New York digs for some rest and relaxation. What she discovers is not at all what she expected.
In the 1970’s, blaxploitation films were a dime a dozen. Covering such diverse topics as gangsters, kung fu, and vampiric comedy, these low-budget flicks combined sex and violence to give audiences around the world a perspective not catered to by the milquetoast output of holiday. Although at first glance, Joe Bullet appears unremarkable, this South African film was banned in 1973 after only two theatrical screenings by the apartheid government in part due to its all-black cast. It remained unseen until a print in someone’s garage was digitally restored by Gravel Road Distribution Group and sent on the film festival circuit in 2014. This DVD release comes from The Film Detective.
Video game documentaries are a dime a dozen this days. Quite often they are about people in their 40’s trying to reclaim their high scores from arcade games they were good at as a kid (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters; Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler). Double Fine Adventure mixes things up by focusing on what happens when well respected game developer Double Fine decides to fund a game through Kickstarter. We watch the zaniness ensue through its 724 minute (!) runtime spread across 20 episodes.
Grief for a dying family member can be a challenging thing. One must cope with their emotions while carrying on the trials and tribulations of their normal day to day life. Taking care of a relative who was once vibrant goes steadily downhill, their once cogent memories adrift in a sea of madness. It’s a hard chapter in anyone’s life. Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre tries to illustrate this by veering between scenes of broad comedy and tender drama. This structure makes the whole flick a little tough to swallow.
Shout Factory’s horror label Scream Factory is at it again with this Blu-ray/DVD release of the 1985 cult horror flick Hellhole. What starts out as a rote slasher turns into a lurid women in prison sanitarium feature with more than a little camp. You’re either going to love it or hate it… There’s no middle ground on this kind of picture. As tends to be the case with these releases, the special features are slim but better than nothing.
Scream Factory delivers another oddball horror double feature with their recent release of two motion pictures on one Blu-ray, Destroyer and Edge of Sanity. Although the back of the box highlights Anthony Perkins being in both movies, it should be noted he has a supporting part in the former and plays the lead in the latter. Both flicks are late entries in Perkins’ career, coming out between the release of Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning. Both films aim for wildly different tones with a moderate degree of success.