All Superheroes Must Die (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Cherry Tree Lane
(2010/Image DVD)/Lake Placid: The Final
Chapter (2012/aka Lake
Placid 4/Sony DVD)/Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season
(2012/E1 DVD Set)
B-/C/C+/C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D/D/D/C Main Program: C-/C-/D/C
some new releases featuring gratuitous sex and violence that don’t always work
years ago, we covered The FP, a
forgettable, self-congratulatory mess about people fighting in a real videogame
world and killing each other. Now, hack
Jason Trost is back with All Superheroes
Must Die (2012, U.K.
title: Vs.), essentially is more or
less the same exact set-up, but this time in a downsized world of costume
superheroes, but with no fun or point despite (again) some potential.
various Watchmen/Kick Ass clones (putting Trost a few
generations away from The Justice Society of America off the bat) wake up in
different places in a small town and find there is something deadly in their
arm and everyone they know is in deadly booby traps. Unfortunately for us, they are the biggest
boobs in recent superhero history and the deadly thing is the script is pure
boredom with pointlessness.
result is people just screaming and fighting and running around or if they are
tied up, screaming in terror (if you can all it that) making one wonder how
this ever got made at all as a villain taunts them from TV sets as if this were
an episode of ElectraWoman &
DynaGirl on crack. This could have
been the next step forward for Trost, but he is stuck in the deep end of genre
hell with more formula and stuck-in-a scenarios than you can count. Like his debut feature, there was potential,
but he has nothing to say or do and this is just sully time, no matter the
illicit appeals to put when supposed friends (badly shown in very fake black
and white flashbacks that also do not work) is inane and embarrassing when it
all ends. The script dies before the
heroes show up.
potentially better is Paul Andrew Williams’ Cherry Tree Lane (2010), a British thriller that quickly turns into
an exploitation piece about a married couple who suffer a violent home invasion
because a group of hoodlums want to get at their son for what might be
something like a bad drug deal or unpaid drug money, but this quickly
deteriorates into a ridiculous stuck-in-a film that borders on torture porn and
has very little suspense.
addition, it trivializes sexual assault, has hints of racism and does not know
how to end all the various things it begins.
That is a shame, because with some concentration and a better script
(this is more serious than All
Superheroes Must Die), this could have worked, but instead has the depth of
a boring police procedural (there are no police here) and all the violence and
histrionics just happen to happen without a narrative to hang on. We have seen much better films on youth crime
in the U.K.
(Michael Caine in the highly underrated Harry
Brown, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site being a prime example)
and it just does not work. At least they
had a good cast.
giant killer crocodiles can you take?
Don Michael Paul’s Lake Placid:
The Final Chapter (2012) is the fourth in a series that should have never
happened and unfortunately continues in one of those series that has you asking
yourself “did they do that many?” The
last one should have been the last one, but sadly is not and you can see how
bad #3 was at this link:
time was not the charm, so the fourth is ridiculous as they were hiding in a
nature preserve (in what feels like an anti-environmental message), but then we
get giant digital crocs with bad, loud digital growls and that is for 90 uncut
minutes with no suspense, hardly any kind of screenplay and again, everything
we have seen before. Robert Englund even
shows up (a reference to Eaten Alive
perhaps?), but that makes not difference.
This is one chapter to skip.
ambitious and watchable release on this list is Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season (2012), which turns out to
be an anthology series that wants to feign Film Noir but is as much about that
as Doctor Zhivago was about the
Russian revolution. Instead, this cable
TV series (on Cinemax) is just an excuse for nonstop female nudity, through
police lesbianism, heterosexual soft core scenes and they throw in some thin
plots on murder, betrayal and twists that are not that great, so Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Roald
Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected have nothing to worry about.
real lack of grasping Noir beyond some imitation shots, each episode is under a
half hour, so when you factor in the nudity, sex and intros and outros by a
sexy woman named Lilith (which we only learn from the credits in each show,
amusing as she can be), there is absolutely no time to tell an actual story, so
the show becomes Red Shoe Diaries
with more murder. The fact that the two
two=parters are the best written of the season further proves this, but the
makers just want to titillate and that might fit the network, but does not lend
itself to much rewatchability.
they get some interesting actors at times and I was surprised by how many were
willing to get so nude and have so much “sex” in each show. The scripts also do not always add up and
some get outright silly. It is enough of
a hit just the same, but they need to get better writing, because I quickly
forgot just about everything when finishing watching it as the makers need to
study up on their anthology shows and forget the Noir intents. See it if you are curious and in any way
surprised by the content.
are more substantive than the shows themselves with audio commentary tracks on
all the episodes, Deleted Scenes, Alternative Scenes, San Diego Comic-Com 2011
Panel on the show, “The White Flower” episode in fake black and white as a so-called
“director’s cut”, amusing Blooper Reel, Photo Gallery and several making of
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Die has motion blur, definition issues, color limits, mixed
lighting and is a digital shoot that can be sloppy and badly edited. This is not a style choice, though the style
chosen is only so effective and when you add degraded pseudo-black and white
images, it is not very memorable either.
Still, that manages to look better than the anamorphically enhanced 1.78
X 1 image on the softer DVDs, but Tree
is even softer than it should look and the rest of the productions here for
some odd reason.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Die is towards the front speakers, badly recorded, has location
audio issues throughout and is poor for a new release. All three DVDs feature lossy Dolby Digital
5.1 mixes that can actually match the Blu-ray’s DTS and though they do not have
great soundfields, rarely engage their surrounds, have weak soundfields and are
even are too much towards the front speakers (being dialogue-based at times is
not excuse) disappoints. Wonder if they
would sound better in lossless presentations?
- Nicholas Sheffo