by Mike Pomaro, Adam Riske and JB
Amazon Prime Video)
47 Meters Down (2017, dir. Johannes Roberts) A strong entry into the shark movie subgenre from the director of the even better (and previously recommended) The Strangers: Prey at Night. 47 Meters Down throws enough new obstacles at the characters and the audience so that the brief sub-90 minutes runtime goes by rather quickly. The film is operating on a low budget, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice as the shark effects are effective and realistic looking enough (likely because most of the time you see them underwater and not jumping out of the water). What has kept this movie in my memory is the third act. It doesn’t offer the (wo)man vs. shark thrills of The Shallows or Jaws, but instead opts for something smaller, muted and haunting. (Watch on Netflix)
Boy, this one takes me back! In the nascent years of home video, if you were sick of bleary transfers (My friend Chuck used to call VHS “Fuzzyvision.”) and cropped compositions, LaserDisc was your only alternative. When the Criterion Collection burst on the scene, home video came of age with letterboxing, bonus content, and audio commentaries. For a limited time, FilmStruck is streaming the original King Kong WITH THE FIRST COMMENTARY EVER RECORDED FOR A HOME VIDEO RELEASE.
The film, of course, is a home run, and one of the greatest horror films ever made. Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) takes Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and a ragtag group of filmmakers and sailors on an ocean voyage to make an adventure film and gets a lot more than he bargained for ...
How great is Ronald Haver’s commentary? When I bought my first LaserDisc player in 1987, I also purchased two discs: The Criterion Kong and the Criterion Singin' in the Rain. Haver does commentary on both. I still have them. (Watch on FilmStruck)
Newspaper reporter Audrey Aimes (Peggie Castle) discovers giant grasshoppers bred as a university experiment. Besides trying to save the world, Audrey also meets cute and falls in love with bug scientist Ed Wainwright (Peter Graves). This film features some of the most ridiculous special effects ever put on film. When the grasshoppers attack Chicago (SPOILER ALERT) it looks like real grasshoppers simply jumping around on PHOTOGRAPHS of famous Chicago landmarks. You have to see it to believe it.
Netflix is offering the MST3K version of the film, all the better to recreate for yourself the atmosphere at that “Insect Fear Film Festival” all those years ago. (Watch on Netflix)