Television provided most of the releases this week, and that is a good thing . The fact is, TV has been cranking out quality entertainment that depends on better writing than the movies, and that is in evidence this week.
“Hatfields and McCoys” — The mini-series deserves a comeback after seeing what Kevin Reynolds did by stretching this famous story over three nights. Historically, they fail to dot all of the I’s, but at least they provide an atmospheric tale based in Appalachia. Reynolds redeems his work on “Water World” here, and also makes good use of Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the titular patriarchs. The film begins with their friendship and shared experience during the Civil War. Things heat up when they return to their respective sides of the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. Economics play a big part in the start of this feud, and that makes the story even more relevant today. Great stuff.
“Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Volume 25” — The satellite of love is once again on DVD, with four classic episodes that find the Bots riffing their way through Hollywood’s worst. The best one here is from south of the border. “Samson vs. the Vampire Women” turns out to be a Santo flick in which the wrestler grapples with the titular creatures. This has some atmospheric photography but is otherwise pretty flat until the robots start cutting it to shreds.
“ATM” — A young couple is trapped in a bank vestibule by a mysterious figure in this urban horror yarn. Pretty good, for this type of movie, and featuring a lead role for Josh Peck (“Drake and Josh”). Roomier than watching Ryan Reynolds squirm round in a coffin for 90 minutes.
“Wolverine” — Animated superhero adventures don’t get much better than this manga-styled flick about the wildest X-Man. Here they adapt Frank (“300” and “Sin City”) Miller’s 1980s Wolverine special that saw him travelling to Japan to take on the underworld. Sort of superhero noir, with some bloody battles and dramatic confrontations.
Next week is all about the kids with the release of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.”