A healthy quartet of releases offered heaps of variety to renters who sought a respite from the wacky March weather.
HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 – The popular young adults novels reached their cinematic conclusion with this fast moving sequel that offered plenty of action and payback. This time there are no games as Katnis leads her rebels against the Government’s iron dictator, President Snow. Plenty of thrills and a solid cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Woody Harrelson.
DADDY’S HOME – Lots of laughs here as Will Ferrell plays a step father whose wife’s ex (Mark Walberg) shows up to get back in with his children. Jealousy fuels the action as Ferrell feels compelled to compete with the more athletic Walberg for fear of looking bad in front of his new family.
THE BLACK SLEEP – This oft neglected horror classic finally lands on DVD. It features a whole host of 30’s horror stars in a ghoulish late 50’s romp. Basil Rathbone top lines as a mad scientist who wants to perform brain surgery on his wife. First he needs to practice his wares on several captives that he keeps locked up in his lab. A chilling assembly of genre veterans co-star with roles going to Lon Chaney, Jr. , Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, and Tor(Lobo) Johnson. Not their finest hour but great fun for horror buffs.
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES – All eight seasons are here as Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins star in this sequel series that reunites the characters from the popular film about race relations between law enforcement officers in the south. It turns out to be a fine showcase for O’Connor though Rollins would eventually leave the series. Alan Autry (Southern Comfort) is also very good as Deputy Bubba. The show often tackled social issues while the officers navigated the mean streets of Sparta and solved cases using a combination of lab method and gut instincts. A worthy follow up to the academy award winning film.