One long awaited blockbuster is set to hit the shelves but it will also leave room for some other imaginative treats with renters being the big winners for a change.
STAR WARS : THE FORCE AWAKENS – JJ Abrams delivers a solid sequel to the franchise that is set thirty years after the events depicted in ‘the Return of the Jedi.” The film opens with things going poorly in the wake of anew empire calling itself ‘The First Order.” A pair of youngsters the daughter of space traders and a renegade Storm Trooper) opt to fight back and get help from returning heroes Han and Princess Leia. There are a ton of excellent action sequences and plenty of humor, drama ,and chills as the characters unite with the established ones to take on a new villain who has stepped out the shadow of Darth Vader. Great stuff thanks to a smart script by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan(The Empire Strikes Back).
THE HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION VOLUME 2 – here you get six chillers from the studio that helped launch Peter Cushing ,Christopher Lee , Oliver Reed and countless others in the 60’s by revitalizing the old monster formula. This is a fine introduction to the studio and offers cave man action in “Creatures the World Forgot,”a thriller or two such as ‘Die, Die My Darling ” with Donald Sutherland and Stefanie Powers. The set also features Cushing returning as the title character in ‘The Revenge of Frankenstein.”There is also a chilling tale of town torn apart by a series of assaults on children(Never Take Candy From a Stranger) and an old fashioned murder mystery, ‘The Snorkel.”
THE EXPANSE – Space opera fans will dig the first season of this series that debuted on the SYFY Channel. The story comes from a popular series of novels by James Cory and depicts an unstable future where earth has conquered space but fallen into a bitter rivalry with colonists who have settled on Mars as well as blue collar workers who slave away at space stations. They all turn on each other as a mysterious force awakens that attacks a space ship and a mining facility drawing in a renegade mining crew and a hardboiled detective.
THE TELL-TALE HEART – Edgar Allen Poe’s famous story about guilt is relocated to modern New Orleans in this feature that stars Rose McGowan. Unfortunately this is a trite take on the material that finds a murderer repeatedly checking into a hospital to escape the voices in his head after he murders another.
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.