Warning From Space is Important, but Not Good [Blu-ray Review]

Two years after Gojira rampaged through Tokyo for the first time in 1954, Warning From Space revisited the city, this time bringing extraterrestrial life to Japan. In the first sci-fi movie produced in color in that country, there’s a slow-build with people spotting UFOs. Then mysterious aliens begin to appear. What they want is a mystery until the end of the first act, when director Kôji Shima takes audiences aboard their starship. 

Before that moment, Shima only shows us the aliens in quick shots, focusing more on the frightened reactions of the people they’re approaching. Once they’re standing in all of their glory, they’re adorable. Paria, as they identify themselves later on, are shaped like starfish with a giant eye on their chest. In the Japanese version of the film, their language sounds identical to the teacher talking in Charlie Brown. It’s translated along the side of the screen in huge letters. They’re not here to invade Earth; they’re here to save it. To that end, the leader of the Paria assumes the human form (despite saying “It has a very large lump in the center of its face”) of a famous dancer, Hikari Aozora (Toyomi Karita). 

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Cold Light of Day Will Chill You [Blu-ray Review]

Fhiona Louise’s first and only feature film, Cold Light of Day, is a lightly fictionalized account of the brutal real life murders of serial killer Dennis Nilsen. It opens with two and half dialogue free minutes. The only sound is something between thunder and music pulsing. It’s presumably a musical window into how Nilsen stand-in Jordan March (Bob Flag from 1984) feels as the police burst into his building, arresting him for the murder of multiple young homeless men. He’s taken into the station, where Inspector Simmons (Geoffrey Greenhill) questions him. 

That interrogation frames the film. March tells Simmons his story, starting a few months before the murder. He’s a civil servant who picks up the much younger Joe (Martin Byrne-Quinn) in a bar. Joe describes himself as “one of life’s no-hopers.” He’s homeless and according to March’s account, cheating on the older man. One of the interesting things about the frame of the interrogation is that the story is coming from March, and so while Joe’s illicit rendezvous with another man in the diner bathroom is staged on screen, it’s more likely a jealous delusion than something that actually happened. March didn’t interrupt them, so there’s no way he could’ve known whether or not they had sex in the bathroom.

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Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula Races onto Blu-Ray

Train to Busan was one of the most buzzed about zombie movies of 2016. Though it hasn’t been getting the same buzz or acclaim, it’s sequel Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is a worthy successor.

The new film picks up four years after the first two films (the other being the darker, animated film Seoul Station). Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) and his brother-in-law Cheol-min (Kim Do-yoon) accept a mercenary mission to travel back into zombie-infested Korea to try to recover a truck full of money. Where the titular train of the first film forced the action into tight spaces, the third lets the characters run, shoot, and drive around an entire zombie-infested city. 

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