It’s a grim week for releases – and we’re not simply talking about the quality of the new films.
“Legion” is an end-of-the-world shocker that primarily takes place in a Mojave Desert diner. It’s just your average sweltering day for the cross-section of Americans who have stopped in to scan the menu and escape the heat. Suddenly, it’s pandemonium. (Don’t you know if you’re eating at a Mojave Desert diner, you are at the end of the world?)
On the side of good is Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), who is on hand to protect a pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palicki of “Friday Night Lights”). Her baby – surprise, surprise – is vital to the future of the human race. (Why do these things always happen in the desert? What’s wrong with the green of Wisconsin?)
GIBSON GRABS A GUN
Mel Gibson picks up a gun once again and heads for the payback trail in “Edge of Darkness.” Here he plays Tommy Craven, a Boston police detective whose daughter was killed by a shotgun blast he believes was intended for him. His investigations lead him to another conclusion. His daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), who was visiting him at the time, may have been in fear of her life. She worked at a technology company and may have stumbled on a secret she wasn’t suppose to know.
The film is directed by Martin Campbell – best known for his James Bond films – who helmed the 1985 British miniseries about a whistleblower that the movie is based on. The new version has been squeezed down from the original, which was a decent, atmospheric mystery.
Gibson, who has been out for revenge since “Mad Max” in 1979, still seeks it as well as anybody on screen. So in that sense, “Edge of Darkness” works in a “Taken” sort of way.
It’s hard to believe that Gibson hasn’t taken up arms in a film since 2000’s “The Patriot,” where he was carrying a Revolutionary War musket, of all things. A couple of nice performances by Ray Winstone and Danny Huston help.
HAWKE, DAFOE VAMP IT UP
If you like stylized vampire movies with a bit of wit, then you’ll enjoy “Daybreakers,” written and directed by Austrian twins Peter and Michael Spierig.
It’s the future, where the undead are the majority. The trouble is they are running out of food and it’s hard to make a living when you’re hungry. The world may be upside down but it has a depressingly familiar look, with people with dead expressions sloughing to work and beggars on the streets praying for a lifeline, a taste of blood.
Ethan Hawke plays Edward, a vampire hematologist looking for a human-friendly solution to the food problem. Willem Dafoe leads a band of human survivalists who claims he has a cure for vampirism. Does Edward bite? If you’re hungry for a vampire flick, “Daybreakers” is not a bad snack.
KEEP IN MIND
If big movies are coming out, then there are always related movies on shelves.
With “Toy Story 3” set for June, Disney has new editions of the first two. Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” coming out Friday, may be a Universal release, but Sony has gone back in the vaults for “The Bandit of Sherwood Forest” (1946), “Prince of Thieves” (1948), “Rogues of Sherwood Forest” (1950) and “Sword of Sherwood Forest” (1960). Mel Brooks fans can look for Blu-ray versions of “History of the World Part I,” “High Anxiety” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” Fans of “Lost’s” Maggie Grace can check out “Malice in Wonderland,” and don’t forget the Blu-ray version of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” the 1979 Roger Corman production featuring the Ramones.