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Mutant Chronicles (R)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

At a recent horror convention, I picked up a bootleg copy of Mutant Chronicles, a film that I had been excited about since I first read of it two years ago. It had languished so long that I was sure it was never going to be released stateside. (At least that's how I rationalized my little misdeed.) Luckily, Magnolia Home Entertainment has taken the reins and finally released a special director's cut, and my opinion holds: This is one of the best movies of the year! Maj. Mitch Hunter (Thomas Jane) leads a crew of soldiers, in the year 2707, against a plague of evil, mutated humans mindlessly bent on killing everything in sight. The set, character and vehicle designs, with their steam-punk look, make this rise above the typical sci-fi dreck of the day, combining with an enthralling story for an absolute must-watch. — Louis Fowler

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Surveillance (R)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

Director Jennifer Lynch is, like her dad David, totally demented. In a good way. Her second feature is slow-boil sinister, delivering the kind of simmering menace that few films bother to take the time for these days. Two FBI agents (Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond) arrive in Middle America to investigate a serial-killing spree, and the evil they encounter is so banal (until, shockingly, it isn't) as to feel a tad underpowered. Though that's not necessarily bad, thematically speaking. Pullman and Ormond, around whose work the film swirls, are astonishing in complex roles, and the film is well worth a look for their performances, as well as for Lynch's mastery of pacing. Extras include deleted scenes, an alternate ending — though it's hard to conceive of anything more perverse than what we get — commentary by Lynch and more. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Spring Break (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Sean S. Cunningham, as much as he probably hates it, is best known as the director of the original Friday the 13th, which set a precedent for horror-loving teens. In 1983, he made the forgettable college sex comedy Spring Break, which tried to set a precedent for horny teens. It's utterly harmless fluff with virtually no plot. Two unappealing dorks and two unappealing studs find themselves sharing a motel room in Fort Lauderdale. After multiple belly-flops and wet T-shirt contests, the four guys pool their efforts to take on a greedy politician and his henchmen who are trying to shut down their beloved motel, all the while posing and preening in thongs. The most amazing thing about this movie is all the latent, Speedo-induced '80s homoeroticism, something I'm sure is still a time-honored spring break tradition. — Louis Fowler

  • Mutant Chronicles, Surveillance, Spring Break

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