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Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition (PG)

Shout! Factory

Spiders. I hate them, you hate them. Unlike other film stars from the animal world (for instance, penguins), they are not cute or cuddly, but they are virtually guaranteed to make great horror film fodder. And, if that horror film stars legendary cheesemeister William Shatner, how can you go wrong? This 1977 chiller a staple of UHF-TV Saturday afternoons during many a childhood still holds up as a fun, goofy, nature-run-amok, cult classic, with Shatner taking on a horde of tarantulas that have infested a small Arizona town. He's the only one who can save the day when the town's mayor won't listen to him and just shut down the upcoming county fair! Fast-paced like the film's creepy-crawlies, with a brutally nihilistic ending, this is Jaws with eight legs, and on an eighth of the budget! — Louis Fowler

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Pandorum (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

In the mid-'90s, there were many "haunted spaceship" movies, ghostly rip-offs of Alien, with plenty of wet walls, flickering lights and claustrophobic passageways. Failed movies like Supernova, Virus and, to a lesser extent, Event Horizon, crashed and burned upon cinematic re-entry, ensuring that no filmmaker would dare try another ... until now. Pandorum sticks to the blueprint, with the affable Dennis Quaid and the bird-like Ben Foster waking up from cryo-sleep on a seemingly deserted spaceship. The first hour is intriguing and works well as a mystery, but then the cannibal mutants are introduced and the movie all but falls apart. Don't even get me started on the Fight Club-lite twist ending. With wasted potential galore, Pandorum is as lifeless as the ship itself, ambling along with no hope of a rescue party. — Louis Fowler

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Act of God (NR)

Zeitgeist Films

At the risk of sounding like a personal ad cliché, I admit I love watching a good thunderstorm. So when director Jennifer Baichwal's documentary Act of God, was described as a film about "lighting, life and chance," I was intrigued. On the positive side (yes, an electricity pun), the film is worth a watch for its lightning footage alone. It also introduces some interesting characters: a writer who struggles to explain the randomness of a deadly strike, an improvisational musician whose brain is wired to showcase the electrical activity of the human body, a man who experiences a spiritual transformation after being hit by lightning, and others. But in the end, the film can't quite pull all its voices and ideas into a coherent whole, leaving the feeling that the film is as random as the meteorological phenomenon it explores. — Jill Thomas

Inalienable (NR)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Whenever an actor from one of the many Star Trek incarnations goes out on his own and creates some form of science-fiction entertainment, it's often embarrassing — have you read William Shatner's TekWar? Obviously, some are getting by on their Trek credentials, but color me surprised on this one. Chekhov himself, Walter Koenig, delivers this stirring, original film about what makes someone human, no matter their planet of origin. Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch is infected and then impregnated by a meteorite, giving birth to an octopus-like humanoid that captures the attention of America. The event leads to a drawn-out court case that tests the limits of human compassion and societal rejection. Very emotional and very powerful with a shock ending that will make you hate humanity just a little bit more. — Louis Fowler

  • Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition, Pandorum, Act of God, Inalienable

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