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Centurion (R)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

The upward swing in cinematic Greco-Roman fetishism starting in 300 and continuing in Spartacus: Blood and Sand reaches its zenith in the fantastically brutal Centurion, directed by under-appreciated wunderkind Neil Marshall (Doomsday). The sole survivor of a raid on a Roman frontier fort, soldier Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender) is caught behind enemy lines in northern Britain, with the savage Pict warriors, led by a wolf-like mute tracker (Olga Kurylenko), hellbent on revenge. They hunt him mercilessly as he crosses treacherous terrain trying to get back to his platoon. It's easy to say there is little to no historical value, but who cares? Swords slash, arrows fly and axes fling nonstop, the stylized bloodplay flowing like freshly tapped grog. It's pure escapist fantasy and one of this year's most entertaining offerings. — Louis Fowler

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Rare Cult Cinema (NR)

Mill Creek Cinema

With 12 movies on three DVDs, the fidelity of the 19 hours of cinema in this set is awful. Of course, lo-fi is the best way to appreciate most of these flicks, produced by Crown International, best known for its far better drive-in exploitation fare like Chain Gang Women and The Van. Most of these flicks are from the bottom of Crown's already bottom-heavy barrel, but seeing Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings in their late '60s heyday (1967's Road to Nashville) would be a treat even if the movie wasn't so hilariously cheap. Meanwhile, 1989's My Mom's a Werewolf (marquee star: Marcia Wallace), 1982's Liar's Moon (with Matt Dillon as, of course, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, and Yvonne De Carlo as a super-campy matron of a boarding house) and 1987's Deathrow Gameshow are treats from the waning days of drive-ins. — Justin Strout

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Not of This Earth (R)

Shout! Factory

Traci Lords, no matter how much she wants to put it behind her, will always be known as the porn actress who rocked the very foundations of the adult industry when it was revealed she had been performing in porn since the age of 16. When finally exposed — pun certainly intended — she capitalized on her newfound mainstream fame and has since had a nice little non-porn film career, starting with Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski's 1988 ultra-campy remake of the 1950s sci-fi classic Not of This Earth. Lords is vampy nurse Nadine, hired by a sunglasses-wearing stranger to provide him with constant blood transfusions. Turns out this guy is an alien and involved in a plot to harvest humans for their sanguinary gifts. A very fun, very funny slice of neon-glowing sci-fi that perfectly epitomizes my late '80s VHS rental history. — Louis Fowler

  • Centurion, Rare Cult Cinema, Not of This Earth

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