The Idolmaker, The Odd Angry Shot, Sharknado 


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The Idolmaker (PG) (Blu-ray)

Shout! Factory

In a parallel universe, on another Earth, 1980's The Idolmaker was a huge cult musical hit and as I write this, fans are dressing up as Vincent, Tommy Dee and Caesare, re-enacting the songs, the dancing and the overwrought dramatic set-pieces. Unfortunately, on this Earth it was relegated to mild obscurity. Based loosely on the life of '50s rock impresario Bob Marcucci, Vincent Vacarri (the late Ray Sharkey) is a songwriter who wants to make it big but recognizes the superficiality of the pop music world and instead finds pretty-boy heart-throbs to deliver his words and music, which take them to the top of the charts. Directed by Academy Award winner Taylor Hackford, The Idolmaker isn't the oddity people make it out to be; it's very much a brilliant tribute to the early days of rock 'n' roll, when good looks were king and the music was usually secondary. Come to think of it, not much has really changed. — Louis Fowler

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The Odd Angry Shot (NR) (Blu-ray)

Synapse Films

Over the past 25 years, America has been the No. 1 exporter of movies about Vietnam, the loss of innocence and the uselessness of that much-maligned war. From Apocalypse Now to Platoon to We Were Soldiers, every decade has managed to cover every cinematic aspect of Vietnam with little to no emphasis on other countries that teamed with us to take down the commies. That is what makes this 1979 film all the more compelling and important, focusing on the Australian effort and the casualties its soldiers suffered. The movie spotlights a tough unit of newbies who, through a constant barrage of practical jokes, cold beer and card games, think they are invincible. When the bombs go off and the bullets start flying, reality sets in and the film takes a bleaker, darker turn as these soldiers come face-to-face with their mortality. It's a Vietnam film unlike any other you've ever seen. — Louis Fowler

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Sharknado (NR)

The Asylum

From Ray Harryhausen to Troma, the cinematic platter is rich with delectable cheese. The Syfy channel's original movies have carried on the tradition, each outing more outrageous and more easily encapsulated by its title. There was 2004's Dinocroc and Mansquito the following year; even the master of schlock, Roger Corman, got into the game with 2007's Supergator. But this year's Sharknado was like a perfect, well, sharknado of ironic appreciation, complete with '90s castoffs Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in starring roles that mainly required them to drive around Los Angeles looking worried and fundamentally misunderstanding the physics of tornadoes or flooding. The glee it gave us was short-lived: Just a few days after it came out, the George Zimmerman verdict rattled the country to its core. But for a fleeting moment there, we were united in our love for shark-infested tornadoes. — Justin Strout


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