More Director’s Cuts – Apocalypse Now, The Act of Killing, Iron Sky

While Netflix only had Nightbreed out of the various director’s cuts I talked about, they do have a number of others available.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979) – Rated R

During the Vietnam War, Capt. Willard is sent to Cambodia on a top-secret mission to terminate Col. Kurtz, who’s gone completely insane.”

Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) – Rated R

Obviously Francis Ford Coppola’s other masterpiece should be seen on a big screen but, barring that, stick to the two and a half hour original. The Redux at three hours and fifteen minutes is still powerful but feels a little bloated.

The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing (2012) – Not rated

A 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature, this film follows two former Indonesian death squad leaders as they reenact war atrocities.”

The Act of Killing: The Director’s Cut (2012) – Not rated

The director’s cut is more than half an hour longer. I found the original to be a very brutal (yet riveting) sit through and another half hour might put me over the top so I’ll pass but fans of the original may like the additional footage.

Iron Sky

Iron Sky (2012) – Rated R

The Nazis retreated to the Moon in 1945, but after they’re discovered by an American shuttle in 2018, they relaunch their plans to invade Earth.”

Iron Sky: Director’s Cut (2012) – Not Rated

I have no idea why this quirky 2012 movie got a director’s cut. While it is eighteen minutes longer, it is not appreciably different from the original. I did not feel the extra running time added anything important. Iron Sky was a great concept that made for an entertaining, though not especially memorable, film. There is a sequel in development: Iron Sky: The Coming Race

 

 

Iron Contracted Insidious Sky Chapter 2 – Director’s Cut

Contracted, Insidious Chapter 2, and Iron Sky – Director’s Cut are currently available on instant Netflix

Contracted

 

Contracted (2013) – Not rated

After a one-night-stand, a young woman becomes alarmingly ill — but what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease turns out to be far worse.”

Okay umm so Netflix is using ‘one night stand’ as a euphemism for date rape. This is a low-budget chiller with a unique way of looking at a premise. There is very little violence and when it comes, it actually struck me as Pythonesque. There are some lapses in logic but luckily they are attributed to characters who have reason to have their logic impaired.

Contracted is an interesting, low-key story told from a good viewpoint.

Insidious 2

 

Insidious Chapter 2 (2013) – Rated PG-13

While the Lambert family struggles to overcome their son’s recent battle with evil spirits, father Josh must confront his own horrifying childhood.

Well the whole Chapter thing implies that there are going to be a string of these. I was not a big fan of Insidious. I though it was okay and well-shot but rather derivative.

I really enjoyed Insidious 2 which makes me want to go back and rewatch the original. Insidious 2 begins, as many sequels do, by showing us something we didn’t know about the past of one of our characters. Insidious 2 deftly weaves a main storyline with a series of flashbacks fleshing out a story of possession.

The first half of the film features all kinds of mysterious happenings (as opposed to the Paranormal series which seems to use the first half to sell more snacks and permit bathroom breaks). The second half picks up a lot of speed as we switch back and forth between locales. Almost none of the scares were of the cheap variety and there is a fair amount of atmosphere.

The family is very sympathetic. The researchers are nerdy but not overly annoying. The threat is gradually revealed in a very interesting manner. I suppose the only thing disappointing was the third act, which fell in line with the film’s PG-13 sensibilities.

Iron Sky

Iron Sky – Director’s Cut (2013) – Not rated

Okay I am a sucker for movies where Nazis are the bad guy. I love Dead Snow, The Boys from Brazil, Outpost, even the super-cheezy Shock Waves. On the other hand I’m not completely blind – Blood Creek was a ridiculous mess in spite of the sublime Michael Fassbender and Outpost: Black Sun clearly didn’t understand what made Outpost so much fun.

Iron Sky treads the middle ground. It is quite ludicrous (in a good way) but also tasteless (not in a good way). It is funny enough to be amusing (Nazi base on the far side of the moon) but many of the jokes fall flat (a faux President Palin) and some dip into the offensive (albinoing an African-American astronaut). I found Iron Sky to be worth a watch but only just.

Now Netflix advertises the director’s cut of Iron Sky as an exclusive. It is 18 minutes longer so there is substantially more goofiness on display.

Not Quite Horror – Iron Sky, Donovan’s Brain, Red Lights

Boy I watch a lot of streaming Netflix.

Iron Sky (2012) – Rated R

“Having secretly fled to a base on the moon at the end of World War II, Nazis put the final touches on their scheme to launch an invasion of Earth. When a new space shuttle mission threatens to expose them, they rush their plan into action.”

Okay I am a sucker for movies where Nazis are the bad guy. I love Dead Snow, The Boys from Brazil, Outpost, even the super-cheezy Shock Waves. On the other hand I’m not completely blind – Blood Creek was a ridiculous mess in spite of the sublime Michael Fassbender and Outpost: Black Sun clearly didn’t understand what made Outpost so much fun.

Iron Sky treads the middle ground. It is quite ludicrous (in a good way) but also tasteless (not in a good way). It is funny enough to be amusing (Nazi base on the far side of the moon) but many of the jokes fall flat (a faux President Palin) and some dip into the offensive (albinoing an African-American astronaut). I found Iron Sky to be worth a watch but only just.

Donovan’s Brain (1953) – Not rated

“While conducting groundbreaking but highly illegal experiments, brilliant scientist Patrick (Lew Ayres) falls under the supernatural control of a dead industrialist’s living brain, which commands him to carry out numerous nefarious deeds, including murder. Based on the novel by Curt Siodmak, this sci-fi horror classic co-stars former first lady Nancy Davis (Reagan) as Patrick’s wife, who bravely struggles to defeat the evil brain.”

This is a nice little science fiction tale. As with many of them in the 50s, it is somewhat dry. This is based on Curt Siodmak’s novel, Donovan’s Brain and was previously filmed as The Lady and The Monster (1944). Curt Siodmak also used many of his same elements in the Bela Lugosi thriller, Black Friday (1940).

Red Lights (2012) – Rated R

“Professor Margaret Matheson and her assistant, Tom Buckley, set out to debunk claims of paranormal activity. During their investigation, a legendary psychic comes out of retirement, and Buckley becomes obsessed with proving he’s a fraud.”

Red Lights is a well-acted, atmospheric drama but it is a slow burn that builds up to nothing. In the end, it just kind of fizzles out.