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The Big Gundown, Carrie, Force of Execution



The Big Gundown (NR) (Blu-ray)

Grindhouse Releasing

As the arid winds blow dust across the (not) Texas plains, chiseled-jaw lawman Lee Van Cleef must track down and apprehend murderer Tomas Milian, dead or alive. But, this being a spaghetti western, the plot will twist and turn, and double-crosses will be bandied about like so many tumbleweeds. And The Big Gundown does not disappoint! In one of the more down-and-dirty westerns of the Italian cowboy era of filmmaking, director Sergio Sollima takes the genre to action-packed, exploitative depths. This stunning four-disc set from Grindhouse Releasing contains not only the expanded U.S. cut on Blu-ray and DVD, but a 110-minute European director's cut, as well as a CD soundtrack of Ennio Morricone's seminal score, plenty of which most film geeks have heard in various Tarantino movies. No Euro-western collection is complete without this long-awaited title. — Louis Fowler


Carrie (R)


Every generation deserves its own Carrie, Stephen King's first and perhaps most timeless contribution to pop culture. This, of course, is the story of the titular, tortured late bloomer who, in response to criminal-level bullying at school — as relevant a topic as ever, given that we just saw cyber-bullying-assisted teen suicide knock on SCOTUS' bronze doors — goes on a supernatural murder rampage. It needed a modern polish with some feminist bite, and that's exactly what we get from exactly the people you'd hire to deliver such a thing — Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce, working from the original script updated for slang and tech by a Glee writer. Let Me In's Chloe Grace Moretz does solid work as Carrie, but Julianne Moore's hysteria as her evangelical mother is the film's strongest case for its own existence. Moore's despair is a finely tuned instrument, and Peirce handles her like a pro. — Justin Strout


Force of Execution (R)

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay continues its tour de force re-ignition of classic '80s straight-to-video action tropes with its latest preposterously thrilling flick, Force of Execution, starring, of course, Steven Seagal, Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo. Seagal is mob boss Mr. Alexander, a soft-spoken gangster who rules his town with an iron fist and a boot to the face. The balance of power is quickly upset when a rival gangster, a former protégé and a Mexican cartel want in on that precious territory, but, if you know Seagal, he ain't giving it up without a fight. The action is actually quite unpredictable, the story line ludicrously fun, and the running time mercifully short. It's always fun to see these guys on any screen and they do not disappoint, especially Trejo, cast in a very surprising role that gives his fans a few winks that add to the fun of the whole thing — and the whole thing is very fun. A disposable good time. — Louis Fowler

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