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Suburbia (R)

Shout! Factory

The first release in Shout! Factory's "Roger Corman's Cult Classics" series is a title that fans might not expect from the B-movie producer: Suburbia, a 1983 film about a ragtag group of hardcore L.A. punks who are trying to overcome child abuse, rampant drug use and, ultimately, social rejection. They band together as a makeshift family in a squat that local rednecks are trying to take over. Director Penelope Spheeris, who would later direct Wayne's World, cast real kids from the local punk scene in the film. And while the dialogue and acting are almost comically stiff, the movie is extremely powerful visually — stark, real and almost resembling a deleted scene from Spheeris' first feature, The Decline of Western Civilization. It's a nihilistic melodrama that's just as relevant today as it was then, but not an easy movie to enjoy by any means. That's pretty punk, right? Louis Fowler


Tokyo Sonata (PG-13)

E1 Entertainment

First things first: Tokyo Sonata director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not related to legendary director Akira Kurosawa. But if you're a fan of the latter, don't be disappointed, and don't decide against seeing this film. Kiyoshi, who began filmmaking as a genre workman, takes a huge step into the worlds of Ozu and even Truffaut with the story of a family ripped apart by a drop in the Japanese economy, where ideas like honor and shame are as heavily invested in the nation's consciousness as stock market numbers are here. When Ryûhei (Teruyuki Kagawa) is fired, the proud man keeps it secret, though his actions, fueled by jealousy and resentment, betray him. Kurosawa follows Ryûhei's family members on their individual journeys — including a wild Stockholm Syndrome subplot involving an unemployed kidnapper — landing in places of the heart that we could never expect. Justin Strout


The Spy Next Door (PG)


One wonders what sins Jackie Chan could have committed to warrant having an abomination like this film weighing down his karma. It would have been intolerable enough if director Brian Levant (Are We There Yet?) had been content to let this cartoon-style martial arts comedy be a cartoon. Instead, schmaltzy music swells as Chan, playing Chinese spy Bob Ho, makes an emotional breakthrough with the three brats he's baby-sitting. The kids belong to his girlfriend (Amber Valletta, who looks embarrassed to be here, and rightly so). It's high-concept turned high-horror as the brats pout and throw tantrums, while Bob engages in Three Stooges-esque kung-fu battles with his archenemy, a Russian terrorist (Magnús Scheving). Shoddily written, lazily directed and casually misogynistic, this could well be a terrorist plan itself, meant to drive us crazy. MaryAnn Johanson

The New Daughter (PG-13)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

I still haven't seen director Luis Berdejo's critically acclaimed screenwriting effort [REC] or the American remake Quarantine, but if The New Daughter is any indication, he might be Spain's M. Night Shyamalan. Yes, I mean that as a compliment. The now officially straight-to-video Kevin Costner is a single dad trying to do right by his kids, but his teen daughter (Ivana Baquero) starts acting cuckoo, becoming obsessed by a mound of dirt in their back yard. Red herrings abound, leading to a totally out-of-nowhere conclusion that I don't think anyone saw coming, but it's extremely chilling and very creepy. Along the lines of the aforementioned Shyamalan's Signs, The New Daughter is one of those unheard-of gems deserving, if not a mass audience, at least a rabid cult one. Louis Fowler

Marked for Death (R) (Blu-Ray)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

I try so hard not to be hyperbolic, but in more than 100 years of cinema history, has there really been a movie as entertaining as Steven Seagal's Marked for Death? You can have your boring Star Wars and Indiana Jones flicks — I'll take a stocky, monosyllabic Seagal, usually clad in a track suit, mowing down Chicago's (literally) dreaded Rastafarian crime syndicate any day. Especially if it's in a battle of machetes and voodoo versus sawed-off shotguns and male ponytails. Full of badly blocked fights, hilariously lame puns and jaw-droppingly silly plot twists, Marked for Death is the quintessential American action film. It's totally representative of the late '80s/early '90s ultra-violence boom, with little regard for any sort of logic or intelligence. I guess we were all just so much easier to please back then. To be honest, I still am. Louis Fowler

The Edge (R) (Blu-Ray)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Just released on Blu-Ray, The Edge was originally unleashed upon the masses in 1997, made specifically for the eager throngs of American moviegoers dying to see Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin fight a man-hating, blood-hungry Kodiak bear in the desolate Alaskan wilderness. And while director Lee Tamahori's film was a nice-sized hit for its time, the tossed-off David Mamet screenplay has only gotten more ridiculous with age. Of course, it's not helped at all by the fact that Baldwin has recently reinvented himself as a comedic actor, making the movie even more comical, with every line he delivers coming off like a weekend adventure for 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy. My main question, though? Out of all the movies in the world that need to be released on Blu-Ray, why was this at the top of the list? Someone must have owed someone a big favor. Louis Fowler

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