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The Shelf: ROBOCOP, ATTACK ON TITAN, RAVENOUS

This week, the world’s first cybernetic police enforcer gets a face lift, some guys try not to die behind enemy lines, a couple of soldiers argue about whether to eat people, some kids have to try not to get eaten by enormous people, and a guy cooks meth for fun and profit. It’s the Shelf, and it’s always so enigmatic.

RoboCop
This year, the upgraded police officer from Detroit got the reboot treatment courtesy of director Jose Padilha. It told the story of what happens when a company wants to make warfare as profitable at home as it is abroad and so create a human-robotic hybrid police officer (Joel Kinnaman). It boasts an impressive supporting cast including Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, and Jay Baruchel. Admittedly, I didn’t see this movie, but our own Witney Seibold did, so please read his full review right here.

Lone Survivor
Based on the harrowing true story of Marcus Luttrell and his team as they went on a mission to capture or kill a notorious Taliban leader, Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg, is a portrait of modern warfare and the bonds of brotherhood in a life-or-death scenario. Read Dan Casey’s full review of Lone Survivor, and read our interviews with stars Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, and the real man himself, Marcus Luttrell.

Ravenous
When it comes to westerns about people eating each other to gain strength and heal wounds, you can’t really do better than 1999′s Ravenous starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones, and David Arquette. It’s a very disturbing and bloody horror movie that’s also surprisingly funny and creepily poignant. It raises a lot of interesting points, like whether if the reason we all don’t kill and eat each other is out of nature’s necessity or a moral construct, and also makes some supernatural claims about human flesh making you more powerful than you ever could be before. But, it’s all on a late-’90s indie movie budget, so there’s much implied more than seen. It’s a really fascinating and fun horror film; you should certainly seek it out.

Read my full review of Ravenous right here.

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide
Back in the 1980s in the United Kingdom, movies that went before the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC, their version of the MPAA) were given a age-restricting certificate which limited who could go see various films. When those same films were released on home video, sometimes while still being in the cinemas, they didn’t have to have the same certificate so any kid could come rent or buy a graphically violent horror movie. Eventually, this was the subject of a political and social fight to ban movies that certain groups labelled harmful to the moral fabric of British children. Eventually, 72 movies were dubbed “Video Nasties” and were banned and 39 were prosecuted in court, movies like The Evil Dead and The Last House on the Left. This documentary looks at each of those movies as well as the furor that arose around them. Lengthy but highly informative. It’s finally been released here in the US four years after its UK release.

Attack on Titan, Part 1
It’s hard to say definitively if an anime series truly takes the world by storm, but if any have come close in recent memory, Attack on Titan has. One of the bleakest and most disturbing series to come along in quite awhile, Attack on Titan tells the horrific story of giant, nude people called Titans who come out of nowhere and walk around eating humans with a big creepy smile on their face. The remaining humans have walled themselves up in concentric city states, each with barricades higher than the last. When the Titans come back after years of being gone, the human population again begins to dwindle. Eventually, young people have to learn to fight back, using gas-powered tree-climbers (essentially) and big swords to hack at the Titan’s spinal column, their only weakness. Characters die horribly and it’s generally unsettling from beginning to end. It’s also amazing and gorgeous, and you should watch it.

Breaking Bad Complete Series
While a complete series set was already released following the finale of Breaking Bad, it was in a yellow barrel case with a lot of other trinkets and knickknacks. This represents just the Blu-rays in case you didn’t want to spend the gift set price, or have anywhere to put said gift set. It’s all the great show, saves on shelf space.

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2 comments

  • I just discovered AOT recently and it is exactly as you describe it.  And Mikasa’s reaction after that one part… gut-wrenching.  One of the best anime show’s I’ve ever seen.  Horrifying, gritty, bloody, dark, beautiful…

    • Truth be told, I tend to avoid a lot of the breakout anime series that everyone recommends just because they end up being mindless and endless shonen-fests. Attack on Titan was different, and I’m happy I watched it. It’s a dark and almost painful to watch series that rearranges some of the tropes out there. While some may not see it this way, it’s kind of a fantasy take on the classic giant robot genre. And it’s fairly brilliant.