I hope everyone’s Super Bowl/Groundhog Day hangover wasn’t too taxing this week. We’re hoping for the day when Punxsutawney Phil is cloned and his shadow usurps cash and Bitcoin as the ultimate form of legal tender. At least then my poverty level will be the norm, rather than such a singular embarrassment. Join me as we hop on our Giant Freakin’ log raft and Cross the Streams on a mission to find God.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Netflix Instant)
One of the most vilified entries in the Star Trek franchise, the William Shatner-directed Final Frontier follows the Enterprise gang as they meet up with Spock’s half-brother and search through the cosmos for the Almighty. A clumsy handling of spiritual subject matter, mixed with goofy humor and shoddy effects, combine to make this the second-lowest-earning Trek feature. It’s probably not as bad as you remember it, but you might want to have a few Aldebaran whiskeys on hand just in case.
Day of the Dead  (Netflix Instant)
The third entry in director George Romero’s Dead series, Day of the Dead takes the action out of the city and the mall and straight into a military bunker, where doctors and scientists attempt to understand the “don’t call them zombies” phenomenon. The film is our introduction to Bub (Sherman Howard), the first member of the living dead pack that retains memories from his previous life. An eventual gore-soaked outbreak, strengthened by the extraordinary effects work of Tom Savini and then-newcomer Greg Nicotero, make this as classic as Romero’s previous two films, and make the remake (and the upcoming re-remake) that much worse in comparison.
Cocoon: The Return (Netflix Instant)
A much less necessary sequel than the one we just talked about, Cocoon: The Return sees the first film’s gang of senior citizens come back to Earth for more hijinks and…the same shit as the first one, except not nearly as effective or original. Don Ameche and Jessica Tandy are as excellent as always, but this film doesn’t really require returning to. Except, you know, to make a shitload of Wilford Brimley memes.
Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre) (HBO Go)
Extraterrestrial is the second film from Nacho Vigalondo, who directed the excellent 2007 time-loop thriller Timecrimes, and this is about as far away from that film, premise-wise, as you can possibly get. Julián Villagrán and Michelle Jenner wake up next to each other one morning after a drunken evening, and while he wants to stay, she wants him to get the hell out, for reasons that become more obvious as the film goes on. The only thing stopping him from heading out is the alien invasion that popped up overnight. Sometimes funny, sometimes tense, this is a movie that probably would have been a lot better given a bigger budget, but it is definitely a worthy sophomore effort nonetheless.
Resident Evil: Damnation (Crackle)
While Crackle and Hulu have recently added some of the live-action Resident Evil movies, this is the franchise’s CGI film from 2012, and I’m definitely not the first to say that it puts a lot of the other films to absolute shame. While it also ignores the horror element of the games, the nearly non-stop action is infectious. You follow series favorite Leon Kennedy as he enters an Eastern European warzone to stop the use of biological weapons. It could have just been an entirely independent flick, but the R.E. name is probably what got it produced.
Zombie Night (Netflix Instant)
Not gonna lie: I didn’t watch this movie. And I probably never will, seeing as how I haven’t read a single positive word about it. Directed by Feast and Piranha 3DD‘s John Gulager, the film stars Anthony Michael Hall, Daryl Hannah, Alan Ruck, and Shirley Jones as two families trying to survive a zombie outbreak. Tell me how it is if you watch it. I’ll be the guy with headphones on, not listening.
Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars (Hulu Plus)
This 2006 CNN documentary, narrated by Susan Sarandon, is a super-inspiring look at the life of the New Hampshire educator who was selected as the first teacher to go into space as part of the Challenger shuttle crew. We all know how that ended, as the spacecraft was destroyed a little over a minute after its launch. While that’s an extremely depressing story, considering schoolchildren around the country saw the disaster happen live, Reach for the Stars is an in-depth look at the woman who made education her life’s mission, and the legacy that followed.
And just in case you missed it, X-Files creator Chris Carter’s potential new series The After is on Amazon as part of its second “pilot season,” where viewers vote on whether it makes it to series or not. You can find my review of the pilot right here, where I remain hopeful even throughout the ridiculous stereotypes and loud character arguments.