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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Olive Films Releases Long-Lost DeMille Silent, Gems of 1950's Sci-Fi



Olive Films Releases Once-Lost DeMille Silent and Sci-Fi B-Movie Classics

Chicago, IL – Olive Films, a boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, and classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, is excited to announce that September 13th will be the release date of seven new titles, including Cecil B. DeMille’s once-lost silent The Captive (1915), monster movie gem The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1958), and beloved (but controversial among purists) Republic serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1955).


THE CAPTIVE (1915)
Thought to be lost for many years, this early Cecil B. DeMille feature was thankfully discovered in Paramount’s vault in 1970. Olive Films’ DVD and Blu-ray release on September 13th will mark the film’s first availability on home media. In addition to being from one of the all-time great American directors, the film was also produced by Jesse L. Lasky, who would form the prolific Famous Players-Lasky Corporation responsible for 731 features and 363 shorts from 1916 to 1919.

The film also boasts a somewhat storied production history. According to rumor, DeMille and his co-writer Jeannie MacPherson engaged in an affair during writing and shooting. If one believes this story, indications of their relationship can be found in the subtexts of the film itself. On a darker turn, an extra was unfortunately killed during filming. According to star Blanche Sweet, this was a result of real, loaded guns being used as props. More tragedy followed shortly after filming ended, as Page Peters, who was just rising to fame as an actor, drowned in 1916.

For the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Captive, Olive Films has commissioned a brand-new score by composer Lucy Duke. “The opportunity to create an original score to a DeMille silent film is a singular opportunity– a musician’s dream come true!” said composer Lucy Duke. “I hope that the music is true to the era while remaining valid in a contemporary context, shining a new light on this film.”

THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS (1958)

The Monster of Piedras Blancas, previously unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray, has become a sort of Holy Grail of monster b-movies. Shot over the course of two weeks, the film was produced with a final budget of $29,000. This micro-budget necessitated a resourceful craftsmanship from the filmmakers that resulted in the endearingly campy monster flick that fans know and love. For example, the monster’s costume supposedly recycled the hands from The Mole People (1956) and the feet from This Island Earth (1955). Many people note its similarities to the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) creature, and indeed producer Jack Kevan had a hand in the costume and makeup of both films. Science Fiction fans will also recognize prolific actor Les Tremayne (The War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet) and pin-up queen Jeanne Carmen (The Devil’s Hand). At the time of its original release, its shocking gore earned it a place in the hearts of many young horror fans. This b-movie monster gem arrives on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time ever on September 13th.

COMMANDO CODY: SKY MARSHAL OF THE UNIVERSE (1955)

Another title coming to DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films on September 13th is the Republic Serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe. A debate exists among serial purists as to whether or not it can truly be counted as part of the serial canon. Originally, its 12 episodes were intended for a weekly television series. Its premiere, however, was as a weekly theatrical serial in 1953, with it finally airing on television in 1955. Episodes do not end with the traditional cliffhanger, but they do share many other themes and even characters in common with the canonical serials. In fact, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe can be considered a prequel to Radar Men from the Moon, in which the titular character first appeared. According to rumor, the character always wore a mask because producers wanted the actor playing him to be more dispensable.



Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)

Blu-ray debut of Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), directed by Melville Shavelson, starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson, Tim Matheson, and Tom Bosley.

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1964)

Blu-ray debut of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1964), directed by Robert Hampton (aka Riccardo Freda), starring Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Montgomery Glenn (aka Silvano Tranquili), and Teresa Fitzgerald (aka Maria Teresa Vianello).

Note: Olive Films will be presenting the 77-minute US cut, as it is currently the only version available for licensing. Contrary to popular opinion, the US cut is not censored to be less explicit– the cuts affect mostly the pacing.

Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again (1982)

Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again (1982), directed by Jerry Belson, starring Mark Blankfield, Bess Armstrong, Tim Thomerson, Krista Errickson.

Mankillers (1987)

DVD and Blu-ray debut of Mankillers (1987), directed by David A. Prior, starring Edd Byrnes, Gail Fisher, Edy Williams, Lynda Aldon, William Zipp, Suzanne Tegmann, and Christine Lunde.

About Olive Films
Olive Films is a Chicago-based boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, documentary, and classic films to life. Its catalog boasts over 500 titles ranging from Hollywood classics to contemporary titles. More information about Olive Films may be found at olivefilms.com.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

AMERICAN NINJA -- DVD Review by Porfle



If movies like DIE HARD, RAMBO, and LETHAL WEAPON are the filet mignon of 80s action flicks, then movies like 1985's AMERICAN NINJA (Olive Films, Blu-ray and DVD) are the Hungry Man TV dinners.  Cheaper and not as fancy, perhaps, but tasty and filling nonetheless.

That pretty much describes most of the Cannon Group's output at the time, with producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus filling a definite niche audience's needs with low-budget action blockbusters such as ENTER THE NINJA and its sequels, with the occasional breakdancing comedy thrown in for good measure. 

Here, we get the saga of a mysterious young soldier named Joe (Michael Dudikoff, BLOODY BIRTHDAY, TRON), stationed at an American army base in the Philippines, who springs into action when his convoy is attacked by ninjas and he must defend the colonel's daughter Judie (Patricia Hickock, WEIRD SCIENCE, F13: THE FINAL CHAPTER), resulting in his being blamed for the deaths of some of his fellow soldiers. 


At first ostracized by his own platoon, Joe gains their respect when he defeats another private named Curtis Jackson in hand-to-hand combat.  Curtis is played by my man Steve James who would take on Willem Dafoe the same year in William Friedkin's renegade-cop classic TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.

With Jackson's help, Joe goes on to get the goods on a conspiracy between certain military officers and a local crime kingpin named Ortega (soap opera star Don Taylor, "The Young and the Restless") to supply stolen weapons to local rebels for a big profit. 

As you might guess, this endeavor will result in frequent bouts of intense action, and lots of it.  The likable Dudikoff isn't the most expressive of actors but this seems to fit his withdrawn and socially awkward character (Joe doesn't remember his childhood or how he learned his ninja skills) and his considerable physical prowess fully compensating for any shortcomings.  The same goes for Steve James' "muscular" performance, which adds zing to every scene he's in even when the script gives him some pretty silly lines. 


Of course there's the standard romantic angle when the initially bitchy Judie (I really wanted her to get blown away by the bad guys during her more insufferable early scenes) warms up to her rescuer Joe and eventually falls for him.  Judie will keep the plot interesting by continuing to get kidnapped throughout the film, making it necessary for Joe and Curtis to rescue her repeatedly. 

But what really makes AMERICAN NINJA so watchable are the many action sequences, which are fun and exciting despite the fact that the low budget necessitated a very quick shooting schedule with less rehearsal time than was needed to fine-tune the stunt choreography and other action elements. 

Still, Polish director Sam Firstenberg--who also gave us the dual Lucinda Dickey classics NINJA III: THE DOMINATION and BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO--overcomes his limited resources and packs the story with as much martial arts mayhem (ninja battles abound), shoot-em-up scenes, and vehicular destruction that we could hope for. 


The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.85:1 widescreen with mono sound and subtitles in English.  "A Rumble in the Jungle: The Making of 'American Ninja'" is a fascinating featurette that recounts the making of the film in detail with several of its cast and crew members on hand.  A commentary track with director Firstenberg and the featurette's co-producer Elijah Drenner of Olive Films is just like I like them--scene specific, enthusiastic, and loaded with information and anecdotes.  The film's trailer is also included.

A final free-for-all battle between the good guys and the ninjas tops off AMERICAN NINJA in relatively grand style as this Golan-Globus production pushes its modest budget to the limit.  It may not be filet mignon, but it is a heaping helping of meat and potatoes with all the trimmings. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OliveFilms
Twitter: @OliveFilms

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Horror Soap Opera "HELL TOWN" Now Available on Cable VOD & Digital HD from Gravitas Ventures



Steve Balderson's Horror Soap Opera Hell Town
Presented by Scream Queen Debbie Rochon
Now Available on Cable VOD and Digital HD
From Gravitas Ventures
                                                       
"Directors Steve Balderson and Elizabeth Spear take the typical soap opera and spoof it until it bleeds profusely."-Dread Central

Read our review


Watch the trailer
   
Los Angeles, CA - Steve Balderson's festival favorite Hell Town is now available to rent or own starting August 23rd on Dish Network, Cox, Charter, Verizon Fios, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and more from Gravitas Ventures.  Presented as three episodes of a sadistic twist on Masterpiece Theater, Balderson (Firecracker, The Casserole Club) and co-director Elizabeth Spear have carved up a serialized story filled with catfights, cliffhangers, broken hearts and murder. 

Order Hell Town on iTunes


Since the world premiere sponsored by the Austin Horror Society and Alamo Drafthouse, Hell Town has made audiences and critics laugh and scream, picking up awards for Best Feature at Colorado Horror-Con, as well as a Best Feature and Best Actress win for Amanda Deibert, with nominations for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography, at the Crimson Scream Horror Film Festival.

Debbie Rochon (Model Hunger, Return to Nuke 'Em High, The Theater Bizarre) headlines as the hostess of the three surviving episodes of "Hell Town", following the melodramatic, small-town and potentially short-lived lives of Krysten Day, Amanda Deibert, Owen Lawless, Ben Windholz, Jennifer Grace and Balderson muse Pleasant Gehman.

Hell Town follows the melodramatic antics of high school seniors clashing over love, sex, and betrayal.  In the middle of all the everyday drama of one-sided infatuations, backstabbing bitchiness, bottled-up sexuality, sibling rivalry and general small-town angst, the Letter Jacket Killer is killing students in a variety of sadistic ways.  As the body count rises and the blood pools closer to home, it becomes clear that one of our main characters is the killer.  Everyone, from the prom queen and shirtless jock to the nosey geek and the super bitch, are all suspects in the carnage.



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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WILD IN THE STREETS -- DVD Review by Porfle



What would happen if a rock-singing hippie in his early 20s could run for President?  And 14-year-olds could vote for him?  And Shelley Winters was his mom? 

These and hundreds of other questions are answered in goofy and sometimes scary psychedelic splashes of cinematic wonderfulness in the 1968 American-International classic WILD IN THE STREETS (Olive Films, Blu-ray and DVD). 

The film vividly depicts a Hollywoodized view of the 60s counter-culture era with its constant clashes between the younger and older generations--represented by bellbottoms, long hair, groovy lingo, and drug use on one side, and either straitlaced moral rigidity or sad attempts to remain "relevant" to the younger set, despite encroaching age, on the other--and is packed to the gills with knowing satire that skewers them both to the very core at every delightfully hokey turn.


If it seems dumb, it's deliberately so, almost in the same way that the "Batman" TV series with Adam West risked looking stupid to deliver its payload of delicious deadpan humor.  (Minus, that is, the more farcical elements of that show and plus a stern voiceover by Paul Frees.)

And yet, it's this quality that allows the story at times to sneak up on the unsuspecting viewer with a powerful emotional wallop which, especially during the film's downbeat climax, turns the improbable fantasy into a too-close-for-comfort Orwellian nightmare. 

The film's nominal "hero", Max Frost (James Dean lookalike Christopher Jones), who mass-produces LSD in the basement of his family home, rebels against his conservative father (Bert Freed) and dippy, clinging mother (Shelley Winters at her overpowering, self-deprecating best), leaving them to become a millionaire rock star with a loyal entourage that includes Richard Pryor, Larry Bishop (HELL RIDE, KILL BILL VOL. 2), and Diane Varsi as sexy acid-head "Sally LeRoy."


Ambitious senatorial candidate John Fergus (Hal Holbrook) makes the mistake of enlisting Max and his band to help him court the youth vote, but Max uses it as an opportunity to rouse his frenzied followers into a movement to lower the voting age to fourteen. 

When this (improbably) occurs, Max then rides his superstardom all the way to the presidency itself, whereupon he declares thirty to be the new mandatory retirement age.  At thirty-five, all citizens are to be interned in concentration camps where they'll be fed LSD to keep them docile and out of the younger generation's way.

Along the way, we're treated to some really great scenes that run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime.  Winters is hilarious in her bull-in-a-china-closet efforts--doomed from the start--to ingratiate herself with her newly-moneyed son and appear young and hip.  She's really amazing to watch.


Max's rise to power, taunting disrespect for the establishment, and easy manipulation of the masses are potent fantasy, while seasoned actors such as Hal Holbrook and Ed Begley, Sr. lend needed dramatic weight to their scenes.  (Seeing Begley and the rest of Congress tripping out on LSD after Max and his "troops" have spiked Washington, D.C.'s water supply is a trip in itself.)

The songs aren't half bad, either, including the haunting "The Shape of Things to Come" which follows a Kent State-style shooting during a massive protest rally. 

Director Barry Shear worked mainly in television and gives WILD IN THE STREETS the look of a gilt-edged TV movie with welcome bursts of color and style.  Scripter Robert Thom adds another winner to a body of work that also includes DEATH RACE 2000, BLOODY MAMA, THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE, and ALL THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS. Importantly, his "generation gap" screenplay doesn't choose sides--it's a wickedly satirical putdown of both. Composer Les Baxter contributes his usual lively musical score. 


In addition to the rest of the standout cast, a major part of the film's appeal is its star, Christopher Jones, whose uncanny resemblance to James Dean (in looks if not acting skill) is of constant visual interest.  He carries the picture as its charismatic focal point and makes us feel a dramatic involvement in scenes that might otherwise seem insubstantial while deftly revealing to us his "Angel of Light" character's inner corruptness. 

The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.85:1 widescreen with 2.0 mono sound and English subtitles.  A trailer is the sole extra.

My older sister used to take me to grown-up movies all the time back in the pre-ratings-system days when such films, as does this one, carried a "suggested for mature audiences" disclaimer.  (It has since been rated "R" mainly for its depiction of drug use.)  I vividly remember watching WILD IN THE STREETS with her in our local movie theater then, and now, 48 years later, I still find it just as disturbing, just as crazy, and just as wildly whacked-out--but a whole lot funnier. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OliveFilms
Twitter: @OliveFilms

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"THE NEON DEAD" Lights Up on DVD and Digital HD September 13th



VFX Artist Torey Haas Climbs into the Director's Chair
The Neon Dead Available on DVD & Digital HD September 13th from Wild Eye Releasing

"Imaginative, fun and strongly recommended."

--Daily Grindhouse


"This is the most fun I have had with a movie in a long time."
--Horror Society


New York, NY - Wild Eye Releasing is flipping the switch with the DVD and Digital HD release of The Neon Dead.  The directorial debut from visual effects artist Torey Haas (V/H/S Viral, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie), The Neon Dead stars Marie Barker, Mark Ashworth (The Magnificent Seven, Cell, "Sleepy Hollow"), Greg Garrison, Dylan Schettina, Nathan DeRussy and Candace Mabry (Restoration, Too Many Cooks).   The Neon Dead will be available to rent or own on DVD and Digital HD nationwide on September 13th.

An unemployed college graduate hires two paranormal exterminators to combat a monster infestation in her new home. But their prodding into an evil out of their depth unleashes an ancient demon.  He and his army of monsters quickly overrun the home, intent on possessing every human they make contact with.

The DVD release of The Neon Dead (SRP $19.95) will exclusively include a feature-length commentary with director Torey Haas, bonus scenes, two monster shorts (First Date, Troll Picnic) by director Torey Haas and a creature profile

                            The Neon Dead (Official Trailer)


Order The Neon Dead on Amazon



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FSLC and Disney Announce a 25th Anniversary Screening of "Beauty and the Beast"



THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER AND DISNEY
ANNOUNCE A 25th ANNIVERSARY SCREENING OF
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ON SEPTEMBER 18

Featuring original voice cast members Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara,
Angela Lansbury, and Richard White in person


New York, NY (August 16, 2016) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Disney are pleased to announce a 25th anniversary screening of Beauty and the Beast, presented Sunday, September 18 at Alice Tully Hall.

In September 1991, two months before its theatrical release, Disney’s animated masterpiece Beauty and the Beast screened as a “Work in Progress” at the 29th New York Film Festival in Alice Tully Hall. Even though a third of the film consisted of storyboard art and black-and-white animation tests, the screening garnered a standing ovation.

When it was released, it became an instant classic. Visually lavish and musically exuberant, the fairy-tale adaptation was one of the first Disney features to incorporate elements of computer-generated imagery with hand-drawn animation, and it would be the first animated film to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, winning awards for best score and original song.

In anticipation of the 54th New York Film Festival, Beauty and the Beast returns to Alice Tully Hall for a special 25th anniversary screening for Film Society members to celebrate the film and its vibrant cultural legacy.

“One of the most vivid memories I have of a rousing New York Film Festival evening was the 1991 screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” said Wendy Keys, former NYFF Selection Committee member and FSLC Executive Producer. “Because we showed it in a somewhat unfinished form—we saw animation in all its different phases—we were invited to examine the process without losing any of the narrative power or emotional impact. Astonishing!”

Original voice cast members Robby Benson (Beast), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), and Richard White (Gaston) will appear in person for an extended introduction.

Tickets are $20 and on sale now at filmlinc.org. This special event is available exclusively to Film Society members and patrons. Learn more about Film Society membership at filmlinc.org/membership.

ABOUT BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Walt Disney Pictures’ magical animated classic Beauty and the Beast captures the magical journey of Belle, an independent and intelligent modern-day heroine who’s taken prisoner by a hideous Beast in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra, and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY SIGNATURE COLLECTION
The Walt Disney Signature Collection includes groundbreaking films created or inspired by the imagination and legacy of Walt Disney, featuring timeless stories and characters that have touched generations. Each release will offer special features for every member of your family plus a unique digital experience.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
For over 90 years, the Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which the Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from American Airlines, The New York Times, HBO, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Loews Regency Hotel, Row NYC Hotel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.



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Monday, August 15, 2016

THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION -- DVD Review by Porfle



While not quite the epic you might expect from the title, THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION (1957) is a good example of how a great director's lesser efforts (in this case, Stanley Kramer) can still make for a fun and rewarding watch. 

Here, in fact, the unintentional hokiness in this C.S. Forester adaptation by husband and wife team Edna and Edward Anhalt (PANIC IN THE STREETS) and performances by some miscast yet likable stars make the film way more watchable than it would've been without it. 

The mercifully simple story is a 19th-century military yarn about a huge cannon that's pushed over a cliff by retreating Spanish soldiers to keep it out of the hands of a conquering Napoleon.  The English army sends naval captain Cary Grant (TO CATCH A THIEF) to recover it with the help of the Spanish, but local rebel leader Frank Sinatra (as "Miguel") insists that Cary first help them transport the great cannon to the walled city of Avila and retake it from the French.



Lugging that big heavy cannon across the Spanish terrain with the French army searching all over for their ragtag group is no easy task, and the journey gives Cary and Frank plenty of time to clash, not only over their own vast differences (Cary's a proper, by-the-book officer while Frank's peasant rebel is brash, cocky, and headstrong) but also over Sophia Loren as an improbably sexy country babe whose impetuous beauty gives the men even more reason to compete.

Most of the action and suspense in the film's first half involve their efforts to raise the cannon out of the deep gorge in which it was pushed, hiding it from passing French troops (who somehow miss the deep grooves that the cannon's wheels must be carving into the landscape), crossing rivers and blowing up bridges, and engaging the enemy in combat while trying to rouse the local Spaniards to their aid. 

In addition to this are the usual romantic complications that follow when Sophia starts to fall for the irresistible Cary while agonizing over her loyalty for long-time beau Frank, with whom she's lived for many years.  (In one touching scene, cobbler Frank makes her a pair of shoes, compounding her emotional dilemma.)



Meanwhile, Theodore Bikel (who would later play the doggedly pursuing sheriff in Kramer's THE DEFIANT ONES) is the French general overseeing the occupation of Avila and hanging ten of its citizens per day to punish the errant rebels.  Also getting relatively juicy parts as French officers are familiar character actors Jay Novello and Philip Van Zandt, who previously popped up in such things as Three Stooges comedies and Universal monster movies. 

As you might expect, Cary and Frank eventually form a grudging respect for each other that transcends their differences, although none of these are entirely resolved when the final siege on the city of Avila begins.  It's like THE ALAMO in reverse, with a ragtag group of citizen soldiers taking on a superior military force in a seemingly hopeless battle, but on different sides of the wall this time.

It's at this point that THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION's ambitions come closest to fruition, with a cast of thousands taking part in a furious, explosive battle that's highlighted by an impressive full-scale mockup of the city's immense wall.  For the patient viewer the sequence serves as a reward for enduring all the film's slower and more melodramatic passages.


Cary Grant, of course, is as effortlessly appealing as ever, while the stunning Sophia Loren's impetuous beauty seems somewhat out of place--although welcome just the same--on the Spanish plains. 

Hardest to swallow, though, is "Ol' Blue Eyes" as a brown-eyed Spanish peasant whose inner Nathan Detroit seems ready to burst out at any moment.  Frank filled in for Marlon Brando in the role (I can't see him as "Miguel" either, but who knows?) and came to dislike Spain so much that he left location filming early, making it necessary to shoot some scenes on very obvious studio sets.  His lack of enthusiasm for the project is all too obvious.

The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.78:1 widescreen with 2.0 Dolby sound and English subtitles.  No extras.

For director Stanley Kramer, the film is, as stated before, a lesser yet worthwhile effort.  Even his epic comedy IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD has more sweep, and his serious message films such as THE DEFIANT ONES and JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG are deeper, more convincing human dramas.  But for all its faults, I found THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION an absorbing, appealing, and just plain entertaining volley that doesn't quite hit the target. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OliveFilms
Twitter: @OliveFilms

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Get Caught in the "FLYTRAP" on Digital HD August 23rd



Stephen David Brooks Invites Audiences Into Flytrap
Available Now on Amazon Instant Video
Available August 23rd on iTunes and Vudu

                                                       
"A hint of Kubrick, a soupçon of Tarkovsky, all expertly mixed into an intoxicating cocktail by master barman and writer/director Stephen's very own intriguing brand of dark humour and clever writing. All extremely well lit, shot and acted - Jeremy Crutchley and the rest of the cast are brilliant."
-- International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema London
   
Los Angeles, CA - My Man Productions has announced the rollout release of Stephen David Brooks' Flytrap on Digital HD.  Following an impressive year on the international film festival circuit, Flytrap is now streaming on Amazon Instant Video and Google Play.  It will be available to rent or own starting August 23rd on iTunes, Vudu and more.

Order Flytrap on Amazon Instant

Preorder Flytrap on iTunes


Since its debut on the film festival circuit, Flytrap has consistently won acclaim and awards around the world.  Among the awards won are Best Non-European Indie Feature at the European Independent Film Festival in France, Best Low Budget Feature at Worldfest Houston, Special Jury Prize at the Chelsea Film Festival as well as Best Feature, Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Blechman) and Best Ensemble at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

Jeremy Crutchley ("Salem", "Black Sails") centers the film as a stranger in a strange land held at the whims of peculiar housemates Ina-Alice Kopp (Big Gay Love), Jonah Blechman (This Boy's Life, Another Gay Movie), Gabrielle Stone (Cut!) and Jason Duplissea ("Parks and Recreation").

On the day he arrives in the U.S. to teach at UCLA, paranoia roots itself into James Pond, a reserved English astronomer, who is seduced and quickly trapped in a suburban Los Angeles house by the mysterious and alluring Mary Ann and her equally bizarre housemates.  Are these people in a doomsday cult?  What do they want?  Are they even human?  This psychological, sci-fi thriller hybrid unfolds as James attempts to escape his freakishly foreign captors.  Even if he could escape, would the world believe his crazy story?

Flytrap (Official Trailer)

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Horror Thriller "Don't Breathe" From the Creators of "Evil Dead" Coming Aug. 26




From the Creators of "The Evil Dead"
"DON'T BREATHE"
Coming August 26, 2016

A trio of friends breaks into the house of a blind recluse confident of an easy score only to find themselves in a terrifying life-or-death struggle in Don’t Breathe, the second feature film from writer and director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) and legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi. In his sophomore feature, Alvarez goes for the jugular with an unapologetically brutal and twisted horror-thriller that pits a trio of thieves against an unexpectedly dangerous adversary. 

Determined to escape her abusive mother and save her younger sister from the dead-end existence that seems inevitable for them both, Rocky (Jane Levy) will do whatever it takes to get away.  She and friends Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) have pulled off a series of elaborately planned burglaries in order to come up with enough cash to escape their dire Detroit hometown. Their petty crimes have netted meager rewards, however, so when the trio learns that a blind man (Stephen Lang) living in an abandoned neighborhood has a small fortune stashed in his house, they agree to go for their biggest and final heist.

But their plan goes dangerously wrong when their intended victim turns out to be more frightening than they ever anticipated. As he stalks them relentlessly through his heavily fortified house, they are horrified to discover that he has more than just money hidden away. Shocking and enthralling, Alvarez’s masterful, visually stunning thriller maintains a frenzied pace to the last chilling minute. 

Don’t Breathe stars Jane Levy (Evil Dead), Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps), Daniel Zovatto (It Follows) and Stephen Lang (Avatar, the upcoming Avatars 2, 3 and 4). Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) directs from a script co-written with Rodo Sayagues (Evil Dead). Producers are Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Fede Alvarez. Nathan Kahane, Joe Drake, Erin Westerman, J. R. Young, and Mathew Hart are the executive producers. Director of photography is Pedro Luque (The Silent House). Production designer is Naaman Marshall (The Visit).  Editors are Eric L. Beason, ACE, and Louise Ford (The Witch). Composer is Roque Baños (Evil Dead). Costume designer is Carlos Rosario (Boulevard). Casting by Rich Delia, CSA.     


ABOUT THE PRODUCTION 
In 2013, writer and director Fede Alvarez made his mark in the horror movie world with a bone-chilling reboot of Sam Raimi’s classic, Evil Dead. In his new film, Don’t Breathe, he explores different but equally terrifying territory in a shocking, suspense-driven tale. Alvarez once again joins forces with producers Raimi and Rob Tapert of Ghost House Pictures for a homeinvasion story that blurs the line between horror and thriller. 

“It has elements of both,” says the director. “I wouldn’t call it a hundred percent horror or thriller. But it has a bunch of very scary moments for sure.”

In Don’t Breathe, three friends who commit a string of perfectly planned robberies decide to pull off one final heist when they hear about a blind man living alone in a deserted Detroit neighborhood. “But they are missing some crucial information,” Alvarez says. “This man is unusually resourceful and completely ruthless, to the point where he seems almost superhuman. He’s not going to let them get the money without a fight to the finish.”

Making Evil Dead, his first full-length feature, with Raimi and Tapert’s guidance was an unforgettable experience, says Alvarez. “So we decided to do it again. Sam has been a great mentor. He is not just a great director and producer. He is really a fanboy himself with a firm grasp of his audience.”

Raimi says Alvarez is not only a visionary director, but a consummate collaborator as well. “He possesses a rare combination of great storytelling instincts and the craftsmanship to execute his ideas,” says the prolific filmmaker, whose directing credits include the blockbuster Spider-Man trilogy as well as A Simple Plan, Drag Me to Hell, and the original Evil Dead Trilogy.  “When he brought us this project, we jumped at the opportunity to work with him again. From the beginning, Fede had a distinct vision of an edgy, character-driven thriller for a modern audience. And introducing a blind character opened doors for him to build tension through both visuals and sound design.”  

Alvarez and his co-writer, Rodo Sayagues, set out to script a movie that was nail-bitingly suspenseful, but without an abundance of blood or gore. “Horror is a genre that I love,” the director says. “But this is more complex. The scares are one hundred percent based on the situation and on things that could really happen. To me, that’s much more frightening.” 

Tapert agrees, adding, “Don’t Breathe puts a new spin on the suspense thriller by creating a scenario where the characters’ senses are heightened. It avoids cliché by engaging the audience in a moral quandary. Who is right and who is wrong? And you don’t know exactly how the story will end, which only adds to the tension.”

The script’s three fully fleshed-out protagonists appealed to executive producer Mathew Hart. “They are each at a dead end and desperate to change their lives,” he says. “That leads them to a house where they believe there is enough money to help them do that. In a sense it’s a morality play about decision making set in a great thriller environment.” 

None of the characters is completely admirable, and that is by design, says Alvarez. “I don’t like it when filmmakers force me to pick a side. A lot of the stories I see are very manipulative. I don’t need to be spoon-fed who is good or bad. Let me choose who I like. We show you an array of characters and let you decide. No one is a saint here. Everyone has shady motives. You have to pick the one that you connect with.”

Working with a co-writer with skills that complemented Alvarez’s was key to the creative process. The director estimates that he and Sayagues agree about 50 percent of the time. “That means that another 50 percent we do not, which works great for us. He goes places I would never think of and vice versa. That creates unique material. I create order and he brings in the anarchy. The goriest, most over-the-top moments always come from Rodo.” 

Alvarez’ collaborators all agree that the filmmaker gives every idea due consideration. “Because he is also the writer, he knows the beats of the story intimately,” says Hart. “He seems to effortlessly get the right performances out of the cast, and he’s never indecisive or unsure. But he welcomes input and quite often will incorporate other people’s ideas. And he is always very quick to give credit. It’s a great environment to work in.

Directed by                Fede Alvarez

Written by                Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues

Produced by                                          Sam Raimi
                    Rob Tapert
                    Fede Alvarez

Executive Producers            Nathan Kahane
                    Joe Drake
                    Erin Westerman
                    J.R. Young
                    Mathew Hart

Cast                    Jane Levy
Dylan Minnette
                    Daniel Zovatto
                    and Stephen Lang

The film has a running time of 88 minutes.

This film is rated R by the MPAA for the following reasons: terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references.
 
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