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Friday, July 31, 2015

"Final Girl"--Abigail Breslin & Alexander Ludwig Thriller in Theaters and On Demand August 14 (CLIP)



Celebrity Photographer Tyler Shields Makes Directorial Debut with FINAL GIRL

Starring Academy Award Nominee Abigail Breslin and The Hunger Games Stars Wes Bentley and Alexander Ludwig

Arrives in Theaters and Video On Demand August 14th

"Sardonic, Smart, Stylized Thriller. "
- PAPER


Known for his dark and alluring imagery, photographer to the stars Tyler Shields serves as first time director for the sure to be cult thriller FINAL GIRL.  The film stars Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, New Year's Eve, Zombieland) as Veronica, a young, blonde beauty that becomes the prey of a group of teenage boys, who hunt and kill girls for sport.

FINAL GIRL will debut in select theaters, Digital HD, and Video On Demand on August 14th from Cinedigm and Nasser Entertainment.

Also starring BAFTA Film Award nominee Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games, American Beauty), Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games, Lone Survivor), Francesca Eastwood (Jersey Boys) and Cameron Bright (The Twilight Saga).

As director, Shields brings the story to life with an eerie vision that is unsettling yet intriguing.  "The idea behind FINAL GIRL was no CGI, no fake effects.  I wanted it to be as real as could be," he says.  "The fights are real, the cold was real and therefore, the performances are real.  It was certainly a challenge, but I think everyone in the movie will agree it was worth it."

Who's playing who in this NEW clip "Ready For The Game" from FINAL GIRL

https://youtu.be/sC-NrmSY0cg

Watch the Trailer:
https://youtu.be/AiWLKmlbF74

More About The Film

FINAL GIRL follows a group of charismatic yet sadistic boys who every night, trick a young, blonde girl into meeting them for a date with the intention to hunt and kill her. However, their horrifying ritual takes a turn when they select the beautiful Veronica (Breslin) as their next victim. When the hunt begins, the boys soon realize they messed with the wrong girl.

FINAL GIRL is co-written by Stephen Scarlata, Alejandro Seri and Johnny Silver with a screenplay from Adam Prince. In celebration of the film's release, one-of-a-kind images taken by Shields during the making of FINAL GIRL will also be available for a limited time from TylerShields.com.   

About Cinedigm

Cinedigm is a leading independent content distributor in the United States, with direct relationships with thousands of physical retail storefronts and digital platforms, including Wal-Mart, Target, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, as well as the national Video on Demand platform on cable television. The company's library of films and TV episodes encompasses award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, next-gen Indies from Flatiron Film Company®, acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Films and a wide range of content from brand name suppliers, including National Geographic, Discovery, Scholastic, NFL, Shout Factory, Hallmark, Jim Henson and more. 

Additionally, given Cinedigm's infrastructure, technology, content and distribution expertise, the Company has rapidly become a leader in the quickly evolving over-the-top digital network business. Cinedigm's first channel, DOCURAMA, launched in May 2014, and is currently available on iOS, Roku, Xbox and Samsung, with additional platforms currently being rolled out. Cinedigm launched CONtv, a Comic Con branded channel in partnership with WIZARD WORLD, on March 3, 2015. The Company's third OTT channel, DOVE ENTERTAINMENT CHANNEL, will be a digital streaming subscription service targeted to families and kids seeking high quality and family friendly content approved by Dove Foundation.   Adding to Cinedigm's diversified portfolio of digital networks, in early 2015 the Company announced an OTT partnership with TV4 Entertainment and the planned launch of the BRIGHT edu-tainment OTT channel.

Cinedigm™ and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp™ are trademarks of Cinedigm Corp. www.cinedigm.com. [CIDM-G]

About Nasser Entertainment

Nasser Entertainment's Joseph and Jack Nasser have been producing films for over 20 years. The Nasser brothers have worked with top actors, writers, and directors including Sidney Poitier, Faye Dunaway, Seth Rogen, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Danny Glover, Tom Berenger, and Donald Sutherland.

They have produced over 50 movies in various genres - including Recoil, a high-octane action film starring Steve Austin (The Expendables), airing now on HBO, the dramedy What Goes Up starring Steve Coogan (The Other Guys), Hilary Duff (Material Girls) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno). Nasser Entertainment also Executive Produced For a Good Time Call starring Justin Long (Going the Distance), and Ari Graynor (The Sitter) and featuring comedy icon Seth Rogen, along with The Whole Ten Yards, starring mega-action star Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, and Amanda Peet (Identity Thief).



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ZOMBIE DAY APOCALYPSE COMING THIS LABOR DAY!



ZOMBIE DAY APOCALYPSE COMING THIS LABOR DAY!

2015 Portland Film Festival Unveils Special Event -


Guinness Record Setting Zombie Day
With director George C. Romero

LOS ANGELES - July 30, 2015 - Portland Film Festival announced today a record setting special filmed event, Zombie Day Apocalypse, to be held on Labor Day during the 2015 Portland Film Festival, which will take place September 1st - 7th.  Zombie Day Apocalypse, to occur on Monday September 7th, will attempt to set a new Guinness Book of World Records for 'most extras in a short film. Director George C. Romero, son of iconic horror director George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead), will direct.

Award-winning makeup artists Conor McCullough (The Hunger Games) and Jason Collins (The Maze Runner, Firefly) will oversee makeup effects. Randall Jahnson (The Doors, The Mask of Zorro) wrote the screenplay, and Portland Film Festival Founder and Executive Producer Josh Leake is producing the filmed event.  Additional collaborators include the Pander Brothers (Dark Horse Comics), who are creating graphics and imagery.

An anticipated cast of thousands are expected for the all-day holiday event, which will also include a late night surprise zombie film graveyard screening.

Additional details and sign-up information can be found at: www.portlandfilmfestival.com.


Said Portland Film Festival founder and Executive Director Josh Leake, "Zombie Day Apocalypse perfectly captures the renegade spirit and vision of the Portland Film Festival, and we're honored to be working with George Romero Jr., and a truly talented group of filmmakers to redefine cinematic history and set a new Guinness world record.  I invite all zombie lovers, cinema fans and filmmakers from around the world to join us in creating an unforgettable zombie film experience this Labor Day, and celebrate this unique Portland Film Festival event.

The fourth annual Portland Film Festival will take place September 1 - 7th, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, at seven venues throughout the city, including historic theatres and community venues.

The 2015 Portland Film Festival will announce the full festival lineup the first week of August, including all competition films, special events and guests, master classes, and more.  Festival passes are available now, and tickets for all screenings and events will be available upon announcement of the full lineup:

Lineup and ticket info: www.portlandfilmfestival.com



About the Portland Film Festival

Established in 2012, The Portland Film Festival is Oregon's largest film festival, and was named "one of the coolest film festivals in the world," by MovieMaker Magazine in 2014. It is a non-profit, year round organization dedicated to nurturing filmmakers and audiences, and to celebrating the power of a good story. The festival focuses on the people, ideas, technology, skills and artistry behind filmmaking and provides both entertaining and educational opportunities to the public.

Screenings take place across the city at seven venues, including some of the oldest historic theaters in Oregon, and includes outdoor screenings as well - offering its filmmakers some of the largest audiences available on the West Coast.

Previous and current festival partners include the City of Portland, Portland Parks & Recreation, Women in Film, Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA), Willamette Writers, SAG Aftra (Actor's Guild/Union), Oregon Governor's Office of Film (Oregon Film), I.A.T.S.E. (Film Union), Directed by Women, Digital Media Communications Department at Clackamas Community College and others.

Although the festival began in 2012, its history goes back to 2009, when the Portland Film Club was founded as a film club to bring film lovers together to view and discuss films. The club now boasts over 2300 members and is one of the largest movie clubs on the west coast. It screens typically one movie a week including new and independent features.



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"Game of Thrones"--HBO Announces the Digital Release of Season 5



"Wholly captivating. Better than ever." - Vanity Fair
"On a scale like nothing else on TV" - Variety

Nominated for 24 Emmy Awards® Including Outstanding Drama Series
GAME OF THRONES®: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON

Iconic Series Available to Download on Digital HD August 31, 2015
Blu-rayTM and DVD Release Set for March 15, 2016


New York, N.Y., July 30, 2015 - The "worldwide phenomenon" (USA Today) is back and this time fans will be able to download it on their favorite devices earlier than ever. Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season will receive an early digital release on Monday, August 31, 2015 before its Blu-ray/DVD release on March 15, 2016. Fans can pre-order the season on Digital HD now through their favorite digital platforms. The release marks the first time a season of Game of Thrones is being released early on Digital HD.

Season 5 of the hit HBO® show is the most-honored series for the 2015 Emmy Awards, with 24 nominations including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Emilia Clarke & Lena Headey). A season pass purchase of Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth at select retailers is also packed with bonus content that takes fans behind the scenes of Season 5, including two never-before-seen pieces* available exclusively with the Digital HD release. Full details for the Blu-ray and DVD release will be announced at a later date.

Digital HD bonus features include:


    Introduction to Dorne* - Visit the kingdom of Dorne in this special that delves inside the impressive realm and its many colorful characters, including Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) and the fiery Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) and her venomous Sand Snakes (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Jessica Henwick).
    Poisons of Westeros* - Explore the devious methods of poisoning seen throughout Game of Thrones in this featurette.
    Invitation to the Set - Visit the set of Game of Thrones for this intriguing preview.
    A Day in the Life - Glimpse the epic scale of Game of Thrones in this featurette that spends one day touring various Season 5 sets in Croatia, Spain and Ireland. See cast members preparing to shoot scenes while prominent members of the show's massive crew talk about the many jobs they must oversee-sets and costumes, hair and makeup, and much more-to keep the production operating smoothly.
    Set Design - Production designer Deborah Riley reveals the thought process behind the impressive sets used to create the territory of Dorne in Season 5.
    The Weapons of Dorne - Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne takes a close-up look at the razor-sharp armaments he created for the Sand Snakes and other inhabitants of Dorne in this featurette.
    New Characters & Locations - Take a tour of the new locations in Season 5 and meet some of the new players in this featurette. Included are visits to the sets of Dorne and the House of Black and White as well as introductions to Doran Martell, the Sand Snakes, the High Sparrow, and more.
    Season 4 Recap - Revisit every twist and turn from the thrilling fourth season.
    Trailer - Whet your appetite for Season 5 with this exhilarating glimpse at things to come.

Suggested Retail Pricing:

    HD Season pass: $38.99
    SD Season pass: $28.99

Season 5 begins with a power vacuum that protagonists across Westeros and Essos look to fill. At Castle Black, Jon Snow struggles to balance the demands of the Night's Watch with those of newly-arrived Stannis Baratheon, who styles himself the rightful king of Westeros. Meanwhile, Cersei scrabbles to hold on to power in King's Landing amidst the Tyrells and the rise of a religious group led by the enigmatic High Sparrow, while Jaime embarks on a secret mission. Across the Narrow Sea, Arya seeks an old friend while a fugitive Tyrion finds a new cause. And as danger mounts in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen finds that her tenuous hold on the city requires some hard sacrifices. This season features some of the most explosive scenes yet, as the promise that "winter is coming" becomes more ominous than ever before.

About HBO Home Entertainment®
HBO Home Entertainment develops, distributes and markets an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs in three formats-Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD-throughout the world.  Releases include the global hit Game of Thrones®, the #1 selling TV on DVD/Blu-ray title in major territories throughout the world over the past four years, in addition to current hits and classic favorites including True Detective®, Girls®, The Sopranos®, Sex and the City® True Blood®, The Wire® and Entourage®. The company's catalog contains hundreds of titles including multiple Emmy® Award-winning mini-series The Pacific® and Band of Brothers®, which holds the record through 2014 as the all-time best selling TV on DVD/Blu-ray title in the US; provocative programs from HBO Documentary Films including The Jinx: The Life & Deaths of Robert Durst and The Case Against 8; innovative movies from HBO Films including Game Change and The Normal Heart; hit Cinemax® original series including BansheeSM and Strike Back®; and comedy specials featuring stand-up performers like Bill Maher and Billy Crystal.  Launched in 1984, HBO Home Entertainment has offices in New York, London and Toronto. The company's releases are sold in more than 70 territories around the world and are digitally distributed on a transactional basis across an expanding number of territories and platforms.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

INNERSPACE -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



If you've ever seen FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966), you know that piloting a tiny miniaturized submarine around inside a human body is serious business. Surprisingly, though, there can be a funny side to the whole thing as well, which director Joe Dante (GREMLINS, THE HOWLING) explores in his frenetic 1987 sci-fi comedy INNERSPACE.

It's not a raucous laugh riot exactly, and I only guffawed out loud a few times, but darn if it isn't just a lot of fun to watch. This is mainly because of a well-balanced blend of sci-fi action and excitement with the wild, improvisatory comedy stylings of funnyman Martin Short, he of the classic run of "SCTV" episodes on NBC-TV and Cinemax back in the 80s. (Two of his fellow SCTV alums, Joe Flaherty and Andrea Martin, have a welcome cameo in one early scene.)

The story begins with military burn-out Lt. Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) messing up his relationships with both Uncle Sam and girlfriend Lydia (Meg Ryan during an especially cute phase in her life) in two fell swoops. Quaid is like a burn-out version of his cocky test pilot character in THE RIGHT STUFF, down on his luck and needing something drastic--like volunteering for a highly dangerous experimental project--to un-wreck his military career.


The project turns out to involve shrinking him and his tiny one-man sub to microscopic size and injecting him into the bloodstream a live rabbit, which seems entirely reasonable to Tuck until--following a cool shrinking sequence--the experiment is interrupted by a gang of industrial thieves which include sexy mean lady Fiona Lewis (DEAD KIDS, THE FURY) and Vernon Wells, the guy who played "Wez" in THE ROAD WARRIOR and is here a nattily-dressed hit man with a robot gun-hand (literally) and a sweet tooth for killin' folks.

Long story short, microscopic Tuck gets injected not into the rabbit but into the left butt cheek of neurotic Safeway checkout clerk Jack Putter (Martin Short), who's already so nervous that he's under doctor's orders to take a long, unexciting vacation. Suddenly, however, he's got a tiny guy named Tuck zipping around in his bloodstream and some very bad and violent people coming after him at every turn.

The result, as you might guess, is a succession of suspenseful chases, furious fights, and other close calls, with Tuck serving as Jack's "inner voice" and directing his actions while at the same time having his own difficulties navigating through Jack's overstimulated circulatory system and, in one scene, dangling precipitously over an ocean of roiling stomach acids.


Of course we all know that during the course of this high-spirited adventure Tuck will perform valiantly and get his old "mojo" back, and that Short's nerdly character will come through it all a hero as well and maybe even win over his fellow Safeway employee Wendy (Wendy Schaal) for whom he has the unrequited hots. And also that Tuck will get back together with Lydia after she helps him and Jack defeat the bad guys.

Unless, that is, you think there's a chance that they'll all get killed and the bad guys will win, and that INNERSPACE will have one of those horrible downer endings like THE PARALLAX VIEW or EDEN LAKE or something, in which case I guess it will be even more suspenseful for you because you really won't know what's going to happen next, so I guess that's okay.

At any rate, there are two levels of action here--what's going on with Quaid in "innerspace", and how nebbishy Short is handling his sudden plunge into danger and intrigue in the regular-sized world. Both are exciting enough while maintaining the right amount of comedy, especially with Short's seemingly limitless skills in that area. This is true even though he's downplaying much of his usual manic intensity here in order to keep his "normal guy" character on a semi-believable level. (Although he does get to do something resembling his celebrated "Ed Grimley" dance.)


Short, as many of us know, ushered in SCTV's greatest era as a comedy troup with his awesome (and woefully underappreciated) talents, and probably did much the same for SNL except I had stopped watching the show by that time. (The one-two punch of Joe Piscopo and Billy Crystal sorta killed it for me.) Given a good opportunity to do his magic, Short is a brilliant comic performer and proves it here yet again.

Visually, INNERSPACE is a wonderfully nostalgic look at how SPFX artists used to handle stuff like this before they could simply whip it all up digitally. Which means, for me, that all the shots of Quaid's craft zipping through Short's internal organs and circulatory system look way more interesting than they would if this were a CGI fest. Credit for this belongs, for the most part, to such familiar names as Dennis Muren, Rob Bottin, and the gang at Industrial Light and Magic.

Further nostalgia comes from a wonderful cast filled with B-movie greats, cult stars, and other recognizable faces that may have some viewers agog the whole time. Kenneth Tobey has a funny line during a men's room scene with Short. Rance Howard and Looney Tunes superstar Chuck Jones are in the periphery during a tense scene in Safeway between Short and the legendary Kathleen Freeman. Dick Miller, William Schallert, Orson Bean, Henry Gibson, Kevin Hooks, and Archie Hahn also turn up here and there.


In more substantial roles are Robert Picardo (THE HOWLING, "Star Trek: Voyager") as international stolen goods dealer "The Cowboy" and beloved INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS star Kevin McCarthy in a hilarious turn as Victor Eugene Scrimshaw, the eccentric millionaire who wants the secret of the shrinking machine for himself.

The Blu-ray from Warner Home Video is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 English audio and 2.0 French and Spanish audio. Subtitles are in English, French, and Spanish. Extras consist of a trailer and an entertaining commentary track with director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell, costars Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo and visual FX supervisor Dennis Muren.

INNERSPACE is that rare sci-fi comedy where both the comedy and the sci-fi are well-served. It's also the ultimate "buddy" flick. But mainly, it's a case of director Joe Dante and his marvelous cast seemingly having a ball making a movie, and it's infectious.

Buy it at the WBShop.com
Street date: Aug. 4, 2015
Stills used are not taken from Blu-ray


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Tootsie" Voted the Best Movie of All Time in "Time Out" New York Poll



TOOTSIE VOTED THE BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME IN TIME OUT NEW YORK POLL

www.timeout.com/100bestmovies

[New York, NY] July 28, 2015: A Time Out New York poll to find the 100 best movies of all time declares Tootsie the best movie ever made.

The 1982 movie stars Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman as a desperate out-of-work actor who pretends to be a woman in order to win a role in a daytime soap opera.

At No. 2 in the poll came The Godfather, starring Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, and No. 3 came A Woman Under the Influence, starring Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.

Time Out New York exclusively polled actors on both sides of the Atlantic to discover the 100 best movies of all time.

Commented Nick Kroll, actor and comedian and contributor to Time Out New York's poll: "Who doesn't want to see Dustin Hoffman in a dress talking with a Southern Accent?"

The established and up-and-coming actors who voted in Time Out New York's poll include Bill Hader (currently starring in Trainwreck), Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Hobbit), Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), Cillian Murphy (Inception) and Masters of Sex star and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen.

Other voters in Time Out New York's poll include: Zoe Kazan, Lili Taylor, Brie Larson and Anthony Mackie.
 
“We had a tall request, ranking the best movies of all time, and it was an honor receiving the input of so many esteemed actors—many of whom have classics on their own résumés,” said Joshua Rothkopf, film editor of Time Out New York. "I’m thrilled with the way this list has turned out. A modern-day classic like Tootsie points to virtues like humor, speed, sympathy, justice and heart, the priorities of actors and viewers alike. I’d love to see the canon evolve in this direction."


Key findings:

- The most recent movie on the list is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) at #86.
 
- Movies from the last 30 years include Schindler’s List (1993), Amour (2012), The Thin Red Line (1998), Monster (2003), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), American Beauty (1999) and There Will Be Blood (2007), among others.
 
- Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) continue to hold sway over the tastes of actors: Both films ranked in the top ten.
 
- Iconic actors with multiple appearances on the list include Marlon Brando, Diane Keaton, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson and Gene Kelly.


Here are Time Out's 100 best movies of all time:

1. Tootsie         
2. The Godfather          
3. A Woman Under the Influence     
4. Cinema Paradiso     
5. To Kill a Mockingbird         
6. The Godfather Part 2         
7. Annie Hall
8. Boogie Nights
9. The Red Shoes
10. Taxi Driver   
11. Dog Day Afternoon 
12. Goodfellas    
13. Withnail and I                     
14. Kes    
15. The Wizard of Oz
16. On the Waterfront  
17. The Shining
18. Breaking the Waves
19. Pulp Fiction  
20. Gladiator                  
21. La Haine
22. Jaws  
23. Raging Bull               
24. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf                  
25. Some Like It hot                  
26. Fargo
27. Rosemary's Baby                 
28. The Night of the Hunter
29. Chinatown   
30. The Apartment
31. La Vie en Rose
32. There Will Be Blood
33. All About Eve
34. Life is Beautiful       
35. Apocalypse Now                  
36. The Philadelphia Story
37. The Sting
38. Waiting for Guffman
39. Citizen Kane
40. Singin' in the Rain   
41. Festen
42. The Lives of Others             
43. American Beauty     
44. Leon (The Professional)     
45. A Star is Born
46. Casablanca
47. A Matter of Life and Death
48. An American in Paris
49. Mean Streets
50. The Empire Strikes Back
51. The Turin Horse
52. The Princess Bride
53. This is England
54. The Royal Tenenbaums
55. Gone With the Wind
56. Midnight Cowboy    
57. Nil By Mouth
58. Requiem for a Dream         
59. All That Jazz 
60. Truly Madly Deeply
61. Harold and Maude  
62. Notorious                 
63. Being There 
64. A Clockwork Orange
65. It's a Wonderful Life
66. The Sacrifice
67. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest             
68. Monster        
69. A Streetcar Named Desire              
70. Blade Runner
71. The Thin Red Line
72. The General
73. The Third Man
74. Amour
75. Tender Mercies                   
76. Tokyo Story
77. Star Wars
78. A Room for Romeo Brass
79. Scenes From a Marriage     
80. Naked
81. The Goonies
82. Brazil
83. Hidden         
84. The Deer Hunter     
85. The Piano     
86. The Grand Budapest hotel             
87. Carmen Jones
88. The African Queen
89. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
90. Y Tu Mama Tambien          
91. The Hustler  
92. Sophie's Choice       
93. Whiplash                  
94. Love Actually
95. Close Encounters of the Third Kind         
96. Paris, Texas  
97. Persona
98. Crimes and Misedemeanours
99. The Great Beauty    
100.  Schindler's List
 

About Time Out
Time Out is the ultimate insider guide for inspiring you to keep up and join in with all that’s new and best in your city.

Time Out is a global multimedia platform that spans 107 cities across 38 countries with a monthly combined audience of over 36 million. Our massively growing online presence, mobile applications, magazines, events and partnerships all inspire people to make the most of their city.

The Group continues to rapidly expand globally. Time Out Bristol and Time Out Birmingham launched in 2015, joining Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds. Time Out San Francisco, Time Out Austin and Time Out Atlanta were added to the U.S. portfolio in October 2014. Time Out Switzerland and Time Out Singapore launched in November 2014, and Time Out Seoul in both Korean and English language was launched in May 2015.

In 2011, Oakley Capital acquired a controlling interest in the business.

timeout.com | Keep up, join in, Time Out


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Sunday, July 26, 2015

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON -- DVD Review by Porfle



Before the original "Star Trek", before "The Avengers" with John Steed and Emma Peel, the hour-long adult dramatic TV series that stoked my kid-blood in the flames of fanaticism was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."  How intense was my devotion to it?  I'll put it this way--it was 1964, and this show gave me roughly the same kind of supercharged excitement as Beatlemania.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, a 10-disc DVD set from Warner Home Video, features all 29 of the original black-and-white episodes that had all of us "Unckies" (a nickname given to fans of the show which I made up just now) glued to our sets week after week. 

For that brief, exciting period of time, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum ("N.C.I.S.") seemed like just about the coolest guys on TV.  To me, anyway.  Vaughn was in his best shape ever and could actually act--his "Napoleon Solo" isn't only cool, tough, quick with the one-liners, and irresistible to women, but he's a nice guy who shows real emotion and even gets noticeably scared when he's in a tight situation. 


McCallum's blond, somewhat more reserved Russian agent, "Illya Kuryakin", was the perfect foil for Solo.  I could never quite decide which one of them I wanted to be the most.  I think female fans at the time leaned toward the cuter, more sensitive Illya, although both Vaughn and McCallum hosted the teen music show "Hullabaloo" on separate occasions. 

(A beaming Vaughn crooned the more traditional "I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad" as his opening number, surrounded by Vegas-type dancing girls, while a pensive, black-turtlenecked McCallum talk-sang his way through "Agent Double-O-Soul.")

The show itself was a wildly popular international hit and one of the first spy series on television, spawning several imitators and one classic spoof, "Get Smart!" 


At that age I wasn't allowed to watch James Bond movies yet.  Heck, there were only three of them anyway--the third, GOLDFINGER, came out shortly after "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." premiered.  So this was my mainline to the world of cool secret agent stuff, which was all the rage at the time.  It was even conceived with some input from Bond creator Ian Fleming, who featured a character named "Solo" in GOLDFINGER.  (U.N.C.L.E.'s main nemesis, "THRUSH", is inspired by SPECTRE of the Bond universe.)

As enforcement agents of U.N.C.L.E. ("United Network Command for Law and Enforcement"), a secret multinational good-guy organization, Solo and Kuryakin solve "political and legal" problems around the globe--ones which are appropriately scaled down to television size just as their thrilling exploits and action-packed adventures are small-screen facsimiles of 007's.

Even their headquarters, hidden behind a tailor shop in New York City, is cool, with all the modern technology (modern then, anyway, but now charmingly retro), I.D. badges, and gorgeous female agents who all seem to have something going on the side with Napoleon Solo. 


As the droll and unflappable U.N.C.L.E. chief Mr. Waverly, Leo G. Carroll pretty much carries over his similar role from Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST and plays it just as well.  (I love the scene where Mr. Waverly orders Solo to report any attempts on his life--"unless," he adds dryly, "they're successful.")

The stories vary wildly from relatively mundane, meat-and-potatoes domestic spy stuff, as in the premiere episode "The Vulcan Affair" with Fritz Weaver and Patricia Crowley, to tales with elements of the lurid sci-fi flicks of the 50s--"The Deadly Games Affair", for example, is about no less than the resurrection of Adolph Hitler by mad scientist Dr. Volp (Alexander Scourby) in his basement laboratory, with the help of a complete blood transfusion from the bound Napoleon Solo!

"The Girls of Nazarone Affair", one of my favorites from season one, features a secret formula designed to instantly heal gunshot wounds and other injuries, which is sought after by enigmatic THRUSH agent Dr. Egret (Marian McCargo) and her deadly blondes (including an up-and-coming Sharon Tate).    


At other times, our heroes engage in Bond-like "invade the impregnable fortress" efforts which, as in "The Iowa-Scuba Affair", are economically achieved with the deft use of very limited sets.  The agents' globetrotting adventures ("The King of Knaves Affair", "The Terbuf Affair", et al.) are similarly confined to the studio backlot and augmented by stock footage. 

The many gadgets which seemed so cutting edge in 1964 are still retro fun, such as the clunky transistor-radio-sized communicators (into which Solo intones the familiar "Open channel D"), a cigarette-case insta-camera, room-sized computers with data cards, and some sleek-looking weaponry that the luckier kids got toy versions of for Christmas.  (I had a camera that turned into a German Luger.)

One charming aspect of these plots is how often Solo and Kuryakin engage the help of civilians who serve as our vicarious surrogates, including the delightful Sue Ane Langdon in "The Shark Affair", the aforementioned Patricia Crowley as an adventurous housewife, and McCallum's then-wife Jill Ireland (the future Mrs. Charles Bronson) reluctantly joining in the action in "The Quadripartite Affair." 


The first season features a wonderful array of other guest stars and character actors: Tura Satana, James Doohan, Kurt Russell, Luciana Paluzzi, Susan Oliver, Slim Pickens, William Marshall, Ivan Dixon, Anne Francis, Richard Anderson, Robert Culp, Brooke Bundy, Carroll O'Connor, Joan O'Brien, Sharon Farrell, Senta Berger, Jennifer Billingsley, Harold Gould, Michelle Carey, Peggy Ann Garner, Sheila MacRae, Woodrow Parfrey, Narda Onyx, Bill Hickman, Gene Roth, Henry Jones, Jeremy Slate, Marta Kristen, and Ricardo Montalban.

Also appearing: June Lockhart, Arlene Martel, Madlyn Rhue, Michael Forest, Rex Holman, Joanna Moore, Ken Murray, Madge Blake, Richard Haydn, Peter Haskell, Lee Meriwether, Pat Harrington Jr., Reggie Nalder, Antoinette Bower, Malachi Throne, Lloyd Bochner, Alfred Ryder, Yvonne Craig, Nancy Kovack, Glenn Corbett, Gavin MacLeod, Richard Kiel, Karen Sharpe, Lilyan Chauvin, Barbara Feldon, Caesar Romero, Eddie Albert, Antony Carbone, George Sanders, Jeanette Nolan, Bonnie Franklin, Martin Balsam, and Barbara Shelley.

"Star Trek" stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both appear in "The Project Strigas Affair." Meg Wyllie, who was one of the large-domed, effeminate aliens in the Trek pilot "The Cage", plays a comical landlady in "The Shark Affair."


Another favorite episode, "The Double Affair", in which a Thrush agent is transformed through plastic surgery into a dead ringer for Solo, was one of several episodes pasted together into makeshift movies (with new footage added) for theatrical release--in this case resulting in the movie-length adventure THE SPY WITH MY FACE.  Some of the directors involved with the series include Richard Donner, Marc Daniels, Vincent McEveety, Joseph Sargent, and John Newland.

I quit watching the show when it switched to color as most TV shows were doing in the mid-60s, because those garish pastels suddenly made it look cheap and chintzy rather than sleek and noirish.  The scripts gradually seemed to follow suit after the colorful campiness of the Adam West "Batman" series became so popular.  (To make things worse, the original opening titles sequence was dropped and the theme music badly altered to resemble that of "Mission: Impossible.")

But THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON contains everything I loved about the show in pure, undiluted form--from that classic opening (a shadowy figure in a corridor fires his pistol at Solo as he stands behind a web-cracking pane of bulletproof glass), to that brassy Jerry Goldsmith theme that always got my heart racing, to all the little production flourishes (swish pans, freeze-frame/dissolve transitions) and modern sensibilities that made the show seem fresh and hip for its time.


Buy it at the WBShop.com
Street date: Aug. 4, 2015
While stills are in color, DVD episodes are in black-and-white


(Original full screen format, Dolby English mono sound, English subtitles, paper episode guide insert, no extras)

Episodes:

DISC ONE
The Vulcan Affair
The Iowa-Scuba Affair
The Quadripartite Affair

DISC TWO
The Shark Affair
The Deadly Games Affair
The Green Opal Affair

DISC THREE
The Giuoco Piano Affair
The Double Affair
The Project Strigas Affair

DISC FOUR
The Finny Foot Affair
The Neptune Affair
The Dove Affair

DISC FIVE
The King of Knaves Affair
The Terbuf Affair
The Deadly Decoy Affair

DISC SIX
The Fiddlesticks Affair
The Yellow Scarf Affair
The Mad, Mad Tea Party Affair

DISC SEVEN
The Secret Sceptre Affair
The Bow-Wow Affair
The Four-Steps Affair

DISC EIGHT
The See-Paris-And-Die Affair
The Brain-Killer Affair
The Hong Kong Shilling Affair

DISC NINE
The Never-Never Affair
The Love Affair
The Gazebo in the Maze Affair

DISC TEN
The Girls of Nazarone Affair
The Odd Man Affair


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ANT-MAN -- Movie Review by Porfle



So, my electricity went off yesterday and, with the temperature inching toward a toasty 100 degrees, I decided to go to the movies for the first time since 2009 (STAR TREK) and see the new Marvel universe superhero flick, ANT-MAN (2015).  Not only was it my first big-screen movie in six years, but it was also my first modern 3D flick ever, which was an added thrill. 

Being somewhat hard-of-hearing and dependent on subtitles when watching TV, I missed out on some of the dialogue details.  But it's a very visual film and I was somewhat familiar with the old "Ant-Man" comics anyway, so it didn't matter all that much, even though the novelty of the 3D kept taking me out of the movie while I sat there noticing how cool everything looked with each new shot. 

Michael Douglas (SOLITARY MAN, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT) plays Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, as an older gentleman who has locked his special shrinking suit away for fear of its falling into the wrong hands.  But his former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, THE BOURNE LEGACY), Mr Wrong-Hands himself, is close to duplicating Pym's shrinking mechanism for less-than-noble purposes.  This unscrupulous young business tycoon even uses a faulty hand-held version to turn certain people he doesn't like into blobs of reddish tissue. (Blecch!)


Meanwhile, ace cat-burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, OUR IDIOT BROTHER, THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN) has just served prison time for a politically-motivated crime and is now trying to find employment so that he can pay his child support and visit his cute little daughter Cassie.  Desperate, he ends up taking his friend Luis (Michael Peña, WORLD TRADE CENTER, "Ponch" in the upcoming "CHiPs" movie) up on a job offer to steal something very valuable from some rich guy's practically-impregnable basement safe.  It turns out to be the Ant-Man suit.  Scott takes it home, tries it on, and...suddenly he's the new Ant-Man!

Or he will be when Dr. Pym convinces him that he's the right guy for the job of breaking into the heavily-guarded Cross-Tech fortress, sabotaging Darren Cross' shrink-machine research, and stealing the Yellowjacket power suit that he's working on.  Thus follows a rigorous training montage with Scott learning how to use all the wonderful features of his suit and also how to communicate with actual ants so the helpful li'l buggers can aid him in his efforts.  Which pretty much sets up the rest of the movie.

Paul Rudd is just right when it comes to balancing the serious and comedic aspects of his role as a reluctant hero.  He really sells the heart-tugging scenes between Scott and Cassie (the very cute Abby Ryder Fortson) and conveys the frustration of dealing with his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer, JURASSIC WORLD) and her cop boyfriend Paxton (Bobby Cannavale, 10 ITEMS OR LESS) while still maintaining a wry attitude throughout.


Much of the all-out comedy is handled by Scott's excitable roommate Luis--a nice guy who just happens to be a thief--and two of Luis' like-minded associates, Kurt (David Dastmalchian, the Joker henchman whom Harvey Dent interrogates in THE DARK KNIGHT) and Dave (T.I, GET HARD). These guys turn out to be useful enough during the film's climactic siege on Cross-Tech but bumbling enough to keep it funny.  

Now that we've seen Scott's extensive training in the ant suit, including martial arts sessions with Pym's daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly, THE HOBBIT, "Lost"), we're chomping at the bit to see him in action.  After an early clash with the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) outside Stark Industries, things finally click into high gear when the good guys all converge on Cross-Tech for the big finale which will end with a thrilling battle between Ant-Man and the fearsome Yellowjacket. 

Thanks mainly to Douglas and Lilly as a father and daughter who are both still grieving over the late Mrs. Pym, who died "in action" during a superheroic exploit as The Wasp, there's adequate heft to the film's more emotional aspects.  Michael Douglas is reminding me more of his dad all the time, which is a good thing, and lends real authority to his role.  The lovely and likable Evangeline Lilly, meanwhile, is a real prize here, and I look forward to her possibly taking over as The Wasp in the future.


Director Peyton Reed (DOWN WITH LOVE, BRING IT ON) has done very little that I've seen besides location segments for "Mr. Show" but seems to have a handle on this superhero stuff.  The film is constantly dazzling to look at, with tons of CGI that looks artificial but still has a pleasing degree of comic-book believability.  (Note: keep watching for not one but two "sting" scenes during the final credits.)

It's thrilling to see Ant-Man running or flying bareback on his trusty ant-steed Anthony along with thousands of other ants through underground tunnels, sewers, and other seemingly vast spaces.  The final battle with Yellowjacket uses everyday objects such as toy trains (Thomas the Tank Engine makes a nifty guest appearance) and bug zappers to tremendously good effect. 

All in all, I was quite pleased with my big day out yesterday which was highlighted by the very fun, very enjoyable ANT-MAN (in 3D, no less!)  It isn't a "great" movie by any means, but it does all sorts of fun stuff with "good."



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Friday, July 24, 2015

"The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete First Season" DVD Collection - Updated Details



THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ON DVD AUGUST 4, 2015
 
Features All 29 Digitally Remastered Episodes!
 
BURBANK, CA (June 9, 2015) – The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has captured the hearts of its viewers since its premiere in 1964. This critically-acclaimed spoof television series featuring Leo G. Carroll, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy was the first successful spy show on American television and one of the first series to become an international phenomenon. Prior to the theatrical release of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in August 2015, fans can now relive their favorite moments as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment gets set to release The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete First Season on DVD August 4, 2015. This digitally enhanced series, also nominated for 7 Emmy Awards over its successful 4 season run, includes 29 one-hour long episodes of priceless entertainment.

In this hit spoof of the spy genre, actors Robert Vaughn and David McCallum play the roles of top agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin who use their charm, wit, and a never-ending assortment of gadgets to defend the world from evil, chaos and bad taste. The successful series also stars Leo G. Carroll as Alexander Waverly and features guest stars such as William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, of Star Trek, Kurt Russell, Ricardo Montalban and longtime comedy favorite Ken Murray. From trying to save the world from fear gas to trying to save themselves from a pack of bloodthirsty cheetahs, these serious spies bring the suspense and fun to life. You may even forget it's in black and white!
 
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete First Season is the first successful spy series of its kind and we are proud to bring it back to viewers to experience all the action” said Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, Television Marketing. “The episodes have been digitally remastered and will allow audiences young and old to relive this phenomenon before the theatrical release!”


The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete First Season Enhanced on DVD includes 29 1-Hour Episodes:

DISC ONE
The Vulcan Affair
1.       The Iowa-Scuba Affair
2.       The Quadripartite Affair

DISC TWO
3.       The Shark Affair
4.       The Deadly Games Affair
5.       The Green Opal Affair

DISC THREE
6.       The Giuoco Piano Affair
7.       The Double Affair
8.       The Project Strigas Affair

DISC FOUR
9.       The Finny Foot Affair
10.   The Neptune Affair
11.   The Dove Affair

DISC FIVE
12.   The King of Knaves Affair
13.   The Terbuf Affair
14.   The Deadly Decoy Affair

15.   DISC SIX
16.   The Fiddlesticks Affair
17.   The Yellow Scarf Affair
18.   The Mad, Mad Tea Party Affair

DISC SEVEN
19.   The Secret Sceptre Affair
20.   The Bow-Wow Affair
21.   The Four-Steps Affair

DISC EIGHT
22.   The See-Paris-And-Die Affair
23.   The Brain-Killer Affair
24.   The Hong Kong Shilling Affair

DISC NINE
25.   The Never-Never Affair
26.   The Love Affair
27.   The Gazebo in the Maze Affair

DISC TEN
28.   The Girls of Nazarene Affair
29.   The Odd Man Affair



About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

WBShop.com


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