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Friday, December 6, 2013
Steven Seagal continues to keep one big foot planted firmly in the action sub-genre that he himself created--namely, the "Steven Seagal movie"--but in the case of the mildly entertaining FORCE OF EXECUTION (2013) his participation is noticeably limited to little more than "guest star" status.
Just as the titles of these movies are now mostly random combinations of the same group of words, the plot of this latest Seagal foot-fest is a simple mix of action and gangster movie tropes upon which to hang fight sequences like Christmas ornaments.
But let's face it--that's just what we want, as long as it's put together with skill and a little pizzazz, as this minor but watchable effort is. This time, Seagal plays his usual ex-military badass who now uses his training to advance himself to kingpin status in the world of crime. When he sends his most trusted man, Roman Hurst (Bren Foster, MAXIMUM CONVICTION, "Days of Our Lives") on an important hit, it's deliberately botched by Ice Man (Ving Rhames), an up-and-coming gang boss who wants to move up in Steve's crime family before taking it over himself. Roman gets the blame, is punished by having his hands broken, and is sent into exile as a street bum.
While drinking his way through his new life, Roman befriends an ex-con named Oso (Danny Trejo) who runs a diner along with Roman's heartthrob, the lovely Karen (Jenny Gabrielle, SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN). When Oso and Karen get drawn into the escalating war between Steve and Ice Man, Roman realizes he must knock himself back into some kind of fighting shape in order to protect both them and his former boss, to whom he is still loyal for some damn reason I couldn't quite figure out.
It's the same tired old plot about warring crime lords vying for top-dog spot in a particular hood, but you really don't have to worry too much about the details as long as you keep track of who the good bad guys are as opposed to the really bad, evil, nasty bad guys. The violence-enriched story by Richard Beattie (MAXIMUM CONVICTION) and first-timer Michael Black doesn't quite flow but instead jerks forward from one cliched situation to the next, coming to life when these trash-talking bastards threaten, torture, or physically attack each other.
Seagal, thank goodness, seems to have managed to keep his weight down lately and wears something that looks more like a regular suit than a muu-muu. In fact, he seems to be in the same relatively spry shape as in the recent MAXIMUM CONVICTION, another film by director Keoni Waxman (HUNT TO KILL, THE KEEPER) which really scored a home run while giving stars Seagal and Steve Austin plenty to do.
But even though he's more sedentary these days, Steve's strengths lie in how he uses his still considerable presence, talking trash and being the baddest mofo in whatever room he happens to saunter into. And by now, director Waxman knows how to work his movie magic in order to make it look as though the big guy is doing more than just flailing his arms and letting a stand-in do all the heavy lifting. Steve's fans are well aware that he does a minimum of the agile stuff himself these days, so just getting the illusion right is pretty much all we can ask.
Waxman does well with a decent script and knows how to put together a terse, coherent action scene in which quick cutting adds to the excitement rather than the confusion. In fact, you can almost sense his own cinematic excitement gearing up when the talking's done and it's time to get down to business.
With the young and athletic Bren Foster, whose character is actually FORCE OF EXECUTION's main attraction, Waxman has someone he can work with to create some wildly furious fight scenes in which guns and knives come into play as well as fists and feet. As an actor, Foster reminds me of a perpetually nonplussed Colin Farrell, which is either good or bad according to your own tastes. Action-wise, he's got the kind of moves (including a very good spin-kick) that make fans of this kind of flick happy.
Ving Rhames has some fun chomping on the scenery as a more jovial version of PULP FICTION's Marcellus Wallace, delivering lines like "It's lucky for you I promised my mama I wouldn't kill anybody today" and shooting off two guns at a time with both eyes shut tight. The ever-reliable Danny Trejo, who should be well on his way to "national treasure" status by now, also seems to be having a good time, especially when using his witch doctor skills to apply deadly scorpions to an unwilling patient in order to "heal" his wounds. As Karen, Jenny Gabrielle makes an appealing love interest/damsel-in-distress for Foster's hero to rescue from her dastardly captors.
The 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo from Anchor Bay is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish. The sole extra is a behind-the-scenes featurette.
By the final reel, Steven Seagal has geared up into commando mode to fight off Ving and his men in his own fortress of crime, which leads to a highly eventful (but seemingly rushed) finale. While nowhere near the rollicking success of MAXIMUM CONVICTION, and lacking anything resembling URBAN JUSTICE's cool-as-hell ending, FORCE OF EXECUTION still manages to provide more than the minimum requirement of entertainment that we've come to expect from the latter-day Seagal.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 10:50 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Producer Janet Carrus To Sponsor The Netherlands' Team
"Effervescent! Seidelman's feel for setting and character is truly spectacular." - Time Out New York
"Susan Seidelman still knows how to capture the chaotic magic of New York." - The Village Voice
"A terrific film full of life, heart, music and fantastic dancing. A movie that just makes you feel good. See it!" - Boxoffice
New York, NY - December 5, 2013 - The inspiring romantic film MUSICAL CHAIRS will be screened at the 2013 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships taking place in Tokyo, Japan at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba Hotel on the evening of Sunday, December 8th. Janet Carrus, the producer of MUSICAL CHAIRS, will be sponsoring The Netherlands Team at the championships, which will be held from December 7-8. For more details about the Tokyo Screening or for air-times on HBO Latino, HBO Signature and HBO Comedy please visit: www.musicalchairsthefilm.com
The 2013 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships willhost over 160 athletes from over 25 countries for the first competition in Tokyo since the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were awarded to the city.This year's championship will be organized locally by the Japanese Wheelchair Dance Sport Federation. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/Tokyo2013
A unique blend of dance, drama, and romance, MUSICAL CHAIRS stars newcomers Leah Pipes and E.J. Bonilla as a pair of unlikely lovers in contemporary New York who must face a number of challenges, both separately and together, before finding one another--and themselves. Also starring Tony-winner Priscilla Lopez, Jaime Tirelli, Laverne Cox, Morgan Spector, Auti Angel, Jerome Preston Bates, Nelson R. Landrieu, and Angelic Zambrana, MUSICAL CHAIRS was produced by Janet Carrus and Joey Dedio.
Active in charities benefitting the impaired and ardent ballroom dance enthusiast, co-producer Carrus initiated the idea of creating a film around wheelchair ballroom dancing. As an activity long popular in Europe and Asia, wheelchair ballroom dancing has only recently developed a wider following in the United States.
About the film, which features both impaired and able-bodied performers in its rousing dance scenes, Carrus says, "Susan has succeeded in conveying the struggles we all face, both able-bodied and disabled, making our way, whether through life or on the dance floor. She has a real talent for embracing people in all their diversity and making them real, believable, and acceptable."
Set against the exciting backdrop of competitive ballroom dancing, MUSICAL CHAIRS is about Armando (Bonilla) a Bronx-bred Latino who aspires to be a dancer but whose only way in is as a handyman at a Manhattan dance studio, and Mia (Pipes), an Upper East Side princess who is the studio's star performer. Though worlds apart, their shared passion for dance promises to bring them together until a tragic accident changes Mia's life forever, and she finds herself wheelchair-bound at a rehab facility, with her dreams of a dance career shattered. Fortunately, Armando has enough dreams for both of them and, when he hears about a wheelchair ballroom dance competition that will soon be held in NY, he sees a way to return something to Mia that she thinks is lost forever. At first she is reluctant--wheelchair dancing, though highly popular overseas, is something she never even knew existed. But, with the help of several other residents at the rehab center, Armando organizes an intense training program that will bring them all center stage and in the spotlight. The prize is irrelevant; what they really stand to win back is their zest for life.
WHAT: Musical Chairs Screening at the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships
WHERE:Grand Pacific Le Daiba Hotel | 2-6-1 Daiba, Minato Tokyo 135-8701, Japan
WHEN: Sunday, December 8th | Evening
For more on the film visit:
Posted by porfle at 8:40 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Mistaken-identity comedy from acclaimed director Kenji Uchida
Played Toronto Int'l Film Festival
"A chessboard of ingenious subplots!" -Maggie Lee, Variety
"Filled to brimming with heart, charm and sensibility!" -Iceberg Ink Blog
December 4, 2013 (NY, NY) – Film Movement, the distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films, announces today that KEY OF LIFE, the black comedy crime caper with a case of mistaken identity, will be released on DVD January 7th in North America. Key of Life weaves together three unique storilines - a failing actor down on his luck, a corporate executive desperate to find a husband, and an assassin in trouble with crime bosses - to hilarious ends.
All Film Movement DVD releases include a short film - this month's release includes FINALE, a film by Balazs Simony. The film, from Hungary and 8 minutes in length, follows two well-dressed gentlemen who enjoy a few drinks at a bar only to head out to complete a mysterious job.
An official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, Key of Life will be available on DVD at Film Movement, and also through major retailers such as Amazon.com. The film will be available to stream directly from Film Movement for just $3.99; online streaming begins January 7th and can be accessed here. Additionally, Amazon Instant will make the film available for rent and download beginning January 7th.
Synopsis of KEY OF LIFE:
A case of stolen identity and one determined bride-to-be intersect in this comedic escapade from famed Japanese filmmaker Kenji Uchida. Struggling actor Sakurai is out of work, out of luck and can't even succeed at taking his own life. When a mysterious man slips and falls at the bathhouse, Sakurai switches locker keys and identities with the man, who turns out to be a hit man named Kondo. His memory lost in the fall, Kondo begins piecing 'his' life as Sakurai back together with the help of Kanae, a young woman he meets in the hospital who is determined to find a husband. Meanwhile, Sakurai, posing as Kondo, incurs the wrath of ornery gangsters. As the truth about Kondo and Sakurai comes to light, they must scramble to resolve the chaos of this topsy-turvey chain of events.
KEY OF LIFE |2013 | Comedy | Japanese with English subtitles | 128 minutes I Unrated
About Film Movement:
Launched in 2003, Film Movement is a full-service North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films, based in New York City. Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts from 50 countries on six continents, including top prize winners from Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, Tribeca and other prestigious festivals. Film Movement releases its films through numerous distribution channels, including thousands of art-house cinemas, universities and libraries; home video (Netflix and Amazon); television outlets (Sundance Channel, HBO, IFC and Showtime); Cable Video on Demand (including its very own branded cable VOD platform—Film Festival on Demand—available in over 40 million US homes); In-flight Entertainment (Alaska Airlines, Air Canada and United/Continental,) and broadband outlets (iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube). For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 6:10 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
A mix of the "spooky old house" and "axe murderer on the loose" genres, SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1972) is hardly the campy-fun slasher-trash fest I expected. In fact, there isn't an ounce of humor, intentional or otherwise, in this somber, wintry horror tale.
The gravely-intoned prologue, in which the Mayor's daughter Diane Adams (Mary Woronov, EATING RAOUL, ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL) reflects on the horrible events surrounding the old Butler mansion at the edge of town, is enough to let us know that we're in for a depressing time, It all has to do with the house's original owner, Wilfred Butler (Philip Bruns, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"), his mysterious death by fire, and the tragic fate of his daughter, Marianne.
When his grandson Jeffrey (James Patterson, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT) disobeys the stipulation in his will that the house remain untouched and unsold, a mysterious killer begins stalking the premises to make sure that whoever goes in doesn't come out.
Cue Jeffrey's lawyer John Carter (a typically urbane, laid-back Patrick O'Neal) and his secretary-slash-mistress Ingrid (the way-cute Astrid Heeren), who decide to spend a night in the house while finalizing the details of its impending sale. As if this isn't enough to stir things up, Jeffrey himself returns just in time to endure a night of murder and mayhem that will leave the quiet little town littered with corpses. His uneasy alliance with Diane will result in them ending up right in the middle of the film's horrific climax.
The confusing story will eventually yield a nice surprise or two, but it's basically just an excuse for the filmmakers to see how much of a dreary and oppressive gloom 'n' doom atmosphere they can muster with their low budget and limited resources. Mary Woronov's husband Theodore Gershuny, who directed two other films and several episodes of TV shows such as "Tales From the Darkside" and "The Equalizer", helms Jeffrey Konvitz and Ira Teller's funereal screenplay in a crudely effective fashion. The film's rough-hewn production elements and choppy editing alternate between being distracting and somehow enhancing its dreary mood.
Once the killer stops creeping around unseen and gets the old axe a-swingin', we get a few mildly gory chop-'em-up scenes with some fake blood splattered about, along with a dismembered hand or two. These moments of mayhem, however, come after long, mundane stretches that are interesting only if you enjoy watching a very old John Carradine (and who doesn't?) or a very young and attractive Mary Woronov (ditto). Distinguished actor James Pattererson, who died at age 40 shortly after this film was made, comes off well despite an understandably uninspired performance.
Similar in feel to Bob Clark's 1974 BLACK CHRISTMAS, with the dreariest version of "Silent Night" you can imagine and a score that's almost more downbeat than Bernard Herrmann's music for PSYCHO, the best of SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT is saved for its centerpiece flashback sequence. As Diane reads from Wilfred Butler's tattered journal, we're transported into a grainy, sepia-hued world that's so dark and depressingly surreal as to be almost a cross between David Lynch and H.P. Lovecraft.
This vignette occurs during the time the Butler house served as an insane asylum, with the inmates being let loose to wreak revenge upon their cruel keepers, and is so fascinatingly, unremittingly nightmarish as to seem like part of a different film altogether. Afterwards, the story's actual ending comes as something of an anti-climax despite director Gerhuny's efforts to build to a shocking finale that he isn't quite able to pull off.
The DVD from Film Chest is in widescreen with 2.0 sound. No subtitles or extras. Opening titles (featuring the alternate name "Deathhouse") bleed off the sides of the screen a bit. The film is an HD restoration from 35mm elements but the print used has several rough spots. Personally, I like it when a film looks like it's been around the block a few times, but those wanting something closer to pristine may cringe a few times.
Movies like SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT straddled some interesting cinematic territory between old-style Gothic horror and slasher-era gore while inadvertently helping to lay the groundwork for the tired "dead teenager" formulas of the 80s and 90s. While unpolished and at times technically crude, it still manages to create an extremely effective and unrelievedly depressing mood (definitely not recommended for the suicidal) with atmosphere to burn.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 11:38 PM
"A Heavyweight Performance" - People Magazine
Mike Tyson's One-Man Hit Stage Show
Directed By Academy Award®Nominee Spike Lee
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth
Comes to DVD with Digital Copy on February 11, 2014 During Black History Month
New York, N.Y., December 3, 2013 - Controversial and charismatic former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson bares it all in Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, his hit one-man stage show directed by Academy Award® Nominee and personal friend Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, HBO's When the Leeves Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts).
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth will arrive on DVD with Digital Copy ($14.98) on February 11, 2014 (timed to Black History Month) and includes "Conversations," a featurette including interviews with Lee and Tyson, along with executive producer/writer Kiki Tyson and executive producer Jon Kilik, that discuss the story behind Undisputed Truth.
Raw, honest, powerful and full of humor, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" features "Iron Mike" recounting his life's highs and lows in his signature candid style. Filmed before a live audience at Broadway's Imperial Theatre in New York City, this HBO Films® presentation finds Tyson opening up about his troubled youth, landmark boxing career, key people in his life, controversies, time in prison, self-examination, family and new beginnings.
Reviewing the stage production, the Los Angeles Times called Tyson "a riveting stage presence with compelling stories to tell" and the New York Daily News described his show as "entertaining" and "fascinating," adding that he "is gifted with iron-clad charisma."
Earlier this year, Tyson wrapped a ten-week U.S. tour of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, which ran on Broadway the previous summer, both directed by Lee. He will perform the show overseas through spring 2014. Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is executive produced by Spike Lee, Mike Tyson, Kiki Tyson, Jon Kilik and James Nederlander; directed by Spike Lee; written by Kiki Tyson.
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth
DVD & Digital Copy
Street Date: February 11, 2014
Order Date: January 7, 2014
Runtime: Approx. 90 minutes (not including bonus material)
Price: $14.98 DVD & Digital Copy (1 Disc)
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 throughout the world. Releases include the global hits Game of Thrones®, True Blood® and Girls®, favorites such as The Sopranos®, Sex and the City® and Entourage®, and multiple Emmy Award-winning mini-series The Pacific® and Band of Brothers®. The company's catalog contains hundreds of titles including the Peabody Award-winning children's program Classical Baby, provocative programs from HBO Documentary Films including The Weight of the Nation, innovative movies from HBO Films including Game Change and Behind the Candelabra,and comedy specials featuring stand-up performers like George Lopez and Ricky Gervais. Launched in 1984, HBO Home Entertainment has offices in New York, London and Toronto and the company's releases are sold in over 80 territories around the world.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 8:54 AM
Monday, December 2, 2013
Dolph Lundgren stars in "BATTLE OF THE DAMNED" -- coming to Blu-ray and DVD February 18th from Anchor Bay Films
“Explosions, bullets, zombies and robots…I loved every minute of it!” – The Other View
ANCHOR BAY FILMS GETS READY TO RUMBLE WITH
BATTLE OF THE DAMNED
STARRING DOLPH LUNDGREN
Bring The Battle Home on Blu-ray™ and DVD February 18, 2014
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – “Zombies. Killer Robots. Nice town you got here.” Anchor Bay Films presents Battle of the Damned, where you can pick your apocalypse – germ warfare, zombie assaults, and/or deadly robots!! With unrelenting action and unyielding suspense, Battle of the Damned commences February 18, 2014 on Blu-ray™ and DVD, with an SRP of $29.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $24.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is January 22, 2014.
When a deadly virus is accidentally released into a major city, its population is quarantined by military blockade. And for a wealthy industrialist desperate to rescue his daughter from inside the rabid chaos, his only hope is former commando Max Gatling (Lundgren).
Now Gatling has one day to bust in, blast through hordes of the undead, find the girl, and hunt for a way to get them both out alive. But will a small band of survivors and an army of killer robots turn his mission into maximum slaughter?
Matt Doran (The Matrix) and David Field (Chopper) co-star in this intense action shocker that TheActionElite.com calls “awesome badass…one of the craziest movies of Dolph’s career and arguably one of his best!”
Also starring Esteban Cueto (Fast Five, Iron Man 2, The Scorpion King), Battle of the Damned is a terrifying look into the future. Set against a ravaged landscape, it is a battle against flesh and steel – a battle between outlaw and outbreak!
Battle of the Damned is written and directed by Christopher Hatton and produced by Ehud Bleiberg, Leon Tong and Hatton.
About Anchor Bay Films
Anchor Bay Films is a division of Anchor Bay Entertainment and provides quality distribution with operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and offers distribution capabilities in other key territories. Anchor Bay Films uniquely offers the creative community a fully integrated distribution capability on all platforms and an international solution extending beyond the United States. The company focuses on a platform release strategy for its films with an eye toward maximizing their potential across all ancillary distribution platforms. Theatrical releases include Billy Bob Thornton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car starring Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon and Ray Stevenson, Slasher Films’ premiere release Nothing Left to Fear featuring music from legendary guitarist Slash and the upcoming release At Middleton starring Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga. Films in its library include the recent theatrical release of Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison and genre favorite Ken Foree, 10 Years starring Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson, the critically-acclaimed comedy City Island starring Andy Garcia and Solitary Man starring Michael Douglas as well as Kill the Irishman starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken, and Toronto Film Festival award-winner Beautiful Boy with Maria Bello and Michael Sheen. Anchor Bay Entertainment (www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.
Battle of the Damned Blu-ray™
Street date: February 18, 2014
Pre-book: January 22, 2014
Catalog #: BD61384
Run time: 89 Minutes
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Format: Widescreen (1.78:1) 1080p
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Bonus Feature: “Battling the Damned” featurette
Battle of the Damned DVD
Street date: February 18, 2014
Pre-book: January 22, 2014
Catalog #: AF61383
Run time: 89 Minutes
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Format: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Bonus Feature: “Battling the Damned” featurette
Posted by porfle at 8:48 AM