HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DVD REVIEW: Hot Summer in the City (1976)

Exploitation Cinema has given birth to many beasts of cinema. From the sickening to the downright depraved, its proven to be a brutal and powerful force in underground film. 1970s Pornographic film has also had its fair share of controversy through its filthy portrayal of the wicked and sexually perverse.

HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY rides a very thin line between Exploitation and Pornographic Cinema. I hold no real interest in the latter genre, so will be looking at the film through its Exploitation microscope.

FILM:

HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY spits one demented storyline at the viewer. A gang of Black Militants, planning to erupt a volcano of racial riots throughout the suburbs, decide to kidnap and ravish an innocent young white girl, whom they find lost along the highway one night.

HSITC is one HELL of a film. It drips with such perversity and filth, taking a shower after viewing becomes mandatory. The atmosphere is shockingly filthy and wreaks of disgust.

It's graphic racial undertones sprayed throughout and fair share of Exploitation violence sprinkled near the end, make for essential GRINDHOUSE viewing.

The film is Roughie, no doubt, filled with HC inserts throughout and penetration continuously. But, such scenes are stitched so well within the Exploitation atmosphere, it becomes part of the film seemlessly and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It actually becomes part of the plot.

HSITC also contains its fair share of disturbing content. With a mentally handicapped actor participating in the depraved acts, one wonders whether the actor is truly acting or actually disabled.

With The Beach Boys, The Supremes, and The Doors all blasting through the soundtrack, one slowly begins to understand why such a film will never see the light of an official SE release.

HSITC is such a sick bastard of a film, it works on the same level that THEY CALL HER ONE EYE works. It mixes the extreme with the cinematic to create a very powerful breed of film. Although it's definitely cheaply made, the energy is just too DAMN furious to dismiss.
9/10

VIDEO: The quality is extremely poor. Shot on 16mm, the presentation is filled with scratches, blackouts, and jumps. Finding a better print would likely be an impossible stretch, so this print does its job in presenting the film successfully to the viewer. The film is an Exploitation piece so such problems with the print seem suitable to the film. It adds that extra Exploitive flavor that soon becomes part of the film within minutes.
6/10

AUDIO: The Audio, like the Video is splattered with scratches, fades, cracks, and hisses. All is fine though, as the Audio is able to present the musical pieces and dialogue in a respectable manner. After the first 10 mins, such problems become irrelevant and is actually able to add to the grittiness of the film.
4/10

EXTRAS: A whole host of other Alpha Blue Archives trailers.

Two 8mm loops dealing with the same interracial content found within the film. Both run for about 20 mins. and are filled with graphic smut, sex, rape, and everything else in between.

The final extra is some cool taglines attached to the film on its initial release. The taglines do a good job of summing up the film really well.
6/10

OVERALL: Quentin Tarantino once called HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY, "The Greatest Porno Ever". Although I'm no expert in the illicit genre, from what I've seen, it is the most accomplished one ever assembled. It's so DAMN depraved and exploitive, that its ability manifest into an oddly brilliant film is just downright AMAZING.
9/10
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New Poster for Dario Argento's GIALLO

Looks AMAZINGLY AMAZING!

Although its based an Andy Warhol original piece, the poster totally fits what I hope the film is going for.




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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DEATH DEFYING ACTS: HOUDINI'S SECRET -- DVD review by porfle

Mixing a dash of truth with heaping helpings of fiction, the UK-Australian film DEATH DEFYING ACTS: HOUDINI'S SECRET (2008) finds legendary escapologist Harry Houdini in Edinburgh, Scotland during his final 1926 European tour (truth), where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful con woman named Mary McGarvie who claims she can help him contact the spirit of his dear, departed mother (fiction). The result is a handsomely-mounted romantic fantasy with an intriguing "what if?" premise and some interesting performances.

Mary and her young tomboyish daughter, Benji, live in an impossibly cozy shack in a cemetery and earn a living performing in a local music hall as "the tantalizing Princess Kali and her dusky disciple." This gives Catherine Zeta-Jones a chance to look fabulous in a skimpy harem costume while she and a brown-faced Benji wow the rubes with their fake psychic act. When Houdini triumphantly enters the city to an ecstatic reception, his standing offer of $10,000 to anyone who can prove their psychic veracity by reciting his mother's dying words to him is an irresistible opportunity for the mother-daughter team.

They set about trying to dig up personal information on Houdini to aid in their deception, and in the process Harry and Mary begin to fall for each other. This unusual romance, and how it effects both a jealous Benji and Harry's doting manager-slash-keeper Mr. Sugarman (Timothy Spall), keeps the story moving until the moment of truth in which Mary is expected to wield her psychic powers before an expectant Houdini and a horde of eager reporters.

Guy Pearce plays Houdini as a gruff but friendly egotist with an imposing personality and boundless energy. The usually rail-thin Pearce comes as a shock in his first shirtless scene--with his new muscular frame he hardly looks like the same person we saw in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, MEMENTO, or THE TIME MACHINE. Catherine Zeta-Jones is a more restrained presence, but her Mary is just as strong-willed as Houdini and rejects his amorous advances until she's sure he regards her as more than a casual fling. As it turns out, Harry's interest in her is based in large part on her uncanny resemblance to his mother, which gives the story an added element of--well, weirdness.

The most interesting performance comes from 14-year-old Saoirse Ronan as Benji. She's a remarkably skilled, thoughtful actress who pretty much steals every scene she's in while doing so in a subtle and natural manner. Her Benji narrates the film, which we see mainly from her viewpoint and experience through her character. Much of the story's emotional resonance comes from the conflict between her devotion to her mother and her hero-worship of Houdini, who is, after all, the object of their deceptive scheme.

Director Gillian Armstrong (MY BRILLIANT CAREER, LITTLE WOMEN) handles the action well and gives the film a hazy, golden-hued, nostalgic look. Lush period detail fills the frame in every scene. The main titles display Armstrong's sometimes quirky visual sense--we see a strait-jacketed Pearce enter the water from below the surface and then drift into closeup, where he floats motionless and calmly holds his breath in one long, unbroken take until the credits are done. It looks like a SPFX shot but it isn't, and Pearce's breath control is the result of training with a professional.

We don't see much of Houdini's performance magic after that, although his famous water torture escape is very nicely duplicated early on. Armstrong imaginatively uses this device as a means for mystical floating visions to appear to whoever is inside it. Houdini sees a ghostly image of his mother, complete with pennies over her eyes; Benji, after accidentally falling in, sees a red-haired angelic harbinger of Houdini's death.

For me, the highlight is the sequence in which Mary is expected to channel the spirit of Houdini's mother before the assembled press and reveal her last words to him. It doesn't go off as expected, and there's a startling twist in which the boundary between fakery and actual spiritualism is apparently blurred. Surprisingly, it's Saoirse Ronan's performance in this scene which is the most impressive.

The widescreen picture and sound are good. The commentary track is just the kind I like--both continuous and well-balanced between being scene-specific and generally informative. It's also amusing the way director Armstrong keeps up a constant monologue while producer Marian Macgowan, who has a better memory for details, inserts various names and other factual data almost seamlessly into the pauses. Additional features consist of a "making-of" featurette and a trailer. There are no deleted scenes because, as Armstrong tells us, the script by Tony Grisoni and Brian Ward was so tight that it didn't require any trimming after it was filmed.

Not quite a remarkable film, DEATH DEFYING ACTS: HOUDINI'S SECRET is still an involving and visually satisfying historical fiction that benefits from its lead performances, imaginative story, and fine period setting. The rather peculiar romance between Harry and Mary is far more intriguing and adult than the usual Harlequin nonsense, while the mystical elements give it a nice dark tone and are left tantalizingly unresolved.
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Inglorious Bastards DVD Review by 42nd St Pete

The Inglorious Bastards 1978 Directed by Enzo Castellari. Starring Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Jackie Basehart, and Ian Bannen. DVD by Severin Films


This release got a lot of hype as the film seems to have given Quentin Tarantino a woodie as he’s going to remake it. I had never seen it in the theaters and never had the desire to see it up until this point. Severin did a great job with the transfer and extras. I watched the film, which was pretty good, but the extras actually were better , especially the documentary, Train-Kept-A-Rollin’, where I actually learned a lot about Italian action film making.


Bastards is about a group of American prisoners being taken for sentencing. The convoy is strafed, killing most of the prisoners, but five escape. Being that the tagline is “ Whatever The Dirty Dozen Did, They Did it Dirtier”, you wonder why the film wasn’t called The Filthy Five. Oh, yeah, that’s a lost Andy Milligan film, sorry.


The five that survive are a Lieutenant( Svenson), a killer ( Williamson), a mob guy, a forger/hustler, and a coward/mechanic. They decide to go to Switzerland to ride out the war. They find a German deserter and use him to get by the other Germans. This plan goes awry when they mistake a group of American commandos for real Germans. The deserter is killed and the commandos wiped out.


The French Resistance finds them and thinks they are the commandos. A Colonel Buckner arrives, a lot pissed off that his specialists have been killed. They were supposed to take out a train with a super bomb on board. The Lieutenant convinces Buckner that he and his boys can do the job. Now its all action as the “Bastards” take the train.


Castellari is one of great Italian action directors and “ The Inglorious Bastards “ is probably his most famous work. This is a three disc set. Like I said , the transfer is excellent, the extras are very cool and informative, and some of the key players share their thoughts about working on the film. This was Fred Williamson’s first Italian film. He said that he knew that he would be box office over here and did a lot more films in Italy. Svenson, on the other hand, said that he stayed too long in Italy and that caused his stock to drop in Hollywood.


To sum it up, this is a great set from Severin Films and I hope to see a lot more from them in the future.


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Drive Cult Classics Volume 2 DVD Review by 42nd St Pete

Drive In Cult Classics Volume 2 Released by BCI


Initially I thought that this was just a package of beat up PD prints. I was wrong as somebody took the time to find better prints and restore them. The films in this collection are The Hearse, Land of the Minotaur, The Creeping Terror, Bloodlust, Terrified, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Madmen of Mandoras, & The Devil’s Hand.


To see how good these were, I picked the shittiest one in the bunch, The Creeping Terror. I had seen a really crappy print of this years ago. Almost the entire film is narrated as the soundtrack was “lost”. The monster, called a giant carpet in some reference books, actually doesn’t look bad here.

The monster looks a lot like a turtle with leaves sprouting out of it and a vagina for a mouth. It eats a lot of people, attacks a dance hall were people look really drunk. Check out the two old ladies getting hammered. When the creature attacks, a fist fight breaks out. The creature eats everyone at the dance hall, a squad of soldiers, then goes to lovers lane.


You see a lot more carnage in this print. The beast turns over a car and the passengers tumble out, bloody. The creature sucks them out of the car. The new Sheriff (the old one got eaten) rams his car into the beast, killing it. They find out the monsters are portable labs that eat people and send the data to another planet to find our weaknesses. The scientist, who has been rendered a bloody mess, warns of a potential invasion down the road.


This film has never looked better and is actually watchable. There seems to be a lot more footage added to it and it’s a very clear print. Even though I haven’t watched the rest of the films, just based on what they did with The Creeping Terror, I would recommend this collection.


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Cemetery Girls and Vampire Hookers Review by 42nd St Pete

Exploitation Cinema Double Feature: Cemetery Girls and Vampire Hookers. Released by BCI.


A great double feature ala grindhouse with trailers, snack bar commercials and a great double bill. Cemetery Girls is actually Count Dracula’s Great Love with Paul Naschy. I don’t know if this is the uncut version, but it starts out with a throat getting ripped out and an axe to the head before the credits roll.


Four women and one guy are stranded in a remote region in the Carpathians. They are told of a sanitarium, run by a crazy doctor, by their driver before his head is caved in by one of the horse’s hooves. Of course they go to the place and meet the doctor, who is really Count Dracula.


The fun begins as the girls are bitten and get naked. Lots of lesbo action as two vampire girls double team their friend’s neck and other interesting parts of her anatomy. The dubbing is atrocious, the vampires are walking around in sunlight, the gore is extreme at times , and I enjoyed the hell out of it.


Vampire Hookers is the co feature , shot by Ciro Santiago and starring the immortal John Carradine


You just have to love these trashy flicks shot in the Philippines. Two sailors on shore leave are looking for some pussy. They wander into a trannie bar by mistake. After a brawl in that lovely establishment, they hook up with a guy who might be an Admiral or something. A hot chic comes into the bar, the Admiral grabs her and she takes him to her place, the cemetery.


At this point any sane man would be mouthing WTF, but not this horny sailor. He follows her into the crypt, which is a pretty cool set, and thinks he is about to get busy. Unfortunately Carradine & his bevy of bodacious vamps show up and drain his fluids, not the fluids he expected.


His buddies go searching for him and find the cemetery. One finds his way into the crypt, but is seen by Vic Diaz , a servant to the coven. The two sailors are cornered and all seems hopeless until the sun rises. This is for laughs as no one could take any of this seriously. It’s laughs, tits, & blood. One girl defends her cult” It’s not murder, it’s dinner”. Vic farts a lot to add to the ambiance.


One sailor goes back and is caught. Carradine spouts a lot of Shakespeare quotes and seems to be enjoying all of this. The three vamps want the sailor for the night and we get a prolonged softcore sex romp while the sailor’s buddy tries to rescue him.


This plays out like a low budget Abbot & Costello movie. The sailor brings a bag of garlic & stakes, but can’t get the door to the crypt open. He leaves the bag and goes to get tools. Vic finds the bag and brings it to Carradine. “ Is it pizza? “ one of the girls asks. “ No it’s garlic “ Carradine roars and order the bag to be disposed of. John also bitches about mixing vodka with blood.


These two films are the perfect mix of laughs, blood, nudity, sex & horror. While the humor in Hookers was intentional, I’m sure the humor in Drac wasn’t. These transfers are the best I’ve seen with these films. Hookers is heads above those crappy VHS tapes put out by Comet, Continental, or whatever those ugly big box VHS tapeswere. All in all, a great package, though I could have done without seeing Nachy’s fat, hairy ass in the sex scenes.


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Brotherhood of Blood by 42nd St Pete

Brotherhood of Blood 2007 Ghosthouse Underground with Victoria Pratt, Ken Foree, and Sid Haig.

Billed as a combination of Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects with vampires, it falls flat on every level. Scenes shift back & forth from this day to that day to three days prior, excreta. If your going to tell a story, fuckin tell it without all this confusing jumping around.


Borrowing liberally from the plot of The Usual Suspects, we have the ultimate vampire, ala Kaiser Sosee; A guy even the other vampires fear. Seems years ago, vampires & humans banded together to stop him, according to the head vampire , played by Sid Haig in ill fitting fangs. Now he is back.


In this film vampires can be killed by shooting them. Like I said, with all the jumping around, it’s hard to follow. Sid & Ken Foree seem to be there for name value as this box harkens back to the direct to VHS days when a “name” was put on the box just to sell it. No knock on Sid or Ken as this is just the way of the business. Truth be told, Sid or Ken should be given meatier roles as they can carry a whole film by themselves.


The “ending” leaves this wide open for a sequel. I’ll pass.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freeze With Fear as Anchor Bay Presents "COLD PREY" On DVD 1/20/09

BURBANK, CA – Cold Prey, the Norwegian horror film that took Europe by storm and won an international fan following, has been acquired for North American DVD release by Anchor Bay Entertainment, the acknowledged leader in classic and contemporary horror programming, and Indigomotion, a subsidiary label of Leomax Entertainment.

Playing to sold-out crowds in film festivals around the world, including the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, Frightfest UK , Transylvania International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Cold Prey (aka Fritt Vilt) will be released on DVD January 20, 2009 . SRP is $26.97 and pre-book is December 18, 2008 .

A gripping horror film set against the majestic backdrop of a blinding snow-clad landscape (director Roar Uthaug is an avid snowboard enthusiast!), Cold Prey has been praised by Ain’t It Cool News as “Probably the most perfect slasher film ever made,” while Variety said the film “orchestrates its scares with brute effectiveness.” Screengoblin.com called it “a tense, stylish and viciously unnerving journey into a frozen nightmare,” and Arrow In The Head exclaimed “If you enjoyed the original FRIDAY THE 13TH and HALLOWEEN, you’re going to love COLD PREY!” Due to the unprecedented audience response already enjoyed by the film, the sequel COLD PREY II was recently released in Norway – and already shattering local box-office records.
It’s midwinter. Five youngsters are heading for the Jotunheimen mountain area to go snowboarding. On the slope, one of them has a bad fall and breaks a leg. There is no sign of any other people around, and their mobile phones are out of range.

They catch sight of a mountain hotel in the distance, and decide to find shelter there. The hotel lies empty and silent, obviously closed down years ago. The phone lines are dead, and the youngsters realize they have to spend the night in the hotel. But it turns out they’re not alone. In the basement they discover a filthy dungeon of a room, where somebody has recently lived…

Bonus features on the Cold Prey DVD :

Widescreen (1.78:1) presentation, enhanced for 16x9 televisions,
Original Norwegian language and English-dubbed soundtracks;
With more to be announced!

Fantefilm, in cooperation with SF Norge and Helgeland Film, Dagslys, The Chimney Pot, Oslo , Norsk Filmstudio, Film 3 and Piggy Bank presents Cold Prey, a Roar Uthaug film. Martin Sundland and Magne Lyngner are Producers, with Axel Helgeland as Executive Producer. Screenplay is by Thomas Moldestad, with story by Thomas Moldestad, Martin Sundland and Roar Uthaug, after an idea by Jan Erik Langoen and Magne Lyngner.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

"Lower Learning" On Anchor Bay DVD 12/2/08

Jason Biggs (American Pie), Eva Longoria Parker (“Desperate Housewives”) and Rob Corddry (“The Daily Show”) star in a Hilariously Classless Classroom Comedy

Burbank, CA – What do you get when you combine failing test scores, tipsy teachers, and a principal on payola? Lower Learning, the irreverent comedy from Anchor Bay Entertainment, reports to DVD on December 2, 2008. Available for $26.97 SRP and starring Jason Biggs (American Pie), Eva Longoria Parker (“Desperate Housewives”), Rob Corddry (“The Winner” “The Daily Show”), Monica Potter (“Boston Legal”) and Will Sasso (“MADtv,” “Less Than Perfect”), Lower Learning is a twisted take on the profession of teaching and the pitfalls of public education.

Welcome to Geraldine Ferraro Elementary, where the teachers are drunk, lazy or psychotic, every child has been left behind, and burned-out Vice Principal Tom Willoman (Biggs) is barely holding on. But when sexy district inspector Rebecca Seabrook (Longoria Parker) arrives to shut down the school, she and Tom hatch a plan to take back the classrooms from an insanely corrupt Principal (Corddry). What tragedy in Willoman’s past has turned him into a complete wuss? When are Nyquil shots and cattle prods considered proper teaching tools? How much damage can be inflicted by a bunch of pissed-off 2nd graders? Lower Learning answers all these questions and more.

The Lower Learning DVD is also full of some too cool for school extras including “The ABC’s of Lower Learning” – a behind-the-scenes featurette, theatrical trailer, deleted scenes, and outrageous outtakes with titles like, “Two Sets of Genitals,” “Wet, Smelly Love,” “Nasty Face,” and “Whacked Out.”

Street Date: December 2, 2008
Order Date: October 30, 2008
Audio: Dolby Surround 5.1
Retail Price: $26.97
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug content
Run Time: 97 minutes
Bonus Features: “The ABC’s of Lower Learning” behind-the-scenes featurette, theatrical trailer, deleted scenes, and outtakes.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Check Out MONDO CULT Magazine!

For those of us who found time to learn how to read while growing up watching monster flicks, listening to freaky music, and generally frolicking through a wonderland of kooky cultural goodness, MONDO CULT comes as a cool breeze of giddy literary fun.

Buddy Barnett (print publisher), Jessie Lilley (editor), and Brad Linaweaver (writer) head up the sizeable stable of talented writers, photographers, and artists who have assembled two awesome issues of MONDO CULT magazine so far, while also offering lots of cool content on their website at my favorite price, free.

Issue #1 is of special interest to KING KONG fans. In addition to a heartfelt poem about the big, lovable lug by Ray Bradbury himself, it also features 96-year-old Fay Wray's final interview in "Whatever Happened to Fay Wray?" by Terry Pace. Readers are treated to the priceless recollections of this Old Hollywood star who made her debut in Erich von Stroheim's THE WEDDING MARCH and went on to become the greatest scream queen of them all. If you love KING KONG or any of Fay Wray's other classics--such as THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, DR. X., MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, and THE VAMPIRE BAT--you'll want to read her vivid memories of them in an interview that encompasses her entire extraordinary career as both an actress and a playwright.

Continuing the KONG theme--Uncle Forry himself, Forrest J. Ackerman, tells of the time he actually saw the fabled "Spider Pit" sequence, and Brad Linaweaver weighs in on the '76 Dino De Laurentiis remake.

MONDO CULT also features a wealth of movie reviews--everything from ZONTAR, THING FROM VENUS to GORGO to THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION and more. Jessie Lilley's account of attending a special screening of the original GODZILLA with Forrest J. Ackerman is both informative and colorful.

Scads of book and CD reviews are also included, covering both the well-known and the more obscure. Max Steiner's music for KING KONG is discussed, of course, as well as the scores for THE INCREDIBLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, plus Jeff Wayne's rock opera WAR OF THE WORLDS. Rock, soul, jazz, and just about everything else is thrown in as well. Book reviews include "Kong: King of Skull Island" by Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland and "Anarquia: An Alternate History of the Spanish Civil War" by Brad Linaweaver and J. Kent Hastings. Jessie Lilley's reading list proves to be decidedly morbid of late--she checks out stuff like E.J. Fleming's "Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites" and David K. Frasier's "Suicide in the Entertainment Industry."

If this sounds like your cup of tanna-leaf tea, swing by http://www.mondocult.com/ for ordering info on issues #1 and #2. Your inner Monster Kid will freak out!
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Concord Records to Release "Indiana Jones™: The Soundtracks Collection" 11/11/08

Limited-Edition Boxed Set Of All Four Indiana Jones Soundtracks Featuring Newly Expanded CDs And Previously Unreleased Music From The First Three Films"Sure, the whip, the hat, the jacket are part of the Indiana Jones iconography. But what really gives Indy his heart and spirit is John Williams’ music."
- Steven Spielberg

Beverly Hills, CA – On November 11, 2008 Concord Records will release Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection. This limited-edition boxed set will include all four of Oscar-winning composer John Williams’ soundtracks for the Indiana Jones film series - RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and this year’s summer blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Exclusive to this set are expanded and remastered versions of the original soundtracks for the first three films. The set will also include a bonus CD featuring additional previously unreleased music from the films, as well as excerpts from interviews with Williams, director Steven Spielberg, and executive producer/story creator George Lucas in which they discuss the making of the music for these historic films.

Produced by Laurent Bouzereau, the boxed set will be presented in a handsome, embossed leatherette slip case with a full-color booklet that offers more than 25 pages of behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards and other memorable images from the films. This new set reintroduces and expands the first three iconic Indiana Jones soundtrack albums, which have been collectors’ items for many years.

"I’ve had the great honor and pleasure of visiting the behind-the-scenes of the four Indiana Jones films from several angles: first as a writer/director/producer of documentaries, then as a collaborator on a book chronicling the making of all four films," Bouzereau says. "I felt I had come full circle when I was asked to collaborate on assembling expanded CD soundtrack albums for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The result represents a unique musical experience for listeners and fans of the now-classic film series that stimulates the imagination and makes you want to watch the films again."

With 45 Academy Award nominations and five Oscars® under his belt, John Williams has composed many of the most famous film scores in history, and has collaborated with Steven Spielberg for the past 35 years on 23 films including Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler’s List. Williams also composed the acclaimed scores for George Lucas’ STAR WARS saga, Superman: The Movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, and the first three Harry Potter films.

Available at Amazon.com

For more information, please contact:
Catie Monck - Director of Publicity
Ph: 917.536.4464
catie.monck@concordmusicgroup.com

INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS and related titles, character names and properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.


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THE BOYS IN THE BAND -- DVD review by porfle

While growing up, I'd always known THE BOYS IN THE BAND (1970) as "that gay movie" because it was pretty much the first of its kind. Now that I've seen it, it's not the gay version of ROOTS as I'd long suspected, nor is it a farcical companion piece to LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. Based on the groundbreaking Off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley (who also wrote the screenplay) and starring the original cast, it's full of wonderfully witty dialogue along with some equally lowbrow humor, but what it eventually becomes is an emotional drama about people who joke about their own inner turmoil until the laughter turns to bitter tears and scathing recriminations.

The story begins with Michael giving a surprise birthday party in his apartment for his friend Harold, when suddenly his former college roommate, Alan, shows up. Which wouldn't be a problem, except Michael, Harold, and everyone else at the party are gay, while Alan is (seemingly) arrow-straight and unprepared for the sight of a bunch of guys drinking Pink Ladies and chorus dancing to "Love is Like a Heat Wave." Although the story is lighthearted and filled with breezy humor and wisecracks at first, we get the feeling we're in for some heavy drama sooner or later. Alan's presence at the party is the proverbial other shoe that begs to be dropped at some point, but even this is hardly the main event we think it will be--before the night is over, shoes will be dropping all over the place.

THE BOYS IN THE BAND is one of those filmed plays that often betrays its theatrical origins--but in a good way--while remaining almost self-consciously cinematic in order to balance things out. Director William Friedkin deftly keeps the camera moving and the characters in motion with various bits of business, and the acting, dialogue, and editing all crackle. Several of the lines are quoteworthy--when Michael's weekend lover Donald enters in his party attire and asks, "Am I stunning?", Michael responds, "You're absolutely stunning. You look like sh**, but I'm absolutely stunned."

Birthday boy Harold's belated appearance is worth waiting for--he's a real pip, and Friedkin lets us know it by giving him an entrance worthy of Karloff's monster in FRANKENSTEIN. Impeccably dressed and coolly detached, this self-described "32-year-old ugly pockmarked Jew fairy" saunters world-wearily into the midst of the film's first major blow-up and levels the whole thing like a cross between Bette Davis and Oscar Wilde. His acerbic attitude and dry, sarcastic witticisms usher in the film's next phase of frank dialogue and brittle interplay. As for Michael, he seems to morph into Joan Crawford the longer he's around Harold and starts in on him with relentlessly cutting putdowns, which the unflappable Harold disinterestedly waves off with bland retorts like "You hateful sow."

When a sudden rainstorm buffets the terrace and forces the party inside, putting everyone into close quarters including the shell-shocked Alan, it's here that Michael's alcohol-fueled cruel streak really comes to the fore and nobody is spared. He initiates a party game designed to humiliate the participants for his own sour amusement, but, in unintended ways, it forces the characters to confront problems that need to be worked out--not just gay problems, but universal ones as well. Even the cartoonishly-flamboyant Emory gets his fleeting moment to be a real person instead of a caricature. Ultimately, Michael himself turns out to have the biggest issues, and Harold's just the guy to make him face them.

By this time, we don't need kinetic visuals to keep us interested, so Friedkin gets more stagy during this sequence to focus attention on the dialogue. Still, he handles it all with exquisite dexterity. The final act is riveting, with the kind of raw emotion played to the hilt that you rarely see outside of something like Liz and Dick going at each other in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

As Michael, Kenneth Nelson runs the gamut of emotions in a brilliant and moving performance. Leonard Frey is so decadently cool as Harold, he could almost be a Bond villian. Laurence Luckinbill and Keith Prentice have some great moments together as Hank and Larry, a couple with painfully differing views on monogamy. Alan, whose homophobia may be a denial of his true nature, is played by Peter White with just the right enigmatic touch. The one really flaming queen in the bunch, Cliff Gorman's Emory--described by Alan as "a butterfly in heat"--is the most stereotypically camp character, but in a story in which almost everyone is gay, the omission of someone like Emory might seem unrealistic in itself. The rest of the ensemble is equally good, including Frederick Combs as Donald, Reuben Greene as Bernard, and Robert La Tourneaux as Cowboy, Emory's dumb-blonde birthday gift to Harold.

The film has been restored under Friedkin's supervision and remixed in stereo sound. In a way, the look reminded me of a really high-class Joe Sarno movie but without the sex. After watching it I couldn't wait to indulge in the bonus features, which include a commentary track with Friedkin and Crowley being interviewed, and three featurettes. The titles, "The Boys in the Band: The Play", "The Boys in the Band: The Movie", and "The Boys in the Band: Today", are self-explanatory, and feature retrospective comments by Friedkin, Crowley, and some of the surviving castmembers.

As far as the fine art of transferring plays to the screen goes, THE BOYS IN THE BAND is a tour-de-force for the young Friedkin and a robustly entertaining experience for the viewer. It's funny, emotionally searing, and cathartic. And it's a lot more than just "that gay movie", because anyone can recognize some of these characters' fears and insecurities in themselves. But the fact that they are gay gives it all a unique perspective that adds to its resonance.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

FOX REALITY CHANNEL’S ACCLAIMED ORIGINAL SERIES “LONG WAY DOWN” IN 3-DVD SE

3-DVD Collection Contains Complete 10-Episode Series Starring Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman, Plus More Than Three Hours of Previously Unseen Extras & Outtakes
Hollywood, California – September 24, 2008 - Following the October 4 conclusion of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s epic motorcycle adventure original cable TV series, "Long Way Down," on Fox Reality Channel, EMI America Records will release a 3-DVD special edition collection of the 10-episode series that adds more than two hours of additional footage shot during the series’ production and one hour of newly shot extra footage. Also included is "The Missing Face," a documentary of McGregor and Boorman’s first trip to Africa. The collection, to be released October 14, offers fans a behind-the-scenes tour of the expedition that was built on spontaneous opportunities, new memories, and friendship.

In "Long Way Down," viewers are invited to share in the excitement as actors turned tourists, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, motorcycle from Scotland to South Africa. Over the course of 15,000 miles and 85 days, the friends boldly tarried in several countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

On August 2, EMI America Records released the official soundtrack to the acclaimed cable television series. The soundtrack, available on CD and digitally, includes 15 songs that serve as a musical memoir of the voyage. Equipped with "Long Way Down"’s captivating soundtrack and 3-DVD set, fans of Fox Reality Channel’s original series will find themselves vicariously transported as they share in MacGregor and Boorman’s unique experience. 2 Friends. 15,000 Miles. 1 Epic Adventure.


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

LIVE FROM ABBEY ROAD: BEST OF SEASON 1 -- An Intimate Studio Performance Begins November 11

NAVARRE CORPORATION’S BCI PRESENTS A UNIQUE MUSICAL EXPERIENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME ON US DVD AND BLU-RAY

Los Angeles, CA – BCI, a Navarre Corporation Company, today announces the release of Live From Abbey Road: Best of Season 1 on November 11, 2008. This celebrated international music series, distributed by FremantleMedia Enterprises, airing on the Sundance Channel in the US, combines striking quality visuals with a pristinely engineered sound. The show is recorded at the famous London studios, which have been long been the recording venue of choice for the best talent in music, from the London Symphony Orchestra to U2, and perhaps most recognizably, The Beatles. The DVD and Blu-Ray feature an eclectic mix of performances, as well as notable extras such as extended interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and photo galleries. The DVD set will be available for an SRP of $19.98, along with blu-ray format at $26.98.

Live From Abbey Road: Best of Season 1 brings together some of the best performances from its premiere season. Artists such as John Mayer, Dr. John, Wynton Marsalis, The Goo-Goo Dolls, Iron Maiden, Dave Matthews, David Gilmour and Norah Jones perform at this musical Mecca, without an audience, to simulate the intimate, intense atmosphere of a recording studio.

In fly-on-the-wall style, the show gives viewers access to these stellar musicians while they spend the day at Abbey Road rehearsing, performing, and sharing their musical muse. Within these historic surroundings, their unique recordings are filmed with the use of a 35 mm lens, as producers Michael Gleason and Peter van Hooke seek to capture performances which “look like a movie and sound like a record”.

Full list of artists featured: Corinne Baily Rae, Gnarls Barkley, Natasha Beddingfield, Dave Matthews, Craig David, Dr. John, David Gilmour, Gipsy Kings, Josh Groban, Iron Maiden, Jamiroquai, Norah Jones, Kasabian, Ray LaMontagne, Amos Lee, Wynton Marsalis, John Mayer, Nerina Pallot, Primal Scream, Damien Rice, LeAnn Rimes, The Good The Bad and The Queen, The Goo-Goo Dolls, The Kooks, The Zutons.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Warner Bros. Presents: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 6 and Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection Volume 6

Here comes the highly-anticipated sixth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, the studio's largest Looney Tunes compilation of animated shorts to date. Fans won't want to miss this golden opportunity to own over 60 classic, fully re-mastered and restored cartoons, presented in their original un-edited format. Most of the shorts in the collection have never been available on DVD before.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Six will consist of four discs, each showcasing a different theme. Disc one titled Looney Tunes All Stars, features all the best-loved characters in the classic shorts. Disc two titled Patriotic Pals, includes a collection of shorts with war time and patriotic themes. Disc three titled Bosko, Buddy and Merrie Melodies features rare treasures from the original Looney Tunes before they were known as Looney Tunes. Disc four titled Most Requested Assorted Nuts, features favorite shorts that defy any classification.


Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Six, is aimed at adult collectors of animation. Companion title, Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection Volume Six which is geared towards viewers of all ages. The Spotlight Collection will primarily consist of shorts from Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Six, but it will also contain a few from Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2. Both titles will be released October 21, 2008.

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POPEYE RETURNS WITH A HEART OF GOLD AND ARMS OF STEEL AS WARNER HOME VIDEO RELEASES POPEYE THE SAILOR 1941-1943 VOLUME 3

Original Fleischer & Famous Studios Theatrical Shorts
That Fans Have Been Demanding for Generations!

BURBANK, CA, (June 16, 2008) – He may be rough and rugged, but unlikely hero Popeye the Sailor still garners countless fans nearly 80 years after his television debut. This unpretentious underdog makes his way back into the hearts of Popeye enthusiasts when Warner Home Video (WHV), Hearst Entertainment and King Features Syndicate get set to release Popeye The Sailor 1941-1943 Volume on November 4th.

Popeye the Sailor was one of the most endearing and successful characters in animation history with a unique way of speaking, muscular forearms and ever-present corncob pipe. His strange, humorous and often supernatural adventures take him all over the world and place him in conflict with enemies such as the Sea Hag and Bluto.

Popeye The Sailor 1941-1943 Volume 3 includes 32 (7-10 min.) original re-mastered and unedited theatrical black & white shorts on a 2-disc DVD collectable set. We find loveable Popeye is always ‘strong to the finish, ‘cause he eats all his spinach!’ when protecting his sweetie Olive Oyl, from Bluto, the local goon. This volume is an authorized edition from the original masters and includes loads of interviews and never-before-seen special features.

“Popeye continues to be a symbol of individualism and one of the most popular and beloved characters in American culture,” said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Sports Marketing. “The simple, yet classic humor of Popeye The Sailor 1941-1943 Volume 3 reinforces the fact that his charm remains timeless and we know it will be a huge hit with fans.”
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DVD REVIEW: Turkish Horror Double-Bill

Onar films have been the front runner in releasing Turkish Exploitation films, since, well, forever. Their consistency and determination to release such rare titles are both commendable and downright amazing. Their fantastic releases range from the Superhero films of 3 DEV ADAM to the madness of the KILINK action pieces. Their final product as always been one of quality and satisfaction, showcasing to the world the strange world of Turkish Cinema.

Today we take a look at their first foray into the Turkish horror genre. Onar films decided to pack a Double-Bill with their horror entry. First being a 1970 Gothic picture, THE DEAD DON'T TALK. Second, being an insane 1972 giallo, THIRSTY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER. Limited to 1200 pieces.

FILMS:

We'll start with the first. THE DEAD DON' TALK tells a strange tale of a haunted house in the outskirts of the country. A couple decides to spend the night within the house due to rather unfortunate circumstances, leading an awakening of ghoul-like ghost lusting for murder and death.

THE DEAD DON'T TALK is a competent Turkish production. It builds some fun spooky atmosphere under some creative cinematography. The film almost plays like a slow tripped out Hammer production laced with sprinkles of exploitation values. Not much happens in the film overall, other than some nicely built atmospheric sequences, the film just feels somewhat boring and generally uninteresting.

They are few exciting moments muddled throughout the feature. The ghastly villain randomly pops up throughout the film to scare our protagonists, queuing the soundtrack to play the famous 2001: SPACE ODYSSEY theme. Very odd indeed! The mysterious butler found within in the haunted mansion is fantastic in almost all respects. He overdoes almost everything. With his ridiculous eye-catching stares, unique posture, and an amazing echoing voice, he brilliantly captures the over-the-top flavor.

THE DEAD DON'T TALK is minor film from Turkish cannon. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but does contain the right ingredients for a somewhat enjoyable rainy afternoon.
6/10

Our second and final feature on the disc is the 1972 Turkish giallo, THIRSTY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER. TFLSM is basically a remake of the brilliant Sergio Martino giallo, THE STRANGE VICE OF WARDH. It tells the same story of a married woman, who begins to find mysterious notes from her past sado-masochistic boyfriend lusting for her to return. As blood begins to spill, horror dominates the stage, and TFLSM turns into a whirlwind of madness.

TFLSM is without question, BRILLIANT. It is a fantastically fun ordeal and one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in quite some time. The appeal is so downright wide open, it's impossible not to enjoy this film in some way. It has crazy characters, stylish giallo-equse murder sequences, typical great exploitation music, beautiful euro-women, and the most hilarious interrogation scenes ever filmed.

What made the film even more enjoyable was the fact that I love the original giallo so much. Watching how the Turks transform some of the original ideas and play with others is so damn fun and exciting. Seeing who they chose for George Hilton's role and how they piece their way through the same maze I'd seen Martino work through is just such gratifying and fulfilling experience.

I also love how the film loses its entire giallo/horror atmosphere and plot randomly in the last 5 mins. to go for a straight hard-boiled martial arts action ending.

The only downside is the film loses some of its steam midway through, but manages in the end to comeback to exploitation greatness in the final sequences.

At 57 mins. TFLSM is Turkish Exploitation at its best. This is what I would kill to see from the rest of these crazy films. It's exciting, horrific, sexy, mad, bloody, hilarious, with a sprinkle of TURKISH DELIGHT on top.

A double Bill of the STRANGE VICE OF MRS.WARDH and THIRSY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER is downright essential.
9/10

VIDEO: The quality for both films are highly damaged with faded colors, but it is forgivable considering the circumstances. Considering how rare these films are, it’s a joy just to have them at all.
5/10

AUDIO: Cracks, hisses, and pops are constant throughout both films, with sound dropping out at numerous points. Again the quality is not up to standard, but for reasons above I fully understand and therefore am more lenient.
4/10

SUBTITLES: No problems. They do the job in getting the overall tone of what is needed. Very few grammatical mistakes.
7/10

EXTRAS: Onar Films really shine here.

1) First you get some trailers from Onar Films other their DVD releases, showing what other delights they have to offer.

2) A very in-depth interview with Aytekin Akkaya, the lead from THE DEAD DON'T TALK. He discusses all aspects of his career and influences on himself and Turkish cinema. Very informative and enjoyable.

3) Without question, the best extra on the disc is the fantastic interview with Metin Demirhan and Giovanni Scognamillo, co-authors of the book TURKISH FANTASTIC CINEMA. They are extremely interesting in chronicling the history of Turkish Exploitation Cinema and how it’s developed over the years. They discuss numerous films, include clips, and give the viewer a very good taste of what Turkish cinema is all about. Great Stuff!

You can tell that since Onar Films were tied with the A/V materials, they boosted their performance in Extras department to a great level.
8/10

OVERALL: Onar films have fantastically presented to the world two very different films. They represent a side of cinema not vocal in the media. Although one is far weaker than the other, together they wonderful and mad pieces of Exploitation Cinema. Anyone with such interest in these titles owe it to themselves to bite into this Double-Bill, and let the TURKISH DELIGHTS drip from your mouth.
8/10

It's been said that Onar Films have been going through some difficult times recently. With sales not up to scratch and overall interest in their releases not up to standard, their stability has been wary. This is very unfortunate, and it is up to us fans to support the films that we love so much. How do expect to have Onar films continue releasing such films if we do not support them? LETS SHOW THEM THE LOVE THEY RIGHTFULLY DESERVE.

They have an extraordinary release of the TURKISH DEATH WISH this October, which promises to be AMAZING.

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L.A. INK: SEASON 1, VOLUME 2 -- DVD review by porfle

L.A. INK: SEASON 1, VOLUME 2 isn't something I would normally have been very excited about watching. But by the time I'd become familiar with the interesting characters and appealing documentary-style approach of this TLC reality series, I went through the rest of the 3-disc set's thirteen episodes like a Nacho Grande platter.

Contrary to my initial expectations, the show isn't bogged down by a bunch of soap opera crap--when the focus is on the artists' personal lives, they aren't exploited or sensationalized. Most of what we see is work-related, as in Hannah's prolonged absence from the shop while she debates over whether or not to stay in Chicago, or Kat's continuing problems with lackadaisical shop manager Pixie. Superdad Corey's desire to spend more time with his family and Kim's search for love are other concerns.

But L.A. INK is mainly about the customers and their reasons for wanting the particular tattoos that they come in to get (usually something commemorative, memorial, or motivational, although some of the requests are just plain silly). Each time someone walks into the shop, there's an anticipation of what they'll want and why, and how it will turn out.

Watching the tattooing process is fascinating in itself. Personally I could never muster the courage to draw permanent pictures on someone else's body. It's a huge responsibility, yet Kat and her crew are incredible artists who are amazingly confident. Once the customer conveys what they want, they intuitively whip out a preliminary sketch that fulfills the requirement perfectly and then they execute it with often astounding results.

As I got to know the artists and their work, I couldn't wait to see how some of the challenging ideas presented to them would turn out. This is especially true when a firefighter from New York enters with a large 9-11 commemorative painting and asks Corey to reproduce the whole thing on his back. Another highlight is watching Hannah and her talented tattooist brother perform a tag-team masterpiece on another woman's back. Backs, of course, are the largest "canvas" on the human body and it's interesting whenever someone wants the entire area covered by some grand design.

It doesn't take long for us to get to know these people and their particular styles. Corey, a burly guy's guy who's also a devoted family man, is a self-described "classic California tattoo artist" with a realistic style and awesome freehand skills. Hannah is a sensible, somewhat maternal presence with a more colorful, fanciful style. Kim, the personable and very cute young divorcee, has a penchant for flowers and inanimate objects. Kat Von D herself excells in beautiful retro-style, almost photo-realistic portraits. And Pixie, the flighty, irresponsible shop manager, seems to excell in causing trouble.

Roy Orbison's son Alex "Orbi" Orbison is Kat's supportive boyfriend who must help her conquer a nasty drinking problem while trying to muster the courage to pop the question. Guest tattooist Bob Tyrrell fills in for Kat during her hospital stay and performs some cool horror-related stuff, including a great portrait of Vincent Price. Tom Green makes an appearance to deliver a surprise birthday present to Kat's sister Karoline. Ja Rule drops by for a tattoo. And when Pixie goes to a guy named "Dr. Tattoff" to get a tattoo painfully removed, he turns out to be none other than Will Kirby, the infamous "Dr. Will" of CBS' "Big Brother."

In one episode, Kat shows her immature side by letting her idiot friend Bam Margera (whose specialty is ruining things and creating chaos) talk her into building a full-blown skate ramp in the shop. Hannah, showing her more grownup side, is against it. In another, the emphasis is on Kat's health when medical tests reveal that she has ovarian cysts which require immediate surgery. Kat's attempt to break the Guinness world record for most tattoos done in a 24-hour period makes for a lively and suspenseful segment. But the biggest fireworks occur in the episode entitled "The Worst Day Ever", in which Pixie's chronic slacking off on the job finally leads to a bitter confrontation in which she threatens to punch out Kim before storming out of the shop while customers look on.

The often lush, color-saturated photography looks really good, and most of the cutesy camerawork and editing are confined to scene transitions. Some of it appears staged to a certain extent, especially in the occasional scenes which have suspiciously thorough camera coverage from different angles, as though the director set everything up and then said "okay, you guys can have your impromptu personal conversation about subject 'A' now." But this happens in most "reality" shows and doesn't really bother me as long as the gist of the actual events is conveyed.

The three discs come in a fold-out slipcase which, along with the menus, is very nicely designed. The episodes are widescreen with Dolby sound. There aren't any extras, but I found the 544 minutes of content sufficient.

One of the best things about L.A. INK, which I found to be a pleasant surprise, is that unlike much reality programming it isn't about a bunch of flakes doing stupid things for us to laugh at. It's actually, for the most part, a pretty serious and substantive show. And after all, drawing permanent pictures on someone else's skin is serious business.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

ZOMBIE DIARIES -- The Next Big Zombie Flick On DVD 11/18

Are you ready for the next big Zombie flick? Hailed by critics as “The most realistic zombie film ever made” (twitchfilm.net) and called "smart and effectively chilling" (Ain’t It Cool News), ZOMBIE DIARIES debuts on DVD November 18th from Genius Products and The Weinstein Company.

In the early part of the 21st Century, an unknown virus began spreading across the world from the smallest communities to the greatest cities infecting each and every human along the way. Three very unlucky groups who have remained uninfected by the virus are left to live in a world infested by the undead.

Zombie Diaries Bonus Features
12 Deleted Scenes
Commentary With Co-Writers/Directors Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett
Commentary With The Cast – Russell Jones, Anna Blades, Craig Stovin, Jonathan Ball and Hiram Bleetman
Until The Last Light Goes Out: The Making Of Zombie Diaries

Basics:
Price: $19.97
Street Date: November 18, 2008
Rating: R
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Mart Crowley's Critically-Acclaimed Drama Hits A High Note On DVD November 11

Revisit one of the first mainstream American films to address gay life in an open, honest and non-stereotypical way when THE BOYS IN THE BAND takes a powerful and poignant bow onto DVD November 11 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Based on his own landmark play, Mart Crowley¹s humorous and heartbreaking 1970 cult-classic THE BOYS IN THE BAND follows a group of gay male friends as they come together in a New York City apartment for a birthday party. When an unexpected guest arrives and the truth begins to flow as freely as the cocktails, it leads to a sometimes vulgar but ultimately open and honest dissection of their lives and relationships.

THE BOYS IN THE BAND, directed by Academy Award winner William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist), stars Golden Globe® nominee Kenneth Nelson, Peter White, Laurence Luckinbill, Leonard Frey andCliff Gorman, all of whom originated their roles in the 1968 off-Broadway stage production 40 years ago.
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Turkish First Blood aka Vahsi Kan (1983)


Vahsi Kan
TURKISH FIRST BLOOD (1983)
Directed by Cetin Inanc
Starring Cuneyt Arkin, Huseyin Peyda



For a film that comes from the year I was born, it's fitting that it should kick a ton of ass all over the place. The plot well since I don't speak Turkish...I'm going to have to take some liberties in my description.

First off some bikers dick around with some people, then some zombies (I kid you not they are zombies) attack a women driving with her family, killing all except her and then trying to rape her. She escapes and the film begins in earnest. Some guards are transporting Cuneyt Arkin, but they are overcome by flames when stumbling upon the burning wreck of the woman's car. From there Arkin after rescuing the guards escapes.

At this point it starts becoming more and more like First Blood. Just replace the asshole cops with asshole bikers and this one guy who is a villain in a ton of Inanc films. They capture Arkin and cut the crab out of him with knives while he is tied up. Of course this is a really really poor idea and Arkin escapes and starts to kill them all (a departure from First Blood where only one person dies, then again these guys are worse than the cops in First Blood). From there it's pretty much large chunks of First Blood with random Turkish weird shit thrown in for good effect.

I feel like I shouldn't spoil this film, because if some how I can get you to want to see this, then maybe I can convince Bill from Onar to release the film with subs.

This movie is really bloody as hell. I mean tons of gore effects from stabbings, shootings, and among others things flaming explosive sticks of DOOM!

There is a ton of stolen music in this film. Hell, it's the entire First Blood soundtrack, though a part of me wishes they used the vocal version of It's a Long Road instead of the instrumental version. Still, Inanc makes good use of the music, particularly It's a Long Road and the main Rambo action theme.

The action is also excellently done. Arkin really knows how to kick the living crap out of someone and make it come across well on screen. His Karate and Circus training is a huge plus here. Inanc also infuses the film with a bunch of crazy camera angles and with shots of Arkin sped up at times so it's like he's a cartoon character and/or smoked a ton of crack.

It's been said Arkin was on the skids at this point in his career for awhile and also drinking heavily. Hell, if I could tell, he comes across as a great lead and gives a ton of energy and passion in his acting even if I have no clue what the hell he is saying, it just transcends language barriers.

What does this all combine to? One really enjoyable piece of Turkish Rip Off Cinema with one of its best directors and actors. It's only brisk 73 minutes, but man will you enjoy every part of it. I had no clue what dialogue wise was going on, but man did I love every minute of it and so should you!
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Interview with Media Blaster's Richard York: Shaw Brothers and Beyond!


HK Films

1. Richard, can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do at Media Blasters?

I moved to New York in 2004 from Oklahoma City where I was a writer/producer for an advertising agency. I learned that I had a mutual acquaintance at Media Blasters that I wasn't aware of. I eventually got to visit the office and one of the producers, William Hellfire, and I hit it off and was able to get my foot in the door. I immediately began doing press relations for them. Eventually, a producer position opened up, which I was offered. That's what I've been doing for the past year or so.

2. How many Shaw Brothers titles has Media Blaster licensed from Celestial?

We've licensed ten titles from Celestial (in order of their release).

HEROES TWO

THE MASTER

CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS

THE DEADLY DUO

THE BRAVE ARCHER

MARTIAL CLUB

TEN TIGERS FROM KWANGTUNG

BLACK MAGIC 2

THE FLAG OF IRON

FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS

3. Is the plan to release a title once a month (as August does not seem to have a title being released that month)?

I think initially we planned on releasing a title per month, but it's not going to happen that way. But rest assured they'll all come out eventually.

4. Linn Haynes work a great deal on the Shaw Brothers DVD in terms of providing extras, helping to find materials, and even doing a commentary for Heroes Two before his untimely death. Are there any plans for others to do commentary tracks and also for the uses of material that Linn may have prepared for other titles?

Linn was a great help in the early goings. He helped me choose the available materials for all titles from Celestial, put me in touch with Mike Leeder and provided some nice extras. I loved his commentary and wish he could've done more. Plus he and other people provided some great video and gallery extras on HEROES TWO. Otherwise, we didn't get too far on subsequent titles before his untimely death. But I've since been in contact with collectors and are looking into what they have for the remaining titles and what Celestial will or will not allow us to include. Future commentaries are not out of the question and I'm talking to people about it now.

5. Can you talk a little about the work Mike Leeder has been doing for the discs?

Mike is a true professional and has tremendous access to some of these great Shaw Brothers stars. He did a great job with the first round of interviews with Chen Kuan Tai and we're currently looking into future interviews.

6. Some fans were a bit surprised about the fact that The Master DVD was only letterbox can you explain that situation to us? Also will all other titles be anamorphic?

I think it was erroneously reported early on that all our titles would be anamorphic. But other than THE MASTER, that is true. The situation is simply that Celestial didn't have a true anamorphic master to provide us.

7. Also there has been concern about interlaced transfers and the suggestion that all that is needed to make the disc progressive is for a changing of a flag during the authoring stage. Can you comment on it?

For our HD titles, Celestial is providing us with PAL HD D5 50i masters. HEROES TWO was our first time working with this format so it was a learning experience both for us and for the lab converting these masters for us. There's an apparent misconception that whether or not a disc is progressive is a simple matter of remembering to push a button. It's a lot more complicated than that. But I can tell you that we've worked out the kinks and all remaining titles will be progressively encoded. I will say however that HEROES TWO looks great and plays fine on most setups.

8. Will all of the films be mastered from HD and have English dubs? Also how is Media Blasters handling subtitles and translations?

THE MASTER, BLACK MAGIC 2 and TEN TIGERS are the only titles without HD masters. English dubs are not available from Celestial for BLACK MAGIC 2 and MARTIAL CLUB. However, we're aware they exist somewhere out there in the world and hopefully we can work something out with Celestial to include them in some form. As for subs, we're working off the Celestial-provided scripts, but we have our own translator as well who goes over them, making appropriate changes and so forth. Then they're proofread for grammar and to make sure things make sense.

9. Does Media Blasters plan on licensing any other Shaw Brother titles and how has Heroes Two been doing?

I understand our Shaw titles have been doing pretty well. If the others perform well, acquiring additional titles is a definite possibility.

10. Does Media Blasters have any interest in licensing any titles from Fortune Star (which contain the Golden Harvest, Cinema City, and other classic HK film studios)?

I'm not aware of any activity on the Fortune Star front as far as Media Blasters is concerned. I certainly wouldn't mind working on some of those titles though.

11. How is the threat of bootlegging effect MB’s release efforts caused by Red Sun and its dummy sister companies? How is MB planning to combat this problem?

Bootlegging is difficult to combat and would probably be a full-time gig to try and track them all down. And even then, it wouldn't go away. We go after who we can, but we also just have to put our faith in the audience that they're going to want legitimate releases of a higher quality.

Euro-Cult

1. Is anymore Fulci perhaps on the horizon from MB, even if in the form of a low price collection set?

A Fulci three-pack of previous releases is a possibility down the road but right now we have no plans to release additional Fulci titles.

2. How about Bruno Mattei? Bruno Mattei’s last three films have yet to be released anywhere in the world. His other films before that popped on budget Russian labels or Japanese labels and even Snuff Trap in the US without any menu and indicating it was copied from another source. Obviously Media Blasters can do a lot better with these titles.

3. Related to that what about some of Bruno Mattei’s action films he made with Flora Films? Some of these where his teaming with the “amazing” Reb Brown such as Strike Commando, Robo War, and others like Shocking Dawn (using the Vincent Dawn name).

4. Any chance of Ruggeo D’s Raiders of Atlantis (directed under Roger Franklin)? It has previously appeared only on a old Goodtimes VHS release and the only uncut print was a hard subbed VHS from Northern Europe?

5. Do you think there can be a market for Euro-Cult Action films in the US, (especially since there was often overlap with many famous horror directors)?

6. Somewhat related any chance MB might want to release some of the crazy action films of the Philippines (such as films made by Silver Star) or Indonesia (like Intruder aka Rambu)?

2-6

Shriek Show is finally making a comeback, and dipping into the Euro-Cult well is not out of the question. I'd certainly be happy about that. There is a list of potential acquisitions including many gems. All I can say right now is we'll have to wait and see. I don't want to jinx anything or give anyone false hopes. But hopefully we can get back into that stuff. If anything happens on that front, I won't keep it a secret.


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Playing at Two Boots Pioneer in NYC next Saturday 10/25 at 9PM from Wildeye Releasing.


Playing at Two Boots Pioneer next Saturday 10/25 at 9PM from Wildeye Releasing.
http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/

I was there for the Ted Mikels event and man it was WORTH IT!

Get ready for another throat-ripping, eyeball-puncturing night of thrills and trashy chills courtesy of the maniacs at Wild Eye Releasing! All 35mm prints!

First up: Paul Naschy’s 1980 lycanthropic sleaze-fest, THE CRAVING (aka NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF), which pits Naschy’s werewolf hero against the evil Countess Bathory in an undead fight to the death! Then it’s the Italian gut-muncher by which all others are measured, Lucio Fulci’s 1980 gore classic ZOMBIE. “When the earth spits out the dead, they will rise to suck the blood of the living!”

And of course, what would a night at the movies be without Grindhouse trailers and vintage snack bar ads?

We Are Going To Eat You!

The Wild Eye trailer nights always sell out, so be sure to reserve your tickets early.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Project Runway 4" on DVD 11/4

Emmy® Nominated Reality Series Returns For A "Fierce" Fourth Season November 4thEmmy® nominated host, supermodel and fashion icon Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn return with a fresh pool of aspiring fashion designers when PROJECT RUNWAY: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON struts onto DVD November 4th from Genius Products and The Weinstein Company. Battling for the chance to show their personal collections at New York Fashion Week, the designers in the fourth season included Rami Kashou, Jillian Lewis and winner Christian Siriano. The youngest winner in “Project Runway” history, Siriano had many memorable catch-phrases that quickly entered the public lexicon including “hot mess” and “fierce”, and he would go on to make a guest appearance on “Ugly Betty” in addition to being spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.” Viewers of the series also voted Siriano as their fan favorite designer.

Season four marked the first time a competing designer quit the competition, when Jack Mackenroth left for health reasons and was replaced by recently-eliminated designer Chris March. Returning as judges are acclaimed fashion designer Michael Kors and Elle Magazine fashion director Nina Garcia, with guest judges including glamorous fashionistas Sarah Jessica Parker and Victoria Beckham and world-renowned designers Zac Posen, Monique Lhuillier and Roberto Cavalli.

Released just in time for the holidays, the four-disc set includes all fourteen season episodes plus bonus features including seven never-before-seen extended episodes, the featurette “WEAR Is He Now? – Christian Siriano” and more. PROJECT RUNWAY: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON will be available for the suggested retail price of $27.95.


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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Flintstones: The Complete Series Comes to DVD 10/28

Launched as an animated version of THE HONEYMOONERS, Hanna-Barbera's cartoon classic THE FLINTSTONES is family entertainment at its finest. From the town of Bedrock, modern Stone-Age couple Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their goofy best-friend neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble comically trudge through prehistoric daily lives populated by animals-cum-household-appliances with refreshingly sophisticated zaniness and humor. Meanwhile, the Flintstones' affectionate pet dinosaur, Dino, and daughter, Pebbles--not to mention the Rubbles' club-wielding infant Bamm Bamm--cause plenty of havoc in a prehistoric world that's seen through a 1960s lens. This collection includes all 166 episodes of the animated sitcom's six seasons. Yabba dabba doo!

The following clip features commentary of behind the scenes information by the original writers and animators on how Bamm-Bamm came about and how the voice talent created the characters we have come to know and love.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

W. Review

Biopics are very difficult movies to get right. People are naturally complicated, and trying to cram their lives, their entire souls into 2 or 3 hours tends to either oversimplify who they are or get overly episodic. W., however, takes the approach of choosing the one defining moment of its subject and showing what shaped his personality and how past events may have influenced his decisions. It's the sort of structure that would have made THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST an interesting movie.

The story is centered around the writing of the 2003 State of the Union address that coined the term "axis of evil" and the leadup to the war in Iraq. Meetings with Cabinet members are interwoven with flashbacks to Bush's days as an aimless alcoholic and eventual conversion to Born-Again Christianity. The central thesis of the movie seems to be that daddy issues were the main motivation for the war. But you also get the sense that he's got a real bad case of ennui. He's impulsive, and when he gets what he wants, he doesn't seem to do much with it. How many vacation days did he take as President? When he loses, he gets pissed off, but it comes off more as an entitlement issue than anything else. I guess having a rich daddy that gives you everything doesn't provide one with real motivation to set high goals for oneself. I've seen that in a friend or two. The expectations are so high that failure is a foregone conclusion. And if failure is a foregone conclusion, you might as well just get drunk as hell. When he does set his sights on the presidency, it's a sign from God. He deserves it for being a repentant alcoholic, I guess. That's not to say he doesn't care about his country because he does. He's portrayed as honestly believing that a war with Iraq will help the US, mainly because of the domino effect, which you think Vietnam would have disproved. But again, his laziness gets in the way of his decision making. He's not portrayed as a very detail-oriented guy. He trusts his subordinates to take care of things for him rather than seeing things through. Too bad, they're all incompetent morons manipulating him for their own ends. Do you feel bad for him? More than you would think. He's not abusive or unfaithful towards his wife. He's not shown to be particularly hateful or dastardly. He's really just an overly privileged D student.

Given the absurdities we've all had to witness the last 8 years and this portrayal of Bush, you'd think this would lean more towards a satirical or comical tone. In fact, this would make a great absurd satire. You make him the sympathetic character, and you satirize how everyone around him, including the American public, was either too arrogant or gutless to tell him, "No." The spoiled rich kid gone awry. Instead, it tends to straddle the fence a little too much in terms of tone. The Cabinet members come off as surreal cariactures, while the family members are far less reliant on hair and make up and voices and come off as real people. Then again, maybe that's just reflective of the reality of the situation. That's what makes the movie so fascinating. There aren't any real surprises in the portrayals of the characters except for H.W., whom I picture to be like his portrayal on THE SIMPSONS. You already know the events. It's just very surreal to watch the re-enactments of these historic moments. The movie lacks polish for sure. But damn if I wasn't riveted the entire time.
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