HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box
Monday, March 31, 2008
T.J. and his friends Hickey, Shane, Rick, and Dan live in a small Kansas town where there isn't much to do but play sports, drink a lot, and get into trouble. All of these factors come into play when they beat a group of local cops on the basketball court and clean them out of a tidy sum. After a night of getting way too drunk, they're pulled over by one of the cops, Russ (Michael Rooker), an intimidating bastard who roughs them up and takes back all their money under threat of arrest. The boys respond by breaking into his house and trashing it. The next morning, Hickey (Jason Ritter) is found dead on the side of the road, the apparent victim of an auto accident. Was Russ responsible?
After the funeral, Hickey's dad reveals that his son had big plans for transforming the group into a softball team, so the guys dutifully carry them out along with Dan's lothario dad (William Baldwin) and Rick's older brother Andy (Chris Klein), who woulda been a football star if he hadn't blown his knee out in high school. When their main competition turns out to be the cops' team headed by none other than Officer Russ, it looks as though we're in for a baseball movie. But no, baseball itself is peripheral to the story.
FULL COUNT is about the value of friendship, sticking together when the chips are down, and learning to appreciate what you have while you have it. The seemingly episodic nature of the story (it comes together later on) plunges us into the exploits of the main characters before they're properly developed, and all we know about them are the basics--Shane's the combative future hockey star, Rick's the smooth, talkative ladies' man from Noo Yawk, Hickey's the nice kid who's Princeton bound, etc. So it takes awhile for us to really start caring about them or what they do, or to get a feeling of why they're so devoted to each other. When they join forces to save Hickey's reputation after a sudden revelation threatens it, and to realize his goal of uniting them as a city league softball team while also getting back at Officer Russ, we finally get a sense of the depth of their comraderie.
The performances are mostly okay, though some of the young leads aren't totally convincing. Michael Beach (WAITING TO EXHALE, "ER") is good as the sympathetic cop Paddy, who lets T.J. in on Hickey's secret. Jason Ritter's brief appearance as Hickey is effective--aside from the resemblance to his dad, he also looks and acts a bit like a young Val Kilmer. The standout, of course, is Michael Rooker as Russ. Justly celebrated in horror fandom for his title role in HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, Rooker is perfect as the crooked, sadistic cop, especially when circumstances push him over the line and he starts getting scary. But even this character is given enough depth to keep him from being merely a one-sided stock villain.
Presented in 2:35:1 widescreen, the DVD's only bonus features are optional Spanish subtitles, a trailer, and previews of other Allumination Filmworks releases. Actor Jason Wiles (HIGHER LEARNING, "Third Watch") does a pretty good job here as first-time writer (with Shem Bitterman), producer, and director. The film also benefits from a catchy blues score.
There's a climactic baseball game to determine the league championship, but we don't see it. By that point the important thing is the simple fact that our heroes are playing it, acting out their absent friend's wishes and reveling in a fellowship that will soon be dissolved when life leads them on different paths. FULL COUNT isn't entirely successful at getting us emotionally invested in all this, but it's fairly effective nonetheless. Best of all, it features another memorable Michael Rooker character, and that alone makes it worth watching.
Dacascos plays Rykker, an intergalactic lawman who is trying to stop fellow aliens Saylon (Billy Zane) and Isis (Amelia Cooke) from opening up a wormhole between their planet and Earth to facilitate their conquest of the human race. After Isis and her goons murder the only remaining family of truckstop waitress Julie (Emma Lahana, "Power Rangers"), she hooks up with Rykker to help him stop the invaders and falls in love with him in the process. Meanwhile, the construction of a stargate between the two planets continues in an abandoned power station, where the final battle for Earth's fate will take place.
Despite the loftier aims initially attached to this project, the final result doesn't look much different from standard Sci-Fi Channel fare, but with extra violence and brief nudity added. Vlady Pildysh's sketchy script is pure pulp, with good aliens vs. bad aliens (who have taken over human bodies so that very little special makeup is required) battling each other with guns and martial arts in normal everyday settings. Even the stargate which features prominently in the finale is little more than a big, rotating plastic ring with some CGI sparkles added.
What ALIEN AGENT does have going for it is an abundance of action. Blazing shoot-em-ups and fierce hand-to-hand battles occur in quick succession with brief snippets of story to link them together. The martial arts sequences are well-staged and convincingly executed, and are edited so that the rapid-fire shots flow together very smoothly. The gunfights and car chases are similarly impressive, with an abundance of satisfying explosions and other mayhem. One early moment which got my attention shows warrior woman Isis firing a bazooka from a moving truck and blasting the pursuing Rykker's car right off the road, all in one shot; another finds her blowing up half the cars and trucks in a parking lot as Rykker makes off in another vehicle. The only detriment in these scenes is director Johnson's unfortunate tendency to try and accentuate the action with jittery zoom-in, zoom-out camarawork, which never fails to make even big-budget movies look rinky-dink (as Michael Bay demonstrated in THE ROCK's big San Francisco car chase).
Dacascos, with his soulful demeanor and martial arts skills, is well-suited for the role of Rykker, while Emma Lahana makes for a spunky sidekick. On the bad alien side, Amelia Cooke plays a pretty convincing Isis, but Billy Zane doesn't appear to be investing much in the role of the evil leader Saylon; in fact, he seems to be having more fun playing the baseball-capped yahoo whose body Saylon inhabits upon his arrival on Earth. In a lesser role, the great Kim Coates, who was Chet in the celebrated "Touch me again, I'll kill ya" scene from THE LAST BOY SCOUT, makes a welcome appearance as a sniveling human scientist in league with his future alien overlords.
DVD specs include 1:78:1 widescreen, Spanish subtitles, and a trailer. This Allumination Filmworks release is rated R for violence and brief nudity, the latter consisting mainly of a nude shot of a showering Julie which appears to have been done by a body double with great abs.
Though not quite the sci-fi epic originally conceived, ALIEN AGENT is an action-packed diversion that's fun to watch as long as you keep your expectations low.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The guy with the perfect life in LOADED (2008) is Tristan Price (Jesse Metcalfe, JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE), a law student who still lives with his rich parents. On the night of his 25th birthday, Tristan is feeling stifled by his highly regimented homelife and wants to go out on the town with his brother Hayden (Chace Crawford) and their buddies for a wild night of excessive drinking, lap dances, and general tomfoolery. But when he hooks up with the curiously friendly Sebastian (scripter Corey Large, TOXIC) during a party at the badass coke dealer's beachfront mansion, he gets sucked into a maelstrom of drugs, guns, violence, and betrayal. Bad for him--fun for us!
As the comparative freedom of Sebastian's lifestyle becomes increasingly intoxicating to Tristan, so does a dark beauty named April (Nathalie Kelley) who appears to reciprocate his interest while concealing her true motives. Tristan manages to forget that he already has a sweetheart, Brooke (Monica Keena, LEFT IN DARKNESS), or a big law school exam that he's no longer too keen on studying for. As he gets more and more strung out on coke, alcohol, and other illicit substances, his new pal Sebastian begins to include him in his shady and dangerous dope dealings. Before he knows it, Tristan is involved in a brutal killing for which he is suddenly the main suspect. Has the once-promising young college boy hit rock bottom? Not yet--there's still quite a ways to go, and watching him get there is rather entertaining.
Corey Large's cracking script is given just the right treatment by director Alan Pao, who knows when to crank up the zippity-doo-dah visuals (speed-up/slow-down effects, Shaky-Cam, self-consciously arty angles, etc.) and when to reign them in, all in service to the story. Once the tension begins to build it stays taut until the very end, with occasional bursts of violence that are well-staged and unsettling, and enough twists to keep the viewer off-balance much of the time.
Jesse Metcalfe is a good choice to play the callow rich kid who's in way over his head, while Corey Large makes an ideal bad guy who can be friendly and engaging one minute, ruthless and frightening the next. Johnny Messner and Jimmy Jean-Louis are equally effective as Sebastian's scarily sadistic goons Javon and Antonio. On the female side, Monica Keena is all winsome innocence as Brooke, while Nathalie Kelley convincingly portrays her seductive counterpart. Familiar faces such as Erin Gray ("Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"), Parker Stevenson ("The Hardy Boys"), and former teen heartthrob Nicole Eggert add nostalgic appeal for those of us who still remember the 70s and 80s. And to top it off, my main man Vinnie Jones (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, THE CONDEMNED) shows up in a couple of scenes as Sebastian's surly competitor, Mr. Black. Yay, Vinnie!
The DVD is 2:35:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a brief gag reel, a trailer for this and other Allumination Filmworks releases, and Spanish subtitles.
Before his extended nightmare is over, Tristan ends up punching out his brother Hayden, disrupting a fancy dinner party in the family home by shooting a member of said family, getting caught doing the nasty with April by an unpleasantly-surprised Brooke, and finding himself in the middle of a bullet-riddled shootout between Sebastian's and Mr. Black's crews--with a final showdown between himself and Sebastian yet to come. LOADED may not be a killer gangster epic of the first order, but it's well-done and consistently engaging right up to the suspenseful conclusion, and well worth checking out.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wishing to break into Hollywood with an attention-grabbing debut, writers Nicholas Bonomo and Francisco Rodriguez thought to themselves, "What implement of death has heretofore failed to be employed by slasher villains?" We've already seen chainsaws, axes, machetes, large drills, toolboxes full of tools, and just about everything else that can be wielded as a weapon. Then it hit them: kitchen utensils. And thus the character of The Cook was born.
The movie opens at the Lambda Epsilon Zeta sorority house (note the initials) where a small group of girls have decided to stay behind while everyone else takes off on a weekend vacation. Names aren't really important--all you need to know is that there's a studious girl, a bitch, a ditzy blonde, a bible-thumper, an exercise freak, a lesbian, and another lesbian. I may be leaving out a lesbian, but I sorta lost count. Anyway, unlike any sorority house I've ever seen in a movie, this place keeps a full-time chef on hand and the girls all gather for sit-down meals in the dining room three times a day. Trouble is, the new Hungarian chef currently serving up the grub for the gals turns out to be a giggling psycho whose culinary specialty is "filet of college babe." And so, one by one they end up on his butcher's block and become delicious entrees for the unsuspecting survivors to scarf down until it's their turn. Sloppy Joes, anyone?
We're not really too broken up about it, either, since most of these characters are either totally obnoxious, unforgivably moronic, or simply not very well-developed. We do get to see a number of subplots along the way, such as: the statuesque redheaded lesbian seducing the innocent bible-thumper in a rather titillating dominatrix scenario; the exercise freak driving her nerdy tutor into a sex-crazed frenzy until finally giving in and riding him like a stationary bike; and the studious girl forming a friendly relationship with The Cook, who seems to have taken a liking to her since she isn't as bitchy or flaky as the rest of the girls on his menu. Will she be the traditional "last girl standing" at the end of The Cook's inevitable slice-and-dice rampage? Will there even be one? You'll just have to watch and find out.
Whether or not you want to do this depends on how starved you are for entertainment, because THE COOK is definitely not "Must-See DVD." It's more like something you stumble across while channel-surfing late at night and get caught up in for lack of anything better to watch. It took me awhile to stop worrying about how incredibly dumb the dialogue, characters, and events in this movie are and resign myself to the fact that they're, yes, intentionally stupid. I even came to realize that the cast isn't as bad as I initially thought--they're actually pretty good--it's just the script they're forced to enact which often makes them look like amateurs.
There's a fair amount of naughty stuff going on (like, you know, nudity) to satisfy our more prurient interests, mainly of the "Cinemax After Dark" variety. The murder scenes themselves aren't particularly exciting, though a couple of them feature some mildly interesting makeup effects, while much of the gore consists of pig entrails and other yucky items standing in for human remains. Mark Hengst (HAUNTED FOREST), whose audition tape is one of the DVD extras, does a pretty good job as The Cook, whose only English seems to consist of either "I am the cook!" and a thumbs-up "O-KAY!" When he finally goes completely off his rocker and decides to off the rest of the cast once and for all, the results are non-scary but fairly entertaining in a slapstick sort of way.
Director Gregg Simon and cinematographer Brian Crane manage to make it all look better than you'd expect, with a visual style that would fit comfortably into a much better film. The image is anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and the Dolby Surround sound is good. Extras include a commentary track with executive producer/writer/editor Nicholas Bonomo and cast members Mark Hengst, Makinna Ridgway, Kit Paquin, Nina Fehren, and Brooke Lenzi, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and that audition tape which shows Hengst nailing the part.
Not too great but not all that bad if you catch it in the right mood, THE COOK is the kind of movie that I wouldn't go out of my way to watch, but managed to enjoy on the old "dumb fun" level. In other words, it's no gourmet meal--more like a big platter of greasy, ketchupy junk food for the brain.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Inspired by a most tantalizing mystery
Woodland Hills, CA – One of the most shocking unsolved mysteries in American history is depicted in terrifying fashion in Lost Colony, which will be released by Allumination FilmWorks on May 20, 2008. Preorder is April 15, 2008, with an SRP of $29.98.
"Save Your Soul Before They Take It From You.”
Beside the body of a dead soldier, these words are written in blood, in the ancient language of the Vikings. But what does the warning mean? And who – or what – left that message behind?
Adrian Paul (of “Highlander” fame) stars in this pulse-pounding, action-packed horror thriller loaded with awesome special effects and inspired by American history’s most tantalizing unsolved mystery. In 1587, over 100 brave men and women set sail from Great Britain to establish the first English colony in the new Americas. They landed on Roanoke Island off the coast of Virginia. They built a settlement, planted crops, and began their new lives in a new world.
And then, one day, they disappeared ... without a trace.
For generations, the legend of the Lost Colony has fascinated and mystified countless historians and researchers. Now, in the tradition of such classics as Sleepy Hollow, The Evil Dead and Brotherhood of the Wolf, this thriller offers a spine-chilling new look into the mystery of what really happened on Roanoke Island.
In addition to film and TV favorite Adrian Paul (“Tracker,” Moscow Heat, Nemesis Game, the upcoming Eyeborgs), the “colonists” of Lost Colony include Frida Show (Tan Lines, the upcoming Stiletto and Contract Killers), Rhett Giles (Dracula’s Curse, Legion of the Dead, Way of the Vampire, TV’s “Lost”) and Alex McArthur (Kiss the Girls, Conspiracy Theory, William Friedkin’s Rampage).
Street Date: May 20, 2008
Pre-Order Date: April 15, 2008
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Catalog ID: 27461
UPC Number: 783722274613
Running time: 95 minutes (approximately)
Special Features: Spanish subtitles
Thursday, March 20, 2008
CENTURY CITY, Calif. – In a treacherous and noble medieval world, a thrilling adventure awaits with spectacular battles, warring wizards, and remarkable feats of courage as the action-packed epic In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale embarks on DVD April 15th from Fox Home Entertainment. Based on the popular "Dungeon Siege" video game series, the harrowing journey begins as a hardworking family man becomes a reluctant warrior after an evil sorcerer sends an army of murderous beasts to ransack his peaceful village and capture his wife. Set against some of the most rugged and breathtaking terrain ever captured on film, In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale stars one of today’s most in-demand action heroes Jason Statham (Crank, Transporter, The Italian Job) along with an all-star supporting cast including Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Wild Hogs), Leelee Sobieski (Joyride), Claire Forlani ("CSI: NY," Meet Joe Black), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), Matthew Lillard (Scream, Scooby-Doo), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) as well as Golden Globe® winners Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights); the film was directed by Uwe Boll (BloodRayne, Alone in the Dark), renowned for transforming video games into original onscreen adventures. Armored with bonus features including deleted/extended scenes, behind-the-scenes featurette, trailers and more, the In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $27.98 U.S.
The life of a simple family man named Farmer (Statham) is changed forever when a horrifying army of animal-like warriors known as Krugs who are controlled by the evil sorcerer Gallian (Liotta) invade his village, murder his son and kidnap his wife (Forlani). Farmer sets out on a momentous journey to rescue his wife and along the way, encounters magic and adventure as the quest soon reveals his real destiny in the kingdom.
DVD Special Features:
The In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale DVD is presented in widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio), with English 5.1 Dolby Surround audio and English / Spanish subtitles. Bonus content includes deleted / extended scenes, extensive behind-the-scenes featurette and trailers.
Two Of The Deadliest Sci-Fi Creatures In Movie History
Return To Battle On Unrated DVD And Blu-Ray Disc April 15th From Fox Home Entertainment
Erupting With Killer Special Features, The No-Holds-Barred Unrated Special Edition Two-Disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc Includes Five Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes, Multiple Commentaries, Design Photo Gallery, Digital Copy Download & More
CENTURY CITY, Calif. – America ’s own backyard becomes the most brutal battlefield yet for the iconic creatures from two of the scariest film franchises ever when Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem (AVP-R) descends onto DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) April 15th from Fox Home Entertainment. Capturing the magic of the “Alien” and “Predator” legacies are first time directors and long-time fans of both film series, The Brothers Strause, renowned for their visual effects wizardry in such films as 300, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Picking up immediately after the events of the 2004 worldwide blockbuster Alien vs. Predator, the Predator gives birth to the crossbreed ‘PredAlien’ shortly before the ship crashes into a small Colorado town. Caught in between the invasion of the Aliens and a new ruthless and methodical Predator, a group of townspeople must join forces to stop the infestation before the military obliterates the town to contain the outbreak. With thrilling performances by Steven Pasquale (“Rescue Me,” “Six Feet Under”), Reiko Aylesworth (“24”) and John Ortiz (American Gangster, Miami Vice), AVP-R breeds the gritty horror roots of the original films back into the series while adding fresh, new digital effects and creature variations.
Available on both two-disc DVD and in high-definition format on Blu-ray Disc, the Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem Extreme Unrated Special Edition features more than ten minutes of never-before-seen gruesome footage added back into the movie plus is packed with five behind-the-scenes featurettes, still design galleries, directors commentary, special FX/creature creator commentary and more.
The AVP-R Extreme Unrated Special Edition will be available to own on two-disc DVD for $34.98 U.S. / $45.98 Canada and on BD for $39.98 U.S./$49.98 Canada . AVP-R will also be released as a theatrical rated and unrated single-disc version available for the suggested retail price of $29.98 U.S./$43.48 Canada . Plus, a special DVD two-pack collection featuring both films Alien vs. Predator Unrated Collector’s Edition and AVP-R Unrated single-disc will be priced at $34.98 U.S./$45.98 Canada , along with a Blu-ray Disc two-pack priced at $69.98 U.S/$89.98 Canada .
As an added bonus, both the Two-Disc Extreme Unrated Special Edition and the Blu-ray Disc release will offer Fox’s new Digital Copy feature that allows viewers to quickly and easily download a digital version of the film to a Mac® or Windows-based PC computer and then transfer to select portable video devices including an iPod® and/or iPhone™.
In the follow-up to the worldwide hit Alien vs. Predator, the iconic monsters from two of the scariest film franchises ever, wage war in an American Midwestern town – with the residents caught in the middle.
The AVP-R theatrical version is presented in both widescreen and full screen versions on a flipper disc with English 5.1 Dolby Surround, Spanish/French Dolby Surround with English/Spanish subtitles. The unrated single-disc and Two-Disc Special Edition will be available in widescreen only (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Surround and DTS audio, Spanish/French Dolby Surround with English/Spanish subtitles. Individual disc bonus materials include:
Rated / Unrated Single-Disc Version
· Commentary by directors Colin and Greg Strause and producer John Davis
· Commentary by creature effects designers/creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis
Two-Disc Extreme Unrated Special Edition
Includes all above single-disc content with the following extra material featured on the second disc:
· Digital Copy feature
· Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
o Prepare for War: The Making of AVP-R
o Fight to the Finish: The Making of AVP-R
o AVP-R: The Nightmare Returns – Creating the Aliens
o Crossbreed: The PredAlien
o Building the Predator Homeworld
· Still Design Galleries
o Designing the Predator
o Designing the Alien
o Designing the PredAlien
o On Set: The Rooftop
o On Set: The Sewer
o On Set: The Hive
o On Set: Cast & Crew
· Theatrical trailers (including Restricted Audience trailer)
Blu-ray Disc Specs:
The Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem BD features both the theatrical rated and unrated versions of the film seamlessly branched in widescreen format, with all above standard-def DVD special features included, plus the BD-exclusive interactive picture-in-picture reference guide “Weyland-Yutani Archives” which allows viewers access into the movie-based corporation’s top-secret computer mainframe to discover information on all things Alien and Predator. The disc will be presented on a 50GB dual-layer disc authored in BD-J with AVC (MPEG 4) compression with English 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Master Audio and French / Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
A recognized global industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC (TCFHE) is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) as well as acquisitions and original productions. The company also releases all products around the globe for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets -- from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce - throughout the world. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC is a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company.
Aside from checking out the premiere episode way back in 1998, I'd never watched THAT 70s SHOW until I started in on this 4-disc collection of the complete eighth and final season. I got the feeling that I'd missed out on a lot, and indeed those of you who are regular viewers may be disappointed by the absence of the series' main character, Eric Forman (Topher Grace), and the fact that Ashton Kutcher's "Kelso" appears in only four or five episodes. However, as a newbie watching this last season of the show with few preconceptions, I found it to be one of the most entertaining and innovative sitcoms I've seen in recent years.
It only took me an episode or two to get into the swing of things and sort out all the characters and their various relationships. Most of the action takes place in the house of conservative middle-class parents Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith, ROBOCOP) and his wife Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp). Their nebbishy, STAR-WARS-fanatic son Eric, around whom the show revolved until Topher Grace decided to go off and make movies, is now living in Africa, but his friends still hang around in the Formans' basement since Eric's juvenile delinquent pal Hyde (Danny Masterson) lives there.
Even if you weren't around during the 70s, you'll probably find something to identify with in these characters and their situations. Masterson is nicely deadpan as the perpetually-stoned slacker Hyde, who runs a small record store. Wilmer Valderrama plays the delightful Fez, a foreign-exchange student who resembles one of the Czech brothers from SNL although his nationality remains a mystery--probably so that the others can make fun of him without specifically offending anyone. Mila Kunis is the spoiled, conceited Jackie, who thinks she's all that but is actually quite insecure and yearning for love. Eric's former girlfriend, the tomboyish girl-next-door Donna, is played by the adorable Laura Prepon, while Topher Grace-replacement Josh Meyers gamely struggles against a tide of negative fan reaction as Donna's new love interest, the big-haired pretty boy Randy. Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp are hilarious as the hardass war veteran Red and the ditzy, terminally-tipsy Kitty. Rounding out the cast are Donna's goofy disco-swinger dad Bob (Don Stark) and Hyde's old-hippie record store employee Leo, played in his usual brain-dead style by Tommy Chong.
Unlike most sitcoms which have self-contained stories with tidy wrap-ups at the end, THAT 70s SHOW is like a comedy soap opera filled with musical-chairs relationships and stories that continue over several episodes. The pace is attention-deficit quick, with lots of short scenes edited together in "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" style and resembling a more grown-up version of one of those Nickelodeon comedies like "You Can't Do That On Television." Gags fly fast and furious, with the clinkers sailing by so fast that you don't have time to dwell on them before another funny one pops up. Thankfully, the writers manage to keep all the romantic entanglements and other situations wacky and funny without getting overly sappy or sentimental, while still making us care about the characters.
My favorite thing about THAT 70s SHOW is Ashton Kutcher's "Kelso." Kutcher plays this human cartoon character with such reckless, dorky, slapstick abandon that he's a joy to watch. Kutcher appears in the first four or five episodes of the season and then returns for the finale, and as much as I enjoyed the non-Kelso episodes, I gotta get my hands on some of the earlier seasons and see more of this guy. Whether jumping off the roof, plummeting off the water tower where the kids often hang out, or simply flailing through a scene like a hyperactive Great Dane loose in a one-room apartment, Kutcher makes this show sparkle with waves of pure comic wonderfulness whenever he's onscreen.
Another nice thing about this collection is that you never know who's going to show up as a guest star. (Skip this paragraph if you'd rather be surprised.) We get appearances by 70s icons such as Tom Bosley, Don Knotts, Isaac Hayes, and Mary Tyler Moore (still funny but veering dangerously close to Jocelyn Wildenstein territory) along with a great cameo by none other than Bruce Willis as a sleazy, toupee-topped stripclub owner named Vic. And Fez's disco heroes The Village People appear in one of his fantasies in which he gets to join the group as "Chicken Suit Guy." As a Brady Bunch fan, though, my favorite guest-casting stunt was seeing Barry Williams and Christopher Knight as Red and Kitty's new gay neighbors.
Along with the season's 22 episodes, four of which contain commentary tracks by the show's director, David Trainer, this set also includes some bonus features such as cast interviews, a tour of the show's sets by director Trainer, a retrospective of the show through the years, and some TV promos. The final episode in the set, "That 70s Finale", sees the return of not only Ashton Kutcher as Kelso but also a final-scene appearance by Topher Grace as Eric, which, after all the buildup, comes as a bit of a letdown. I guess I need to go back and watch some of the earlier stuff to see what was so great about his character. Anyway, the last season of THAT 70s SHOW may have suffered from his absence in the eyes of fans, but for a newbie like me, it was pure fun.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
*Original English language export trailer (from unremastered video)
**We're deeply honored to have had the invaluable (and irreplaceable) assistance of Linn Haynes. He dedicated his life to classic kung fu films. His knowledge runs deep and his enthusiasm and professionalism can be felt all through this release. He provided a lot of the great video extras you see above and his commentary does not disappoint. In fact, I'd say it's one of the most informative and entertaining I've heard in a long time.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Five Argento masterpieces together in a collectible boxed set for the first time on May 27
BURBANK, CA – Dario Argento is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in modern history, a director whose work has shocked, entertained and enthralled millions the world over. The world of Dario Argento is a surreal, mysterious and mesmerizing one. There is a unique magic and power that “The Maestro” brings to everything he touches.
Now, Anchor Bay Entertainment pays tribute to the acclaimed filmmaker with The Dario Argento Box Set, a five-film collection that will be released under the prestigious Anchor Bay Collection banner on May 27th. SRP is $49.97 and pre-book is April 24th.
Following the worldwide success of his hallucinatory horror hit Suspiria, Argento returned to the genre that he helped to pioneer and which launched his international career and earned him the title of “The Italian Hitchcock.” In these acclaimed “giallo” thrillers, Argento explores the extremes of murder, insanity and brutality with the startling plot twists, stunning visuals and shocking twists that have defined his work.
The five films in this collection have been remastered from original vault elements and are presented uncut and uncensored for an all-new look at one of the most controversial and influential filmmakers in the history of modern cinema.
The Dario Argento Box Set, is the quintessential assemblage of Argento’s brilliance and includes such masterpieces as:
Tenebre Special Edition (released in the U.S. as Unsane), starring Academy Award® nominee Anthony Franciosa (A Hatful of Rain, Across 110th Street) and Golden Globe® winner John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon). Tenebre features a brand new 16x9 transfer, plus an all-new retrospective featurette;
Phenomena Special Edition (released in the U.S. as Creepers), starring Academy Award® winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Blood Diamond) and the legendary Donald Pleasence (Halloween series, The Great Escape, Escape from New York ). Remastered in 16x9 with an all-new retrospective featurette;
Trauma, starring Argento’s exquisite daughter Asia Argento (New Rose Hotel, XXX), three-time Academy Award®-nominee, Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® winner Piper Laurie (Children of a Lesser God, Carrie, “Twin Peaks”), Academy Award®- nominee Frederic Forrest (Apocalypse Now, The Rose, Tucker: The Man and His Dream) and Academy Award®-nominee Brad Dourif (Mississippi Burning, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the voice of “Chucky” in the Child’s Play franchise);
The Card Player, starring Stefania Rocca (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dracula’s Curse) and IFTA Award winner Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers, Breakfast on Pluto, “RKO 281”);
Do You Like Hitchcock?, Argento’s personal homage to his life-long idol, starring Elio Germano (Napoleon and Me, Respiro) and Chiara Conti (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marco Bellocchio’s award-winning The Religion Hour).
Each of these films boasts a variety of DVD special features, including audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes retrospectives, trailers and more.
In addition, Anchor Bay Entertainment will release the special editions of both Tenebre and Phenomena individually at an SRP of $19.97 each.
Argento was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2001 Amsterdam Fantasy Film Festival, the Maverick Tribute Award at the 2000 Cinequest San Jose Film Festival, a Special Award “FantaItaly” from the 1985 Fantafestival, the Time Machine Honorary Award from the Sitges – Catalonian Film Festival, and the 2007 Career Award from Flaiano International Prizes.
Argento’s career is going stronger than ever. He recently completed the long-anticipated Mother of Tears: The Third Mother, concluding the unforgettable trilogy begun in Suspiria and continued in Inferno, and he directed the segments Pelts and Jenifer for the award-winning Showtime series “Masters of Horror” (available from Anchor Bay Entertainment). Argento is currently directing the thriller Giallo, which will be released later this year. The film stars Ray Liotta, Asia Argento and Elsa Pataky.
In the tradition of previous Anchor Bay Collection releases like Re-Animator and Phantasm, The Dario Argento Box Set is a must-have item for the Argento aficionado and all horror devotees.
TENEBRE SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New remastered widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Audio Commentary with writer/director Dario Argento, music composer Claudio Simonetti and journalist Loris Curci
Voices of The Unsane
The Roving Camera Eye of Dario Argento
Creating the Sounds of Terror
Alternate end-credit music
Dario Argento biography
PHENOMENA SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New remastered widescreen (1.66:1) transfer, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Audio Commentary with writer/director Dario Argento, special makeup effects artist Sergio Stivaletti, music composer Claudio Simonetti and journalist Loris Curci
A Dark Fairy Tale
Luigi Cozzi & The Art of Macrophotography
Dario Argento on “The Joe Franklin Show”
Claudio Simonetti Music Video (“Jennifer”)
Bill Wyman Music Video (“Valley”)
Dario Argento biography
TRAUMA SPECIAL FEATURES
Widescreen (2.35:1) presentation, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Audio Commentary with Profondo Argento author Alan Jones
Love, Death & Trauma featurette with an interview with director Dario Argento
Never-Before-Seen, On-Set and Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Exclusive Special Effects home movies from Tom Savini
Poster & Still Gallery
Dario Argento biography
THE CARD PLAYER SPECIAL FEATURES
Widescreen (1.85:1) presentation, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Audio Commentary with Profondo Argento author Alan Jones
“Playing With Death” featurette including an exclusive interview with director Dario Argento
Maestro of Fear featurette with composer Claudio Simonetti
Electronic Press Kit
DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK? SPECIAL FEATURES
Widescreen (1.66:1) presentation, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Do You Like Hitchcock?: Backstage
Dario Argento biography
Street Date: May 27, 2008
Pre-book: April 24, 2008
Run Time: 513 Minutes total (approximately)
Rated: Not Rated
TENEBRE SPECIAL EDITION
Street Date: May 27, 2008
Pre-book: April 24, 2008
Run Time: 101 Minutes
Rated: Not Rated
PHENOMENA SPECIAL EDITION
Street Date: May 27, 2008
Pre-book: April 24, 2008
Run Time: 110 Minutes
Rated: Not Rated
Sunday, March 9, 2008
"Once upon a time, a boy named Ray Pye put crushed beer cans in his boots to make himself taller."
Marc Senter (I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, CABIN FEVER 2) gives a dazzling performance as the narcissistic, seriously unhinged Ray Pye in THE LOST (2005), rampaging his way through the film like the demonic offspring of Tom Cruise and a vulture on PCP. His grinning, hyperactive intensity also has an insectlike quality about it as he zeroes in on his present and future victims, augmented by the fact that he wears dark eye makeup to accentuate his sharp, birdlike features, dresses in black rockabilly threads, has a strange, herky-jerky swagger caused by the use of crushed beer cans in his boots to add to his height, and is often accompanied by a buzzing noise on the soundtrack.
Ray lives in a boring little town that is too small to contain his burgeoning madness. With his cowering girlfriend Jennifer (Shay Astar, "3rd Rock from the Sun") and sycophantic toady Tim (Alex Frost) in tow, he's forever on the lookout for things to occupy his self-interest and gratify his immense ego. These things will come to include Sally (Megan Henning), who has just come to work at the motel that his mother owns, and the beautiful, melancholy Katherine (Robin Sydney), who has an ill-advised fling with Ray for lack of any better way to temporarily escape her depressing home life.
THE LOST begins with a flashback to four years earlier, when Ray impulsively murders two girls who are camping by a lake ("Let's pop 'em!" he beams excitedly to a horrified Tim and Jennifer). The act is sudden, senseless, and brutal as bloody bulletholes begin to appear in the unsuspecting Lisa and Elise, who are well-played by familiar soft-porn actresses Erin Brown (aka Misty Mundae) and Ruby Larocca. Though mortally wounded, Elise manages to get away. She lingers on life-support for four years as local homicide detectives Charlie Schilling (Michael Bowen, KILL BILL's "Buck") and Ed Anderson (the great character actor Ed Lauter) doggedly but unsuccessfully struggle to pin the murders on their only suspect, Ray.
This shocking opening will be the only act of violence in THE LOST until the final sequence, but we know that everything that happens in between is leading up to it. His failure to seduce Sally, who is having a secret affair with the much older Ed, his unrequited obsession with Katherine, and his gradual loss of control over Jennifer and Tim all come together to drive Ray closer and closer to the breaking point. When he finally reaches it, all hell breaks loose.
Chris Sivertson's screenplay, based on the novel by Jack Ketchum, is lean and consistently involving, with a forward momentum that never lags. This is also true of his directing skills, as he carefully builds the story to its inevitable conclusion with a visual style that's so smooth it seems almost effortless. His use of different film stocks and other effects is restrained and purposeful, and the often rapid-fire editing is seamless. Sound editing is very effective as well, and the soundtrack is filled with well-chosen songs along with an impressive, offbeat original score by Tim Rutili.
The cast, which also includes Dee Wallace Stone as Elise's mother and author Jack Ketchum in a cameo role, is excellent. You'll get to watch the audition footage of several of the leads in the bonus features, and it's clear why they were chosen for their roles. Several minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes are included as well, along with storyboards of the initial murder sequence and an interesting Easter egg. There's a commentary track with Jack Ketchum and fellow novelist Monica O'Rourke, which is an interesting chat between authors but is rarely scene specific and offers little information about the production itself (where were the cast and crew?) The film is presented in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
When Ray finally sails all the way off the deep end, going on a killing spree through town and then gathering all the women who have frustrated his will or damaged his ego together in an isolated house as the horrified owners look on, THE LOST becomes a grueling ordeal of madness and terror. Sivertson stages it beautifully but pulls no punches. Deprived of the usual cardboard characters whose bloody demise evokes only excitement and glee, we watch as people we care about are terrorized, executed, and eviscerated by a depraved psycho. Sivertson's direction and editing here are exquisite, the performances riveting. The final moments are so audaciously well-orchestrated that, after the abrupt blackout, it took me several minutes to come down off this movie, as though some barely-averted traffic mishap had left me flush with adrenaline.
On April 1st As A Four-Disc DVD Collection
Featuring All 25 Episodes And Exclusive Bonus Materials
From Fox Home Entertainment and Carsey Warner
CENTURY CITY, Calif. – Disco may be dead but the funky decade full of polyester and eight tracks lives on when "That ‘70s Show" Season Eight boogies its way onto DVD April 1st from Fox Home Entertainment and Carsey-Werner. Featuring a seriously swinging cast, "That ‘70s Show" stars Wilmer Valderrama (Unaccompanied Minors), Ashton Kutcher (The Guardian) Laura Prepon ("October Road"), Mila Kunis ("Family Guy"), Danny Masterson (Capers, "The Dead Zone"), Debra Jo Rupp (Kickin’ It Old Skool), Tommy Chong, and Kurtwood Smith (RoboCop). Season Eight featured several new faces on the show, including series cast additions Josh Meyers ("Mad TV," Date Movie) and Jud Tylor (Charlie Wilson’s War, "What About Brian"), plus gnarly guest stars including the incomparable TV legend Mary Tyler Moore, singer/songwriter Isaac Hayes, Barry Williams and Christopher Knight ("The Brady Bunch") and Justin Long (Live Free Or Die Hard).
"That ‘70s Show" Season Eight features bonus materials including a series retrospective featurette with all-new cast interviews shot the last week on set reflecting on the hilarious final season of the veteran comedy show, plus a behind-the-scenes set tour with director David Trainer, episode promos and more. The four-disc "That ‘70s Show" Season Eight DVD collection will be available for the suggested retail price of $49.98 U.S. / $69.98 Canada.
Following the departure of both Eric and Kelso, the fun-loving friends of Point Place, Wisconsin are forced to recognize times are a-changing. Hyde returns from Chicago a married man while Jackie and Fez explore their relationship and move in together. Donna starts a new relationship and Jackie lands a job at a television station as an assistant to a psycho boss. The whole gang manages to reunite for a final bittersweet farewell to the decade that has brought such hysterical hi-jinks and overall mayhem.
DVD Episodes and Special Features:
The "That ‘70s Show" Season Eight DVD collection includes all 25 episodes of the eighth season, presented in full screen (1:33:1 aspect ratio) with English Dolby Surround Sound and English subtitles. The following episodes and special features are specific to each disc:
• Bohemian Rhapsody
• Somebody To Love
• You’re My Best Friend
• Stone Cold Crazy
• Long Away
• Fun It
• Special Features
o Audio commentary on Bohemian Rhapsody with Director David Trainer
o TV Promos
• Good Company
• Who Needs Me
• Sweet Lady
• Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
• Killer Queen
• Spread Your Wings
• Son And Daughter
• Special Features
o TV Promos
• Keep Yourself Alive
• My Fairy King
• Crazy Little Think Called Love
• We Will Rock You
• Sheer Heart Attack
• Leaving Home Ain’t Easy
• Special Features:
o Audio commentary on Keep Yourself Alive and We Will Rock You with Director David Trainer
o TV Promos
• Love Of My Life
• That ‘70s Finale
• Special Features
o That ‘70s Show Through The Years: A Retrospective
o A ‘70s Show Flashback: Tommy Chong and Josh Meyers featurettes
o That ‘70s Set Tour with Director David Trainer
o Season 8 in 8 Minutes featurette
o Audio commentary on That ‘70s Finale with Director David Trainer
o TV Promos
Street Date: April 1, 2008
Prebook Date: March 5, 2008
DVD Price: $49.98 U.S. / $69.98 Canada
Catalog Number: 2250141
Feature Running Time: 506 minutes
MPAA Rating NR
Closed Captioned: Yes
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Woodland Hills, CA – One of the most hotly debated issues in contemporary society is tackled head-on in Allumination FilmWorks’ suspenseful and, compelling action drama Border Lost, which will be released April 15, 2008. Pre-book is March 11 at a suggested retail price of $29.98.
Every day, thousands of people cross the border only to find themselves preyed upon by vicious criminals. In order to stop the violence and bloodshed, an elite task force is mobilized to try and protect the innocent. But when the operation is shut down due to politics and bureaucratic red tape, all hell breaks loose as the newly emboldened “bandoleros” expand their ruthless reign of terror. Now, with one of their own murdered and another missing, three agents decide to take the law into their own hands. Each driven by his own convictions, these unsung heroes risk their lives to exact justice – and vengeance – in this gripping, timely tale filled with love, loss and bravery.
The hot young cast of Border Lost includes Chris Cleveland (Relax … It’s Just Sex, Heatstroke, the Oscar-nominated The Prestige), Kelly Noonan (Scissors, the Oscar-nominated For the Boys), Emilio Roso (“The Wailer,” The Sweep, the upcoming Silicon Valley), David Schultz (Potheads: The Movie, Skid Marks, the upcoming First Strike) and Marian Zapico (The Hitman Chronicles, Director’s Cut, the award-winning Seth).
Street Date: April 15, 2008
Pre-Order Date: March 11, 2008
Running time: 105 minutes (approximately)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
1.78:1 Widescreen presentation
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
A Timeless, True-Life Story of Power and Passion
Woodland Hills, CA – Allumination FilmWorks proudly presents the critically acclaimed, award-winning drama Partition on DVD on April 8th. Partition will be available for a suggested retail price of $29.98.
Even in a land ravaged by hatred, fear and intolerance, the seeds of love can still take root and blossom. The year is 1947, and amidst the chaos and bloodshed unleashed when India and Pakistan are split into separate state, Sikh and former soldier Gian (Jimi Mistry, Blood Diamond, Ella Enchanted, the Guru) risks everything to save Naseem (Kristin Kreuk, Eurotrip, four-time Saturn Award and three-time Teen Choice Award nominee for “Smallville”), a young Muslim woman, from a violent mob. Soon, love builds a bridge between their two worlds, healing the wounds in both their hearts? But how long can their joy last when religious zealots try to tear them apart forever?
With its rich tapestry of stories and characters based on actual people and historical events, Partition is a moving and timeless tale of innocent people struggling against all odds to find happiness in treacherous times. It has been compared to such classics as Dr. Zhivago, Gandhi and Out of Africa.
“(A) South Asian Romeo & Juliet, Partition is big and ambitious,” hailed The Toronto Sun. “A beautiful movie,” raved CalgaryMovies.com, and The Globe and Mail called it “an accomplished film.”
Partition was nominated for nine Leo Awards including Best Feature-Length Drama, Best Direction and Best Screenwriting, and won for Best Production Design and Best Sound Effects Editing.
The film’s powerful cast includes MTV Movie Award, Saturn Award and two-time Blockbuster Entertainment Award winner Neve Campbell (the Scream trilogy, Wild Things, “Party of Five”) and her real-life husband, John Light (The Prophecy: Forsaken, The Prophecy: Uprising, Woody Allen’s Scoop), as well as Madhur Jaffrey (the Oscar-winning A Room With a View and Howards End), winner of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear Award as best actress for her unforgettable performance in Shakespeare-Wallah.
Partition is co-written and directed by Emmy and Gemini Award winner Vic Sarin (Left Behind, Love on the Side), who also served as the film’s cinematographer. The film’s score is by ASCAP Award winner and Emmy nominee Brian Tyler (Rambo, Constantine, Frailty).
Street Date: April 8, 2008
Running Time: 115 minutes (approximately)
Rating: PG-13 (pending)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
2.35:1 Widescreen Presentation
Thanks to SonnyakaPig at Sherdog.
Here are the email addys and two form letters you can use.
Here's two general requests. One for HDNet and one for FEG.
FEG's email contact: email@example.com
HDNet's email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very pleased with HDNet's interest in and coverage of the growing sport of MMA. I am a devoted fan of the sport and I enjoy watching a wide variety of MMA promotions.
As a continued show of support for MMA's growth, will you please consider looking into the possibility of broadcasting the new MMA promotion, Dream. Dream is the product of the FEG corporation and it possesses an extremely strong stable of world class fighters.
I have no doubt that the number of HDNet subscribers would increase if your channel carried the Dream events. Dream has the potential to be a very strong and entertaining MMA promotion and I am confident that fans of the sport would do everything in their power to watch the Dream promotion on your excellent high definition channel.
Thank you for considering my email. And please continue providing a great HD channel in HDNet.
Congratulations on the creation of your new and exciting MMA promotion Dream. You have done a wonderful job in obtaining world class fighters to fill your roster.
As a devoted MMA fan that does not live in Japan, I strongly desire the opportunity to view your Dream events. Please consider working with television companies that have the capability of broadcasting your Dream events outside of Japan.
The high definition channel HDNet made history when they broadcasted the NYE Yerrenoka event in high definition. Countless HDNet subscribers were elated with the opportunity to watch a fine Japanese MMA promotion in high definition.
Perhaps, HDNet would be an equally good home for Dream events.
In addition to HDNet, please consider broadcasting the Dream events on pay per view. I have no doubt that fans throughout the world would order the highly exciting events that you have lined up.
Thank you for considering my email, and again, congratulations on the creation of Dream.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Woodland Hills, CA – Allumination FilmWorks will release the sexy, provocative thriller Loaded, starring fast-rising Hollywood heartthrobs Jesse Metcalfe (“Dangerous Housewives,” John Tucker Must Die!), Corey Large (Chasing Ghosts, Toxic) and Monica Keena (Freddy vs. Jason, HBO’s Emmy-winning “Entourage”) on March 25, 2008 for the suggested retail price of $29.98.
Tristan Price (Metcalfe) has it all: money, privilege, a beautiful girlfriend (Keena), loving parents (Erin Gray and John Bennett Perry) and a limitless future. But he’s always had a wild side – a need for something more, something dangerous.
Enter Sebastian Cole (Large), a handsome, charismatic, ruthless drug dealer with a taste for fast cars, fast women, automatic weapons … and revenge. Before Tristan knows it, he finds himself adrift in a seedy criminal underworld. And it is soon clear (to everyone but Tristan) that his new best friend is, in reality, his worst enemy!
Loaded boasts a sizzling, star-studded cast that also includes Nathalie Kelley (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Nicole Eggert (“Baywatch,” “Charles in Charge,” The Demolitionist), rap icon Kurupt (Dark Blood, Half Past Dead 1 & 2), Chase Crawford (“Gossip Girl,” The Covenant), Cameron Douglas (It Runs in the Family, National Lampoon’s Adam & Eve), Jimmy Jean-Louis (“Heroes,” Phat Girlz), Johnny Messner (“The O.C.,” “Killer Instinct,” Running Scared), Lochlyn Munro (Daddy Day Camp, Freddy vs. Jason, Scary Movie) and cult favorite Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand, Snatch, The Condemned).
Street Date: March 25, 2008
Running time: Approx. 100 minutes
MPAA Rating: R (Pending)
Special Features: Trailer, Spanish Subtitles
Woodland Hills, CA – Such timeless themes as loyalty, redemption and personal sacrifice are powerfully conveyed in Allumination FilmWorks’ star-studded, coming-of-age drama Full Count, which will be released on DVD March 18, 2008 for a suggested retail price of $29.98.
But, in their final summer together before leaving their hometown for college, these life-long friends will put their friendship to the test as they try to right a heinous wrong and redeem the reputation of one of their own – even at the cost of their individual futures. Against the backdrop of a fateful game of softball, old scores will be settled, boys will learn what it is to become a man, and the past will forever remain in the past.
Full Count boasts a winning roster of hot young “rookies:” Josh Stewart (TV’s “Third Watch,” “Dirt,” The Death and Life of Bobby Z), Austin Nichols (HBO’s “John from Cincinnati,” Glory Road, The Day After Tomorrow), Jason Ritter (“Joan of Arcadia,” “The Class,” Freddy vs. Jason), Chris Klein (American Pie 1 & 2, Election), Paul Wesley (“American Dreams,” “Fallen,” Roll Bounce) and Jennifer Hall (“Nip/Tuck,” “CSI: Miami,” Legally Blonde), as well as such acclaimed “veterans” as William Baldwin (Backdraft, Fair Game, MTV Movie Award winner for Sliver), Michael Beach (Soul Food, First Sunday, Image Award winner for “Third Watch”) and Michael Rooker (Cliffhanger, Slither, the Oscar-winning JFK and Mississippi Burning).
A powerful adult drama in the tradition of Stand by Me and Friday Night Lights, Full Count marks the debut of actor Jason Wiles (“Third Watch,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Higher Learning) as screenwriter, producer and director.
Street Date: March 18, 2008
Running Time: Approx. 90 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Sunday, March 2, 2008
From: Wed, 07 Mar 2007
1.Jimmy Wang Yu
a. What was JWYs opinion on the Japanese?
I can't speak for Wang Yu, but in general I think the idea he hates Japanese is something that comes from the films and the climate they were made in rather than the real world.
b. He seemed to love killing them in the movies and loved even more going to conventions in Japan and doing interviews with his “mortal enemies”. How is JWY so popular in Japan.
He did quite a bit of publicity for kung fu films in the region, even made a couple of films there and he is well remembered. Virgin released most of his old films on video there in the 80s and 90s. As for why he "loved killing them," ACTING!
c. What was JWY’s relationship with Kurata?
My understanding is that Kurata and he were friends over the years from working in HK together.
d. Do you think JWY really cared about Chinese nationalism in any real sense? Seaman No 7 Was an Example you mentioned.
Correction, Seaman No.7 was an example of Wang Yu's character evolving. He was a Chinese that is beat up by Japanese and then trains under a Japanese Karate master.
e. Do you think he was heavily influenced technically by Japanese cinema?
I certainly think that kung fu films in general were. As for JWY, he did remake Seven Samurai more or less with the film Beach of the War Gods. :)
And I would say, a lot of his films featuring large groups of fighters certainly had a Japanese look to the action scenes. The Brave and the Evil, his first directing gig after the Shaw Brothers, would be an example.
a. When did Kurata start working in Hong Kong?
1971's King of Boxers or King Boxer
b. How did Kurata feel about the roles he often had to take?
According to Kurata, he wasn't a big fan of some of the roles he took because of the way they painted the Japanese, but he also needed a job.
c. It’s been said the Kurata’s roles as Japanese villains brought him great acclaim in Japan how was this so?
Because he was seen less of a Japanese actor playing crappy bad guy roles, and more as a Japanese doing well in the greatest action market in the world. He was a home town boy doing good more or less.
d. Heroes of the East was said to have been viewed as very important by
Kurata even to the point that he turned done better work in Japan. Is this true?
Correct. He was supposed to do a TV series or movie at the time and was asked by Lau Kar Leung to come back to HK to film the movie. The role was so good, he pretty much dropped everything to do it.
e. Who were Kurata’s main friends during his first stint in Hong Kong?
Bruce Lee, Bruce Liang, and Chen Kuan Tai.
f. Why do you think Kurata was invited to the HKFA’s action chorography dinner as an honored guest? He was the only non-Chinese?
Because he was truly considered one of them by that point. It must be remembered that Kurata put up with a lot of "ribbing," both physical and mental, for being Japanese and in these films from the people on set.
But he showed that he could do the work and over time gained the respect of most of the people he worked with.
g. Are there any other Japanese actors who were as respected as Kurata working in HK?
Hmm...good question. I think they're TONS of Japanese actors respected in HK, but you'll note very few ever made their way there. Sonny Chiba
comes to mind. Many guess this is because they (Japanese actors) couldn't take the pressure, but it was more likely they were making too much money at home.
a. Was the standing order by Run Run to try and emulate Japanese cinema
technically for Shaw Brothers films?
Yes. Shaw went to the point of running Japanese films in the Shaw Studios' theater for his directors to see.
b. Is it true that Run Run would often screen Japanese cinema for his directors?
See above. :)
c. What directors do you think adopted the most Japanese techniques in their films?
Chang Cheh and Ching Gong (Cheng Kang) are perhaps the most Japanese outside of the Japanese directors that worked for the Shaws.
d. What was Cheng Cheh and LKL opinions on the Japanese. LKL rarely had Japanese enemies when compared to CC.
I think from LKL's Heroes of the East, it was clear he respected them at least. As for Cheng, he many times talked about how much he looked up to Japanese directors, particularly Kurosawa.
e. Is it true the Shaws employed numerous Japanese technicians on their films but using Chinese names?
Yes. Directors and craftsmen.
f. How big were the Shaws in Japan?
My understanding is that they were more known for their distribution than their films there. Though many of their films played there, they handled the distribution in HK of many Japanese films.
4. General and Miscellanies
a. What was the first film (to the best of your knowledge to use Chinese Anti-Japanese nationalism as a main plot point?
It was a Wong Fei Hung film, I believe Huang Fei Hong's Combat With The Five Wolves. This featured sequences cited by the HK Film Archives as being an influence on Fist of Fury.
b. Where there any directors who really did have it in for Japan and wanted to use their films as platform for doing this?
c. What effect did these types of plotlines have on foreign Chinese and
Westerners when they saw these films (as they plot device came up in a large number of films)
d. Do you think the portrayal of Japanese in Hong Kong action cinema has ever changed? If so what time period?
In the 80s is when it really changed. They're some instances beforehand, but I think it was consistently better in the mid to late 80s with films like Heroes of the East, Ninja in the Dragon's Den, etc.
e. Would you say Johnnie To’s Throwdown shows how far HK cinema has come in its view of Japanese ideas?
Yes, and also continues to show how much it's influenced it. I mean, swordplay cinema from the Shaws during the 1960s IS their answer to samurai cinema. Throwdown is To's equivalent to the early work of Kurosawa, specifically Sugata Sanshiro AKA Judo Saga.
This is truly a horrible tragedy. However, through plans for his works, the name and talents of Linn Haynes will live on forever.
We will miss you greatly, but you will not be forgotten.
MACON: Linn Haynes, 33, of Atagahi Trail, died Thursday, February 28, 2008. Family visitation will be held from 5:00 - 7:00pm, Saturday at Bridges Funeral Home in Gray. Graveside services will be at 2:00pm, Sunday, March 02, 2008, at Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Gray, with Rev. Steve Johnson conducting the services.
Linn was born in Macon on May 27, 1974, and grew up in Gray. He was a 1992 graduate of Cross Keys Christian Academy, earned an Associate's Degree from Georgia Military College, graduating with Honors and earned his Bachelor's Degree in English at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where he also minored in Journalism. Linn was the assistant manager at Books-A-Million in Macon and was a freelance writer. An avid comic book, video and book collector, he also did commentary on DVDs for various Asian films.
Linn is survived by his devoted wife of six years: Monica Nalin Haynes of Macon; parents: Bobby and Rita Haynes of Gray; father-in-law and mother-in-law: Bob and Maureen Nalin of Thomasville; his dog: Maggie; his cat: Lucky; and by several aunts and uncles.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Bradley Baptist Church Building Fund, Post Office Box 61, Gray, Georgia 31032.
Bridges Funeral Home in Gray has charge of arrangements. Please visit the online memorial at: www.bridgesfh.com.