HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, June 30, 2011

EVIL THINGS -- DVD review by porfle


If you're one of those people who sat through THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT wondering what the big deal was, you'll probably find the very similar EVIL THINGS (2009) equally uninvolving.  But if you're like me and was creeped out big time by the earlier film, then chances are this one will get your blood racing as well.

A group of five college students leave New York City and venture along snowy backroads in search of a secluded house where they plan to spend a fun weekend.  Forty-eight hours later, all five have vanished and the only thing left behind is the camcorder video taken by the missing Leo (Ryan Maslyn), which has been mysteriously sent to the FBI.  Thus, the story is seen entirely through the lens of his camera (and one other, as we'll discover later on). 

First-time director Dominic Perez creates a good sense of realism from the very start, with his talented cast doing a convincing job of acting like they aren't "acting" (which isn't that easy to do.)  The cinema verite' mood is set with Leo shooting the usual mundane-type stuff as the group piles into the car and sets off on their trip.  Naturally, he gets the usual pleas to "put that camera away!" and must occasionally defend his odd compulsion to keep it glued to his face even in the most awkward situations.



Leo and friends Cassy (Laurel Casillo) and the diminutive Tanya (Torrey Weiss) are unattached, with the only couple consisting of Miriam (Elyssa Mersdorf) and Mark (Morgan Hooper).  Their characters, thankfully, don't fall into the usual stereotype slots (jock, nerd, slut, good girl, party animal, etc.) and the fact that we can relate to them as real people makes later events much more effective.

The trouble starts when an unknown driver in a dark van starts to harrass them on the icy mountain highway for no apparent reason, in a scene which reminded me of the early part of Steven Spielberg's DUEL.  The mysterious van continues to show up at various points during the trip while the group becomes increasingly alarmed.  Finally, after being lost for hours on long, dark roads, they reach the shelter of the house and settle in as the tensions among them begin to drain away.  But their fun and frivolity will be short-lived, as it soon becomes apparent that they aren't alone.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is strongly evoked when they go for a hike in the woods and get lost.  Tempers flair and recriminations are bandied about until strange noises send everyone fleeing headlong through the dark woods in sheer panic.  (As in any film of this nature, the viewer must accept the fact that whoever's operating the camera will continue to do so even though any normal person would just drop the damn thing and run like hell.)  Bad vibes give way to relief when the brightly-lit windows of the house come into view, although it's within this supposed sanctuary that the real terror will eventually take place.
 


Much time is spent lulling us into the same false sense of security shared by Leo and his friends, during which some viewers may nod out.  They joke around for the camera, sit around chatting over wine and beer, bicker and whine a little, and, in a scene that will have a sadly ironic resonance later on, celebrate Cassy's 21st birthday with a surprise party.  All of this everyday stuff serves to make the film's sudden left turn into terror more abrupt and shocking.  And that's all I'm going to reveal--once you get the gist of it, further details would only spoil the experience. 

The DVD from Inception Media Group is in 16:9 widescreen with 5.1 surround sound and has a running time of 86 minutes.  I watched a screener so I can't comment on bonus features or other details.  Keep watching through the marathon closing credits for more unsettling video footage.

When all the lights go out and a harsh knock at the front door echoes through the pitch-dark house, director Perez really starts to ratchet up the tension.  Without any violence, gore, or supernatural elements of any kind (one of the main differences between this film and BLAIR WITCH), EVIL THINGS relies solely on an old-fashioned fear of the unseen and unknown to generate chills and suspense.  If you as a viewer can put yourself in the place of these characters and vicariously experience a small measure of their terror, then this movie will definitely give you the shivers. 



Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN -- DVD review by porfle


There are two kinds of post-grindhouse flicks.  (There may be more, but my brain can only handle two at a time.)  One is the homage, which mimics the look of the old ragged film prints seen in grindhouses and drive-ins back in the old days while displaying a spoofy, self-consciously retro sensibility.  (I just made that up.) 

The other kind, like HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011), is simply a contemporary version of the kind of exploitation flicks that came out in the 70s and 80s, without the deliberate self-awareness or cosmetic similarities.  In other words (not mine, in fact), the filmmakers "just made the f***in' movie." 

This is what first-time feature director Jason Eisener did after winning the faux-trailer contest associated with the Tarantino-Rodriguez epic GRINDHOUSE, fleshing out his two-minute masterpiece into a gory, action-packed, ultra-violent, and really weird comedy-thriller that wantonly hurls itself over the top and just keeps on going. 

Although the title, concept, and wonderfully retro poster art promised a film that would be right up my alley, I must admit that upon first viewing I wasn't all that crazy about it.  In fact, it seemed pretty slapdash and stupid, and not at all the full-blooded grindhouse experience that my bizarre appetites had been whetted for.  I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of PLANET TERROR, instead of a garish Technicolor cartoon with supporting performances and surrealistic situations that seemed like something out of a demented Pee-Wee Herman movie.
 


Watching HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN again, however (and I've seen it at least four times so far), I'm beginning to better appreciate the skill and effort that these novice filmmakers have put into it.  With old pro Rutger Hauer filling out the title role with his usual skill and creating a realistic character out of what could have been a one-dimensional joke, director and co-writer Eisener displays a fair amount of imagination and directorial finesse in depicting the bloody adventures of a hobo who comes to town with the dream of earning enough money to buy a lawnmower but ends up wielding a shotgun in a one-man crusade to rid the streets of rampant crime.

As in ROBOCOP, this city is the ultimate urban cesspool run by a powerful, supremely arrogant criminal kingpin.  Nattily-dressed scumball Drake (Brian Downey) and his psychotic sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) rule the cowering citizens through terror, which includes gruesome public executions and mass murders with the cooperation of a totally bent police force.  When the Hobo stops Slick from mauling a young prostitute (Molly Dunsworth as "Abby") and later trades his lawnmower for a shotgun to stop a deadly pawn shop robbery, his course is set.  With Molly as his faithful ally, the Hobo takes a bite out of crime shotgun-style until his inevitable showdown with the Drakes.



Fluorescent colors and frenetic camerawork form the dizzying visual style of the film (inspired, according to Eisener, by such movies as SUSPIRIA and SAVAGE STREETS) while gushing gouts of gore and body parts galore splatter every inch of the screen.  The bad guys are so incredibly vile, and so richly deserve to die horribly, that we get a satisfying charge every time the Hobo blasts them to bits.  But the innocent suffer just as gruesomely--there's no shortage of exploding heads, broken bones, shredded flesh, and disembowelings.  Even a school bus full of little kids gets incinerated to the tune of "Disco Inferno." 

While Eisener doesn't quite stoop to the old "so intentionally bad, it's good" schtick, he is trying so hard to create an instant cult flick that the constant barrage of cartoonish cacophony becomes tiresome at times.  Drake throws himself into the loudmouthed ringmaster routine once too often, while some of the other characters (such as Jeremy Akerman as the crooked police chief) seem to exist only for the purpose of screaming into the camera. 

Profanity-packed overacting is an end unto itself throughout the film, redeemed only by the fact that some of the actors doing it are pretty good.  Nick Bateman is intermittently amusing as Drake's number-two son Ivan, brightly declaiming some of the film's most willfully dumb lines ("It's a beautiful day for a SKATE RAPE!"), while ultimate bad-guy duo The Plague--robotic armor-plated enigmas who mercilessly get medieval on their victims in horribly imaginative ways--come off at first like a silly-looking WWE tag team but end up being pretty cool.  Other players distinguish themselves here and there, such as a frantic emergency-room doc (Juanita Peters) who struggles to revive an injured Molly while screaming, "Live!  Live, you f***ing whore!"



Needless to say, the consummately professional Hauer carries the film whenever it begins to sag.  He has some pretty classic moments that transcend everything else around him, including his stirring speech to a maternity ward full of newborns (which may rank right up there with BLADE RUNNER's "I've seen things" soliloquy).  The film's second-best performance is by the very cute Molly Dunsworth as kindhearted hooker Abby, whose scenes with the Hobo manage to be genuinely moving.  She really gives her all to the part, especially when she transforms herself into a makeshift superheroine with a lawnmower-blade shield and takes on the Plague in the film's blood-drenched finale. 

The 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD from Magnolia Home Entertainment's Magnet label is in 2.40:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Subtitles are in Spanish, with English closed-captions.  Disc one contains the movie along with two commentary tracks, one with Eisener and Hauer, the other with Eisener, writer John Davies, producer Rob Cotterill, and David Brunt (the GRINDHOUSE trailer's original "Hobo.")  There's also an interactive "Shotgun Mode" with behind-the-scenes clips. 

Disc two features "More Blood, More Heart: The Making of 'Hobo With a Shotgun'", deleted scenes, an alternate ending, video blogs, a camera test reel, Fangoria interviews with Eisener and Hauer, an HDnet featurette, the GRINDHOUSE trailer, faux-trailer contest winner "Van Gore", the redband U.S. theatrical trailer, and Canadian TV spots.  The DVD case also contains info on how to acquire your digital copy of the film online.

A free-for-all of unrelieved carnage and perversely lighthearted depravity, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN definitely won't appeal to some viewers in any way, shape, or form.  And even some of the people to whom it's squarely aimed probably won't think it's all that great.  I was even lumping it into the same pile of devastatingly disappointing duds as HOWARD THE DUCK before it began to grow on me after subsequent viewings.  Now I see it for what it is--a modestly audacious burst of youthful creativity that lives up to its promising title by shocking and titillating us on an unabashedly juvenile level.  Hey, I can live with that.



Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
2-disc Collector's Edition DVD
Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, June 27, 2011

SLIPSTREAM (2007) -- movie review by porfle


Anthony Hopkins the writer-director just may be as nutty as Hannibal Lecter.  (Hey, that rhymes!)  Or so it may seem while watching SLIPSTREAM (2007).  It's one of those movies about making movies that people who make movies like to make in order to show us what a crazy world they live in by taking it to the extreme and making it even more crazy.  You're never sure what's real, and what's a dream, delusion, or rift in the time-space continuum.  Which doesn't always make for an entertaining or even vaguely coherent film--but in this case it's both.  I think.

Summarizing the plot is difficult, but here goes.  Anthony Hopkins plays a screenwriter named Felix Bonhoeffer who may or may not have been involved in a traffic-jam-rage shooting, may or may not have a cute, perpetually-chatty blond companion named Tracy (Lisa Pepper), and may or may not have been urgently summoned to a diner in the desert near Las Vegas where filming of his latest script has been halted due to the sudden death of the star, Matt Dobbs (Christian Slater) on the set.  Felix must write Matt's character out of the script while the ineffectual director (Gavin Grazer) and balls-out nuts producer (a very funny John Turturro) try to salvage the project.

Meanwhile, Bette Lustig (Fionnula Flanagan) is either a woman on her way to Las Vegas to visit her sister-in-law or an actress in the film, while Bette's niece Gina (co-producer Stella Arroyave) is either Bette's niece or Felix's wife.  Michael Clarke Duncan plays either a bartender named Mort who gets whacked by a gangster named Ray (Slater), or an actor in the movie named Phil Henderson, or a highway cop whose partner is played by Slater.  Jeffrey Tambor is wonderfully geeky as either Ray's gangster crony Geek, an actor named Jeffrey, or a doctor named Dr. Geekman.



Also appearing in the people-studded cast are Christopher Lawford as Lars the cheerful cinematographer, Camryn Manheim as volatile script girl Barbara, S. Epatha Merkerson as either a waitress or an actress named Bonnie, William Lucking as Det. Buzz Larabee, and Kevin McCarthy in a wonderful appearance as himself, reacting with pleasant surprise when Felix mentions to him that he was the hero of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.  "I was?" Kevin beams.  "How do you like that!"

It's never made quite clear what's going on (until the last second) but we suspect that, due to work-related stress, something's not quite right in Felix's mind.  At least that's as close as I could figure for most of the movie.  It's all like a deluxe "Twilight Zone" episode that Rod Serling might have written after someone slipped LSD into his coffee. 

From the very beginning, SLIPSTREAM is a continuous stream of engaging oddness, ranging from neat little looping effects and subliminal flashes that foreshadow the future, comment on the present, or simply baffle, to full-blown Oliver Stone/NATURAL BORN KILLERS pastiche.  This may sound terribly arty and indulgent, but it's all great fun in Hopkins' capable hands.  No shot is left untouched--Felix's perceptions of reality are always being tweaked in some way large or small. The movie looks like it was edited by a guy with two turntables and a microphone, while the soundtrack often seems like something John Lennon and Yoko Ono might have created after warming up with "Revolution 9." 

The diner scene is my favorite.  Slater and Tambor (as gangsters Ray and Geek) slide into a booth and then quickly set about terrorizing everyone in the place, including Bette and Gina, who have stopped off on their way to Vegas, and Merkerson's Bonnie (the waitress, not the actress).  The ways in which they screw with everyone's heads just get wackier and wackier, especially when they start imitating Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo.  At one point Geek discovers an old autographed photo of Kevin McCarthy on the wall, which sets them both off on an aggressively nostalgic, guns-drawn, in-your-face INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS rant.  (It's their favorite movie.)  This sequence alone would make a great short film--one which might even weird out David Lynch a little.



Occasionally, the goofball momentum does lag a bit, and there are moments in which it all seems a tad too self-conscious.  But these are few and far between, and for the most part it's pure baffling fun all the way to the end, when things get just clear enough for you to finally be able to nod and say, "Ah...so that's it."  

Unless, that is, you sit through the credits, which feature a rewind of the entire movie from last to first frame accompanied by a dazzling piano performance by Anthony Hopkins himself, until the final seconds reveal the real, no kidding "Ah, so that's it" ending.  So there are actually two endings to SLIPSTREAM--one for the people who stop watching the movie when the credits start rolling, and one for those of us who dig hearing Anthony Hopkins jamming his distinguished butt off on the keyboard.  (He also composed the film's score, by the way.)

You may have a low tolerance for movies like this, and indeed I wouldn't blame you if five minutes of this one made you want to rip the DVD out of the player and Frisbee it off an overpass or something.  But I liked what Anthony Hopkins was trying to do here and admired the way he did it.  So if you're slightly nutty yourself, you just might go coo-coo for SLIPSTREAM.



Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"STARGATE: ATLANTIS" Complete Blu-Ray Collection Available July 26


THE CLASSIC SCI-FI TELEVISION SERIES AND PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER ARRIVES ON BLU-RAY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER--THE COMPLETE SERIES BLU-RAY COLLECTION


Loaded With Special Features, The Thrilling Cosmic Collection Lands In A 20-Disc Collectible Set July 26

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 10, 2011) – Explore the celestial wonders of an unknown world and experience the ultimate Sci-Fi adventure in stunning high-definition with “Stargate: Atlantis” The Complete Series Blu-ray gift set, arriving July 26 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. From award-winning Executive Producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, “Stargate: Atlantis” is anchored with a compelling ensemble cast including Jason Momoa (Conan the Barbarian, “Game of Thrones”), David Hewlett (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Joe Flanigan (Ferocious Planet), Rachel Luttrell (Imposter) and Torri Higginson (The English Patient).

Continuing the journey of “Stargate: SG-1,” television’s longest running sci-fi series, “Stargate: Atlantis” explores the great city of Atlantis built thousands of years ago by the Ancients and the new home base for an elite expedition team from earth. Overflowing with exciting quests and surprises, fans will experience every captivating, and spine-tingling mission of the Intrepid Team from their first hostile encounter to their last rescue mission.

Winner of the 2008 People’s Choice award for Favorite Sci-Fi show and three-time Emmy® nominee*, “Stargate: Atlantis” The Complete Series Blu-ray is the perfect gift for any sci-fi aficionado filled with all 100 episodes from seasons one through five and tons of commentary and special featurettes. Prebook for the 20-disc collection is June 29.


Complete Series Specs:


Disc 1 (Season 1):
“Rising” (Parts 1 and 2)
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Actor Joe Flanigan
“Hide and Seek”
--Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell, Torri Higginson and Paul McGillion
“Thirty Eight Minutes”
--Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell and Paul McGillion
“Suspicion”
Extras
--“Stargate: Atlantis” Set Tour with Directors Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise

Disc 2 (Season 1):
“Childhood’s End”
--Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Luttrell and Rainbow Sun Francks
“Poisoning the Well”
“Underground”
“Home”
“The Storm”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
Extras
--Wraithal Discrimination: It’s Not Easy Being Green
--Diary of Rainbow Sun Francks

Disc 3 (Season 1):
“The Eye”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
“The Defiant One”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Stunt Coordinator Dan Shea
“Hot Zone”
--Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks and Paul McGillion
“Sanctuary”
--Commentary by Actors Rachel Luttrell and Torri Higginson
“Before I Sleep”
Extras
--Mission Directive: “The Storm/The Eye”
--Mission Directive: “Sanctuary”
--Mission Directive: “Before I Sleep”

Disc 4 (Season 1):
“Brotherhood”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
“Letters from Pegasus”
“The Gift”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones
“The Siege: Part 1”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
“The Siege: Part 2”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett
Extras
--Mission Directive: “The Siege”
--A look back on Season One with Writer Martin Gero

Disc 5 (Season 2):
“The Siege: Part 3”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett
“The Intruder”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones
“Runner”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Actor David Hewlett
“Duet”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
“Condemned”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones
Extras
--Mission Directive: “The Siege: Part 3” featuring Director Martin Wood
--Mission Directive: “The Intruder” featuring Director Peter DeLuise

Disc 6 (Season 2):
“Trinity”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Writer Damian Kindler
“Instinct”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and Producer Paul Mullie
“Conversion”
--Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett
“Aurora”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Co-Producer Peter DeLuise
“The Lost Boys”
--Commentary by Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett
Extras
--Mission Directive: “Instinct” featuring Director Peter DeLuise
--Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex

Disc 7 (Season 2):
“The Hive”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood
“Epiphany”
--Commentary by Director Neil Fearnley
“Critical Mass”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Actor Rachel Luttrell and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
“Grace Under Pressure”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actors Amanda Tapping and David Hewlett
“The Tower”
--Commentary by Producer Paul Mullie and Director Andy Mikita
Extras
--Profile On: David Hewlett
--“Stargate: Atlantis” Stunts

Disc 8 (Season 2):
“The Long Goodbye”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Actor Torri Higginson and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
“Coup D’etat”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
“Michael”
--Commentary by Director Martin Wood and Supervising Producer/Director Peter DeLuise
“Inferno”
--Commentary by Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones
“Allies”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita, Writer Martin Gero and Actor David Hewlett
Extras
--Road to a Dream with Martin Gero
--Profile On: Paul McGillion

Disc 9 (Season 3):
“No Man’s Land”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
“Misbegotten”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Paul Mullie and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
“Irresistible”
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell
“Sateda”
--Commentary by Executive Producer, Writer and Director Robert C. Cooper & Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
“Progeny”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela
Extras
--Mission Directive: “Sateda” featuring Director Robert C. Cooper
--Mission Directive: “Progeny” featuring Director Andy Mikita
--Inside the Stargate: Atlantis Visual FX Department
--Profile On: Rachel Luttrell

Disc 10 (Season 3):
“The Real World”
“Common Ground”
--Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
“McKay & Mrs. Miller”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
“Phantoms”
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
“The Return, Part 1”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Executive Producer Paul Mullie
Extras
--Mission Directive: “Phantoms” featuring Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
--General O’Neill Goes to Atlantis

Disc 11 (Season 3):
“The Return, Part 2”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Executive Producer Paul Mullie
“Echoes”
--Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
“Irresponsible”
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell
“Tao of Rodney”
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Director of Photography Michael Blundell
-“The Game”
--Commentary by Director William Waring and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer
Extras
--Mission Directive: “The Game” featuring Director William Waring
--Masters of the Alien

Disc 12 (Season 3):
“The Ark”
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela
“Sunday”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director William Waring
“Submersion”
--Commentary by Director Brenton Spencer and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela
“Vengeance”
--Commentary by Director Andy Mikita and Creature Effects Designer Todd Masters
“First Strike”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela
Extras
--Mission Directive: “First Strike” featuring Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood
--“Stargate Atlantis:” A Look Back on Season 3 with Martin Gero

Disc 13 (Season 4):
“Adrift” 
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood 
“Lifeline” 
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actor Amanda Tapping
“Reunion”
--Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring 
“Doppelganger”
--Commentary by Executive Producer, Writer and Director Robert C. Cooper and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela 
“Travelers”
--Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Paul Mullie and Director William Waring
Extras
--Mission Directive: Doppelganger with Robert C. Cooper 
--A New Leader: Amanda Tapping Joins Atlantis 

Disc 14 (Season 4):
“Tabula Rasa” 
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping 
“Missing” 
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Carl Binder and Producer/Director Andy Mikita 
“The Seer”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director Andy Mikita
“Miller’s Crossing”
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Producer/Director Andy Mikita 
“This Mortal Coil”
--Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring 
Extras
--“Stargate Atlantis” Bloopers
--Mission Directive: “This Mortal Coil” with Director William Waring 

Disc 15 (Season 4):
“Be All My Sins Remember’d” 
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Producer/Director Andy Mikita 
“Spoils of War”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director William Waring 
“Quarantine”
--Commentary by Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping 
“Harmony” 
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero and Director William Waring 
“Outcast”
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Producer/Director Andy Mikita 
Extras
--Mission Directive: “Quarantine” with Director Martin Wood 
--Mission Directive: “Outcast” with Director Andy Mikita 

Disc 16 (Season 4):
“Trio” 
--Commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Martin Gero, Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood and Actress Amanda Tapping 
“Midway”
“The Kindred” 
--Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Director Peter F. Woeste 
“The Kindred, Part II” 
--Commentary by Producer/Writer Alan McCullough and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood 
“The Last Man” Commentary on “The Last Man” by Executive Producer/Writer Paul Mullie and Director/Supervising Producer Martin Wood 
Extras
--The Making of “Trio”
--A Look Back at Season 4
--Deleted Scenes 

Disc 17 (Season 5):
“Search and Rescue”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita
“The Seed”
--Commentary by Director William Waring 
“Broken Ties”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Actor Jason Momoa
“The Daedalus Variations”
--Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director/Producer Andy Mikita
“Ghost In The Machine”
Extras
--Mission Directive: “Search and Rescue” with Director Andy Mikita and Producer Martin Gero
--Showdown! Ronon v. Tyre
--Bringing “The Seed” to Life

Disc 18 (Season 5):
“The Shrine”
“Whispers”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring 
“The Queen”
--Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director Brenton Spencer 
“Tracker”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director William Waring
“First Contact”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita
Extras
--Mission Directive: ”Whispers” with Director William Waring and Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi
--Mission Directive: “Tracker” with Director William Waring and Executive Producer Carl Binder
--Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate
--Joe Flanigan: A Conversation with the Colonel

Disc 19 (Season 5):
“The Lost Tribe”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Martin Gero and Director/Producer Andy Mikita
“Outsiders”
--Commentary by Supervising Producer Alan McCullough and Director William Waring 
“Inquisition”
--Commentary by Director Brenton Spencer and Actor Tobias Slezak
“The Prodigal”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Carl Binder and Director/Producer Andy Mikita
“Remnants”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and Director William Waring 
Extras
--Building a Humanoid with James Robbins and Martin Gero
--Dr. Jackson Goes to Atlantis
--The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore
--Deleted Scenes (Part One)

Disc 20 (Season 5):
“Brain Storm”
--Commentary by Executive Producer/Director Martin Gero
-“Infection”
-“Identity”
-“Vegas”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper, Producer John G. Lenic and Editor Mike Banas
-“Enemy at the Gate”
--Commentary by Executive Producer Paul Mullie and VFX Supervisor Mark Savela
-Extras
--Mission Directive: “Brain Storm” with Director Martin Gero
--“Stargate Atlantis” Goes To Vegas
--Deleted Scenes (Part Two)

“STARGATE: ATLANTIS” THE COMPLETE SERIES GIFT SET BLU-RAY (Catalog #M124525)
Street Date: July 26, 2011
Pre-book Date: June 29, 2011
Screen Format: Widescreen – 1.78:1 (All)
Audio: Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 83 hours
MPAA Rating: NR
Closed Captioned Yes

STARGATE ATLANTIS ™ 2010 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc

Read our review of the DVD collection

Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

High Mileage and High Body Count Thriller "SUPER HYBRID" August 23rd on Blu-ray and DVD From Anchor Bay Entertainment


ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT REVS UP SUPER HYBRID FOR BLU-RAY™ AND DVD


Destroying Humanity August 23rd

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – In tradition of such “car from Hell” films as Christine, The Car, and Maximum Overdrive, Super Hybrid has been dubbed “a fun monster movie” (Blueprint Review.) From the producer of Punisher: War Zones and the director of One Missed Call comes the next generation in killer car movies with Super Hybrid, a high-speed thriller pitting man against the ultimate driving massacre machine! Anchor Bay Entertainment releases the parking brake with the August 23rd Blu-ray™ and DVD release. SRP is a sleek $22.98 for the DVD, and a high-octane $29.99 for the Blu-ray™. Pre-book is July 27th.

Late one night, a mysterious car is brought into the Chicago police impound garage after a deadly traffic accident. The on-call mechanics soon discover the car has a mind of its own. With hundreds of horsepower and two tons of reinforced steel at its command, it’s a seemingly unstoppable killing machine capable of outrunning – and outwitting – humans.

Directed by Eric Valette (One Missed Call), the film stars Oded Fehr (The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, Resident Evil Franchise), Shannon Becker (You Are Here, American Pie Presents Beta House), and Ryan Kennedy (The Invisible, “Hellcats”).

SUPER HYBRID Blu-ray™
Street Date:                 August 23, 2011
Pre-book:                   July 27, 2011
Cat. #:                         BD23515
UPC:                           0 1313 23515-9 9
Run Time:                    94 minutes
Rating:                         PG-13 for violence, terror and brief strong language
SRP:                            $29.99
Format:                        Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio:                          Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles:                      English, Spanish
Bonus Features:          “Under The Hood of Super Hybrid” – making-of featurette

SUPER HYBRID DVD
Street Date:                 August 23, 2011
Pre-book:                    July 27, 2011
Cat. #:                         DV23510
UPC:                           0 1313 23510-9 4
Run Time:                    94 minutes
Rating:                         PG-13 for violence, terror and brief strong language
SRP:                            $22.98
Format:                        Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio:                          Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:                      English, Spanish
Bonus Features:          “Under The Hood of Super Hybrid” – making-of featurette

Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
Share/Save/Bookmark

Saturday, June 25, 2011

DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR -- DVD review by porfle


Roger Corman strikes again with another mutant monster fest that's actually a cut above the rest.  The rest, that is, of these bizarro beast brawls that the venerable producer has been churning out for the SyFy Channel lately.  While DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR (2010) never strives to be more than the addlebrained B-picture that it is, it's still better than the likes of SHARKTOPUS.  And, for once, the CGI is pretty darn good.

In his final film appearance, David Carradine plays Jason Drake, a shady millionaire who commissions some scientists to develop techniques for growing oversized food, then orders them to apply the same science to living animals so he can sell the results to the military.  Two of the results, a dinocroc and a supergator, escape from the secluded lab and gobble up all the scientists they can eat before heading off to more populated areas.  This opening sequence is pretty cool and lets us know right away that the SPFX in this movie aren't going to be all that painful to look at.  In fact, they're rather impressive at times.

Not so impressive are the acting and dialogue, but in a movie called DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR I don't exactly expect to see Sir Lawrence Olivier doing "Hamlet."  Carradine, who does most of his scenes lounging in a chair by the pool, is there to grab a paycheck and soak up the Hawaiian scenery.  Rib Hillis is adequate as crossbow-slinging tough guy "The Cajun", whom Drake hires to kill the escaped monsters, and Amy Rasimas is suitably plucky and hot as Cassidy, who is some kind of game warden or something so she gets to wear a skimpy uniform.
 


Corey Landis plays the role of FBI investigator Paul Beaumont, assigned to collect evidence against Drake, with an enjoyably light touch.  (His hideous Hawaiian shirt is a nice running gag.) I especially liked Lisa Clapperton as Drake's bad-girl assistant Victoria, a heartless hitwoman who likes to kill people.  Former Penthouse Pet and softcore sex film star Delia Sheppard appears as a scientist who escapes the initial carnage and tries to warn the world of the impending lizard attack.

It's all very tongue-in-cheek, with director Jim Wynorski (as "Jay Andrews") giving it all a dynamic visual quality that includes some really nice camerawork and a fairly brisk pace despite some draggy spots.  Shot mostly on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the scenery is often spectacular and there's no shortage of bikini girls running around serving themselves up as reptile treats.  Quite a few people get eaten, in fact, including some mercenaries sent in by Drake to kill the escaped animals and finish off the surviving scientists.  Two of them have a dialogue exchange I found amusing:

"Man, I don't think I could stomach shooting civilians like that."
"Don't think of it as civilians.  Think of it as dollar signs."

 


In most shots the creatures' movements are relatively fluid and natural, and they seem to have weight and substance.  A sequence with the supergator chasing a speeding jeep down a dirt road (a la JURASSIC PARK) features some outstanding CGI and is just one of many effects scenes that I found particularly well-done for a film of this kind.  The final battle between dinocroc and supergator is handled nicely as well, although this title altercation comes as a brief, one-sided letdown.

The DVD from Anchor Bay is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  Extras include a laidback commentary track with Roger Corman and Jim Wynorsky, and the film's trailer.

Unlike some of the other films in this oddball sub-genre, DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR actually feels sort of like a real movie that you can enjoy without lowering your expectation level to rock-bottom.  Still, it never takes itself seriously enough to try and be anything more than what it is--a competently-made and fairly enjoyable junk film.    



Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Stevan Mena's "BEREAVEMENT" coming to Blu-ray and DVD August 30th


“A downright terrifying experience.” – Perri Nemiroff, Shockya.com
“The new gold standard in the ‘Psycho’ genre.” – Black Saint, Horrornews.net

ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS STEVAN MENA’S "BEREAVEMENT"

Witness The Initiation August 30th on Blu-ray™ and DVD


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – There’s nothing worse than when a parent loses a child to kidnapping. But what if the kidnapper wants to be their new parent, and teach them everything they know about...murder? On August 30th, Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Stevan Mena’s Bereavement on Blu-ray™ and DVD. SRP is $34.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $26.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is August 3rd.

The highly-anticipated prequel to the 2005 cult hit Malevolence, Bereavement stars Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, The Rock, Tombstone), John Savage (The Deer Hunter, The Godfather Part III, Hair, The Thin Red Line, Do The Right Thing), Alexandra Daddario (Hall Pass, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, “White Collar”), and Brett Rickaby (The Crazies, The Assassination of Richard Nixon).

In 1989, six-year-old Martin Bristol (Spencer List) was kidnapped from his backyard swing in Minersville, PA. Graham Sutter (Rickaby), a psychotic recluse, kept Martin imprisoned on his derelict pig farm, forcing him to witness and participate in unspeakable horrors. Chosen at random, his victim’s screams were drowned out by the rural countryside.

Martin’s whereabouts would have remained a mystery, until 17-year-old Allison Miller (Daddario) comes to live with her Uncle Jonathan (Biehn). While exploring her new surroundings, Allison discovers things aren’t quiet at the farmhouse down the road. What started as an innocent exercise in satisfying her curiosity will soon disturb a hornet’s nest of evil and despair. For everyone involved, there can only be two outcomes: bereavement or death!

Like the critically-acclaimed Malevolence, Bereavement already wowed audiences during its theatrical run earlier this year.  Michael Gingold from Fangoria Magazine gave the film “3-out-of-4 skulls,” saying “For fans of Stevan Mena’s accomplished, classical slasher opus Malevolence, his prequel Bereavement is worth the long wait,” while Mike Snoonian from All Things Horror called it “an intelligent in-depth look at a tortured killer.”

Bonus features on the Bereavement Blu-ray™ and DVD include audio commentary by writer/director Mena, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer.

BEREAVEMENT Blu-ray™
Street Date:                 August 30, 2011
Pre-book:                    August 3, 2011
Cat. #:                         BD22884
UPC:                           0 1313 22884-9 9
Run Time:                    103 minutes
Rating:                         R
SRP:                            $34.99
Format:                       Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio:                         Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles:                     English SDH, Spanish

BEREAVEMENT DVD
Street Date:                 August 30, 2011
Pre-book:                   August 3, 2011
Cat. #:                         AF22851
UPC:                          0 1313 22851-9 1
Run Time:                   103 minutes
Rating:                         R
SRP:                           $26.98
Format:                       Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio:                         Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:                     English SDH, Spanish

Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
Share/Save/Bookmark

Anchor Bay Entertainment announces "SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA" and "CAMELOT"


THIS SEPTEMBER, JOURNEY INTO THE PAST… 
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES “SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA” AND “CAMELOT”

On Blu-Ray™ and DVD September 13, 2011


BEVERLY HILLS, CA –Anchor Bay Entertainment announced today that it will release two of the Starz Original series, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” and “Camelot - The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray™ and DVD in the U.S. and Canada on September 13, 2011.  Each has become a fan favorite with their unique mix of visceral action, thrilling adventure and revealing romance. Both sets will roll out with extensive bonus features yet to be announced. 

“We’re pleased to be bringing both of these series to Blu-ray™ and DVD,” said Kevin J. Carney, Executive Director of Marketing for Anchor Bay Entertainment.  “Releasing both on the same date will give fans a chance to check each series out, catch up on those they’ve missed and prepare for future episodes.”

“Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” is the prequel to the widely popular Starz Original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”  Executive produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight, the 6 exhilarating episodes explore the House of Batiatus as it rises -- basking in the glow of its infamous champion Gannicus, whose skill with a sword is matched only by his thirst for wine and women.  These are the times a young Batiatus has been waiting for. Poised to overthrow his father and take control, he’ll freely betray anyone to ensure his gladiators are in the highest demand.  And he’ll have his loyal and calculating wife, Lucretia, by his side for every underhanded scheme, drawing on the brazen talents of her seductive friend Gaia when it counts.  Together, they will stop at nothing to deceive the masses, seize power and bleed Capua dry.

Joining returning stars, John Hannah (The Mummy, Four Weddings and A Funeral) as Batiatus, Lucy Lawless ("Xena: Warrior Princess") as Lucretia and Peter Mensah (300, The Incredible Hulk) as Oenomaus, are  talented new cast members Dustin Clare (“Underbelly”) as Gannicus, Jaime Murray (“Hu$tle”) as Gaia and Marisa Ramirez (“General Hospital”) as Melitta.

“Camelot,” premiered April 1, 2011 and was the most watched series debut ever on Starz.  The 10-episode epic drama, redefines the classic medieval tale of King Arthur with an exciting ensemble cast including Joseph Fiennes reimagining the iconic role of Merlin, Jamie Campbell Bower as the young and reckless Arthur, and Eva Green in her television debut as the darkly powerful Morgan. The character-driven series also features Tamsin Egerton (Guinevere), Claire Forlani (Igraine) and Peter Mooney (Kay).  Beginning in the wake of King Uther’s sudden death, the sorcerer Merlin has visions of a dark future and installs Arthur as king.  But Arthur’s cold and ambitious half-sister Morgan will fight him to the bitter end for control of the crown.  Faced with the challenge of uniting a kingdom broken by war and steeped in deception, Arthur is tested beyond imagination.

About Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anchor Bay Entertainment is the home entertainment division of Starz Media, LLC. It includes the Anchor Bay Films and Manga Entertainment brands. It distributes feature films, children’s entertainment, fitness, TV series, documentaries, anime and other filmed entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray™ formats. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment has offices in Troy, MI, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Starz Media (www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group.

About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® brands with approximately 18.8 million and 33.1 million subscribers respectively.  Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands.  Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation and is attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group.
Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"The Dead and the Damned" Stalks Onto DVD July 26


Inception Media Group Proudly Presents "The Dead and the Damned"

Flesh-Eating, Undead Gun Slingers -- The O.K. Corral Was Never Like This! 

Galloping Onto DVD July 26th


LOS ANGELES - July 1, 2011 - For Immediate Release - It's Dawn of the Dead meets High Noon in the bloody, action-packed film The Dead and the Damned, on DVD July 26 from Inception Media Group.

Hot on the trail of a renegade Apache warrior, gun-slinging bounty hunter Mortimer passes through an 1849 California gold rush town, where local miners direct him into the mountains to track his prey.

While he is gone, the miners unearth a meteor that has landed in their sleepy town. As they crack it open, an explosion releases toxic spores, which quickly infect the entire population, transforming them into blood-thirsty, mutant zombies.

Following a ferocious battle, Mortimer triumphantly returns to town with his Indian captive in shackles … only to find themselves surrounded by a ravenous horde of the undead. Now the two enemies must band together if they are to escape the horrors of The Dead and the Damned!

The Dead and the Damned is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16x9 (1.78:1) and 5.1 digital surround sound. 

About Inception Media Group
Inception Media Group, LLC is based in Santa Monica, California and is a diversified media company specializing in the production, acquisition and distribution of motion pictures and other filmed entertainment across all media platforms and channels of distribution. Inception Media Group's management team has extensive relationships with exhibitors, retailers, distributors and technology companies, enabling the company to maximize the services performed on behalf of its content partners. Inception Digital Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inception Media Group, provides a wide range of digital encoding, electronic packaging and high-speed delivery services and possesses certified delivery access to all major online, broadcast media and VOD platforms. More information is available at www.inceptionmediagroup.com

The Dead and the Damned
Inception Media Group
Genre:  Horror/Western/Zombies
Rating Pending
Format:  DVD Only
Running Time:  Approx. 85 Minutes
Suggested Retail Price:  $26.98
Pre-Order Date:  June 21, 2011
Street Date:  July 26, 2011
Catalog #:  IMG1029DVD
UPC Code:  # 815300010303

Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

"The Lord of the Rings The Motion Picture Trilogy" Launch Celebration


One Ring. One Release. One Unforgettable Night.

Count-Down to “Middle-earth Midnight Madness” Launch Celebration, Theatre Screenings Lead Huge Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Push for The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition

Special Event Featuring Cast Member Greetings, Costume Contest With Fabulous Prize Packages, and More at Best Buy in West Los Angeles to Celebrate Warner Home Video's June 28 Midnight Release.

Facebook Page, with 5.2 Million Friends, is Official Destination for Insider Information, “Wisdom Wednesday” Q&A with Weta Workshop Talent and new Elvish Name Translator application!



Burbank, Calif., June 17, 2011 -- On June 28, Warner Home Video will release all three of Peter Jackson’s visual masterpieces on Blu-ray in a 15-disc stunning collection entitled The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition. To celebrate the occasion, Warner Home Video has announced a count-down to “Middle-earth Midnight Madness” celebratory event at Best Buy’s West Los Angeles location, 11301 W. Pico Blvd., where fans can join in the anticipation of the magic moment when they’ll finally be able to own the new extended edition trilogy on Blu-ray.

Brimming with enthusiasm, fans from all over the country (and possibly worldwide) will be encouraged to arrive for the festivities at 12:00 PM on June 27 -- dressed as their favorite Middle-earth characters. The Aragorn, Frodo, Gandalf and other look-alikes will be eligible to win one of several exciting prizes[1], with one lucky contestant capturing the Grand Prize of a VIP “Tour of Middle-earth” – an all-expense-paid trip to New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown), courtesy of Air New Zealand and Weta Workshop. Highlights of the Grand Prize package itinerary will include a VIP tour hosted by Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, visits to The Lord of the Rings movie locations, a SKYCITY Grand Hotel VIP experience in Auckland and being hosted at the Weta Cave by the crew from Weta Workshop. Two Second Prize winners will receive an Official 10k Solid Gold version of The One™ Ring from Noble Collections (consumer value $495 each). Three Third Prize winners will receive a life-sized replica of The Sting Sword™, Frodo’s sword used throughout the Trilogy, also supplied by Noble Collections (consumer value $295).

All attendees will be winners, as they marvel at the specially created atmosphere, with autographs from celebrities, and themed give-aways, topped off with the choreographed countdown to midnight and the satisfaction of being the first people in the world to get their new Blu-ray copy of The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition.

In attendance will be talent from the trilogy as well as broadcast, print, radio and online media to report on all activities, including the fan-favored online destination TheOneRing.net. TheOneRing.net staff will be on hand, as the line starts officially at 12:00 PM on June 27th, to celebrate the release with trivia, games, fan profiles and more! Smaller prizes and swag will be handed out throughout the day. Costumes will be judged by representatives from TheOneRing.net as well as by Richard Taylor who will judge the finalists via Skype. Taylor, co-owner and creative lead at Weta Workshop is co-founder of the Weta companies in New Zealand.  Weta Workshop has an international reputation as one of the film industry’s most successful special effects studios. Richard and the team worked on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy for seven years designing and creating armour, weapons, prosthetics and miniatures for these films, and Richard received four Oscars® and three BAFTAs for Weta’s work on the trilogy in the disciplines of Costume; Make up and Visual Effects. 

To round out the event, tickets will be given away for the last and final exclusive in-theater screening taking place in more than 500 theaters across the country. Several lucky fans will have the chance to attend The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Theatrical Series – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on Tuesday, June 28th in Los Angeles 7:00 PM PST. For tickets to other Fathom events and screenings visit www.fathomevents.com.

Other key initiatives heralding the Blu-ray release:

The Lord of the Rings Facebook page (facebook.com/lordoftheringstrilogy), with 5.2 million fans, is the official destination for insider information, talent access, and new content.  The all new Elvish Name Translator application, allowing fans to explore the history of the Elvish language and translate their name into the official Elven font, launched on the page on June 6th.  Additionally, June 8th marked the beginning of “Wisdom Wednesdays,” a Q&A format where fans get to hear from the legendary talent behind the trilogy. Alan Lee and John Howe, illustrators and conceptual artists for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as well as Academy Award®[2] winning talent Richard Taylor, Design and Effects Supervisor for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will respond to fan questions, previously gathered through the Facebook destination.  Answers began posting on June 8th with future video postings on June 15th and 22nd.

TNT scheduled airings of the theatrical versions include The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Saturday June 18th at 8:00pm ET/11:00pm PT followed by the July 3rd airings of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at 1:00pm ET/4:00pm PT and an encore of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at 4:45pm ET/7:45pm PT. 

Additionally, on June 30th, CBS’s hit network comedy series, “The Big Bang Theory,” is scheduled to show, both on air and via cbs.com, a re-broadcast of their highly-rated The Lord of the Rings parody episode, “The Precious Fragmentation.”

Exclusive in-theater screenings of the trilogy in high definition are taking place on three consecutive Tuesdays this month, each in 500 theaters across the country.  Presented by NCM Fathom and Warner Home Video as The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition Event, the screenings will be as follows: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on June 14; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™ on June 21; and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King™ on June 28, all at 7:00 p.m. local time. During each event, theater audiences will also view, on the big screen and in hi-def, nearly an hour of additional feature footage per film with extended scenes carefully selected under the supervision of director Peter Jackson. In addition, fans will be treated to personal introductions to each film in the trilogy from Jackson.

Coming soon is the new videogame The Lord of the Rings: War in the North! In this co-op based Action RPG, you must work together or die alone in an epic quest to turn the tides in the War of the Ring.  Fight new enemies, visit new lands, and live the untold adventure.  Available on Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3, and Games for Windows®. Fans can pre-order the game at www.bestbuy.com or any Best Buy store.  

About the Extended Edition:
This highly anticipated extended edition (Blu-ray) set will be released in English 6.1 DTS-HD MA audio and includes a new transfer of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ which was remastered from the original 2k digital files.  The set boasts more than 26 hours of additional content, highlighted by the rare behind-the-scenes documentaries created by Costa Botes, the filmmaker given unprecedented access to the set of each production by Peter Jackson. The feature-length documentaries, with more than four and a half hours of footage, focus on a number of complexities and circumstances that tested the filmmakers, cast and crew during the shoot, as well as a look at some of the comical antics and personal moments on the set. The Costa Botes documentaries accompany acclaimed special features by Michael Pellerin from the original extended cut releases to make this the most comprehensive The Lord of the Rings compilation ever. The Lord of the Rings™ The Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-ray) will be packaged in multi-disc elite packaging inside a premium rigid slipcase and will retail for $119.98 SRP.

Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents "A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE" September 6th on Blu-ray and DVD


“...haunting, powerful and extremely disturbing.” - Steve Barton, DreadCentral

ANCHOR BAY FILMS PRESENTS "A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE"

Discover the Secret -- September 6th on Blu-ray and DVD
 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA –   Forget everything you’ve ever seen in a serial killer movie and get ready for the chiller that stunned festival audiences around the world! Named one of Movieline’s Most Anticipated Films of 2011, Anchor Bay Films releases the atmospheric thriller A Horrible Way to Die September 6th on Blu-ray™ and DVD. Officially selected by such prestigious film festivals as Sitges, the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest, A Horrible Way To Die arrives with an SRP of $34.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $26.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is August 10th.

In the film directed by award-winning director Adam Wingard (Pop Skull), notorious serial killer Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen, House of the Devil, Hatchet II) has just escaped police custody and resumed his killing spree. His former girlfriend and recovering alcoholic Sarah (Amy Seimetz, Alexander the Last) has recently moved to a small Midwestern town and is trying to put her life back together. She regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where she meets fellow addict Kevin (Joe Swanberg). Kevin is romantically interested in Sarah, but she remains withdrawn: her past continues to haunt her and may soon catch up with her, as Garrick is leaving a trail of bodies in his hunt to find her...

Mark L. Miller from Ain’t It Cool News called A Horrible Way To Die “In close and personal with a serial killer…an intimate look at how one madman can affect the lives of so many,” while Scott Weinberg from FEARnet declared it “a crafty and calmly mysterious little road thriller that earns big points for simplicity, intensity and plain old good acting, and Mike Suave from Exclaim.ca enthuses ““...so well constructed that your jaw actually drops.”

Bonus features on A Horrible Way To Die Blu-ray™ and DVD include audio commentary by director/editor Wingard and writer/producer Simon Barratt, a behind-the-scenes featurette and the theatrical trailer.

Blu-ray™ 
Street Date September 6
Pre-book Date August 10, 2011
Catalog # BD22884
UPC 0 1313 22884-9 9
Run Time: 87 minutes  
Rating R
SRP $34.99
Format 1.78:1/16x9
Audio Dolby TrueHD  5.1
Subtitles English, Spanish

DVD
Street Date September 6, 2011
Pre-book Date August 10, 2011
Catalog # AF22851
UPC 0 1313 22851-9 1
Run Time: 87 minutes  
Rating R 
SRP $26.98
Format 1.78:1/16x9
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, Spanish
Share/Save/Bookmark

"EVIL THINGS" Creeps Onto DVD Aug. 9


Inception Media Group Proudly Presents "Evil Things"

If You Think You're Alone … Think Again!  A Pulse-Pounding, Twisting Game of Cat-and-Mouse On DVD August 9th

"Made my skin crawl … a disturbing view into fear!"
- Horrorview
"Creeped the hell out of me!" - Midnite Media
"Downright frightening!" - Bloody Good Horror
"Tense, creepy!" - The Film Reel


LOS ANGELES - August 1, 2011 - For Immediate Release - It's a birthday celebration no one will ever forget in Evil Things, on DVD August 9, from Inception Media Group.

Five college friends plan a road trip to celebrate Miriam's 21st birthday during a snowy weekend out of the city at a beautiful, remotely located country home. In the mood to party, Cassy, Mark, Tanya and Leo bring the beer, as well as aspiring filmmaker Leo's new video camera.

But excitement soon turns to panic and 48 hours later, they've all vanished, leaving investigators without a single clue … until now.  What Leo captured on video is no tranquil getaway but a sinister and nightmarish descent into terror.

From exciting new filmmaker Dominic Perez and in the tradition of Paranormal Activity and Quarantine, this riveting, critically acclaimed film - a pulse-pounding, twisting game of cat-and-mouse until its bone-chilling conclusion - will take you to the edge … and beyond!

Evil Things is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16x9 (1.78:1) and 5.1 digital surround sound. 

About Inception Media Group
Inception Media Group, LLC is based in Santa Monica, California and is a diversified media company specializing in the production, acquisition and distribution of motion pictures and other filmed entertainment across all media platforms and channels of distribution. Inception Media Group's management team has extensive relationships with exhibitors, retailers, distributors and technology companies, enabling the company to maximize the services performed on behalf of its content partners. Inception Digital Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inception Media Group, provides a wide range of digital encoding, electronic packaging and high-speed delivery services and possesses certified delivery access to all major online, broadcast media and VOD platforms. More information is available at www.inceptionmediagroup.com

Evil Things
Inception Media Group
Genre: Horror/Psychological Thriller
Rated: R
Format:  DVD Only
Running Time:  Approx. 86 Minutes
Suggested Retail Price:  $26.98
Pre-Order Date:  July 5, 2011
Street Date:  August 9, 2011
Catalog #:  IMG1024DVD
UPC Code:  # 815300010273

Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, June 20, 2011

TURBULENT SKIES -- DVD review by porfle


When I saw Fred Olen Ray's name as director and co-writer of TURBULENT SKIES (2010), I knew just what I was in for--a low-budget film with, at best, modest entertainment value.  So I was able to enjoy it on that level, although those with higher expectations will be considerably less than thrilled.

The pre-titles sequence is possibly the best part, as Ray stages an exciting passenger-jet crash that, apart from some rinky-dink effects shots, looks like it might've come from a more high-profile movie.  After that, though, the film's limited scale is revealed as we see small groups of actors in cramped sets doing a lot of talking about what's going on.  (A scene in which an air force general is pressed by the usual group of insistent reporters boasts exactly four extras.)

Patrick Muldoon plays aircraft tycoon Charles "Chuck" Devain, who is unveiling his new unmanned piloting system to some potential investors and a dubious reporter.  The CB70, which looks kind of like a disco strobe light, is installed in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 which will carry this group of passengers on its first test run against the advice of its designer, Tom Woodard (Casper Van Dien).
 


Naturally, things go wrong and the computer system, which has been infected with a Trojan virus, heads the plane right into a major storm.  Attempts to deactivate it prove disastrous when its automatic defense system disables both pilot and co-pilot.  This leaves Woodard's wife Samantha (a now-milfy Nicole Eggert) in charge of flying the plane while he tries to get on board in order to short-circuit the CB70. 

Most of the acting is passable, and there's some amusing dialogue here and there.  (After sparring with a hostile reporter, Devain tells his secretary: "Take a note...I don't like her.")  It's fun watching Muldoon's preening, overconfident character disintegrate as everything falls apart all around him. 

Van Dien, the lantern-jawed hero, plays a role you might've seen John Agar in back in the 50s, and is even beginning to look a little like him.  (The film is a belated reunion for STARSHIP TROOPERS stars Van Dien and Muldoon.)  I enjoyed seeing Eggert for the first time since her "Two Corys" days.  As Devain's gazillionaire father, Brad Dourif is two gallons of acting talent in a one gallon role.  Christine Nguyen and Ron Harper also appear in bit parts.

Crisis upon crisis are presented at the same stately pace throughout the film, all confined to a number of tiny sets except for some really nice shots of the 747 and various military aircraft.  A few passages are generously padded, as when a general gives some fighter pilots a briefing that's basically a five-minute recap of the entire first half of the movie.  This is followed by lengthy shots of the military planes being readied for takeoff.



There's not much momentum until the final minutes when two of the passengers must try to land the disabled plane, which is approaching a heavily-populated area, before it's shot down by the fighter jets.  Fred Olen Ray's years of experience as a low-budget filmmaker enable him to do a competent enough job here with what he has to work with, and the film's semi-nailbiting climax isn't all that bad. 

The DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  A trailer is the sole extra.

With a bigger budget, TURBULENT SKIES might even have passed as the tawdry tail end of the AIRPORT series--it's certainly no dumber than the ridiculous THE CONCORDE...AIRPORT '79.  Still, this is a very small and undistinguished effort that only fans of the director and/or stars will truly see for more than it is.


Buy it at Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WILD CHERRY -- DVD review by porfle


I've heard WILD CHERRY (2009) described as "AMERICAN PIE for girls."  I would recommend to those girls that they skip this dud and just watch AMERICAN PIE instead.  That is, if they're looking for a raunchy teen comedy that's actually funny.

It turns out that the football players at Benjamin Dover High School (I'll let you think about that name for a second) have what they call the "Buccaneer Bang Book", a list of female virgins who must be devirginized before the big game lest bad luck befall the team.  Naturally, most of these guys are your stereotypical sexist pigs so we can't wait to see them get their comeuppance and blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, classmates Helen, Chase, and Trish are obsessed with having sex too, especially Helen who's a virgin but is planning a romantic coupling with her football player boyfriend Stanford any day now.  But when they find out about the book, it makes them mad and they vow not to "give it up" to any of the guys, while "getting back at them" in humiliating ways.  It's gold, Jerry, gold!

While such a premise may have yielded some laughs in the right hands, those hands aren't anywhere near this lame effort.  The script was written by a bunch of guys so I have no idea where their heads were at when they concocted this "girl power" story that female viewers are meant to identify with.
 


Director Dana Lustig's attempts to wring the intended laughs out of it fall short due to an inability to put together even the most cliched sequences (such as the climactic football game) without making them look like a clumsy high school AV project.  Helen's "desperately trying to have her first self-induced orgasm" scene is just sad.  We anticipate something funny when she goes after Stanny at a go-cart track, but after running him off the road once, that's it.  It doesn't help that everything's drowned out by an endless succession of loud, crappy soundtrack songs ranging from metal to emo.

Later, during a party, we're treated to the dubious hilarity of the girls spiking the boys' punch with an overdose of "boner pills" that not only leave them all stricken with painful erections but send at least one of them to the hospital.  Hey, there's a great message for teens!  Another substance ends up in the punch, too, in an attempt to outdo the "Stifler's beer" scene from AMERICAN PIE.  If you can get through it without gagging, you win a cookie.

Rob Schneider, who's used to being in bad comedies, manages to work up a chuckle or two in his role as a sad dad who doesn't want daughter Helen to move to Paris to live with her mom or to have sex.  It's funny when he tries to introduce her to various birth control methods which he clearly knows nothing about ("This is a female condom.  It goes...uh, in") and his obvious fear of being left alone actually  gives the movie a teensy bit of heart.



Tia Carrere's turn as a wacko teacher who tries to hip the girls to "the power of pussy" is unlikely to boost her career.  As Helen, Tania Raymonde is okay but she isn't funny.  Neither are Kristin Cavallari (Trish), Rumer Willis (as oddball Chase), or Ryan "Comanche Moon" Merriman as Stanford.  Jesse Moss (DEAR MR. GACY, MERLIN AND THE BOOK OF BEASTS) does display a modicum of comedic skills as Skeets, keeper of the Bang Book, but it's a lost cause.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  A trailer is the sole extra.

In one of the film's father-daughter scenes, Rob Schneider learns a disturbing fact about Helen and pleads, "Please go back in time to before you told me that story."  You might find yourself saying the same thing to the makers of WILD CHERRY after it's over.  But if you're determined to give it a try, at least keep a few boner pills handy.
 

Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
Share/Save/Bookmark

Saturday, June 18, 2011

MARPLE: SERIES 5 -- DVD review by porfle


Having recently reviewed seasons one through three of British TV's Masterpiece Mystery series "Marple", which starred Geraldine McEwan as Agatha Christie's beloved geriatric sleuth, I was curious as to how her replacement Julia McKenzie would fit the role.  I missed out on season four, but with the DVD collection MARPLE: SERIES 5 and its three feature-length mysteries, I find the series still in good hands.

As usual, Miss Jane Marple is an elderly spinster living in the small post-WWII English village of St. Mary Mead and enjoying her retirement by knitting, gardening, and solving incredibly complicated murder mysteries that have baffled Scotland Yard.  Her style is to stay on the periphery of things, observing those around her while nary the smallest detail or clue escapes her notice. 

With a different star and some new faces behind the camera, this isn't quite the same show that it was in the McEwan era--things aren't as lighthearted and colorful, and Miss Marple herself is somewhat more reserved and buttoned-down.  But the dark, dense, and relatively sober aura that permeates these engrossing mystery tales makes for some deeply compelling entertainment, while the differences in McKenzie's interpretation of the title role eventually become part of her own individual charm.



The set begins with my favorite, "The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side" (previously adapted as a feature film starring Angela Lansbury, with the shortened title THE MIRROR CRACK'D).  This scintillating mystery blends the pastoral setting of Miss Marple's hometown with the tacky decadence of old Hollywood when Marina Gregg (Lindsay Duncan), a fading movie queen on the comeback trail, moves into a nearby mansion with her young husband and current director, Jason Rudd (Nigel Harman). 

During a gala party in which the actress is feted like royalty by her local fans, a townswoman dies from poisoning after downing a drink meant for Marina.  Miss Marple's brassy friend Dolly Bantry (the returning Joanna Lumley) recalls a peculiar detail--as Marina and the doomed woman were chatting earlier, a strangely blank look fell over the actress' face.  Was it fear of someone she saw entering the room?  Or something more mysterious?  Further attempts on her life and a gaggle of likely suspects with various motives keep Miss Marple's inquisitive mind busy as she helps a stuffy police inspector and his bumbling assistant sort it all out.

"The Secret of Chimneys" finds Miss Marple spending a weekend at the rambling country estate, The Chimneys.  Another guest, an aristocratic German count, has come to try and purchase the property from Lord Caterham (Edward Fox) for reasons yet unknown, but is later found shot dead in a secret passage behind a wall.  Anthony Cade, the young suitor of Lord Caterham's daughter Virginia, is caught standing over the body and arrested, but Miss Marple suspects there's more to the case than meets the eye.  Her investigation uncovers clues to another murder which took place in the house decades earlier and resulted in the disappearance of a young chambermaid and a priceless diamond.

One of the pleasures of "The Secret of Chimneys" is the droll relationship between Miss Marple and Chief Inspector Finch (Stephen Dillane), a catlike Scotland Yard detective with a legendary reputation.  Aware of Miss Marple's own amateur prowess in the field, Finch displays a wry delight in having her as a worthy associate on the case, and their playful deference to one another is endearing.  This episode ends with one of those classic final scenes where the suspects are gathered together in one room and Miss Marple deftly unravels the case before their eyes, as Inspector Finch looks on with fond admiration.



The third and final story in the set is "The Blue Geranium", starring Toby Stephens (the bad guy in DIE ANOTHER DAY) as a wealthy country squire whose overbearing wife Mary (Sharon Small) is terrified that evil forces are out to get her.  Consulting horoscopes, fortune tellers, and other arcane sources, she foresees her own death and is proven right when her husband finds her dead in bed.  One of the geraniums on the wallpaper has inexplicably turned blue, which she predicted would be a harbinger of her demise.

What makes this episode most interesting is the fact that while the suspect charged with Mary's death is on a fast track to execution, Miss Marple suddenly realizes who the real killer is and must rush to the rescue.  Through her friendship with a bigwig in Scotland Yard, she is allowed to testify in the sentencing hearing and gets to demonstrate her formidable detective skills to a captive audience of rapt listeners.  One of her most tangled, emotional, and suspect-ridden cases yet, "The Blue Geranium" is the one which, for me, really made me accept Julia McKenzie once and for all as the new Miss Marple.

Some of the notable guest stars appearing in this set are Toby Stephens (DIE ANOTHER DAY), Joanna Lumley ("Ab Fab", "The New Avengers"), Lindsay Duncan ("Rome"), Joanna Page (FROM HELL), Paul Rhys (also in FROM HELL), Caroline Catz ("Single-Handed"), David Calder (THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH), Charlotte Salt (BEOWULF), and Anthony Higgins (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK).

The four-disc DVD collection from Acorn Media is in 16:9 widescreen and Dolby Digital stereo, with English subtitles.  Discs 1-3 contain text interviews with Julia McKenzie and Joanna Lumley, cast filmographies, info on various shooting locations, and a piece about how Agatha Christie's 120th anniversary is celebrated by fans around the world. Disc four is an hour-plus documentary about Dame Agatha's personal retreat entitled "Agatha Christie's Garden."   

I earnestly recommend this series to mystery fans who love to settle in for a richly photographed, expertly acted, and marvelously written whodunnit that's dripping with period atmosphere and takes its own sweet time getting to where it's going because that's part of the fun.  If that sounds good to you, the three cracking stories found in MARPLE: SERIES 5 won't disappoint.


Buy it at Amazon.com:
DVD
Blu-Ray
Share/Save/Bookmark