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Thursday, April 30, 2015
"Long live the Rondos!" - Ain't It Cool News
"I love Rondo!" - Guillermo del Toro
Well, it's all over but the screaming, and the winners of this year's annual Rondo Awards have been announced. Here is a complete list of the results:
For even more information, visit the official website here:
Congratulations to all the lucky (and deserving) winners! And to all the nominees as well. It's certainly been a great year!
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 6:56 PM
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FRANK SINATRA: 5-FILM COLLECTION -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle (ANCHORS AWEIGH/ ON THE TOWN/ GUYS AND DOLLS/ OCEAN'S 11/ ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS)
Frank Sinatra the singer. Frank Sinatra the actor. One gained undisputed acclaim as a master of his craft, while the other's talents seem to have always been in the eye of the beholder. But when given a good role--be it either comedic or dramatic--"Ol' Blue Eyes" came through, and often his acting skills were nothing less than superb.
In the 5-disc Blu-ray set FRANK SINATRA: 5-FILM COLLECTION from Warner Home Entertainment (which also contains a 32-page hardbound photo book), we see some of the best of his lighter screen moments. Whether showing off those rich vocal stylings, keeping up with Gene Kelly on the dance floor, or displaying a well-honed comedy timing, Frank Sinatra left behind a legacy of entertainment which continues to endure as we celebrate his 100th birthday.
Contained herein are five of his most popular films: ANCHORS AWEIGH, ON THE TOWN, GUYS AND DOLLS, OCEAN'S ELEVEN, and ROBIN AND THE SEVEN HOODS. Let's take a closer look at them...
ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945)
In 1945, the King of the Crooners joined forces with the King of the Hoofers (not counting Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, that is) to give us ANCHORS AWEIGH. This frothy Technicolor romp from director George Sidney (VIVA LAS VEGAS, BYE BYE BIRDIE, several MGM "Our Gang" shorts) tells the story of Clarence and Joe (Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly), two recently decorated sailors on a glorious 4-day leave in Hollywood.
Playing against type, Frank's character is a shy nerd who can't score with the ladies so he decides to tag along after notorious wolf Joe to see how he does it. This seriously cramps Joe's style and he's constantly thwarted in his attempts to get together with dream date "Lola", especially when the two swabbies get saddled with a young orphan named Donald (a cherubic Dean Stockwell) who wants to run away from his Aunt Susie and join the Navy.
Aunt Susie turns out to be the lovely Kathryn Grayson (KISS ME KATE), an aspiring singer with whom Clarence is immediately infatuated. The script then takes us down a twisted path when wolfish Joe ends up falling for prim Susie while Clarence falls for a waitress from Brooklyn but is afraid to hurt Susie's feelings by dumping her, which is just what Joe wants except he doesn't want to hurt Clarence and Susie because he thinks they're in love, unaware that Susie is actually in love with him.
With all this tedious "love" stuff going on, ANCHORS AWEIGH benefits from the sparkling personalities of its stars and really takes off when they stop to sing and dance. With Gene Kelly at the helm during the musical numbers, this film yields several of the beloved sequences we often see in retrospectives like THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, including Gene's celebrated fantasy duet with Jerry the Mouse (MGM originally wanted Mickey but Disney said "no way") and another dream sequence in which he plays a Latin bandit serenading lovely senorita Kathryn in a dance filled with amazing acrobatic stunts.
Frank, of course, gets to croon a few numbers as well as show off his own dancing skills as he hustles to keep up with Kelly. Kathryn Grayson sings in her shrill operatic style (she sounds like Snow White) and the great José Iturbi, as "himself", displays his dazzling virtuosity on the piano keyboard in several instances. A charming interlude with Gene and a little beggar girl (Sharon McManus) seems a bit shoehorned in, but in a musical such as this it hardly matters.
A rich supporting cast includes Grady Sutton (IT'S A GIFT, THE BANK DICK) as a would-be suitor for Aunt Susie, familiar screen comics Billy Gilbert and Edgar Kennedy, Leon Ames, Rags Ragland, and Pamela Britton as the waitress from Brooklyn.
Not quite the constant delight from start to finish that SINGIN' IN THE RAIN would be (all musicals that came before seem to be leading up to it), ANCHORS AWEIGH is still the sort of colorful confection musical lovers crave. And it served as proof that Frank Sinatra wasn't just some skinny singing idol, but a bonafide multi-talented movie star.
Blu-ray Special Features:
· Hanna & Barbera on the Making of ‘The Worry Song’ from MGM "When the Lion Roars"
· 1945 MGM Short "Football Thrills of 1944" – New to Home Entertainment
· 1945 MGM Short "Jerky Turkey" – New to Home Entertainment
· Theatrical Trailer
ON THE TOWN (1949)
Sinatra and Kelly took their sailor act into their next collaboration with 1949's ON THE TOWN, an exhilarating screen adaptation of the Broadway hit. This time it's three gobs on leave--Jules Munchin adds his cartoonish comical talents to the mix--while Vera Ellen, Betty Garrett, and the incredible Ann Miller play their delightful love interests.
Frank is once again the reserved, bookish type who wants to see all the tourist sites in New York, while Gene and Jules are ready for action. Gene falls for Vera-Ellen when he sees her on a subway poster as "Miss Turnstiles", and his friends are forced to join him in his desperate search for her. Along the way they pick up aggressively amorous cab driver Betty Garrett, who has eyes for Frankie, while anthropologist Ann Miller spots Jules in a museum and is instantly attracted to his caveman cranium.
This time the story is not only fun, but it serves as a springboard for a breathless succession of breezy, eye-pleasing, and downright irresistible song-and-dance numbers, some of which are performed against a backdrop of real New York locations. Frankie doesn't get any solo numbers this time, but the ensemble stuff is riotous fun as are his two duets with Betty Garrett, "Come Up to My Place" and "You're Awful."
Gene Kelly, who co-directed with Stanley Donen as he would later on SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, saves a large chunk of the latter half for one of his extended dance fantasies containing a steamy, sultry interlude with Vera-Ellen, set to Leonard Bernstein's evocative score, that is surprisingly erotic.
But my favorite numbers are the museum piece "Prehistoric Man"--which manages to achieve Tex Avery-level silliness while showcasing what an utterly astounding performer Ann Miller was--and the joyous "On the Town." The latter sequence, which takes place on the roof of the Empire State Building before spilling out onto the street, builds to such a rapturous conclusion that it literally brought me to tears.
The supporting cast also features Alice Pearce (later to become famous as Mrs. Kravitz on "Bewitched") in an endearing performance as Betty Garrett's homely roommate, who at one point becomes a blind date for Gene in place of "Miss Turnstiles." Alice joins the others for the breezy number "You Can Count On Me" and is a delight as she blunders into a romantic apartment interlude between Frank and Betty, sneezing with a head cold. Keep a lookout also for Bea Benaderet and Dick Wessel.
I first saw ON THE TOWN back in the mid-70s when it was shown on the fondly-remembered "CBS Late Movie", and it immediately struck me as one of the most enjoyable musicals I had ever seen. Watching it again many years later, I'm happy to say that it has lost none of its happy-go-lucky appeal and has, in fact, become a strong contender with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN as my favorite musical of all time.
Blu-ray Special Features:
· 1949 MGM Short "Mr. Whitney Had a Notion" – New to Home Entertainment
· 1949 MGM Cartoon "Doggone Tired" – New to Home Entertainment
· Theatrical Trailer
GUYS AND DOLLS (1955)
That singing sensation, Marlon Brando, possessed the star power in 1955 to bump Frank Sinatra out of the lead role in GUYS AND DOLLS, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical based on the stories of Damon Runyon.
As slick gambler Sky Masterson, Brando's soft but earnest singing style benefits from a strong acting foundation while Frank, in the lesser role of illegal crap game promoter Nathan Detroit, skillfully invests his own Frank Loesser-penned songs with more heart and depth than that character has ever shown before.
Mankiewicz explores the colorfully stagey Times Square settings with a cinematic zest that is eye-filling and constantly appealing, while the cast bring all the denizens of the streets to vivid life. Small-time hustlers such as Stubby Kaye's "Nicely-Nicely", Sheldon Leonard's "Harry the Horse", and B.S. Pully's "Big Jule" all get their moments to shine (Kaye's "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" is a joy as is the opening number, "Fugue For Tinhorns") as con men work the bustling crowds and sewers host shady criminal activities.
The story gives equal emphasis to its two love stories, one of which involves Nathan Detroit and the lead burlesque dancer at the Hot Box club, Miss Adelaide (a terrific Vivian Blaine). They've been engaged for fourteen years and heartsick Adelaide is pressing Nathan to quit his floating crap game business and settle down with her or else. He wants to host one final big game first, but can't find a location for it with local cop Lt. Brannigan (Robert Keith) breathing down his neck.
Meanwhile, Sky Masterson is starting to fall for rigidly straitlaced "Save-A-Soul" missionary Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) after betting Nathan that he can persuade her to accompany him to Havana. This he does by promising to deliver at least twelve sinners to her next prayer meeting, but while they're away (during which he gets her sloppy drunk), a crap game is held in her mission. Sarah accuses Sky of setting the whole thing up on purpose, creating a rift between them.
With a meatier, more offbeat, and somewhat seamier story than many musicals, GUYS AND DOLLS is solid adult-oriented fun that keeps its pace up despite being somewhat overlong. There's a fascination to watching Brando broadening his acting horizons this way, giving it his all while not quite coming across as a bonafide singing star. His big song, the show-stopper "Luck Be a Lady Tonight", suffers from our knowledge of how much better Sinatra would've sung it (and indeed often did).
Be that as it may, Frank makes the most of his character and his charming scenes with Vivian Blaine, who gives the film's best performance as Adelaide. Lovely Jean Simmons also gives her all as Sarah Brown, with her own distinctive singing style. (None of the leads were dubbed.) And as a splendid example of how to transform a popular stage musical into top-notch screen entertainment, GUYS AND DOLLS stands the test of time with flying colors.
Blu-ray Special Features:
· "A Broadway Fable: From Stage to Screen, Guys & Dolls: The Goldwyn Touch"
· "A Broadway Fable: From Stage to Screen, Guys & Dolls: From Stage to Screen"
· "More Guys & Dolls Stories"
o "Brando Dance Lesson"
o "Goldwyn’s Career"
o "On the Set"
o "Rehearsing Adelaide"
· "Musical Performances"
o "Fugue for Tinhorns"
o "I’ll Know"
o "Guys & Dolls"
o "Luck Be a Lady"
o "Sue Me"
· Theatrical Trailer
OCEAN'S 11 (1960)
The skinny, earnest kid of ANCHORS AWEIGH and ON THE TOWN had already grown into a more worldly and somewhat cynical character by the time of GUYS AND DOLLS, but by 1960's OCEAN'S 11 we find a Frank Sinatra who has matured into the icy cool, cosmopolitan, and slightly shady Las Vegas megastar persona that would define the rest of his life.
The quintessential "Rat Pack" movie, OCEAN'S 11 reunites Frank's former WWII paratrooper sergeant Danny Ocean with his old Airborne buddies played by Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop, in one of those scathingly brilliant heist schemes to relieve five major Vegas casinos of several million dollars at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
I didn't care much for this slow-moving, bland-looking heist tale with production values that sometimes resemble those of a Quinn Martin cop series from the 60s. At least, not the first time I watched it.
A second viewing, however--without the burden of my previous expectations blinding me to its modest charms, and with the advantage of Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s knowing commentary--revealed it to be a fun "hang-out" movie in which you get to spend some quality leisure time just palling around with Frankie, Dean, Sammy, and their cool friends. And before it's over, that simple robbery plot which seems so pedestrian at first delivers a couple of nifty, nasty twists that are pretty neat.
We watch as Danny (Sinatra) and Jimmy Foster (Lawford) get the old gang together one at a time for the caper, which takes up pretty much the whole first half of the movie. (One thing's for sure, this flick isn't in any hurry to get anywhere.) There are a few detours, as we see Danny dealing with his neglected but faithful wife Beatrice (Angie Dickinson) and a hostile spurned lover played by Patrice Wymore.
Jimmy, meanwhile, must endure the presence of his wealthy mother's new husband Duke (Caesar "Butch" Romero, who would soon play The Joker to Adam West's Batman) in order to hit her up for his usual "allowance." Sammy, as usual, brings his own boundless energy and cool-cat appeal to his role of a garbage truck driver whose job is to collect the stolen cash from each casino.
Not even counting some welcome cameos and bit parts by the likes of Red Skelton, Shirley McLaine, and George Raft, the cast is impressive. Filling out the "eleven" are Richard Conte (Don Barzini in THE GODFATHER), Jerry Lester (of Jerry Lewis' THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and THE LADIES' MAN), cult superstar Henry Silva (of Lewis' CINDERFELLA), Norman "Mr. Roper" Fell, Akim Tamiroff, and other worthy character actors.
The main stars, of course, are just fun to watch, especially Dean Martin in total "don't give a f***" mode and Frank effortlessly holding it all together without even singing a note. (Dean croons "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" two or three times, while Sammy performs the theme song "Ee-Oh-Eleven.")
Directed by Lewis Milestone (ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, OF MICE AND MEN), OCEAN'S 11 has a relaxed, informal air and never takes itself too seriously, but it isn't a slapdash affair. While some of the acting and direction may seem flat at times, this is one movie that just doesn't feel like breaking a sweat if it doesn't have to. And that awesome ending shot is just the kind of thing Quentin Tarantino makes a mental note to copy later.
It kinda struck me as A HARD DAY'S NIGHT for the pre-Beatles generation--a day in the lives of our favorite hipster bad boys in their natural habitat, just being their narrow-tie-wearing, scotch-swilling, chauvinistic selves.
It does get serious at times, though--as when Richard Conte's character Bergdorf, recently released from prison and estranged from wife Jean Willes, visits his little boy in military school for what may be the last time. Or when his doctor gives him the bad news about his heart, leading to this pricelessly arch bit of dialogue: "Listen Doc, give it to me straight...is it the big casino?"
Blu-ray Special Features:
· Commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson
· Las Vegas Then and Now Vignettes
· Theatrical trailers
ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS (1964)
Since 1960's OCEAN'S 11 had been such a lark for the Rat Pack, some of them got together again four years later with director Gordon Douglas for the lighthearted crime spoof ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS. But as we learn from Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s commentary--which, once again, serves as an absolutely invaluable first-hand account--this breezy musical about rival gangs in Prohibition-era Chicago was overshadowed not only by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was Frank Sinatra's personal friend, but also by the five-day kidnapping of Frank, Jr. himself in Lake Tahoe, California.
While much of the movie is breezy fun, it's apparent in several scenes that Papa Frank's heart just isn't in it. Still, he musters what he can as "good guy" crime kingpin Robbo, the lone holdout when rival boss Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk) rubs out the current big cheese Big Jim (Edward G. Robinson in a brief cameo) and demands all the other bosses line up behind him. Robbo's refusal results in the opposing bosses hitting each other's speakeasies in a frenzy of mutual destruction.
Enter Big Jim's daughter Marian, played by a gorgeous Barbara Rush, who offers Robbo a hefty sum to eliminate the man who killed her father. Robbo instead donates the cash to an orphanage, thus gaining a citywide reputation as the new "Robin Hood." This new image suits him so he starts giving a cut of all his proceeds to charity, while Marian, whose intentions go beyond mere revenge, seeks the aid of any man who'll respond to her seductive advances to make a power grab. Meanwhile, Guy Gisborne continues in his efforts to bring down Robbo both violently and by trying to get him sent up the river on trumped-up counterfeiting charges.
As an old-style gangster comedy, ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS is about on the same level as BUGSY MALONE or the "A Piece of the Action" episode of "Star Trek", only with better production values. Some of the transitions into the song-and-dance numbers are awkward, to say the least, with Falk's number coming off as particularly ear-bending despite his giving it the old college try (fortunately, the rest of his comic performance is a delight).
Dino, who plays Robbo's partner Little John, fares better with his jaunty pool-hustling tune "Any Man Who Loves His Mother", and Sammy's energetic shoot-em-up number "Bang! Bang!" is a real blast. Frank, in his best moment in the film, seems to forget his troubles for a bit when he gets to croon his classic ode to Chicago, "My Kind of Town."
Another plus for the production is the presence of the venerable Bing Crosby as Allen A. Dale, an overaged "orphan" who joins Robbo's crew in order to help coordinate his charitable activities. Bing does a wonderful soft-shoe number with the boys back at the orphanage entitled "Don't Be a Do Badder!" (the lyrics are cringeworthy but Bing manages to sell them), then joins in another fun song-and-dance sequence with Frank and Dean, "You've Either Got or You Haven't Got Style", which is unique for having all three of these major singing stars together at one time.
A gaggle of wonderfully rough-looking character actors fill the supporting roles as well as some familiar names such as Victor Buono, Hans Conried, Robert Foulk, Richard Bakalyan, Billy Curtis, and Sig Ruman. A chorus line of flappers performing the number "Charlotte Couldn't Charleston" is led by none other than legendary singer-dancer-choreographer Toni Basil of "Mickey" fame, who would co-star in VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS a year later and go on to appear in the counterculture classic EASY RIDER in '69.
While the story tends to drag a bit here and there, and the songs aren't always top-notch, ROBIN AND THE 7 HOODS is still an enjoyable enough gangster spoof and one of the last of the old wave of Hollywood musicals. It's a shame that the conditions under which it was made so dampened the spirits of those involved, especially its star, Frank Sinatra, resulting in a movie whose lightheartedness comes off as noticeably strained.
Blu-ray Special Features:
· Commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr.
· Vintage featurette "What They Did to Robin Hood"
· 1939 WB Cartoon "Robin Hood Makes Good" – New to Home Entertainment
· 1949 WB Cartoon "Rabbit Hood"
· 1958 WB Cartoon "Robin Hood Daffy"
· Theatrical trailer
(Pictures shown are not stills from the actual discs.)
Buy it at the offical WB Shop
Street date: May 5, 2015
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 12:04 AM
Monday, April 27, 2015
Live from Tribeca 2015: Arnold Schwarzenegger Predicted the Future of the Film Industry (Interview Excerpts)
Arnold Schwarzenegger Explains How He Predicted the Film Industry's Future
In Maggie, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the downbeat parent of a teenager (Abigail Breslin) bitten by a zombie. Spending most of the movie caring for ailing girl and anticipating her death, Schwarzenegger's character in director Henry Hobson's debut is far different from others he's played in the past. That extends to the movie as well; opening day-and-date in the U.S. on May 9, Maggie marks a much smaller production than anything the actor has done before. But Schwarzenegger said that the movie gels with the way he's worked for years.
In New York for the film's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, he spoke Indiewire Deputy Editor Eric Kohn about his history with independent productions, his thoughts on the state of special effects, how he predicted the globalization of the film industry decades ago, how OJ Simpson was originally slated to be the Terminator and how Oliver Stone's script for Conan was originally budgeted for $78 million - in 1980!
Below, please find select excerpts; for the entire interview, visit: http://www.indiewire.com/article/arnold-schwarzenegger-explains-how-he-predicted-the-film-industrys-future-20150423
How do you usually choose your projects?
Most of the jobs I've done, I've gotten them myself, and then agents make the deal. People come up to me in restaurants and say, "Arnold, I've got this great script." They send you stuff. They give you stuff in the gym. For Eraser, I was hanging out with Lorenzo di Bonaventura. I was sitting on a chairlift in Sun Valley. It is snowing. The snow is coming down. You can't even see three feet in front of you. And we're taking off in the chairlift to go skiing together. The chairlift takes off and he goes, "By the way, Arnold." He pulls the script out for Eraser and gives it to me. He says, "Put it in your jacket, read it, I'm here this whole weekend." That's normally the way it happens. There's no agent, no nothing. That's how the Terminator thing happened - Mike Medavoy coming up to me after a movie and going, "Arnold, you have to play Reese. We have OJ Simpson as the Terminator." Of course, it all changed later.
How do you think the film industry has changed since you first hit it big?
To me, the important thing is that my movies can play anywhere and people will understand the drama, the action, or whatever and get entertained....It has to play the same way in all the different continents. That's very important - from the beginning, when I was getting started, I always looked at everything in a global way, whether it was body-building or fitness promotion. Even though I passed environmental laws in California, I was thinking about how to make it effective all over the world. It's always about the world.
With movies, even though I had big fights in the beginning, I remember that with Universal Studios we were going to do promotion for Conan the Barbarian and I said, "Let's go to 10 countries." They said, "No, no, that's not how we do it. We visit three countries - England, France, and the Cannes Film Festival " I wanted to go to Italy, Germany, Japan. I kept at it and eventually they sent me to 10 countries, but they thought it was a little out there. They said, "This guy just likes to travel around." But it had nothing to do with traveling around. I thought that the world was the marketplace, not just America.
Now look what happened. I was totally on the money. I'm so happy today because I was so right and way ahead of the curve. Now, in China, The Fast and the Furious made like $400 million and will end up making more over there than in America. China's right behind America. So the world is very important for box office and making big movies. You need to go to China, Japan, African nations. You need to go to these places and make sure they're building theaters all over the world. It's a world economy.
Special effects have gone through incredible changes since you first started out. But sometimes they overwhelm the story. Does that ever bother you?
It seems to me that visual effects are very welcome. For instance, if the T-1000 and the T-800 have a fight scene, and you want to go beyond just pushing each other around like it's a UFC fight - which we see all the time on television - you can only do that with visual effects. I cannot tell the story without that ability to grab you, throw you by your head up against the ceiling so you land in this wooden floor, and since you weigh 1,000 pounds, each time you hit the wooden floor it goes down to the next room. That's the power you have. Otherwise it becomes a UFC fight where human beings are hitting the floor. People don't want to see that. They want to see a machine do it. What does that look like? For that you need visual effects.
For example, there's one scene [in Terminator: Genisys] where he grabs me and throws me up against the wall, 15 feet up, to show the power these machines have. So it's a different type of fight scene. The only way that's possible is with visual effects. So it shouldn't take anything away. If you use it wisely, I think it's great.
For instance, on Conan, Oliver Stone wrote a scene with the Tree of Woe. We had to take that scene out because that scene alone cost $20 million. His script was budgeted at $78 million - in 1980! Only because it was impossible to be done in those days as a visual effects. Today you can do it just like that. You can create a scene that is so spectacular, to show what this tree does, why everyone is so frightened of it that they couldn't get through. It was a really well-written scene but you couldn't shoot it in those days. That's why I think visual effects are great, but when it's not that kind of a scene, you have to get back down to acting and developing the characters. I've seen it myself firsthand on action movies how directors and producers don't pay as much attention to the development of the characters because they focus so much on the big stuff. James Cameron is the only one I've seen who's really so good in the details of the scene but also with the big things. He doesn't compromise one versus the other.
Indiewire® is the leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike, Indiewire launched on July 15, 1996 and re-launched with a bold new approach on January 12, 2009 from new parent company SnagFilms. Two-time winner of the Webby Award for best film website (most recently, in 2012), Indiewire was lauded as a "must read" by Variety, branded the "online heartbeat of the world's independent film community" by Forbes, and dubbed "best indie crossroads" by film critic Roger Ebert.
For more in-depth Indiewire coverage on the premieres and personalities at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, visit: http://www.indiewire.com/category/festivals/
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 1:04 PM
Friday, April 24, 2015
Thrilling in a way that's seen all too rarely in action cinema, THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS (2014), the most-watched film in the history of South Korea, manages to combine moving human drama with one of the most epic sea battles ever filmed.
The film opens in 1597 right in the middle of the Japanese invasion of Korea and feels like a sequel since the Koreans have just suffered a major defeat. As what's left of their ragtag forces lick their wounds, venerable Admiral Yi Sun-sin (OLDBOY star Choi Min-Sik) prepares for a new attack in which over 300 Japanese ships, led by ruthless General Kurushima (Ryu Seung-Ryong, WAR OF THE ARROWS) will take on the Admiral's meager 12 ships as they stand as the last defense of the Korean mainland.
This simple storyline consists of two parts: the spectacular sea battle which takes up the entire second half of the film, and the events leading up to it. Since we know that sooner or later things are going to explode in a non-stop barrage of all-out naval warfare, director Kim Han-min (WAR OF THE ARROWS, HANDPHONE) is able to take his time with a long, involving build-up in which the Admiral contemplates the enormity of his seemingly impossible task, with his men severely demoralized and gripped with fear in the face of the impending one-sided clash.
Fans of OLDBOY and LADY VENGEANCE will already appreciate the talents of Choi Min-Sik. His deeply-felt portrayal of the Admiral conveys the old man's wisdom, courage, and tactical cunning along with a world-weariness that taxes his own resolve. On the other side, Ryu Seung-Ryong plays his opposite number Kurushima with the dark, cruelly intimidating air of a Sith Lord whose superior forces make him virtually unbeatable.
The Admiral's plans remain a mystery to us even as we watch him quietly formulating them as he looks out upon Myeongryang Strait off the southwest coast of the Korean Peninsula, where Kurushima's ships must pass on their way to shore. In the meantime, the story touches upon the various physical and emotional hardships suffered by not only the soldiers but also the lowly civilians caught in the crossfire of war. What we see is often brutal and horrific.
When the enemy ships finally appear on the horizon like a plague of locusts, and the Admiral's forces sail out to meet them in what appears to be a suicide charge, THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS explodes into one of the most intensely exciting maritime clashes ever filmed. Even less patient viewers for whom the first half was rather tedious should find it worth the wait when this brilliantly-staged and frequently amazing sequence gets under way.
Actual full-sized ships are expertly combined with almost seamlessly-wrought CGI to create a fully convincing effect. Ships blast each other with cannons while their crews swarm into close battle in a lengthy succession of astonishing images made even more amazing when the movements of the sea itself, in the form of raging whirlpools and currents, are revealed to be part of the Admiral's desperate plan to beat the odds and defeat the Japanese naval juggernaut.
The DVD from CJ Entertainment is in 16 X 9 widescreen with Korean and English 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks, and English subtitles. In addition to a teaser and trailer, there's a half-hour of highlights from the film. The Blu-ray also contains an exclusive video, "The Making of The Admiral: Roaring Currents."
After its dramatically resonant first half, THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS becomes the epic we hoped it would be and then some, coming close to matching even the visual grandeur of John Woo's 2008 epic RED CLIFF. It's action filmmaking at its most exhilarating.
Buy it at Amazon.com:
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 11:17 PM
Thursday, April 23, 2015
You don't have to be a computer whiz to appreciate "Halt and Catch Fire", the AMC series about an upstart electronics company in Dallas, Texas taking on monolithic IBM in a race to come up with the first portable personal computer. In fact, even the most borderline "tech savvy" viewer such as myself can find plenty here to be entertained by even as the geek-speak flies right over our heads.
Set in the early 80s (with RETURN OF THE JEDI still in its first theatrical run) Anchor Bay's HALT AND CATCH FIRE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON captures the furiously competitive world of the burgeoning PC industry with ample amounts of drama and suspense. In this fictionalized account of real-life events, Cardiff Electronics boss John Bosworth (Toby Huss, JERRY MAGUIRE, COWBOYS & ALIENS) makes a fateful decision when he hires the brash and manically driven Joe McMillan (Lee Pace, THE RESIDENT, THE HOBBIT), an ex-IBM exec, as his head of product development.
Joe causes chaos by weeding out the less imaginative employees and channeling ever-increasing resources into building a faster, cheaper PC, one which weighs less than fifteen pounds and can be carried in a briefcase. Much of the show's watchability comes from seeing him plunge recklessly forward through any personal, professional, or financial crisis as though his life depended on it, with an almost sociopathic singlemindedness. Hints of his past, including an unfortunate childhood trauma and his ousting from IBM (John Getz of THE FLY will guest-star as his IBM exec father), make him even more of an ongoing mystery.
For his core team, Joe drafts hardware genius Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE), an office drone still haunted by the inexplicable failure of his own brilliant innovations in the field (Joe recognizes his potential and reignites it by tasking him to reverse-engineer the IBM computer chip), and software savant Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis, BAD TURN WORSE), a punky, videogame-addicted college student who seems to have cut her teeth on writing computer code.
The big drama isn't just in whether or not they can come up with the technological breakthroughs they're striving for--they're also trying to do all of that without causing Cardiff electronics to go out of business, mainly due to legal actions brought against it by their monolithic competitor IBM. After reverse-engineering that IBM chip, the team must then come up with their own non-copyrighted version that will pass legal muster and do so before the company goes under.
Between Gordon's marital problems with wife Donna (Kerry Bishé), another tech head working for Texas Instruments, and the unhealthy sexual relationship between Joe and Cameron, the show features plenty of non-computer-related mischief that also manages somehow to be relevant in various ways to the ongoing professional intrigue. The characters are far from perfect and often display less-than-admirable traits, which makes them more believable and identifiable.
The 80s-era period atmosphere is good, although the Georgia locations don't convey much of a "Texas" vibe and neither do some of the less-than-authentic accents. (Guest stars Jean Smart and Texas-born Annette O'Toole are exceptions.) When the resident eggheads start spouting volumes of computer lingo at each other, it reminds me of the techno-gibberish used on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"--I don't really have to know exactly what it all means to appreciate its dramatic impact.
The entire season builds up to the big electronics sales convention in Las Vegas where the team goes to unveil their big gamble to their peers along with the rest of the world. Here, just when we think all is finally well and that a major victory is at hand, a shockingly unexpected and near catastrophic setback gets them scrambling into damage control mode again.
The 3-disc Blu-ray set from Anchor Bay (10 episodes, approx. 435 minutes) is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish. Extras consist of three featurettes--"Remaking the 80s", "Rise of the Digital Cowboys", and "Setting the Fire: Research and Technology"--along with a brief behind-the-scenes look at all ten episodes. Also contained are instructions on how to instantly stream and download a digital HD ultraviolet copy of the series.
HALT AND CATCH FIRE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON succeeds in taking something totally foreign to me and making it interesting. It's fun seeing all the dramatic stuff that went into the creation of this amazing invention that most of us take for granted every day.
Buy it at Amazon.com:
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 4:08 PM
ALCHEMY ACQUIRES BERNARD ROSE’S FRANKENSTEIN
FROM SUMMERSTORM ENTERTAINMENT
Alchemy Takes US Rights to Thriller Following Its World Premiere at Brussels Fantastic Fest Where it was awarded the Grand Prize
LOS ANGELES, CA, APRIL 22, 2015 – Film House Germany (FHG) announced today that Alchemy has secured the US rights to horror legend Bernard Rose’s (CANDYMAN, IVANSXTC) FRANKENSTEIN, from Summerstorm Entertainment following it’s highly acclaimed World Premiere at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival where it was awarded the grand prize, the Golden Raven Award.
FRANKENSTEIN is produced by Gabriela Bacher for Summerstorm, Heidi Jo Markel for Eclectic Pictures, Jennifer Holliday Morrison for Bad Badger, and Summmerstorm’s parent company, Film House Germany’s Christian Angermayer and Klemens Hallmann. Conor Charles is co-producing for Eclectic Pictures. Avi Lerner is executive producing and Nu Image is handling international sales.
On confirming the sale, producers Gabriela Bacher and Heidi Jo Markel said: ‘Alchemy is the perfect partner to bring this modern take on a timeless story to American audiences. Alchemy’s acquisition is testament to the worldwide demand and hunger for new, contemporary visions and well-crafted filmmaking - audiences have never seen a monster quite like this.’
The modern-day adaptation of the classic thriller was written and directed by Bernard Rose and stars Xavier Samuel (TWILIGHT, FURY), Carrie-Ann Moss (THE MATRIX TRILOGY), Tony Todd (CANDYMAN), and Danny Huston (BIG EYES, AMERICAN HORROR STORY).
FRANKENSTEIN is set in present day Los Angeles, and is told entirely from the perspective of The Monster. Artificially-created and left for dead by a husband-and-wife team of eccentric scientists, Adam is faced with nothing but hostility and aggression as he comes to grips with the horrific nature of humanity, and the violence of those that made him.
The deal was negotiated by Jay Cohen at Gersh on behalf of the filmmakers, and Steve Break, VP of Acquisitions for Alchemy.
FRANKENSTEIN is one of a number of projects from Film House Germany’s robust slate, joining the likes of Jalmari Helander’s BIG GAME starring Samuel L. Jackson and THE DEVIL’S VIOLINIST, also directed by Bernard Rose.
Alchemy is a leading independent distributor of film and television content across all platforms and windows in North America. Alchemy develops tailored distribution strategies across all platforms, from theatrical release to DVD, digital, VOD, and television. Under CEO Bill Lee’s direction, the company has distributed the work of some of the world’s finest filmmakers including Richard Linklater, Werner Herzog, Gregg Araki, Dito Montiel, John Hillcoat, John Turturro, Lee Daniels, Oren Moverman and James Cameron. Recent successes include ELSA & FRED, FADING GIGOLO, WHAT MAISIE KNEW, RAMPART, and BERNIE.
Alchemy boasts the independent industry’s pre-eminent end-to-end supply chain solution for physical and digital distribution of content to major retailers. The company has the largest footprint of any independent supplier to bricks and mortar businesses, and is one of only two independent aggregators for Target, where Alchemy represents 75% of all independent titles sold. It is also the leading supplier to digital platforms including iTunes, Netflix and VOD.
The company owns a catalog of 665 film titles and has deals for the ongoing distribution of film titles and programming for clients including PBS Distribution, nCircle, Phase 4 Films, Magnolia, MPI Media Group, Well Go, Music Box Films, Inception, and Hammer Horror, among many others.
About FILM HOUSE GERMANY/ SUMMERSTORM ENTERTAINMENT
Film House Germany is a multi-faceted media company, covering the development, financing, production, and co-production of film and TV for audiences worldwide. Headquartered in Berlin, with outposts in London and Los Angeles, Film House Germany was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Christian Angermayer. It’s the parent to both Egoli Tossell Film and Summerstorm Entertainment.
Film House Germany has strategic alliances with Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road Pictures and Navid McIhargey’s Vandal Entertainment, in addition to strong relationships with other major production companies, and leading distribution partners around the world.
Past projects include: Jon S. Baird’s FILTH; Ron Howard’s RUSH; Michael Hoffman’s Academy Award Nominated film THE LAST STATION; and Olivier Assayas’ lauded mini-series CARLOS.
ABOUT ECLECTIC PICTURES
Heidi Jo Markel founded Eclectic Pictures in 2004 by striking a First-Look deal with Millennium Films to create high-quality theatrical independent features. With a focus on strong female-driven characters, environmental and socially conscious thematics, Eclectic's more than a dozen films cross all genres. Notable films with exceptional filmmakers include: LOVELACE, SOLITARY MAN, TRUST, PLAYING FOR KEEPS, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and the upcoming SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ, FRANKENSTEIN and LONDON HAS FALLEN. With numerous projects in development with various distributors, the power of ECLECTIC PICTURES is to evolve projects to realize their fullest potential.
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 8:23 AM
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
THE BADGER GAME
World Premiere & Red Carpet
Wednesday, April 29th
WHAT: THE BADGER GAME World Premiere and Red Carpet Arrivals
THE BADGER GAME, the award-winning indie thriller which has wowed festival audiences nationwide, is a twisted tale about infidelity and extortion, taking viewers on a harrowing journey, galvanized by wicked humor, violence, lust, suspense and unprecedented levels of cynicism.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
TIME: 7:45 pm – Red Carpet Check in;
8:30pm – Red Carpet opens
9:30pm – THE BADGER GAME screening intro by directors Tom
Zambeck and Josh Wagner, with cast/crew
WHERE: Downtown Independent Cinema
251 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHO: Celebrities planning to walk the Red Carpet include: THE BADGER GAME co-writers and co-directors Tom Zambeck and Joshua Wagner; Stars Augie Duke, Patrick Cronen, Jillian Leigh, Sam Boxleitner, Sasha Higgins, Aria London, Josh Eichenbaum, and Marc Siciliani; Producer/composer RJ Gallantine, London May (composer, from the band Samhein and The Glenn Danzig Experience), and editor Ethan Maniquis(co-director of MACHETE).
DETAILS: Liam (Boxleitner) is a successful advertising executive with money to burn and a healthy appetite for infidelity. Alex (Duke) is his scorned mistress, hell-bent on revenge against the married man who wronged her. At first, the plan seemed simple: take Liam hostage and threaten to expose his indiscretion, unless he pays a ransom. But Alex knows she can’t do it alone. Enter her unhinged brother Kip (Cronen), exotic dancer Jane (Higgins), and desperate wallflower Shelly (Leigh). With the table set and the team in place, Liam soon finds himself held against his will - his perfect world about to crumble. Forced to reckon with four mysterious captors and impossible odds, his only hope is to turn the quartet against each other and make it through the night alive.
The Badger Game has impressed festival audiences across the country. Named official selections at the 2014 Arizona Underground Film Festival and the Twisted Celluloid Film Festival, the film won Best Drama honors at the 2014 Laughlin International Film Festival as well as Best Thriller, Best Supporting Actress (Jillian Leigh) and "Most Cool" awards at the Pollygrind V Festival.
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 6:49 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2015
CHRISTIAN DIOR'S EAU SAUVAGE...
Revealed! Late Actor Steve McQueen's Aftershave Turned Women On
He was known for wearing Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage, which contains the stimulating chemical Hedione. With his ice cool demeanor and smoldering good looks, it’s no surprise that the actor Steve Mcqueen was attractive to women.
But new research suggests he may have had a little help. From his aftershave.
Scientists have discovered that McQueen’s fav--Dior’s Eau Sauvage--contains a chemical called Hedione that stimulates an area of the brain responsible for releasing sex hormones in women.
Based on the evidence, it appears the aftershave containing this ingredient in the proper dosage can literally turn women on.
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Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 9:46 AM
Thursday, April 16, 2015
SESAME STREET: COUNT ON ELMO
ON DVD AND DIGITAL JULY 7, 2015
Features Over Two Hours of Fun with Elmo and Bonus Elmo’s World Episode!
BURBANK, CA (April 15, 2015) – Get ready to learn with everyone’s favorite furry red monster, Elmo, as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, release Sesame Street: Count on Elmo on DVD and digital July 7, 2015. For more than 45 years, families across America have looked towards Sesame Street's beloved Muppets to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder by learning their ABCs, building their inner strength and developing their moral compass – along with a lasting love of learning. These important lessons continue in the latest Sesame Street DVD, as Elmo and friends teach children to love math in Sesame Street: Count on Elmo. Order due date is June 2, 2015.
Kids can rely on their Sesame Street friends for lots of fun, laughs and counting in Sesame Street: Count on Elmo. When the Noble Counting Prize committee is looking for the World’s Greatest Counter, Elmo knows that his friend The Count is perfect for the prize. Elmo, Grover, Abby and Cookie Monster try and capture The Count’s amazing counting skills on camera so they can enter him in the contest, but everything goes awry! Will The Count win the prize or will it be a Count-astrophe? Kids will learn about friendship and math concepts such as numbers, counting, and enumeration. With over 2 hours full of friendship and fun, kids will really enjoy counting along. Featuring the new song "Count on Friends," this DVD also includes the bonus video Pre-School is Cool: ABC’s With Elmo.
"Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is thrilled to release Sesame Street: Count on Elmo as the next Sesame Street home video adventure," said Mary Ellen Thomas, WBHE Vice President Family & Animation Marketing. "Elmo has become one of the most loveable preschool characters of all time. We are very happy to be releasing Count on Elmo on DVD and digital, and helping Elmo continue to teach preschoolers in a fun and engaging way."
Celebrating its impressive 45th anniversary this season, Sesame Street is the longest-running program in children’s television. The series has received more Emmy awards than any other show in television history, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award.
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help all children reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve, helping children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 9:20 PM
"OLD 37"--Epic Pictures and Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada To Distribute Highly Anticipated Horror Film
OLD 37 Wins Best Feature Film Award at HorrorHound Film Festival
Music from The Used, Circa Survive, Sheppard + more
April 15, 2015 - OLD 37, a psychological slasher about two brothers (Kane Hodder + Bill Moseley) posing as paramedics who intercept 911 calls in a retired old ambulance, has partnered with Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada and Epic Pictures Group for the film's North American distribution. Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada will be handling the Canadian market, while Epic's growing distribution division, Epic Pictures Releasing, will be handling the United States.
EPIC Pictures COO, Shaked Berenson stated, "We are proud to add this highly anticipated gem to Epic's growing release slate. Fans will surely appreciate Travers' gritty characters and intense atmosphere." Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada shares a similar sentiment where Susan Curran Director of Marketing and Acquisitions notes that "OLD 37 is one heck of a ride full of gore and terror. We're delighted to be working with Big Picture Media for the Canadian home video and digital release." Epic's CEO, Patrick Ewald added "In OLD 37 you have Kane Hodder (who played Jason in four of the Friday the 13th movies) and Bill Moseley (from Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects and House of a 1000 corpses), playing a pair of deranged brothers who work as paramedics to exact revenge on unsuspecting teenagers. How much better can you get in a horror film?"
Fresh off the worldwide premiere at HorrorHound Film Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio where the film won the award for Best Feature Film, the audience went wild. OLD 37 writer and producer Paul Travers and actor Kane Hodder were on site for a Q&A after the premiere and the positive reactions in the theater were palpable. HorrorHound Film Festival Director Jason Hignite said "OLD 37 comes through with in-your-face visceral horror."
Fast paced and blood soaked, OLD 37 taps into the most basic human fear, vulnerability. The words "don't worry I'm a paramedic" will make you think twice before dialing 9-1-1. For more information on OLD 37, please visit http://www.OLD37TheMovie.com.
The film stars Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th, Hatchet) and Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses) as twisted brothers working together to exact revenge on some careless teen drivers. Already featured by Fangoria, MTV, The Insider, J14 Magazine, DreadCentral, BloodyDisgusting, IHorror, HorrorHound and more, the star cast includes Brandi Cyrus, (Hannah Montana, Zoey 101), Caitlin Harris (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Olivia Alexander (Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader, Killer Eye), Maxwell Zagorski, Maggie Keane Williams (Audition), Ben Schneider, Mindy White (States, Lydia), Sascha Knopf (Shallow Hal, Expiration Date) and more.
OLD 37 features a performance from Aria winners Australian rock band, Sheppard. The band, which performs live in a party scene in the film, also has 4 songs featured on the soundtrack. Each song is off their new debut full length Bombs Away, which premiered at #2 on the ARIA Charts and is certified gold. Sheppard recently signed with manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande), got signed to Universal Republic, and have played on ELLEN and Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show and Live with Kelly + Michael. They currently have over 125 million streams on Spotify, putting them in the top 50 most played artists.
Other musicians featured on the OLD 37 soundtrack include The Used, Circa Survive, Night Riots, States, Death On Two Wheels, Survival Guide, DariusTX, and Emii.
Written and produced by Paul Travers with producing partners, Carrie Alton, Evan Greenhill, Dayna Ghiraldi, music composed by Darius Holbert (Hobo With A Shotgun, World's Greatest Dad, Cedar Rapids), blood, guts and scares provided by Brian Spears and Pete Gerner (We Are What We Are, Late Phases, VHS), this team is ready to bring the sirens.
For more information on OLD 37, please visit:
Merch Store: http://old37.bigcartel.com/
Epic Pictures Releasing is the domestic distribution division of Epic Pictures Group, a leading independent studio, specializing in the financing, production and distribution of commercial feature films and family entertainment. Epic's recent productions include SXSW 2015 Audience Award Winner TURBO KID and Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly's Sundance's critically acclaimed ENTERTAINMENT.
About Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada
Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada is the Toronto based office of Anchor Bay Entertainment, a leading independent home entertainment company celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. Anchor Bay acquires and releases a wide array of filmed entertainment in the theatrical and home entertainment markets, including STARZ Original series, children's entertainment, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and RADiUS, among others. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment (www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a full service distributor in the North American market. Anchor Bay Entertainment is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 8:36 PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
KOREAN MOVIES TO STREAM ON FACEBOOK
CJ Entertainment Partners with Walla to Bring Korean Movies and Dramas to Facebook for the First Time
KIM Woo-bin's "Friend II: The Legacy" to Be Offered Free for 48 hours on April 15-16
Los Angeles, CA (April 15, 2015) — CJ Entertainment, Asia’s premier entertainment company and Korea’s #1 filmmaker and distributor, announced today that they are partnering with Walla, a video-on-demand streaming service app to bring the hottest in Korean movies and television to fans on Facebook. Beginning April 15, fans in the United States can watch movies on demand directly from the CJ Entertainment USA, KCON and Mnet America Facebook pages.
In conjunction with the US theatrical release of #1 youth comedy Twenty, viewers who visit CJ Entertainment USA's Facebook page on April 15-16, can get a double dose of Twenty’s uber-hot star, KIM Woo-bin, for free as he flexes his action chops in Friend II: The Legacy. Other titles available for purchase include: I AM, Black Eagle, FLU, Masquerade, Fists of Legend, The Tower, The Berlin File as well as the latest action hits No Tears for the Dead and The Divine Move. Prices will range from $1.99- $3.99. Korean dramas will be available at a later date.
Walla is a new way for studios to deliver and distribute their content directly to end users through social media. In partnering with Asian entertainment guru CJ Entertainment, Walla showcases its new application and taps into the digitally savvy, fast growing k-pop and k-drama audience.
ABOUT CJ ENTERTAINMENT Launched in 2005, CJ Entertainment America (CJ Ent.Am) is the U.S. arm of Asia’s premier entertainment company and Korea’s #1 filmmaker and distributor, CJ Entertainment & Media (CJ E&M). Since 1995, CJ E&M has provided original, award-winning content – across an array of genres, including drama, comedy, action, sci-fi/horror and special interest – for theatrical, television, DVD, digital download, interactive game publishing/portals and music. The cornerstone of the Korean entertainment industry – boasting the country’s largest and most significant library, with hundreds of films – CJ E&M is also a singular presence throughout Asia, Europe and in the United States and a key force in popularizing contemporary Korean and Pan-Asian cinema around the world. Top films include Snowpiercer, The Man From Nowhere; The Good, the Bad, the Weird; A Bittersweet Life; Joint Security Area; and the Vengeance trilogy, to name a few. Visit us online at: www.cj-entertainment.com.
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 11:41 PM
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Starting out downbeat and just getting more depressing as it goes along, the intermittently interesting THE GLASS MAN (2011) is almost as much of a chore for the viewer as it is for its terminally hard-luck protagonist.
Andy Nyman of KICK-ASS 2 plays young executive Martin Pyrite (pyrite of course means "fool's gold", a surprisingly on-the-nose reference), who's just been fired from his company where he's now a scapegoat and a pariah. Tens of thousands of pounds in debt, the increasingly desperate Martin hopes for a miracle while trying to keep the news from his pampered wife Julie (Neve Campbell).
Anyone who's been in financial straits will not only identify with this but may also find it uncomfortable to watch. But it gets worse. Julie turns a cold shoulder to Martin when she suspects him of cheating on her with a co-worker, leading to a long bedroom scene with him tearfully blubbering to her as she's passed out on sleeping pills while maudlin piano music pounds away on the soundtrack. Hard to watch, right?
But it gets worse. Later that night, a very big, very scary debt collector named Pecco (James Cosmo, THE LAST LEGION, "Game of Thrones") shows up at his door demanding immediate payment for a debt that he's just bought from someone else. Martin's broke, of course, so Pecco offers him a way out--he'll erase the debt if Martin helps him do a few "things."
James Cosmo, you'll probably recall, was the biggest, scariest guy in BRAVEHEART, and when Pecco starts to intimidate Martin with his mere overbearing presence, you believe it. Needless to say, Martin finds himself going along with the plan and driving Pecco to some potentially horrible date with crime.
I don't know whether to call it "suspense" or just plain "dread", but by now it's starting to get pretty much unbearable for any viewer who can sympathize with Martin's plight. Still, it's an interesting situation with plenty of potential, especially when the relationship between the two men starts going in unexpected directions.
But then, from out of nowhere, there comes a big plot twist. I can't even talk about it, it's such a plot twist. It's the kind of plot twist that either makes the movie a whole lot better, or just makes you go "Huh?"
After that, the interesting direction in which the story seemed to be headed just sort of petered out, and what was meant to make it more unpredictable had the opposite effect. I still wanted to see how it all turned out, but mainly out of morbid curiosity.
Writer-director Cristian Solimeno, who's also an actor (MOTHER OF TEARS, RUSH) and plays the part of an eccentric old friend from whom Martin tries to borrow money, directs the film as though we're seeing everything from Martin's dazed, off-kilter perspective.
Performances are fine, particularly Nyman's jittery little schlub and Cosmo's intimidating ogre. Neve Campbell is good although she doesn't really have much to do besides act spoiled, bitchy, and asleep in turns.
I can't really say I enjoyed THE GLASS MAN, even though it's a well-made film that managed to hold my interest even when I wanted to bail out. But it's also a pretty unpleasant slog through unrelieved depression, so if you're in the mood for a feelgood popcorn flick you'll probably want to set this one aside for another time.
Runtime: 108 minutes
Format: 1:85 Flat
Sound: Dolby SR
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 4:10 PM
Monday, April 13, 2015
The visually exciting WINDSOR DRIVE (2015) is unlike any film I've seen in quite a while. I don't think I could handle many like it, but on the rare occasion one like it comes along, it's a fulsome and very welcome movie experience.
Tommy O'Reilly has a James Dean intensity as aspiring actor River Miller, who is haunted by the death of his beautiful girlfriend Jordana (Jillian Murray, BAD ASS). Did he kill her? Is that why his head is such a mental disaster area? The bits and pieces we're shown are teasingly unrevealing but we do see enough to understand that River is already off the deep end from his very first close-up.
It doesn't help when he rents a room in the quaint old Hollywood cottage of the equally quaint young couple Wilfric (Kyan DuBois), a slyly enigmatic soul with a pointy waxed moustache, and his shadowy Goth-belle paramour Ivy (Anna Gurji). Both seem to have strange designs on River but we're never sure if they're romantic or simply sick and manipulative.
River's fever-dream flashbacks of Jordana's death (is she the wrapped body we keep seeing him dragging across the floor?) sabotage his later relationships with pathetically-needy Brooke (Samaire Armstrong, IT'S A BOY GIRL THING, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) and unfaithful Ivy, and overshadow his budding love affair with sweet June (Mandy Musgrave), the secretary of a pitiless casting director he's desperately courting for a role.
But how much of this is real, and how much is just a twisted conglomeration of fact and fiction swirling through his fractured psyche? Multi-talented filmmaker Natalie Bible' has a field day directing and editing the timeline of his story in a stream-of-consciousness form that seems to have been cut into pieces and thrown into the air for the viewer to reassemble like a jigsaw puzzle.
Sometimes we'll see something as it happens (usually from someone else's point of view) and then see it replayed as River perceives it, in ways both dreamlike and nightmarish, fueled by guilt, in an endless loop of mocking repetition.
This sort of storytelling is tricky but Bible' manages to both intrigue us and keep us guessing as the pieces tumble haphazardly into place with a free-flowing combination of realism, impressionism, and surrealism, along with whatever else adds to the effect. Rather than the usual narrative it's more like a long musical piece meant to engage our emotions and excite the imagination.
Tommy O'Reilly is excellent as is the rest of the cast in bringing T.R. Gough's challenging script to life. The cinematography is endlessly eye-pleasing. Karsten Shreve's powerful musical score intensifies the film's impact at every turn.
Not everyone will like what the wildly imaginative Natalie Bible' is going for here--it's the kind of off-kilter experience that many movie watchers go out of their way to avoid. But I found WINDSOR DRIVE to be an intensely, immersively cinematic gem, and one of the best screen depictions of madness I've ever seen.
Runtime: 83 minutes
Sound: Dolby SR
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 11:08 PM
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Christoph Waltz has denied rumors about him playing Blofeld in "Spectre," calling the claims "absolutely untrue."
The two-time Oscar winner said it was Internet speculation that had him playing Blofeld and he was adamant that wasn’t the case. "This is absolutely untrue. That rumor started on the Internet and the Internet is a pest. The name of my character is Franz Oberhauser."
Despite his denials, Waltz continues to be linked with playing 007’s greatest nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the cat-stroking, evil genius behind the Spectre global criminal organization. Blofeld is considered by many fans the best Bond villain and has been played in the past by Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas, Max Von Sydow and Charles Gray. Blofeld was also the chief inspiration for Dr. Evil from the "Austin Powers" series.
The "Django Unchanied" star said he did hesitate a little on doing a Bond film, but he was convinced by the quality of the people working on "Spectre." "I did hesitate, yes, I always hesitate. You ask yourself, hang on. What James Bond are we talking about? The thing about "Spectre" is that it’s not the work of hack writers. It does not have a hack director. The actors are not hams. The action sequences in Mexico are extravagant to say the least. The scenes in Austria are traditional Bond action in the snow. These films with Daniel Craig have shifted the tone. They don’t depend on a set formula that forces actors simply to go through the motions."
A respected dramatic actor, Waltz also said he can find artistic fulfillment with Bond films particularly as he has paid his dues earlier in his career. He observed, "A James Bond film can be artistically fulfilling. Absolutely it can. It can be complex and it can be interesting. I consider Bond movies to be an extension of popular theatre. A kind of modern mythology."
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Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 8:38 PM
7 IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER (2012) starts off with a blonde babe being bound and tortured in her kitchen by a psycho in a George Bush mask (Marc Sheffler of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT fame) who proceeds to carve her up with power tools before literally ripping her face off. And with that, the line is effectively drawn between those who say "Cool!" and those who will most likely choose to skip the rest of the picture.
But what first appears as though it's going to be a grueling excursion into torture porn (which I really don't care much for at all) then settles down into a more lightweight stroll through wannabe "Friday the 13th" territory (which I don't care much for either). It seems the opening, which probably used up most of the SPFX budget, was intended to get gorehounds going "ooh" and "ahh" right off the bat and hoping for more. Which they won't get.
What they do get is the story of Madison (Lina Esco), an incorrigible teen whose parents (including an unbilled Stephen Furst, ANIMAL HOUSE's "Flounder" and director Griff Furst's dad) send her to a sort of reform school-slash-summer camp called "Crystal Lake Treatment Center." Here, she is harrassed by the three horny guys who act as guards and terrorized by her fellow juvenile delinquents.
The film makes a limp effort at a "Reform School Girls" vibe with new-girl Madison vs. the bad chicks, while managing to squeeze in some "Porky's"-style T & A when we see the drooling guards peeking at the girls' shower room through a hole in the wall just in time for some softcore lezzie action.
At this point, things have gotten so dull that a little torture porn would be welcome if only to add some variety. After a lengthy stretch of this sort of stuff, with the guards getting more brazen and even the seemingly sympathetic camp administrator (the beautiful Wendy Carter) turning out to be cruel and corrupt, the psycho from the first scene suddenly appears from out of nowhere (still wearing his George Bush mask) to stalk and kill everyone he can get his grubby little hands on.
The subsequent kills, for those keeping score, are disappointingly tame and the suspense is practically non-existent. To make things worse, the film is all over the place technically, with confusing editing, below-par directing, and some of the worst sound ever. (I'm hoping the latter will be fixed on the finished DVD as I'm judging this from a barebones screener.) The only saving grace is a final twist that comes off as pretty nifty compared to everything leading up to it.
The final DVD will be released by Indican Pictures. I don't have any info on extras or other technical features.
I usually go pretty easy on well-meaning zero-budget flicks, but after a strong start 7 IN THE TORTURE CHAMBER goes straight downhill. In its lackluster effort to duplicate the atmosphere of FRIDAY THE 13TH, it manages to make SLEEPAWAY CAMP look like a Hitchcock film.
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 8:07 PM