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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Award winning sound designer Joe Dzuban joins Formosa Group



JOE DZUBAN LATEST TO JOIN
AWARD-WINNING TEAM AT FORMOSA GROUP

2015 Notable Projects Include Crimson Peak and
The Last Witch Hunter


HOLLYWOOD, CA – Formosa Group announced today that Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Designer/Re-recording Mixer Joe Dzuban has joined the award-winning Formosa Features team. 

Dzuban, a multiple Golden Reel Award nominee, has created immersive soundscapes for film projects spanning all genres and budgets including this month’s releases of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and Breck Eisner’s The Last Witch Hunter. Today’s announcement was made by Robert C. Rosenthal, CEO of Formosa Group.

“I’m pleased to be joining the team at Formosa Features,” commented Dzuban.  “Looking forward to working with the talent that has gravitated here and I’m excited about the upcoming projects.”

“Joe is a great addition to Formosa Features and we’re so pleased he’s come on board,” stated Rosenthal.  “His credits span the spectrum and we are fortunate to be able to continue to add to our talented roster of sound artists.”

Dzuban’s impressive roster of feature credits range from action adventure blockbusters to prestigious festival breakouts.  In addition to Crimson Peak (Legendary/Universal) and The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate), past notable releases include James Wan’s Furious 7 (Universal), John R. Leonetti’s Annabelle (New Line/Warner Bros.), Dean Israelite’s Project Almanac (Paramount), Christopher Landon’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount), as well as Wan’s Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 (Blumhouse/FilmDistrict).  Having been in the business of sound for over 15 years, Dzuban has a MFA in Film Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

About Formosa Group
Formosa Group (www.formosagroup.com) is a full service post-production sound company comprised of award-winning industry talent.  With its Features, Music, Interactive and Villa (Commercials) divisions, Formosa Group offers sound supervision, design, editing, re-recording mixing and music editorial for filmmakers and content providers in film, broadcast and other platforms.  It is home to some of the most creative and well-respected sound artists in the entertainment industry today. 



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Friday, October 30, 2015

THE GIFT -- Blu-ray/DVD Review by Porfle



Ever worry about someone from your distant past showing up and ruining your life because of something you did to them?  Or, perhaps, something they only think you did to them because they're nuts?

In Joel Edgerton's dark thriller THE GIFT (2015), this very thing happens to rising young executive Simon (Jason Bateman) and his unsuspecting wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) when Simon's former high school acquaintance Gordo (Edgerton) re-enters his life like a virus.

After they run into him in a department store, Gordo starts showing up at their wonderful new house and infecting their wonderful new lives before they've even settled in after a move from Chicago to southern California.  A bit too needy for friendship and just plain odd in an unsettling kind of way, Gordo keeps imposing on their privacy until Simon deems it necessary to level with him that it's time to "break up" their relationship.


Robyn feels uncomfortable about doing this, as do we.  I myself was dreading such a confrontation from the start since (a) Gordo seems like nothing worse than a well-meaning but socially awkward shlub at first, and (b) if he's really as "off" as Simon suspects, then chances are he isn't going to take rejection very well.

Naturally, the situation escalates (the sequence in which Gordo invites them over to dinner at his house is deliciously awkward) until all of Simon's suspicions about him are confirmed.  Where the troubled man once left pitiful little gifts at their doorstep, he now leaves more ominous and even sinister evidences of his being there.  And when their dog disappears, it's time to call in the police. 

But even at this stage, Robyn continues to give Gordo the benefit of the doubt, as do the dubious cops who find no evidence of wrongdoing.  This is where Simon begins to take more drastic steps to solve the Gordo problem, and things get out of hand.


Meanwhile, Robyn starts to find out some troubling things about Simon himself and the mysterious incident in his past which seems to be coming back to haunt him.  Her discovery that she's pregnant again after a tumultuous miscarriage raises the stakes even higher. And someone's creeping around in the house when she's by herself...

Like Edgar Kennedy in a Laurel and Hardy comedy, THE GIFT does an extended slow burn before things start to sizzle around the halfway mark.  I was even ready to write it off as a well-meaning bore until the story veered off into some interesting directions, while a few wicked plot twists had me relishing each new revelation. 

It's an impressive directorial debut from Joel Edgerton, who also wrote the scintillating screenplay in which he gives himself the juicy character of Gordo to play.  You may remember Edgerton as the young Owen Lars in the second and third STAR WARS prequels as well as such films as OPEN WINDOW and the recent BLACK MASS.  Here, he manages just the right level of "disturbed" to make us wonder whether his character is really guilty as charged or if he himself is actually a victim. 


As Robyn, Rebecca Hall (LAY THE FAVORITE) gains our sympathy with a soulful performance. Jason Bateman (HANCOCK, "Arrested Development") continues to impress by revealing different dimensions of Simon's character which are surprising and sometimes startling.  Writer-director Edgerton places his hapless protagonists in a house with lots of big glass windows at which to throw stones--both figuratively and literally. 

The 2-disc set from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (also available as a single-disc DVD) contains the Blu-ray and DVD plus instructions for a digital HD download.  The film is in 2.40:1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Extras include a director and editor commentary, alternate ending, deleted scenes, trailers, and the featurettes "Karma For Bullies" and "The Darker Side of Jason Bateman."

THE GIFT goes from dark, edgy drama into serious thriller territory with a long-simmering revenge motif reminiscent of OLDBOY, teaching us that not only is karma a bitch, but sometimes it's a really crazy one. 

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with Ultraviolet
DVD


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

"BIKINI MODEL ACADEMY" Starring Gary Busey Gets November Release For New Films International


STRAW WEISMAN’S COMEDY “BIKINI MODEL ACADEMY” STARRING GARY BUSEY GETS NOVEMBER RELEASE FOR NEW FILMS INTERNATIONAL

Film will open theatrically and on VOD November 3rd


LOS ANGELES (October 29, 2015) –– New Films International (NFI) announced today that Straw Weisman’s (“Man of the Year,” “American Beach House”) comedy “Bikini Model Academy” starring Academy Award nominee Gary Busey (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Predator 2”) will be released theatrically in 11 markets and on VOD on November 3rd with a digital rollout to follow.

Golden Globe nominee Morgan Fairchild (“Chuck,” ”Fashion House”) also makes a cameo appearance in the film. Weisman directed from an original screenplay he wrote. Nesim Hason of New Films International produced the project.

When best friends T.J. and Benji both lose their girlfriends, they start a bikini modeling academy to make money and meet girls. With a little help from T.J.’s Uncle Seymour (Gary Busey), the guys begin recruiting pretty girls until their old rival, Grub Snout, tries to shut them down. The only solution? A hot and funny Bikini Pose-Off competition between the two schools. May the hottest team win!


New Films International president Nesim Hason said, “’Bikini Model Academy’ is a rambunctious comedy that we believe audiences will love.”

Weisman directed the film from an original screenplay he wrote. Nesim Hason of New Films International produced the project.

Gary Busey competed in the current season of ABC’s Emmy Award winning dance competition “Dancing with the Stars” with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya. Busey rose to fame in Hollywood when he became an Academy Award nominee for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of Buddy Holly in “The Buddy Holly Story.” His other feature film credits include memorable roles in “The Firm,” “Under Siege,” “Point Break,” “Big Wednesday,” “Straight Time” and “Lethal Weapon.”

Busey is represented by Global Artists Agency and Windsor Artist Management; Fairchild is represented by Greene & Associates Talent Agency and Renaissance Literary & Talent.

About New Films International
Founded in 1996 by Nesim Hason and with Hason’s experience in the business in Europe since 1980, New Films International (NFI) was established as a full service production, sales and financing company based in Los Angeles and is actively engaged in the production, acquisition, and worldwide licensing of theatrical feature films and television series, and boasts an impressive catalogue featuring hundreds of high quality titles in all genres.

In response to emerging digital distribution opportunities, NFI has established direct relationships with each US Cable provider and pioneered a unique partner program where it provides its catalog of films available on digital platforms throughout the world.

The company also distributes and produces scripted television series, such as the internationally successful UNDERCOVER, a 1-Hour Crime Drama from Bulgaria National Television that launched in April 2013 with Sony AXN throughout Latin America (as INFILTRADO). The critically acclaimed Series has sold in over 147 territories around the world. NFI is moving further into production on TV Series, developing local language scripted dramas, telenovelas and reality-shows in Eastern Europe and Latin America as well as setting up shows with U.S. Broadcasters.



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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season" on DVD February 2



The original 1960s series that set the stage for the major feature film this summer is back!

THE AGENTS TRAVEL NEAR AND FAR
TO STOP T.H.R.U.S.H FROM TAKING OVER THE WORLD AS WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

ON DVD FEBRUARY 2, 2016
Features All 30 Episodes in Full Color!


BURBANK, CA (Oct 28, 2015) – The original 1960s series that set the stage for the major feature film this summer is back with the release of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season. During its second season, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was recognized as the Golden Globe winner for Best TV Show and nominated for 10 Emmy Awards.

Led by a star studded cast featuring Leo G. Carrol, David McCallum and Robert Vaughn, the twist and turns continue as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season on DVD February 2, 2016. The 10 disc series includes all 30 one-hour episodes of full-color entertainment.

Top agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, played by actors Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, use their charm, wit, and assortment of gadgets to defend the world from their international syndicate T.H.R.U.S.H. The second season continues with all the excitement from season one, as the agents travel all over the world to take on T.H.R.U.S.H and its axis of evil Allies.

Whether the agents are posing as prison inspectors or obtaining mind-reading devices, the adventures are sure to continue throughout the season. This exciting season also features guest appearances by Jill Ireland, Angela Lansbury, Kevin McCarthy, Vincent Price and George Sanders.

“Warner Brothers is thrilled to be releasing The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season” said Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, Television Marketing. “The second season was an exciting and pivotal point for the series, as it made the switch from being featured in black and white to full-color, and we are pleased to bring the entire season into the homes of fans all over.”


The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season includes 30 1-Hour Episodes in a 10-disc DVD Collection:

Episode Titles:


The Alexander the Greater Affair, Part I
The Alexander the Greater Affair, Part II
The Ultimate Computer Affair
The Foxes and Hounds Affair
The Discotheque Affair
The Re-Collector's Affair
The Arabian Affair
The Tigers are Coming Affair
The Deadly Toys Affair
The Cherry Blossom Affair
The Virtue Affair
The Children's Day Affair
The Adriatic Express Affair
The Yukon Affair
The Very Important Zombie Affair
The Dippy Blonde Affair
The Deadly Goddess Affair
The Birds and the Bees Affair
The Waverly Ring Affair
The Bridge of Lions Affair , Part I
The Bridge of Lions Affair , Part II
The Foreign Legion Affair
The Moonglow Affair
The Nowhere Affair
The King of Diamonds Affair
The Project Deephole Affair
The Round Table Affair
The Bat Cave Affair
The Minus-X Affair
The Indian Affairs Affair


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




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"BANG BANG BABY" With Jane Levy and Justin Chatwin on VOD November 10th



Jane Levy & Justin Chatwin Are Star-Crossed Lovers
In Sci-Fi Musical Bang Bang Baby
Available Nationwide on Cable & Internet VOD November 10

"Both charming and disturbingly sinister" - The Globe and Mail

"Totally bizarre...future cult hit...one of this year's more unique TIFF offerings" - RogerEbert.com

   
Los Angeles, CA -  Random Media is excited to announce Bang Bang Baby will make its long-awaited domestic release on cable and Internet VOD November 10th.  Since the world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, the film has been hailed by critics and audience alike for as a genre bending twist of "American Idol" and the classic horror film The Crazies.  Director Jeffrey St. Jules won Best Canadian First Feature Film Award at TIFF, followed by the Claude Jutra Award at the Canadian Screen Awards.  The CSA honored Justin Chatwin with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Bang Bang Baby stars Jane Levy ("Suburgatory", Monster Trucks, Evil Dead) in a starmaking turn as Stepphy, a small town girl who's caught between her big dreams of stardom and her controlling father, played by Peter Stormare ("Fargo", 22 Jump Street). Justin Chatwin ("Shameless", War of the Worlds, "Orphan Black") plays rock star Bobby Shore who holds the key to making all of Stepphy's dreams come true, and David Reale ("Suits", One Week) plays creepy chemical factory manager Fabian.  Maren Olson of Traction Media negotiated the deal.

Bang Bang Baby will be available across the United States
on all major VOD platforms including:
iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, InDemand, Comcast,
Direct TV, Dish & more


The feature-length debut of director Jeffrey St. Jules, Bang Bang Baby is an otherworldly sci-fi musical about Stepphy, who lives in a sleepy 1960's town with her alcoholic father. Stepphy dreams of escaping to a better life on the stage and screen, and when rock star Bobby Shore's car breaks down in Lonely Arms, it seems her dream might be coming true. But when Stepphy hears that the local chemical factory is leaking dangerous purple fumes that can cause spontaneous human mutations, she becomes obsessed with hiding these dark secrets from Bobby. The ugly reality of Stepphy's world increasingly encroaches on her fantasy of running away and becoming a star with Bobby - leading to an unavoidable clash.


Bang Bang Baby (Official Trailer)

Bang Bang Baby: 90 Minutes / English / 2.35:1 / USA

About Random Media
Random Media is a content company that acquires and distributes films on a worldwide basis through movie theatres, conventional brick and mortar retailers, digital platforms, cable and satellite companies and television networks. Random Media is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Alchemy. Random Media's library includes acclaimed films such as The Motel Life, Escape From Tomorrow, and For Those in Peril.

About Alchemy
Alchemy is the largest independent distributor of film and television content across all platforms and windows in North America. Alchemy develops tailored distribution strategies, 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.  Past successes include Welcome to Me, Fading Gigolo, What Maisie Knew, Rampart and Bernie.  Upcoming releases include Ravi and Geeta Patel's Meet the Patels, Nanni Moretti's Mia Madre, Gaspar Noe's Love, Rob Zombie's 31, and Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster.

Alchemy boasts the independent content industry's preeminent end-to-end supply chain solution for physical and digital distribution. The company is the industry's largest physical distributor outside of the major studios and Lionsgate, representing the majority of non-studio content at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sam's Club and is the leading independent supplier to digital platforms including iTunes, Netflix and VOD.

Alchemy owns a catalog of more than 1,000 film titles and has deals for the ongoing distribution of film titles and programming for clients including DreamWorks Animation, Magnolia, Microsoft, MPI Media, Music Box Films, nCircle, Phase 4 Films, PBS Distribution, Team Marketing, Well Go USA and Vertical, among many others.



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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Michael Mann's "ENZO FERRARI" Starring Christian Bale Funded by Vendian Entertainment and YooZoo Bliss



MICHAEL MANN’S “ENZO FERRARI” STARRING CHRISTIAN BALE FUNDED BY VENDIAN ENTERTAINMENT AND YOOZOO BLISS

Paramount will Release Worldwide Except in Territories
Handled by Vincent Maraval’s Insiders at Upcoming AFM


LOS ANGELES (October 27, 2015) – Paramount will release Academy Award-nominated director Michael Mann’s (HEAT, THE INSIDER, COLLATERAL) ENZO FERRARI, starring Academy Award-winner Christian Bale (DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY, THE FIGHTER, AMERICAN HUSTLE) as Ferrari. It takes place in one pivotal year, 1957.  It is the personal story of a passionate man and his sprawling world, at times hilarious and at the next moment devastating, as he faces a brutal challenge to his survival.

Vendian Entertainment and YooZoo Bliss Film Fund have come on to finance the heavily-anticipated project, which will shoot next summer in Italy. Mann will produce along with Vendian and YooZoo Bliss. YooZoo Pictures also will distribute ENZO FERRARI in China. Vincent Maraval’s Insiders will commence international sales on selected territories at next month’s American Film Market.

ENZO FERRARI was written by Troy Kennedy-Martin (THE ITALIAN JOB, KELLY’S HEROES, EDGE OF DARKNESS), revised by David Rayfiel (THE FIRM, SABRINA) and Michael Mann and based on the Brock Yates book, “Enzo Ferrari, The Man, the Cars, the Races.”  Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents Mann, arranged financing for the film and brokered the distribution deals.  Production partners also include Vittorio Cecchi Gori and Gabrielle Israeliovici.

Vendian Entertainment’s first release was Scott Cooper’s crime drama, BLACK MASS, starring Johnny Depp. Other upcoming films include Garry Ross’ Civil War thriller, THE FREE STATE OF JONES, starring Matthew McConaughey, and Oliver Stone’s biopic SNOWDEN, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Doug Liman’s crime thriller, MENA, starring Tom Cruise.

YooZoo Pictures and Bliss Media recently launched YooZoo Bliss Film Fund as an equity fund designed to finance projects for the global marketplace. In addition, YooZoo Pictures recently acquired the Chinese distribution rights to the Mel Gibson-directed HACKSAW RIDGE, and is in active development on THE DRAGON & THE PHOENIX.

About Vendian Entertainment
Vendian Entertainment is a leading motion picture company that finances and produces studio quality feature films for worldwide distribution. The company is focused on wide release, star and director driven commercial films for a global audience. Vendian is backed by a strong capitalization and represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The company was founded in 2014 and is based in Los Angeles with offices in New York City.

About YooZoo Bliss Film Fund (YZBFF)
Shanghai-based YooZoo Pictures and Bliss Media recently formed YooZoo Bliss Film Fund (YZBFF), a $100 million equity fund designed to finance Chinese co-productions and International films with global appeal. Creative Artists Agency (CAA) advised on the fund’s formation and represents the company on behalf of managing directors, Wei Han and Lin Qi, the founder and chairman of parent company, Youzu Interactive, which is the only electronic gaming company that is publicly traded on the main board of the Shenzhen Stock exchange and has a market cap of nearly $4.5 billion.

Backed by substantial capital, YooZoo Pictures recently set up YooZoo Pictures U.S., which falls under the purview of CEO Wei Han, who is also the founder / President of Bliss Media and based in the Los Angeles headquarters. YZBFF is tasked with creating opportunities for Chinese companies to directly participate in the investment, production and distribution progress of international films, connecting Chinese film industry with the international market.



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Sunday, October 25, 2015

THE HORROR NETWORK -- DVD Review by Porfle



Remember how much fun the anthology horror film CREEPSHOW was?  Well, THE HORROR NETWORK (2013) is an anthology horror film too, and, like CREEPSHOW, it's a pretty good one.  But unlike CREEPSHOW, it isn't fun.  In fact, it doesn't even try to be.  What it does try to do is (a) scare us, and (b) make us uncomfortable.  Which it does, with horror to spare.

Four writers and six directors work together to bring us five stories (one has two co-directors) which I think are meant to be loosely connected somehow (hence, the "network") although I didn't quite keep up with that angle.  I was too busy just being entertained in a perverse way by stuff that shouldn't be entertaining. 

The first story, "3:00 AM", is the scariest.  Right there before the main titles have even crawled by, THE HORROR NETWORK dishes up one of the creepiest short terror films I've ever seen.  It's about a woman staying by herself in a big, isolated farmhouse in the country, waking up at 3:00 AM to strange noises wafting out of the darkness, and then being terrorized by something shadowy that's creeping around outside.


Or is it just her imagination?  This one really plays upon our fear of being in a spooky house in the middle of nowhere late at night, hearing scary noises, and being certain that there's someone or something out there in the dark trying to get in.  It's a short and bitter tale that generates some good old-fashioned fear without jarring us with a bunch of loud noises and jumpscares, although it ends on a doozy of one. 

While I was still shivering over that one, next came "Edward."  This features a troubled young man baring his soul to his psychiatrist on another windy, spooky evening.  Dr. Aleksey must have trouble paying his electric bills since the office is so dark and, frankly, scary.  And so is his patient Hal, who sleepwalks and awakens covered in blood, and doesn't want to go to sleep anymore for fear of what he may do--or what he may turn into.

This one takes more time to build up to what turns out to be a rather horrifying conclusion.  The psychiatrist becomes more and more fearful of his own patient, who seems to harbor a very dark side to his personality that's clawing its way to the surface even as they speak.  When it does, the last thing on Dr. Aleksey's mind is trying to figure out how to bill both sides of Hal's personality seperately.
 

Next, "The Quiet" lightens things up with the bright, sunny tale of Alice, a little deaf girl who gets off the school bus one afternoon to find that her mom isn't there to pick her up.  As she strolls down a rural roadway, an old blue van starts to play cat-and-mouse with her.  Fearing the worst, Alice flees into the woods as the van's driver, a big, scary man in shabby clothes, gets out and slogs after her.

It's a tense little vignette without much of a storyline, making us nervous for Alice but not really leading up to much.  Alice's deafness isn't even exploited as I thought it might be with some creative sound design or something.  After two chillers, "The Quiet" is more of a filler.

But then there's "Merry Little Christmas."  So far THE HORROR NETWORK has been trying to scare us, but now, with the story of a mother terrorized by a violently psychotic spouse while their mentally-disturbed daughter looks on, we're dragged through a gauntlet of jagged, bristling pain that's as starkly nightmarish as anything I've seen in a while.


If you suffer from sympathy pains you'll really recoil at most of this sadistic little hurtfest.  Self-slashings, brutal razor attacks, and a rape scene that outdoes I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE are just part of the bill of fare here.  What really freaked me out, though, was a "pain" sequence that goes beyond the "flesh ripped out by hooks" scenes in HELLRAISER while conjuring up some freakish imagery that's downright insane. 

Finally, "The Deviant One" just flat-out wants to flabbergast the hell out of us by living up to its title 100%, and pretty much does.  Simply put, it's kind of like what might happen if Jeffrey Dahmer was a big, fat guy with a crewcut who lures his neighbor, an unsuspecting hippie-type dude with long hair, into his house for a little R & R (just think of two things that begin with "R" and are really horrible, including "rape.")  You may not want to watch this one with your mom.

What really links these stories together isn't some amorphous "network" but taut direction and writing, with a sure instinct for what either scares or disturbs us on a basic level.  Most of it is artfully photographed ("The Deviant" reminded me of one of those atmospheric black-and-white short films Shane Ryan used to make) and makes good use of mood and imagery to manipulate our emotions.  Not to mention just plain grossing us out and/or making our collective jaws drop.


The DVD from Wildeye Releasing is in widescreen with 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  Bonus features include a trailer, a photo gallery, and an extended cut of "The Deviant One" that's even more deviant.

Lean, taut, and to the point, THE HORROR NETWORK is a shuddery spookhouse ride through some very dark territory, with no funny horror host or comedy relief to take the edge off.  It's like CREEPSHOW's evil twin. 

Buy it at Amazon.com



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SON OF KONG -- Movie Review by Porfle



(Caution: the last couple of paragraphs contain spoilers.)

I watched SON OF KONG (1933) again last night, and this toned-down sequel affected me just the same as ever. Most of the ingredients of KING KONG are there, but mixed together in such a different way as to explore whole new areas of cinematic enchantment.

The opening titles are reminiscent of KONG at first, but then they go into a cast montage and the music shifts dramatically to the jaunty but melancholy "Runaway Blues", and darned if that alone doesn't make me start to get misty-eyed. 

The stop-motion creatures are great as usual (although with little participation from special effects wizard Willis O'Brien, who was disillusioned with the project), and there's an exciting climax which anyone who saw this as a kid should vividly recall.


After the disaster of Kong's opening night in New York, showman Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is forced to flee lawsuits and creditors by going into the shipping business with Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher) in the South Seas. 

Along the way he meets a sweet young woman named Hilda (Helen Mack), loses his ship to mutineers, and ends up back on Skull Island, where he and the rest encounter a baby Kong who protects them from danger as they search for a fabled island treasure. 

There's considerably less tension in this laidback sequel--the nightmare of KONG is over, and despite the hardships it caused this seems to have been cathartic for Denham as a person. He's no longer so manic and driven, content now to be Englehorn's business partner, and can enjoy little things in life like a two-bit tent show with dancing monkeys and an adorable young girl playing the ukelele.


The romance between Denham and Helen Mack's plucky, lovable Hilda is low-key and very sweet, more so because of the recurring "Runaway Blues" theme. The trip to the island and their adventures on it aren't dark and heavy as in the previous film, but KONG had already been done. Rather than trying to do it over again or continue its nightmarish tone, SON OF KONG gives us a fairytale ending.

It's not as much a sequel as it is a prolonged denouement--a long sigh of relief after the horrors that ended when Kong hit the pavement. All the sexual tension and Freudian complexities of KING KONG have been resolved, leaving Denham free to lead a simpler life with Hilda and, we assume, a happy ending. 

And then, of course there's little Kong (known by many as "Kiko") himself.  Some viewers fault the film for being too comedic, and indeed, this 12-foot albino ape is quite the clown.  Still, his interactions with Denham and Hilda are fascinating to watch, as are several furious battles between him and a variety of giant island creatures.  While rushed into production the same year as its predecessor, SON OF KONG still boasts some amazing special effects.


The grand finale is a terrifying earthquake which threatens to destroy the island, with Denham, Hilda, and Englehorn scrambling to escape in a rickety rowboat.  In the film's most heartbreaking moment, little Kong's foot is caught in a crevice as the island begins to sink beneath the waves, and as he wails in distress you can clearly make out the words: "Mom-my!  Mom-my!" 

Seeing Denham and Hilda at the rail of a rescue ship in their robes, as it begins to sink in that they're really in love and "Runaway Blues" creeps in one last time, still plucks the old heartstrings.  (It's here that Denham the "no funny business" mug finally cracks up and goes sappy.)  More than anything, SON OF KONG is, to me, a lovely fairytale adventure that gets a little more magical every time I see it.

Read our review of KING KONG

"The Runaway Blues": A Tribute to Max Steiner and Son of Kong



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Friday, October 23, 2015

"Caesar & Otto's Paranormal Halloween" Conjures New Clip Ahead of DVD Release



Caesar & Otto's Paranormal Halloween

Latest Saga of Horror's Unluckiest Half-Brothers

Releases New Clip For October 27th DVD and VOD Release


New York, NY - Caesar & Otto are back with their latest cinematic misadventure.  In anticipation of the Halloween DVD release, the hapless half-brothers have debuted a new clip featuring B-movie legend Brinke Stevens (Nightmare Sisters, Teenage Exorcist) in a nod to The Shining.  Written and directed by Dave Campfield (Caesar), Paranormal Halloween stars cult icons Stevens, Tiffany Shepis, Vernon Wells, Felissa Rose, Deron Miller, Sean Whalen, Andre Gower and Debbie Rochon.

These heroes of the low-budget silver screen join Campfield, Paul Chomicki (Otto), Ken MacFarlane, Samantha Barrios, Avi Garg and Shawn C. Phillips in a hilarious homage to Insidious, The Conjuring, Amityville Horror, Sinister, Paranormal Activity and more.   

It's Halloween Eve and Caesar and Otto find themselves housesitting for the world's most unpopular Governor, Jerry Grayson (MacFarlane). But after a series of ghostly visions, strange phenomenon and a demonic possession, the half-brothers call upon renowned exorcist Father Jason Stieger to help put a stop to this new nightmare. But in this house, nothing is what it seems and everyone is fair game for the mysterious forces at work. 

The DVD release of Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween will exclusively include two feature length commentaries with director Dave Campfield, cast and crew, The Son of Piggyzilla shorts trilogy, a tribute to Robert Z'Dar, trailers and other videos.

CLIP: Brinke Stevens in Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween

Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween (Official Trailer)





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"OUTATIME: SAVING THE DELOREAN TIME MACHINE" World Premiere Screening Sat. Oct. 24th



OUTATIME: SAVING THE DELOREAN TIME MACHINE

Feature-Length World Premiere Special Screening and Q&A

At Hollywood’s United Methodist Church

(Site of “Enchantment Under The Sea Dance”)


WHAT:       Get ready to set your Flux Capacitors to 1985 when  the OUTATIME: SAVING THE DELOREAN TIME MACHINE feature-length documentary has its world premiere screening this Saturday at the historic Hollywood Methodist Church. As part of the 5-day marathon "We're Going Back" 30th Anniversary Fan celebration, the screening takes place where the iconic “Enchantment Under The Sea” dance sequence from Back To the Future was filmed! After the screening, which is open to the public, filmmakers will participate in a Q&A with the audience.

Currently available as a featurette on the “Back to the Future 30th Anniversary” Blu-ray set from Universal Studios HomeEntertainment, this is the first public screening of the full, feature-length version. Check out OUTATIMEmovie.com to watch the trailer and more information, including pre-ordering the feature-length documentary.
              
WHEN:      Saturday, October 24, 2015

                   9:30am

                                    
WHERE:    United Methodist  Church

                   6817 Franklin Avenue

                   Hollywood, CA 90028

                 
GUESTS:  Executive Producer/Director Steve Concotelli;

                   Restoration Supervisor Joe Walser;

                   Members of the Time Machine Restoration Team


DETAILS:  Witness the Epic Rebirth of a Cultural Icon! “OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine” chronicles the efforts of BTTF co-creator Bob Gale, Universal Studios, and the film’s dedicated fan community as they work together to bring the original Time Machine back to life. Working closely with the Time Machine Restoration Team, Executive Producer Steve Concotelli was granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access for the multi-year restoration. Joe Walser (Head of the Restoration) and his team of experts had one singular goal – restore the car with 100% accuracy. Every bolt. Every detail. Exactly like it was in the movie.



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"PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES" Trailer and Pics!



A zombie outbreak has fallen upon the land in this reimagining of Jane Austen's classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) is a master of martial arts and weaponry and the handsome Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) is a fierce zombie killer, yet the epitome of upper class prejudice. As the zombie outbreak intensifies, they must swallow their pride and join forces on the blood-soaked battlefield in order to conquer the undead once and for all.

Genre: Action Horror
Release: February 5, 2016

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Enter the #HalloweenOriginal Contest and Don’t Miss the Theatrical Event on 10/29!



Halloween Comes Two Days Early this Year With the Return of ‘John Carpenter’s Original Halloween’  in Cinemas October 29 

Fathom Events and SpectiCast Present the Haunting Story of Michael Myers in Select U.S. Theaters for a One-Night Event That is Sure to Scare 


DENVER – September 30, 2015 – The horror classic “John Carpenter’s Original Halloween” (1978) is returning to the big screen for a special one-night event on Thursday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. local time. Fathom Events, in partnership with SpectiCast, will present this fan favorite in its entirety with an exclusive introduction by John Carpenter, providing insights on “Halloween” and how it has forever changed the horror genre in Hollywood.

Tickets for “John Carpenter’s Original Halloween” can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com, or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

"We are very excited to work with SpectiCast and Fathom this year to bring John Carpenter's timeless classic, Halloween, back to the big screen," said Trancus International Films CEO Malek Akkad.


John Carpenter’s “Halloween” premiered on October 25th, 1978, in Kansas City, Missouri. After performing successfully in the Midwest, it then moved on to Chicago and New York. From there, it had a platform release across the country, playing in cities all across the U.S.
 
Over 35 years later, the movie has made its money back more than 200 times, making it one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time, just behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Blair Witch Project. The movie is based around the story of Michael Myers who, at age 6, brutally murdered his sister on a cold Halloween night in 1963. After spending 15 years in a mental hospital, he escapes and returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, with a plan to kill.

“This movie is well deserving of another play on the big screen,” said Fathom Events CEO John Rubey. “We cannot wait for audiences to experience this twisted tale in theaters for Halloween.” 

CONTEST LINK



About Fathom Events

Fathom Events is the recognized leader in the alternative entertainment industry, offering a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events in movie theaters nationwide that include live, high-definition performances of the Metropolitan Opera, the performing arts, major sporting events, music concerts, comedy series, Broadway shows, original programming featuring entertainment’s biggest stars, socially relevant documentaries with audience Q&A and much more. Fathom Events takes audiences behind-the-scenes and offers unique extras, creating the ultimate entertainment experience. It is owned by a consortium called AC JV, LLC., comprised of AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), the three largest movie theater circuits in the United States. In addition, Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live events to 820 locations in 177 Designated Market Areas® (including all of the top 50). For more information, visit www.fathomevents.com

About SpectiCast

SpectiCast is the fastest growing event cinema marketing and distribution company in the world, providing specialty film programs, cultural arts events, contemporary music programs, and other alternative content to over 2,000 theatrical and non-theatrical venues in 47 countries around the globe.  SpectiCast provides content rights holders with turnkey access to theatrical and all downstream digital platforms including DVD, VOD and TV and distributes programs from some of the world’s most prestigious cultural arts organizations including the Strafford Festival, Opera de Paris, The Salzburg Festival, The Paris Opera Ballet, the Mariinsky Theatre, the British Museum, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

SpectiCast is a privately owned and operated firm based in Philadelphia, PA. www.specticast.com 

About Trancus International Films & Compass International Pictures

Trancas International Films, along with its subsidiary, Compass International Pictures, has been involved with the production of every film in the "Halloween" franchise. Based primarily in Los Angeles, California, but operating world-wide, Trancas and Compass consistently strives to deliver Halloween and Michael Myers to the fans in the best possible way.


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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

OLD 37 -- DVD Review by Porfle



Two horror heavyweights join sinister forces in OLD 37 (2015), a throwback to the better 80s slasher films which, for once, has all the two-fisted punching power of the old contenders. 

Kane Hodder (FRIDAY THE 13TH series, HACK!, CHILLERAMA, MUCK, B.T.K., LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS) and Bill Moseley (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2) command our attention as Jon Roy and Darryl, very psychotic and dysfunctional brothers who have taken over their equally loony dad's hobby of showing up in an ambulance ("Old 37") at auto accidents on lonely, remote roads, and then subjecting the bloody victims to their homicidal hijinks. 

Hodder's size and intensity are, as always, great assets in his creation of yet another very imposing maniac, again wearing a mask to hide his disfigured face.  We learn the shocking details of how he got that way in one of several disturbing flashbacks which add depth to the characters and clue us in to why this family is so messed up.

Moseley, meanwhile, goes all out yet again to portray a convincing madman capable of any horrific act, even if it's directed against members of his own family.


After our introduction to this murderous pair, the film then veers off into teen movie territory when we meet a group of overaged high schoolers with all the usual inner conflicts and romantic complications.  There's good girl Amy (Caitlin Harris), who wants to be more like bad girl Brooke (Olivia Alexander) in order to get the attention of handsome boy Jason (Maxwell Zagorski), even to the point of dyeing her hair blonde and convincing her mom Mary (Sascha Knopf, HE WAS A QUIET MAN, SHALLOW HAL) to let her get a boob job.

Trouble is, now Amy looks so much like Brooke that when Darryl sees her, he's convinced she's the same girl he saw in the car that ran down his and Jon Roy's mom one fateful day.  (Shades of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER.)  This leads to a carnage-packed finale with Amy and her hapless friends suffering the effects of a full-scale homicidal rampage courtesy of the bloodthirsty faux paramedics of Old 37. 

Much of the film plays like a non-horror teen movie, and a good one at that--their story is actually kind of interesting rather than simply being an excuse to set up cardboard stereotypes as victims.  The fact that we become so invested with these characters makes the horror stuff hit even harder when it finally kicks in, especially when the script starts throwing some wicked surprises our way. 


Some of the early scenes play on our fears of auto mishaps (some of the wilder teens like to indulge in reckless road games) as well as meeting up with the wrong kind of people on lonely highways.  Sharp, punchy editing and ear-bending sound design keep us feeling jumpy, while the direction is confident and imbued with loads of style. 

This is, in fact, one of the most cinematic and visually stylish slasher flicks I've seen in a while, so I can't understand why whoever directed it decided to go by the infamous nom de plume "Alan Smithee."

The film certainly accomplishes everything it sets out to do in harrowing fashion.  Hard-hitting and unapologetic, it bombards us with short bursts of meat-grinder violence without having to descend into torture porn.  Best of all, it gives us characters that are developed enough to make us care about what happens to them instead of simply cheering their flamboyantly bloody demise.  (Even bitchy Brooke gets her brief moment of audience empathy.)


The DVD from Epic Pictures is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  No subtitles, but closed captions are available.  Extras consist of a fun commentary track with producer/writer Paul Travers and composer Darius Holbert (a couple of cut-ups), storyboard-to-scene comparisons, and cast and crew interviews (including Miley's half-sister, Brandi Cyrus).

The severely twisted OLD 37 reminded me of one of those grim, "feel-bad" slasher flicks of the 80s that were more disturbing than amusing (like HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE or SILENT SCREAM).  And not only is it one of the best homages to the 80s to come out in this century, but this time the writers have actually come up with a way to work cell phones into the story without having to ignore them or pull the old "I can't get a signal" card.

Buy it at Amazon.com



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"SPECTRE" Theme Song by Sam Smith -- Latest James Bond 007 SPECTRE Vlog



Focusing on "Writing's On The Wall," singer/songwriter Sam Smith's theme song for the film, the vlog features comments from Sam Smith, director Sam Mendes, and producer Barbara Broccoli.


video


SPECTRE
Action Adventure
November 6, 2015

MGM
Columbia Pictures


A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal.  Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. 

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond's actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

Directed by:
Sam Mendes

Written by:
John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade

Produced by:
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli 

Cast: 
Daniel Craig 
Christoph Waltz
Léa Seydoux
Naomie Harris
Ben Whishaw
David Bautista
with Monica Bellucci
and Ralph Fiennes as "M"

This film is not yet rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.  For future rating information, please visit www.filmratings.com.  Credits not final.

Genre: Action Adventure
Release: November 6, 2015

SPECTRE © 2015 Danjaq, MGM, CPII. SPECTRE,  and related
James Bond Trademarks, TM Danjaq. All Rights Reserved.



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Monday, October 19, 2015

"American Beach House" Hits the Beach October 20th



STRAW WEISMAN'S COMEDY "AMERICAN BEACH HOUSE" GETS OCTOBER RELEASE FOR THE NEW FILMS INTENATIONAL

Film will open theatrically and on VOD October 20th


LOS ANGELES (October 16, 2015) –– New Films International (NFI) announced today that Straw Weisman’s (“Man of the Year,” “Bikini Model Academy”) comedy “American Beach House” starring Mischa Barton (“The O.C.,” “Hope Lost”), Martin Belmada, Lorenzo Lamas (“Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!,” “The Bold and the Beautiful”) and Jena Sims (“Last Vegas,” “Kill the Messenger”) will be released theatrically in 11 markets and on VOD on October 20th with a digital rollout to follow.

A riotous exploration of what happens when six lucky strangers (three handsome guys and three beautiful girls) win an all-expense paid trip to an amazing beach house in glamorous Malibu, California only to discover they have to share it with each other.

New Films International president Nesim Hason said, “We are happy to add this fun, raunchy comedy to the New Films International slate. Lorenzo Lamas’ comedic timing paired with Mischa Barton’s charm rounds out this talented ensemble cast.”


Weisman directed the film from an original screenplay he wrote. Nesim Hason of New Films International produced the project. Executive producers include Sukru Avsar, Eduardo Brandariz and Sezin Hason.

Barton is represented by Agency for the Performing Arts and LINK Entertainment; Belmada is represented by Prestige Talent Agency; Sims is represented by People Store and Advanced Management.


Watch the trailer

About New Films International
Founded in 1996 by Nesim Hason and with Hason’s experience in the business in Europe since 1980, New Films International (NFI) was established as a full service production, sales and financing company based in Los Angeles and is actively engaged in the production, acquisition, and worldwide licensing of theatrical feature films and television series, and boasts an impressive catalogue featuring hundreds of high quality titles in all genres.

In response to emerging digital distribution opportunities, NFI has established direct relationships with each US Cable provider and pioneered a unique partner program where it provides its catalog of films available on digital platforms throughout the world.

The company also distributes and produces scripted television series, such as the internationally successful UNDERCOVER, a 1-Hour Crime Drama from Bulgaria National Television that launched in April 2013 with Sony AXN throughout Latin America (as INFILTRADO). The critically acclaimed Series has sold in over 147 territories around the world. NFI is moving further into production on TV Series, developing local language scripted dramas, telenovelas and reality-shows in Eastern Europe and Latin America as well as setting up shows with U.S. Broadcasters.


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Vampires, Zombies, and Aliens, Oh My! -- "Freaks of Nature" Hits Theaters October 30 From Sony



SONY PICTURES’ HORROR/COMEDY “FREAKS OF NATURE”

COMES TO SELECT THEATERS OCTOBER 30


CULVER CITY, Calif., October 16, 2015 – On Friday, October 30, moviegoers across the country will have to take on zombies, vampires, aliens, and more as they get their first chance to see Sony Pictures Entertainment’s hilarious horror/comedy Freaks of Nature in a special engagement.

In Freaks of Nature, we welcome you to Dillford, where three days ago, everything was peaceful and business as usual: the vampires were at the top of the social order, the zombies were at the bottom, and the humans were getting along in the middle.  But this delicate balance was ripped apart when the alien apocalypse arrived in Dillford and put an end to all the harmony.

Now it's humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out, blood-sucking, brain-eating, vamp-staking mortal combat – and all of them are on the run from the aliens.  It is up to three teenagers – one human, one vampire, and one zombie – to team up, figure out how to get rid of the interplanetary visitors, and try to restore order to this “normal” little town.

Commenting on the announcement, Matt Tolmach, the film’s producer, said, “I’m so excited for audiences to experience Freaks of Nature.  We're so proud of this amazing cast -- Nic, Mackenzie, and Josh, along with Denis Leary, Bob Odenkirk, Keegan-Michael Key, Ed Westwick, Vanessa Hudgens, Patton Oswalt, and Ian Roberts.  It's hilarious and terrifying -- a perfect Halloween movie."

Freaks of Nature is directed by Robbie Pickering, written by Oren Uziel, and produced by Matt Tolmach, and stars Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis (who can be seen on screen in the hit film The Martian), and Josh Fadem.

For more information, visit Facebook.com/FreaksOfNatureMovie.

Watch the Red Band Trailer

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.



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Sunday, October 18, 2015

LOVELESS IN LOS ANGELES -- Movie Review by Porfle



(NOTE: This review originally appeared online in 2007.)

LOVELESS IN LOS ANGELES (2007) is a spoof of romantic comedies, as the title suggests. (I'll let you guess which particular film it's referencing.) The main character, Dave (Dash Mihok, THE PERFECT STORM, HOLLYWOODLAND), describes himself in the opening voiceover as "an asshole", which is a good sign since assholes can be pretty funny in comedies.

 But he wasn't always one; ten years ago, while attending college, he was a really nice guy. That's when he fell hopelessly in love with the beautiful Kelly (JOE DIRT's dream babe, Brittany Daniel) and was crushed when he found out she had a boyfriend. Biding his time while playing "the friend" for three years, Dave was re-crushed when Kelly announced her engagement.

This drove him to Los Angeles, where he became co-producer of a sleazy reality dating show called "Double Date" in which the participants are encouraged to act like wild dogs in heat for the camera. And, in the pursuit of loveless and joyless sex on the soul-deadening L.A. dating scene during the course of the next seven years, he also became--an asshole.


 Fast forward to the present, when Dave runs into Kelly again. She's an actress now, looking for work in L.A. She's also divorced, which makes the little gears in Dave's head turn round and round. This would be the perfect chance to try and win her love at last--if only he were still the nice guy he was when she knew him before. But he isn't--he's an asshole! Oh, cruel fate!

Then, after the bar-and-bed-hopping, love-'em-and-leave-'em lifestyle begins to lose its luster for him, Dave's only chance to make it with Kelly is to beg her to help him revert back to Mr. Nice Guy again.

 The real conflict begins when Dave's evil, heartless-bitch partner, Gwen (Navi Rawat, "The O.C.") tricks Kelly into appearing on "Double Date" and then spikes her drink, causing Kelly to turn into a boob-flashing, chunk-hurling poster child for Girls Gone Really Wild. Dave is aghast when he sees the tape the next day and tries to have the episode deep-sixed, but with sweeps coming up, his malaprop-spewing boss Jon (Stephen Tobolowsky, MEMENTO'S "Sammy Jenkis") won't hear of it. So Dave and his friends must make a nocturnal commando raid on the studio and replace the tape before it's too late.


 All of this sounds potentially rather raucous, but LOVELESS IN LOS ANGELES is a pretty low-key comedy. The jokes are plentiful, and they're great; they just don't get in your face like a fat, screaming comedian with spittle flying out of his mouth. It's hard to believe this is Dash Mihok's first starring role in a comedy--he's so deadpan funny, whether giving Kelly a play-by-play of the familiar dating rituals occurring around them in a restaurant, or demonstrating why it's better to insult a beautiful woman in a bar rather than compliment her. Watching Dave apply his cold, calculated pickup techniques to various unsuspecting women (some richly deserving of it, some not) is extremely amusing.

 As Kelly, Brittany Daniel shows a real knack for acting convincingly dramatic within a comedy setting--she's a very skilled actress who can play straight to the wackier characters and still be funny herself. Plus, she's awesomely hot, but in an accessible way. The smokin' Navi Rawat, on the other hand, would make a really awesome dominatrix and I wouldn't mind licking her boots while she gave me a good, hard spanking. (Did I just say that?)

On the "male actor in a supporting role" front, there's the very funny Geoffrey Arend as Dave's roommate Ryan, James Lesure as ladies' man Clint, and Chris Coppola as the rotund, snack-scarfing film editor, Freddie.

 One of the things this movie does best is to turn cliches on their heads. The characters somehow seem to know they're in a romantic comedy movie (at one point, Dave stops doing his voiceover because he hates voiceovers), so they expect certain things to happen in certain established ways, and when they don't, it baffles them. A good example of this comes near the end when Dave gets a phone call telling him that Kelly is on her way to the airport to fly out of his life forever.


He knows that this is his big "I've gotta race there and stop her!" moment, just like we've seen in so many other movies, and an emotional rock song begins to swell in the background as he sprints purposefully toward the front door. But when he pulls it open, he finds her already standing there, about to knock. The music cuts short. He's happy to see her, of course, but shocked that his big dramatic scene has been aborted.

 The DVD features a good commentary track with Mihok and writer-director Archie Gips (who was actually a longtime senior segment producer on the TV series "Blind Date"), plus a bunch of bloopers and deleted scenes that are essential viewing if you liked the movie. They contain extensions of scenes that appear in the movie plus some new ones that should have. [NOTE: Not sure what extras the current DVD editions of LOVELESS IN LOS ANGELES may have, if any.]

The original script apparently had the characters breaking the fourth wall a lot more, which is especially funny when Dave gets into a heated argument with his own voiceover after it calls him a "dick." But even with all this good stuff cut out and stuffed into the bonus menu, LOVELESS IN LOS ANGELES is a delightfully amusing movie that you should check out, whether you're an asshole yourself or you just like to laugh at them.



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Saturday, October 17, 2015

KENNY -- Movie Review by Porfle



(NOTE: This review originally appeared online in 2008.)

KENNY (2006) is an Australian mockumentary about an average shlub named Kenny (Shane Jacobson) who works for a company called "Splashdown" that supplies and maintains porta-johns for various public events.

Kenny explains to us all the ins and outs of the business as he goes about his job, while dealing with various elements of his personal life which include a hostile ex-wife, a disaffected young son, a grumpy old man, and a brother who doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Through it all, Kenny keeps his spirits up and tries to find satisfaction in the little moments of happiness that life holds in store.

It's interesting to discover some of the logistics involved in making sure that hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people have a place to do their business. When talking to prospective clients over the phone, Kenny asks if alcohol will be served at the event (which raises the liquid-to-solid waste ratio considerably) and what kinds of food will be available--especially curry.


When he isn't working, we see him taking his son to visit his elderly father, who constantly expresses disappointment in his line of work. Much of the middle section of the film details Kenny's trip to Nashville to attend a big waste expo, where he has a brief, platonic fling with an Australian stewardess he met on the plane.

Most mockumentaries I've seen had some semblance of a story, but KENNY doesn't bother to tell much of one. As a character study, it's pretty interesting, and Shane Jacobson is about the best choice imaginable to play this character.

Despite lots of wisecracking dialogue and a few feeble attempts at broad humor, there's not much to laugh at here--in fact, I'm at a loss to discern what some of the critics have found to be so "hilarious" about this film. It's really not much funnier than a real documentary on the subject would've been.


There's a good deal of pathos, since Kenny's basically a nice, well-meaning guy who's doing the best he can while trying to navigate through his strained personal relationships and other setbacks. Although he does achieve some progress in getting along with his father and son, most of the storylines don't really go anywhere, and we're left simply watching the guy going about his life for awhile.

Even the Nashville scenes consist mainly of Kenny wandering wide-eyed through a maze of futuristic toilet technology or stupidly not getting anywhere with the stewardess who clearly wants to make whoopee with him. At the end, he gets some waste-related revenge against a stranger who irritates him, but this isn't much of a personal victory or a laugh-provoking finale.

The extras include some mainly dull deleted scenes, a trailer, and a commentary with the director and star. I tried to listen to it, but not only was Shane's heavy Australian accent doing me in, but he sounded drunk, so I might as well have been listening to my washing machine chugging its way through a heavy load.  [NOTE: Not sure what extras the current DVD editions of KENNY may have, if any.]


The Jacobson brothers (director Clayton and star Shane, plus brother Jesse and dad Ronald) have put together a mildly-amusing and fairly diverting slice-of-life story about a professional porta-john purveyor. But there's no build-up to sustain interest and no real catharsis, and at the end I just didn't feel much about it one way or the other. There aren't even very many really good poop jokes, or much in the way of jokes at all. Considering the subject matter, I guess I should commend the makers of KENNY for their subtlety and restraint, but come on--it's a movie about toilet humor. Where's Larry the Cable Guy when you really need him?



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