HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Digimon Film to Release in US Nationwide



ELEVEN ARTS AND TOEI ANIMATION ANNOUNCE US RELEASE OF FIRST ENGLISH LANGUAGE VERSION of internationally acclaimed anime film “DIGIMON Adventure tri. – Chapter 1: Reunion”

SPECIAL ONE-NIGHT FATHOM EVENTS SCREENING AND MULTI-CITY THEATRICAL RELEASE PLANNED NATIONWIDE.


Los Angeles – June 29, 2016 – Leading Los Angeles based Film Distribution Company ELEVEN ARTS and Toei Animation announced today that they will release the English language version of internationally acclaimed anime film Digimon Adventure tri. – Chapter 1: Reunion.

ELEVEN ARTS and Toei Animation plan a one-night Fathom Events screening in 300+ US movie theaters on September 15, 2016, followed by a traditional multi-city national theatrical release in major cities.

Digimon Adventure tri. (デジモンアドベンチャーtri) is a Japanese action-adventure anime film series produced by Toei Animation.

Digimon Adventure tri. – Chapter 1: Reunion is the first English language feature film in the wildly popular series, which has not yet been released to American audiences. This release marks the first DIGIMON English film to be released in the US since 2000 and has delighted audiences in its native Japan.

It's been six years since the summer adventure when Tai (now in high school) and the rest of the DigiDestined crossed over to the Digital World and nearly three years since frenzied final battles between warring factions. With the gate to the Digital World closed, time continues to pass, until the adventure Digivolves once again.

“We are extremely proud to announce our first time partnership with Toei Animaton. We have been huge fans of Toei and the Digimon series for years, and are thrilled to participate in the release of this true hallmark of Japanese Anime. We cannot wait to share a theatrical experience that will be sure to satisfy audiences across North America,” said ELEVEN ARTS CEO, Ko Mori.

“We are excited to partner with ELEVEN ARTS to share this exciting title with audiences across the U.S.,” said Masayuki Endo, President of Toei Animation Inc. “American viewers have been eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the Digimon saga for nearly sixteen years, and we’re delighted to have produced this English language version for theaters, giving it the cinematic treatment our fans deserve.”

ABOUT ELEVEN ARTS

ELEVEN ARTS is a Los Angeles based film production/distribution company known for distributing high quality Japanese films, live-action and animation, to North American audiences. ELEVEN ARTS’s major live-action titles include: Japan Academy Awards winner Memories of Tomorrow (starring Ken Watanabe) and Oscar nominated director Yoji Yamada’s samurai film Love and Honor. ELEVEN ARTS' anime titles include: the Evangelion franchise, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise, Blue Exorcist: The Movie, Expelled from Paradise, The Last: Naruto the Movie, Boruto: Naruto the Movie, and The Anthem of the Heart.

For additional information, visit: www.elevenarts.net

https://www.facebook.com/elevenarts/

https://twitter.com/ELEVEN_ARTS

https://www.instagram.com/eleven_arts/

About Toei Animation Inc.

Based in Los Angeles, Toei Animation Inc. is responsible for the program licensing of Toei-produced series to North America, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Toei’s Los Angeles office also handles all categories of consumer product licensing based on its film and television properties within these territories.

For more information, please visit www.toei-animation-usa.com

FATHOM EVENTS
 
Fathom Events is recognized as the leading domestic distributor of event cinema, and ranks as one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) (known collectively as AC JV, LLC), Fathom Events offers a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events and unique extras that take audiences behind the scenes for the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America. www.FathomEvents.com



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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bliss Media To Produce and Finance Christophe Gans’ “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”



Bliss Media To Produce and Finance Christophe Gans’

“20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”

Wild Bunch, TF1 and Pathé Confirmed as Partners


SHANGHAI (June 27, 2016) – Bliss Media announced that it will produce and finance 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which they will also release in China. Christophe Gans (Beauty and the Beast, Silent Hill, Brotherhood of the Wolf) will direct the sci-fi adventure feature, adapted from the Jules Verne novel. Pre-production will commence this fall.

Bliss CEO Wei Han will produce alongside Eskwad’s Richard Grandpierre and Frédéric Doniguian, with Wild Bunch, TF1 and Pathé also on board to co-produce and distribute.

This is the first large-scale, big-screen adaptation of the book since the 1950s. The film, whose script will be co-developed with Bliss Media, will move Verne’s narrative to a Chinese setting, and concept art indicated a fin de siècle, East-meets-West visual aesthetic.

Gans visited different locations in the Shanghai area during the Shanghai International Film Festival, and is hoping to cast two Chinese actors to play lead roles in the movies. At Friday’s conference, Director Gans spoke of both his and Jules Verne’s long-standing fascination with China.

Most recently at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Bliss Media announced that they have partnered with Orlando Bloom on the formation of a joint production company, BlissBloom Productions. The new venture’s first project S.M.A.R.T. Chase: Fire & Earth will be directed by Julien Seri with Bloom attached to star.

In addition to 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and S.M.A.R.T Chase: Fire and Earth, Bliss is also developing Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari, has recently financed and executive produced Pablo Larraín’s Jackie starring Natalie Portman, and acquired the Chinese distribution rights to Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield.

The company also owns a stake in Insiders, alongside Wild Bunch and Cine France and launched the Yoozoo Bliss Film Fund (YZBFF), a $100 million equity fund designed to finance ten international productions and Chinese co-productions over five-years.

About Bliss Media (熙颐影业)

With offices in Shanghai and Los Angeles, Bliss Media Ltd. is a production and distribution company tasked with creating opportunities for Chinese companies to directly participate in the investment, production and distribution of international films, connecting the Chinese film industry with the international market.


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MovieZoot Launches 2 Sophia Loren Hits



Moviezoot.com Launches 2 Sophia Loren Hits

Sophia Loren's dramatic talent and comedic timing exhibited in 60's collaborations with Ponte and De Sica


New York, NY ... M&M Television, Inc. and MovieZoot.com announces the addition of two early Sophia Loren films exhibiting the star's destiny for longevity as original Italian sex-goddess.

The theatrical icon of both comedies and tragedies, the talented and beautiful Sophia Loren shines in this two-movie retrospective streaming for free on moviezoot.com. Two Women (1960) and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) are masterly movies both produced by Loren's husband Carlo Ponte and both directed by Vittorio De Sica that catapulted Sophia Loren into international movie superstardom early in her career, and with her subsequent work, has kept her in the A-list of celebrities for decades.

In Two Women, Loren portrays the mother of an impressionable young daughter, both of whom suffer the ravages of survival in an occupied Italy during WWII and the sacrifices a mother will make to protect her child. Loren won an Academy Award for her performance in Two Women - the first Oscar bestowed upon a foreign actress in a foreign language film.

In Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Loren exhibits a range of three love-smitten women in del Sica's collection of three stories of three women in three cities in Italy.


Early in her career, studio bosses told Loren that her nose was too long and her mouth too wide to become anything but a bit-part actress, but she refused to change a thing and persisted at her craft.

Never one to take herself too seriously and always up for a bit of banter with the press, Loren attributes her lush curves to her Italian heritage, saying: "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

Loren will turn 82 in September of this year, and she is still turning heads of both men and women with her beauty, talent, poise, business acumen and social generosity.

At MovieZoot.com, there is no downloading required because the movies are streamed on-line directly to any device so Sophia Loren enthusiasts (or fans of almost any actor or actress) can watch - at no cost - what they want; when they want; how they want to view it; wherever they are located.

MovieZoot.com is wholly owned and operated by parent company M&M Television, Inc. and is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina with marketing and press representation in New York City.



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Monday, June 27, 2016

RED VS. BLUE: THE CHORUS TRILOGY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



If you ever got tired of actually playing a videogame and starting fooling around with it--that is, making up your own storylines and dialogue, having the characters engage in activities that they weren't originally designed for, etc.--then you'll most likely understand the appeal of the web series from Rooster Teeth entitled "Red vs. Blue." 

In this rollicking sci-fi/action adventure, the characters and settings from the popular HALO games are repurposed in a sweeping saga about heavily-armored soldiers in an interplanetary civil war who overcome their initial mistrust of one another in order to join forces against a common enemy. 

Rooster Teeth's 3-disc limited edition steelbook Blu-ray collection RED VS. BLUE: THE CHORUS TRILOGY contains seasons 11 through 13 of the long-running series, following the events that occur after the Reds and Blues crash-land on the planet Chorus and struggle to convince two warring factions there to unite against their true enemy, a power-mad political leader known as "The Chairman" whose deadly army of mercenaries threatens to destroy them all.


Despite joining most of this in-progress, it didn't take me long to settle into the story and grow accustomed to its novel presentation.  I used to watch a lot of Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network, particularly shows such as "Sealab 2021" in which the animation from a "serious" old cartoon is reworked to create a surrealistic comedy, so it's not exactly a strange new concept for me. 

In this case, the pre-existing animation is a videogame that can be "played" by the show's writers to conform to their brand new stories and salty dialogue, augmented by new artwork inserted here and there and also a good deal of motion-capture. 

This ensures that the show is visually interesting and at times downright spectacular, especially during the imaginatively-staged battle sequences.  In fact, one of the most appealing aspects of "Red vs. Blue" is seeing how cleverly the HALO elements are used in each new scene and setpiece in the saga.


The only drawback to this technique is that the soldiers are all permanently encased in their battle armor and are thus faceless, making it difficult to tell them apart sometimes.  (They also must carry their weapons poised to fire at all times.)  Still, the voice actors do a masterful job of creating individual personalities for them, and they're written in ways that make them incredibly appealing.
 
Even more noteworthy is the fact that these characters are versatile enough to be used in situations that range from dead-serious drama to hilarious situation comedy and back again.  This gives the writers enormous freedom to explore everything from straight drama to nuts and bolts sci-fi action to gut-busting farce, and even all-out slapstick, without breaking their stride. 

Each dialogue-heavy episode indulges in plenty of sitcom humor that allows the funnier characters such as resident idiot Caboose (who sounds exactly like Adult Swim's "Brak"), the humanoid robot Lopez who's programmed to speak only Spanish even though nobody else does, and the comically gung-ho veteran Sarge (later promoted to Colonel Sarge) ample opportunity to make us laugh.


Meanwhile, the more serious story elements underlying it all eventually culminate in furious, sustained battle sequences (enhanced with the occasional mind-expanding sci-fi concept) and made all the more suspenseful by the inclusion of two ruthless super-soldiers, Locus and Felix, hired by the Chairman to wipe out the Reds and Blues at any cost.

The three Blu-ray discs from Rooster Teeth and Cinedigm Entertainment come in a sleek steelbook case with a clear plastic slipcover.  Each disc features a season of the show (almost 8 hours total) complete with commentary tracks and several more hours of informative behind-the-scenes featurettes, outtakes, and trailers.  The feature presentation is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 audio.

With surprisingly three-dimensional characters (even the comic-relief ones have their moments) and engaging sci-fi situations along with raucous comedy, RED VS. BLUE: THE CHORUS TRILOGY is total genre goodness for gamers and non-gamers alike. 

Website



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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gravitas Ventures Signs Horror Soap Opera "HELL TOWN" with Debbie Rochon



Gravitas Ventures Signs Horror Soap Opera Hell Town
Steve Balderson's 14th Feature
Stars Scream Queen Debbie Rochon
                                                       
"Directors Steve Balderson and Elizabeth Spear take the typical soap opera and spoof it until it bleeds profusely."-Dread Central

   
Los Angeles, CA - Gravitas Ventures has acquired domestic VOD rights for Steve Balderson's festival favorite Hell Town.  Presented as three episodes of a sadistic twist on Masterpiece Theater, Balderson (Firecracker, The Casserole Club) and co-director Elizabeth Spear have carved up a serialized story filled with catfights, cliffhangers, broken hearts and murder.

Since the world premiere sponsored by the Austin Horror Society and Alamo Drafthouse, Hell Town has made audiences and critics laugh and scream, picking up awards for Best Feature at Colorado Horror-Con, as well as a Best Feature and Best Actress win for Amanda Deibert, with nominations for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography, at the Crimson Scream Horror Film Festival.


Debbie Rochon (Model Hunger, Return to Nuke 'Em High, The Theater Bizarre) headlines as the hostess of the three surviving episodes of Hell Town, following the melodramatic and potentially short-lived lives of Krysten Day, Amanda Deibert, Owen Lawless, Ben Windholz, Jennifer Grace and Balderson muse Pleasant Gehman.

Hell Town follows the melodramatic antics of high school seniors clashing over love, sex, and betrayal.  In the middle of all the everyday drama of one-sided infatuations, backstabbing bitchiness, bottled-up sexuality, sibling rivalry and general small-town angst, the Letter Jacket Killer is killing students in a variety of sadistic ways. 

As the body count rises and the blood pools closer to home, it becomes clear that one of our main characters is the killer.  Everyone, from the prom queen and shirtless jock to the nosey geek and the super bitch, are all suspects in the carnage.

Hell Town Teaser Trailer

Brendan Gallagher, SVP of Business Affairs at Gravitas negotiated the deal with Cyfuno Ventures on behalf of Dikenga.  A digital and cable release is planned for the end of summer.


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THE DUEL- Now Available In Theaters, On Demand and iTunes



THE DUEL
LIONSGATE PREMIERE


Genre:                 Western       
Rating:        Rated R for strong violence and language
U.S. Release Date:         June 24, 2016 (In Theaters and On Demand)   
Run Time:            110 Minutes

Cast:    Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Alice Braga, Emory Cohen

Directed by:    Kieran Darcy-Smith
Written by:    Matt Cook
Produced by:     David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Adam Rosenfelt, Maureen Meulen

Credits Not Contractual



 SYNOPSIS:

THE DUEL stars Liam Hemsworth as a Texas Ranger who investigates a series of murders in a small town led by a charismatic preacher played by Woody Harrelson. However, the routine undercover investigation soon turns personal for the ranger who must solve the case before he loses everything to the mysterious town. The thrilling western THE DUEL will be released by Lionsgate Premiere in theaters and On Demand June 24, 2016. ​​

Lionsgate Premiere presents in association with Atomic Entertainment, Mandeville Films, Mississippix Studios and 26 Films, in association with Bron Capital Partners and Crystal Wealth.





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Moviegoers to Become "GHOSTBUSTERS" During the BET Awards



MOVIEGOERS TO BECOME GHOSTBUSTERS DURING THE BET AWARDS

Bust Slimer and Get the Chance to win 4 Custom Ghostbusters Uniforms


This Sunday, June 26, beginning at 8PM / 7PM central on BET, during the BET Awards (check local listings), movie fans watching the show will have the chance to become Ghostbusters themselves.

When the specially tagged Ghostbusters TV spot airs during the broadcast, anyone watching the show can Shazam the spot using their Shazam app and bust Slimer, as the famous ghost is captured from the TV onto users' smart phones.

After busting Slimer, audiences can learn more about Slimer and the upcoming Ghostbusters movie, in theaters July 15.  They can also enter a sweepstakes, with a chance to win four custom-made Ghostbusters suits.

This Sunday, tune in to the BET Awards, Shazam the Ghostbusters spot, and become a Ghostbuster!

Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return, rebooted with a cast of hilarious new characters.  Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today - Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth.  This summer, they're here to save the world! The film is produced by Ivan Reitman and Amy Pascal, and written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film "Ghostbusters," an Ivan Reitman film, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.

NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT, USE OF APPLICATION OR SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING IS NECESSARY. A purchase, payment, use of Application or sharing via social media will not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes starts 12:00:01 am PT on 6/1/16 and ends 11:59:59 pm PT on 7/17/16 for entry via Shazam or Facebook/Twitter and 7/18/16 for postmarking mail-in entry.Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S & DC and Canada; except Province of Quebec (collectively, the "Eligibility Area"), age 13 or older. Limit 100 entries per person. Subject to Official Rules. See Official Rules for complete details including how to enter by mail and odds of winning. Void outside Eligibility Area and where prohibited. Sponsor: Shazam Media Services, Inc., 52 Vanderbilt, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Not sponsored by Facebook or Twitter.



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Friday, June 24, 2016

THE GUERNICA TREE -- DVD Review by Porfle



With THE GUERNICA TREE, aka L'arbre de Guernica (1975), surrealist filmmaker Fernando Arrabal takes the Spanish Civil War head on with his most ambitious work to date.

He shows us how the war affects the small village of Villa Ramiro, which is lorded over by Count Cerralbo (Bento Urago) and his fascist nephews. The count's only son, a liberal artist named Goya (Ron Faber), refuses to side with him against the common people and retreats to the nearby town of Guernica, where liberty is cherished.

Vandale (Mariangela Melato, FLASH GORDON), a beautiful but very eccentric woman regarded as a witch by the people of Villa Ramiro, also flees to Guernica on her donkey after the count's nephews attempt to rape her and runs into Goya. As they dance during the town's celebration of its renowned "freedom tree" the fascist military attack Guernica from the air and bomb it to smithereens.


Vandale and Goya return to Villa Ramiro to fight with the peasants, who have stormed the count's castle and are preparing for the coming siege by Franco's forces. Arrabal's anti-Catholic imagery here is some of his strongest stuff yet--a church is desecrated as a man gleefully urinates on a religious statue while a midget rapes another statue of the Virgin Mary and smears her face with his semen.

A priest, who represents the Vatican's support of the fascists, has the large crucifix (which is shot to pieces) wrested from his hands and replaced with a shovel. Later, another priest will demonstrate his support of the military by ceremoniously licking a general's face and then passionately French-kissing him.

The battle scenes are infused with the same energy and scope of Sergio Leone's depiction of the American Civil War in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. Black-and-white newsreel footage is inserted throughout, somehow fitting right into the mood of Arrabal's footage without any jarring effect.


Vandale rises to the occasion as her innate courage and determination make her a leader of the revolt, with the brave Goya fighting by her side, both discovering qualities they weren't even aware they possessed. Arrabal explores Mariangela Melato's highly-photogenic face with an artist's joy.

While the usual surrealism continues to appear, these scenes interrelate more with the story rather than commenting on it from a distance. As the film progresses, the absurdity of the more fanciful images barely surpasses that of the historical events, until the difference between the two becomes almost indistinguishable. It's as though Arrabal's creative zest in depicting the actual atrocities of the war matches his desire to express himself symbolically.

When we see a bullfighter elegantly slaying helpless midgets in the ring as the jaded nobility look on, it fits almost seamlessly into the rest of the narrative, as do the horrific executions which take on a carnival-like atmosphere. And with such strong material to work with, Arrabal no longer needs to expand his imagery so far into the realm of the fantastic in order to express himself.


During the military tribunal which follows the fascist victory, a teacher is sentenced to death by firing squad for the murder of Count Cerralbo. When the count shows up to prove that he's alive and to testify on the teacher's behalf for hiding him during the fighting, the teacher's death sentence is revoked--to be replaced by another one, death by garrotting, for having enough influence with the Communists to ensure the count's protection in the first place.

The mass executions which follow are a free-for-all of depravity. (It's no wonder that after such an exhausting study of injustice and inhumanity, Arrabal would next choose to make a children's film with Mickey Rooney.)

The DVD is in 1.78:1 widescreen with a French soundtrack and English subtitles. Extras include a lobbycard gallery, theatrical trailer, a six-page foldout booklet with liner notes by Rayo Casablanca, and an amusing featurette with Arrabal hanging around outside Grauman's Chinese Theater asking passersby if they've ever heard of Guernica.

With two lovers' passionate embrace amidst the shimmering rays of a setting sun, the film ends with optimism and hope in the face of bitter defeat. The music swells grandly as we're left with a stirring image of romantic beauty that is one of Arrabal's most heartfelt and triumphant moments. A work of crude magnificence and fierce conviction, THE GUERNICA TREE secures Arrabal's place as one of the most fascinating and intriguing directors of all time.

Read our review of THE FERNANDO ARRABAL COLLECTION




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Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 25th Anniversary Edition on Digital HD Sept 6 & Blu-ray Sept 20



Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 25th Anniversary Edition on Digital HD Sept 6 & Blu-ray Sept 20  
 
Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney's Beloved Animated Classic


Relive the magic and the music with four versions of the film plus all-new bonus features! With the Release of the Walt Disney Signature Collection Edition on Digital HD Sept. 6 and Blu-ray™ Sept. 20

Twenty-five years ago, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" broke ground as the first animated feature film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for best picture, and now this tale as old as time joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection on Sept. 6 on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, and on Sept. 20 on Blu-ray™ and DVD.

See the new Blu-ray trailer here:




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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Disc Premieres of DeVito's Lost Directorial Debut, Controversial Film About the Troubles



'Olive Films Releases Acclaimed “Lost” Film, Controversial Film about the Troubles, and Angie Dickinson’s First Major Role'

Chicago, IL – Olive Films, a boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, and classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, is excited to announce that July 19th will be the Blu-ray debut of six films. Among these are The Ratings Game, Danny Devito’s acclaimed directorial debut that has been lost for over thirty years; The Outsider, a film about the Troubles that sparked controversy; and Gun the Man Down, an underrated but intriguing Western that features debuts of several talents.

The Ratings Game (1984)

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Showtime’s first original movie, The Ratings Game actor-director Danny DeVito and producer David Jablin sought to finally bring their passion project to the home video market. ”Being collectors of Special Edition discs of our favorite films, we decided that if we were going to do it at all, we’d want to give our ‘baby’ the same kind of loving treatment and do it in a way that would appeal to comedy fans and video collectors like ourselves,” said DeVito.

“In looking for a distributor, we specifically wanted a filmmaker-friendly company that would recognize and respect that this was a passion project for Danny and I and still is” said Jablin. It’s been great dealing with everyone at Olive who have truly cared about getting all the details right as much as we have. Danny had the one print ever made of the film for its 1984 big screen premier party in storage all this time and Olive Films has done a absolutely beautiful job restoring it in full HD,” said Jablin.

In 1984, Showtime Networks made their first foray into original movies with The Ratings Game starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, which also marked DeVito’s feature directing debut. The hilarious and biting take-down of the ratings-obsessed network television industry was greeted with love-letter reviews from critics and fans alike. The feature also boasts an eclectic comedy ensemble with performances from Gerrit Graham, George Wendt, Vincent Schiavelli, Ronny Graham, Steve Allen, Huntz Hall, Michael Richards, and Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, after its premiere, the film slipped through the cracks of the network’s slowly evolving distribution channels and fell into obscurity as a result, “except with its many fans who continue to hound us for copies to this day” said Jablin.

With some notoriously bad, foreign-made bootleg versions floating around under the name The Mogul, the film has remained essentially lost for over 30 years. ”The mere existence of those totally crap bootleg copies really stuck in our craw and definitely motivated us to set the record straight and put out our film in all of its original glory” said DeVito.

In addition to the film itself, the DVD and Blu-ray will come with a liner notes booklet with photos and art from the film as well as a rare collection of four early short films directed by DeVito. Producer David Jablin said, “The bonus materials we included have also never been distributed on disc and were fan favorites from our early work. Altogether they tell the story of Danny’s journey as a film director of distinction.”

The Outsider (1980)

Olive Films continues previous months’ history of releasing forgotten controversial films of with The Outsider, a film about the Irish Troubles. The story of a disillusioned American Vietnam veteran who goes to fight for the I.R.A. only to discover he’s their pawn, the film received praise for its depiction of the moral murkiness of the Troubles. By all accounts, it is a war film with no heroism, glory, or ideals. Moreover, residents of Belfast frequently identify the movie’s portrayal of 1973 working class Belfast as one of cinema’s most realistic.

The Outsider became the subject of controversy at its release due to its depiction of a British officer torturing an Irish prisoner. The film proved so controversial, in fact, that it was actually dropped from the 1979 London Film Festival. Having never been on disc before in the United States, Olive Films will be giving it its Blu-ray and DVD debut on July 19th.

Gun the Man Down (1956)

Gun the Man Down is a relatively obscure but entertaining Western. It is also a film of firsts. It was Angie Dickinson’s first starring role and the first Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, who went on to direct McLintock!, 116 episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel, and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke. McLaglen’s direction isn’t the only thing Gunsmoke fans will recognize, because James Arness, known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on the show for 20 years, stars in the film. In fact, it was John Wayne (producer of Gun the Man Down through Batjac Productions), who recommended Arness for the Gunsmoke part. Besides being an intriguing installment in the Western genre, it should also be of interest to fans because of how many future icons contributed to it.

Other July Titles

Blu-ray debut of Hoodlum (1997), directed by Bill Duke, starring Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Andy Garcia, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, and Queen Latifah.

Blu-ray debut of Gang Related (1997), directed by Jim Kouf, starring James Belushi, Tupac Shakur, Lela Rochon, Dennis Quaid, James Earl Jones, and David Paymer.

Blu-ray debut of 'Neath the Arizona Skies (1934), directed by Harry L. Fraser, starring John Wayne, Sheila Terry, Shirley Jean Rickert, Yakima Canutt, Jay Wilsey, Jack Rockwell, and George “Gabby” Hayes.

About Olive Films

Olive Films is a Chicago-based boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, documentary, and classic films to life. Its catalog boasts over 500 titles ranging from Hollywood classics to contemporary titles. More information about Olive Films may be found at olivefilms.com or by contacting PR/Marketing Director Bradley Powell by email at Publicity@olivefilms.com or by phone at 630.444.1757.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maggie Grace and Ryan Kwanten Join Rob Cohen's "CATEGORY 5"



MAGGIE GRACE, RYAN KWANTEN JOIN TOBY KEBBELL IN ROB COHEN'S "CATEGORY 5" FOR FORESIGHT UNLIMITED

Ralph Ineson, Randy Couture, Melissa Bolona and Jamie Andrew Cutler are also Joining the Cast, with Principal Photography set to Begin August 1, 2016


LOS ANGELES (June 22, 2016) – Coinciding with the 15 Year Anniversary of Rob Cohen’s 2001 blockbuster hit, The Fast and the Furious, Foresight Unlimited announced today that Maggie Grace (Taken, Twilight), Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”) and Ralph Ineson (The Witch, The Huntsman: Winter's War) will star in Rob Cohen' new action/thriller alongside previously set lead, Toby Kebbell (Ben-Hur, Fantastic Four).

Randy Couture (The Expendables, “Hawaii Five-0”), Melissa Bolona (Dog Eat Dog, I Am Wrath) and Jamie Andrew Cutler (Kick-Ass 2) have also joined the cast.

Pre-production is fully underway with the recent hires of D.O.P. Shelly Johnson (Captain America), production designer Barry Robison (Hacksaw Ridge), VFX supervisor Adam Howard (Titanic), and SFX Coordinator, Elia Popov (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).  Casting directors are Nancy Foy (U.S.) and Kate Dowd (U.K.).

With a script written by Rob Cohen, Scott Windhauser, Jeff Dixon, Anthony Fingleton, and Carlos Davis, Category 5 follows a team of tech hackers embarking on a $600 million robbery from a coastal U.S. Mint facility the same time a disastrous Category 5 storm is set to strike. The remaining people left in the deserted beach town are a meteorologist (Kebbel), a treasury agent (Grace), and the meteorologist’s ex-marine brother (Kwanten). Together they must not only survive the storm, but also stop the mastermind thieves, headed by Inneson, from accomplishing the heist of the century.

Grace is best known for her riveting performance in the Taken trilogy alongside Liam Neeson, as well as her award-winning performance in the TV series "Lost" directed by J.J. Abrams. Her upcoming projects include the Darren Aronofsky produced 478, where she stars opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger & Scoot McNairy, and A Scent of Rain & Lightning that she produced and stars opposite Maika Monroe.  Grace is represented by UTA and Zero Gravity Management.

Kwanten is best known for his lead role in HBO’s “True Blood” alongside Academy Award-winner Anna Paquin, and most recently joined fellow Aussie Toni Collette in voice for Australian hit Blinky Bill the Movie and starred in Kidnapping Mr. Heineken opposite Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington. He is represented by CAA, LINK Entertainment, The Artists Partnership and RGM Artists.

Ineson most recently appeared in The Huntsman: Winter's War alongside Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, and Charlize Theron. Six-time world heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC champion Randy Couture most recently starred in ”Hawaii Five-0” as well as The Expendables franchise alongside Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford. Bolona recently starred alongside Nicholas Cage in Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog, which made its World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Cutler is best known for the CW series “Legends of Tomorrow”.

Ineson is represented by Gordon and French, Couture by The Gersh Agency, Bolona by Mavrick Artists Agency and TWM Talent Agency and Cutler by Agency for the Performing Arts.

Foresight Unlimited is handling foreign sales and introduced Category 5 to foreign buyers at the Berlin International Film Festival in February where the film has practically sold out.

Damiano Tucci, Danny Roth, Karen Baldwin, Howard Baldwin, Michael Tadross Jr., and Rob Cohen are producing. Bill Immerman, Mark Damon, Tamara Birkemoe, Christopher Conover, and Allie Greenleaf Maldonado are executive producing.

Foresight most recently announced Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure starring Scott Eastwood and Ed Harris. The slate also includes: Peter Segal’s $130M sci-fi epic Inversion starring Travis Fimmel; Michael Mailer’s Blind starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin; and the Neil Bogart biopic Spinning Gold starring Emmy® and Grammy Award® Winner Justin Timberlake.

About Foresight Unlimited
Foresight Unlimited is one of the industry’s leading independent film production, sales, and distribution companies.  With a pioneering entertainment career spanning over 50 years, CEO, Mark Damon is considered to be one of the leading authorities on international film financing, distribution and marketing strategies as well as being a successful independent producer. The company’s management group is helmed by President Tamara Birkemoe who oversees all aspects of the company’s slate.

Damon has produced and distributed such notable films as: Academy Award ® winner Monster, Academy Award® nominee Das Boot, Lone Survivor, 9 1/2 Weeks, Once Upon a Time in America, The Never Ending Story, Never Say Never Again, and The Lost Boys.



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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Canada honours Claudia Cardinale with Lifetime Achievement Award



Raoul Bova wins the prize for Best Actor. Andrea Iervolino Receives IC Savings Award

The stars of Italian cinema shine in Canada’s Italian Contemporary Film Festival. This year the ICFF posted the highest attendance in history. The duo Nunziante-Zalone thrilled audiences and won the People’s Choice Award for “Quo Vado?”. The film “All Roads Lead to Rome” won two awards: Raoul Bova brought home the prize for best actor and producer Andrea Iervolino won the IC Savings Award. The Critics’ Prize was conferred upon “They Call me Jeeg Robot.”

TORONTO – Canada crowns Claudia Cardinale during the closing ceremony of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival presented by IC Savings. Ms. Cardinale won the Lifetime Achievement Award, the festival’s highest honour. Past winners of this recognition include Roberto Benigni, Al Pacino and Carlo Verdone. Audiences were treated to a grand gala at Toronto’s Bell Lightbox, where Ms. Cardinale’s latest film, “All Roads lead to Rome,” was presented. During the ceremony, the legendary actress was given a hearty standing ovation.

“I don’t know how many films I made – 130 or 140,” said Cardinale, holding the award created by sculptor Silvio Mastrodascio. “Cinema gave me the opportunity to live many lives. This was amazing to me and has spurred me to continue pursuing this profession. In this film I had the chance to play Raoul Bova’s mother. It was truly a special experience.”


At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, upon receiving the best actor at the ICFF 2016, Raoul Bova replied to Cardinale’s comment. “I’m very excited about this award given to me by the Festival, especially since it is for a film that saw me work with this wonder, this force of nature, Claudia Cardinale.” The Roman actor also came to Canada to present Rewind and Reboot, the latest film from director Carlo Vanzina.

The winners of the People’s Choice Award were director Gennaro Nunziante and Checco Zalone. Their film, “Quo vado?” won the prestigious prize, confirming the fact that their comedy was successful with an international audience. The comedic duo won over a large portion of the Italian-Canadian audience. “We received a wonderful welcome,” said Checco Zalone. “The Italians in Canada have not stopped being Italian.” Director Gennaro Nunziante also expressed satisfaction: “It’s great to be here at the Festival. We’ve been welcomed by many fellow Italians who continue to believe – as we do – that Italian culture represents something important for the whole world.

The IC Savings Award for best Canadian Film went to Andrea Iervolino, whose tireless work as an Italian Canadian film producer were duly recognized. Mr. Iervolino, along with Ms. Monika Bacardi, founded AMBI/AIC and represents a veritable bridge between Italy and North American in the field of film production and distribution.


The Toronto Film Critics’ Association awarded their prize to “They called me Jeeg Robot,” by Gabriele Mainetti. The prize was announced to the public by Thom Ernst, representing the Jury, during the Festival’s closing ceremony at the prestigious TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The award for best short went to “Resce la Lune,” by Giulia Di Battista and Gloria Kurkik, while the Best Picture award at the ICFF Junior was conferred to Gabriele Salvatores’ “The Invisible Boy.”


“The films presented at the ICFF have proven to be an extraordinary reality that showcase modern-day Italy to North American audiences. Our goal is to show our cinema to Canadian hearts,” said ICFF’s artistic director Cristiano de Florentiis, commenting on the results of the Festival’s fifth edition.

“The ICFF has a history of great success: 70 films, over 130 screenings and – most  importantly – 30,000 attendees. This proves that this festival is unique in its kind.

For the third consecutive year, the Festival dedicated a day to the film industry, aptly called Industry Day, presented by SIRT (Screen Industries and Training Centre, Sheridan College and Pinewood Toronto Studios) and by ETV Film Inc. at the historic Pinewood Studios. This year’s workshop focused on Virtual Reality and 360o films.
The ICFF has created an important meeting place where the masters of Italian, Canadian and American cinema were able to talk to each other and let audiences in on their trade secrets.

An important meeting took place with director Renzo Martinelli, who had a chance to interact with Toronto audiences. During the screening of his latest film, Ustica, which centers on one of the most newsworthy tragedies that struck Italy in the last few decades, the director was given the Award of Excellence for his investigative cinema.

However, it wasn’t all awards and accolades: the ICFF’s Italy is also a kind of “Dolce Vita”: Red carpets, flowing gowns and sequins: at Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton, over 1,000 guests celebrated the Festival’s success during the Closing Gala, which was hosted by noted actor Giacomo Gianniotti, star of TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” The soiree saw the stars of cinema, fashion and Italian cuisine shine bright. More importantly, once again, Italy was in the spotlight, a country that is recognized, loved and honoured abroad.



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Action-packed ’80s B-movie "HELL HUNTERS" with George Lazenby -- on DVD July 5



Film Chest Media Group Proudly Presents
Hell Hunters

Murder. Rage. Revenge.

Action-Packed ’80s Horror Drama Restored in HD from
Original 35mm Film Elements on DVD July 5th


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — July 1, 2016 — A group of Nazi hunters must stop an evil doctor from getting his revenge for the fall of the Third Reich in the action-packed, ’80s, B-movie Hell Hunters –  restored in HD from original 35mm film elements – on DVD July 5 from Film Chest Media Group.

Wanted for war crimes, Nazi zealot Dr. Martin Hoffmann (Stewart Granger, North to Alaska, Bhowani Junction, The Prisoner of Zenda, Scaramouche) has been hiding deep in the jungle of Paraguay for 40 years. Searching for a weapon powerful enough to restore his dream of Aryan domination, the evil scientist experiments with the venom of a poisonous spider and creates a mind-controlling serum.


With his cohort, Heinrich (George Lazenby, Gettysburg, Who Saw Her Die?,  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Hoffmann forms a plan to test his concoction on the population of Los Angeles while a dedicated band of Nazi hunters, led by the beautiful Amanda (Maud Adams, Octopussy, The Man With the Golden Gun), is rapidly closing in on them. Who will win this deadly game of hide and seek?

Also starring Candice Daly (Liquid Dreams, After Death) and directed by Ernst R. von Theumer (Jungle Warriors, Red Heat), Hell Hunters is presented in full screen with an aspect ratio of 16 x 9 and Dolby Digital 2.0.

About Film Chest Media Group:
Founded in 2001, Film Chest Media Group offers high-quality content for a wide variety of production and distribution needs, boasting one of the world’s largest libraries (10,000+ hours) of classic feature films, television, foreign imports, documentaries, special interest and audio—much of it restored and digitized in HD. Headquartered in Bridgeport, Conn., with offices in New York City, the company also produces and distributes collector’s DVD sets. Visit us online: http://www.filmchestmediagroup.com

Hell Hunters
Film Chest Media Group
Genre: Action/Adventure/Horror/Drama
Original Release: 1986 (Color)
Not Rated
Format: DVD
Running Time: Approx. 98 Minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $17.98
Pre-Order Date: June 14, 2016
Street Date: July 5, 2016
Catalog #:  FC-529
UPC Code:  #874757052991

Buy it at Amazon.com



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INTRUDER -- Movie Review by Porfle



In the very straightforward story of INTRUDER (2016), writer-director Travis Zariwny (CABIN FEVER remake, SCAVENGERS) takes us from A to Z and touches the expected bases along the way, in pretty much a textbook example of the "woman-in-peril" thriller.

Elizabeth (Louise Linton, LIONS FOR LAMBS) is apartment sitting for a friend over the weekend, unaware that another young woman was murdered there some time before and that the killer is still at large and is now focusing his attention on her. 

What follows is so by-the-numbers that you might expect the script to begin with the words "It was a dark and stormy night..."  Only in this case, make that weekend, because Zariwny manages to stretch the suspense out for two whole days and nights.


After the SCREAM-style opening shows us the fate of the killer's previous victim (and foreshadows what may happen to his current one), we're treated to extensive sequences of Elizabeth going about her business in the expansive two-storey apartment as her feeling that someone is watching her steadily grows. 

The now-familiar "blurry figure in a black hoodie" keeps popping up everywhere--backgrounds, reflections, etc.--as though he enjoys playing hide-and-seek with his prey and gets a sick thrill out of invading her privacy in all sorts of insidious little ways. 

Eventually we start to get used to the jump-scares and musical stings whenever he appears (Nathaniel Levisay's score is heavy on the cellos, which is fitting since Elizabeth is a concert cellist).  In fact, much of INTRUDER is a big, extended tease; some parts may tend to drag for some viewers, depending on how invested they are in the story.



Still, it does a fairly good job of playing on our fears of being in a big dark house on a stormy night and suspecting that we're not alone.  At times it even feels like an overextended version of one of those old "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episodes that used to seem so eerie when I was a kid.

There's a lot of mainly negligible stuff about Elizabeth's personal life to fill out the running time, with Zach Myers as her boyfriend Justin trying to convince her to stay with him and get married instead of moving to England to pursue her musical career. 

Red herrings abound.  Is the killer Elizabeth's possessive, emotional music teacher, played by none other than Moby?  Is it the comically obvious weirdo next door?  Or John (John Robinson, LORDS OF DOGTOWN), the neighborhood nerd who seems a bit fixated on her?


The cast is okay (Moby plays an especially effective creep) and the film itself is beautifully photographed, with Zariwny's capable direction keeping the suspense sufficiently taut most of the time.

When the film finally does pay off on all that build-up at the very end, it's disappointingly abrupt.  But don't leave yet, because about a minute into the end credits comes the actual ending, which still doesn't quite hit the mark.

All in all I found INTRUDER to be well-done and passably entertaining, though generally bland.  If you're looking for something to give you nightmares, you might have better luck chowing down on a big meatball sub before going to bed.

Director/Writer: Travis Zariwny
Producers: Michael D. Jones, Louise Linton, and Tina Sutakanat
Cast: Louise Linton, John Robinson, and Moby
Release Date:  June 24 in New York/Los Angeles/VOD.
Distributor: IFC Midnight
TRT: 91 minutes
Rating: The film is not rated.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Horror Icon Turned Director Debbie Rochon Carves a DVD and Digital HD Release for "MODEL HUNGER"




Wild Eye and Fright Legend Debbie Rochon
Serve Up Her Directorial Debut Model Hunger
For July 12 DVD and Digital HD Release

"Lynn Lowry gives a career best turn" - Fangoria

"A solid story, a fantastic lead actress,
gross-outs, and tension along the way
" - Dread Central

   
New York, NY - Wild Eye Releasing is honored to put legendary horror actress Debbie Rochon's directorial debut Model Hunger on the menu this summer.  After nearly 300 films, Rochon (Return to Nuke 'Em High, Phobia, The Theater Bizarre) steps behind the camera to skewer audiences with her blood-curling take on an actress' response to forced retirement.  She brings with her composer Harry Manfredini (The Friday the 13th franchise) and a cast of genre favorites.

B-movie legends Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People) and Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween, The Violent Kind, Sharknado 2) headline as two women on a deadly collision course.  Supported by Brian Fortune ("Game of Thrones"), Suzi Lorraine (Wrath of the Crows) Carmine Capobianco (Galactic Gigolo) and Voltaire (ABCs of Death 2), the feeding frenzy begins July 12 nationwide on DVD and Digital HD.


Former pinup model Ginny (Lowry) had been cast aside by the heartless and exploitative modeling industry.  Ginny didn't take rejection well and grew into a revenge-seeking, bloodthirsty, broken woman. When her new neighbors Debbie (Shepis) and Sal (Capobianco) move in, Debbie begins to notice strange things going on. Sal believes she is mentally unstable, but Debbie becomes determined to figure out what secret life Ginny is leading. Her new nosy neighbor throws a damper on Ginny's private life: her cannibalistic addictions and ever-growing body count. Both women become determined to put an end to the other's obsession.

 
Model Hunger (Official Trailer)

Order Model Hunger on Amazon

The DVD release of Model Hunger (SRP $19.95) will exclusively include a feature-length commentary with director Debbie Rochon, deleted scenes, a Babette Bombshell short, Voltaire interview and much more.



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Saturday, June 18, 2016

APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME -- DVD Review by Porfle



If you like those lean, tough gangster pics that guys like James Cagney and George Raft used to churn out in the 30s and 40s, then APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME (1946) should be right up your dark alley.

The scrappy, bantamweight main character Leo Martin (William Hartnell, THE MOUSE THAT ROARED) even reminds me of a cross between the two actors only with a rough veneer of British street smarts. 

The plot is a foretaste of such later films as POINT BLANK and its remake PAYBACK, with its story of a wronged criminal returning to exact merciless revenge against the underworld organization that betrayed him and using a "fast" woman as his accomplice.


Here, Leo gets double-crossed by low-level crime boss Loman (Raymond Lovell) and ends up with crushed wrists and a stiff prison sentence.  Upon his release, he goes after not only Loman but the real brains behind the outfit, a smugly sophisticated art dealer played by the young Herbert Lom (later to gain fame as Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the "Pink Panther" series among other distingished roles). 

Leo's sort of an anti-protagonist here, being that he's still a mean, ruthless little bastard even though we're pulling for him to get the best of the even badder bad guys.  The film's real hero is a Canadian detective on loan to the British police, played by Robert Beatty (who would go on to roles in such high profile films as WHERE EAGLES DARE and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY).

Beatty's Detective Inspector Rogers is stalwart without being full of himself, and in fact has a wry sense of humor which makes his scenes with Leo punchy and rife with stinging dialogue.  Where some stories such as this make the main cop unlikable, here we're conflicted about who to root for since we're so invested in both his and Leo's concerns. 


Also making the most of her scenes with Hartnell is Joyce Howard as melancholy dancehall girl Carol Dane (nicknamed "Chastity Anne"), whose performance as the girl Leo uses as his alibi in murder by stringing her along with romantic promises and playing on her sympathies just gets better as the story goes along.

Two interesting things I noted while watching are (1) British films could pretty much say "damn" and "hell" to their hearts' content back in 1946, and (2) the fact that characters Gregory Lang (Herbert Lom) and his criminal associate Noel Penn (Alan Wheatley) are unabashedly gay is wonderfully obvious.

Writer-director John Harlow keeps his script zinging along with cracking dialogue and lots of hardboiled conflict between rival thugs and the short-fused Leo--who's equally tough whether slapping someone around or getting tortured for information.


Harlow's directing style brings all this to life with creative camera angles, editing, and montages which keep the film visually interesting.  The production itself has a lovely vintage appeal enhanced by a singularly British flavor and the no-nonsense economy of film noir.

The DVD from Olive Films is in the original 1.37:1 aspect ratio (full screen) with mono sound.  Subtitles are in English.  No extras.

Those who appreciate the beauty of old black-and-white cinema should find themselves easily drawn into this visually compelling film.  For modern audiences in general,  APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME offers good performances in a sharply-written crime story that never lets up until the end. 

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Release date: June 21, 2016



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Friday, June 17, 2016

IF IT'S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM -- DVD Review by Porfle



Expecting a raucous comedy romp, I found IF IT'S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM (1969) disappointing at first.  Gradually, though, I began to realize that I was watching something considerably less scatterbrained and more quietly clever in small ways than I'd thought, and that the movie regarded its screwball characters with a disarming fondness.

This isn't quite evident at first, however, when our American tour group arrives in jolly old England (the first in a whirlwind tour of nine countries in 18 days) and the movie tries too hard to mirror the hip, happening vibe of the era in its rather clueless way.  Thus, we get a lot of that freaky strobe-like editing that was in vogue at the time and are even treated to flashes of scribbled onscreen text containing "hip" one-liners in a "Laugh-In" vein.

Here, things resemble a less magical version of the Beatles' MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR only with more old fogeys wandering around complaining about everything.  It isn't until we get to know these people that their grumblings begin to be endearing, and even then much of the bad dubbing seems designed to take the bite out of their witty asides. 


Still, the movie gets better and better as we settle into its rather sedate pace and warm up to the characters.  And with a cast like this it isn't hard--this is one of the most amazing groups of character actors, stars doing cameos, and familiar faces in general that you could hope to see all in one place. 

First of all, nobody does world-weary grumbling better than guys like Norman Fell and Murray Hamilton, with the wonderful Reva Rose and Peggy Cass as their long-suffering wives.  One nice running gag involves Norman and Reva getting separated early on and his vain attempts to track down the Japanese tour group she's accidentally become a member of.  Hamilton has a nice vignette in which he tries to order some custom shoes in Venice from a cobbler played by famed director Vittorio De Sica. 

Also aboard the cross-continental tour bus are the likes of Michael Constantine (he's revisiting the places where he had the most fun in life--during WWII), Marty Ingles as a schlub who thinks he can score with European women, Mildred Natwick, a young Sandy Baron ("Seinfeld"), Pamela Britton, and Aubrey Morris ("Mr. Deltoid" of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) as Harry Dix, a kleptomaniac determined to take half of Europe home in his luggage. (Be sure to watch the film to the very end, where he adds the final gag.)


One of the film's most charming features is the gradually-building romance between bachelor tour guide Charlie (a dashing Ian McShane in his way younger days) and Sam (Suzanne Pleshette), a single woman unsure of whether she's ready for marriage to her fiancé George.  Pleshette is at her peak of sophisticated loveliness here and is a joy to watch as she serves as catnip to notorious skirt-chaser Charlie.

Sam and Charlie's uneasy relationship is handled in a surprisingly adult manner and is actually interesting--in fact, it was during their first really good dialogue scene together that I realized I was starting to enjoy this movie as more than a lightweight comedy.  A morning-after love scene in their hotel room after a night of passion even resembles something out of a "foreign film."

Some of the other celebrity faces to spot along the way include John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Joan Collins (stunning in one brief shot of her walking down the street in a miniskirt), Senta Berger, Virna Lisi, Anita Ekberg, Elsa Martinelli, Luke Halpin ("Flipper"), folk singer Donovan Leitch, and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." star Robert Vaughn as an Italian photographer. 


Shot entirely on location, the film is directed by Mel Stuart of WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY fame and written by David Shaw (A FOREIGN AFFAIR).

The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.85:1 widescreen and mono sound. Subtitles are in English.  A trailer is the sole extra.

After the usual "ugly American" gags have run their course, the old fogeys of IF IT'S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM actually start being endearing.  (A big breakthrough is during a dinner scene when Murray decides that squid isn't so bad.) We've come to know them sufficiently that broad comedy strokes are unnecessary and simple character humor is enough to add a warm, satisfying glow to the proceedings. 

Buy it at Amazon.com

Release date: June 21, 2016



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Thursday, June 16, 2016

STAGECOACH (1986) -- DVD Review by Porfle



First things first: John Ford's 1939 production of STAGECOACH is a timeless classic that will likely never be surpassed, and any remake pales in comparison.

That said, I'd also like to add that the 1986 made-for-TV version of STAGECOACH (Olive Films, Blu-ray and DVD) is, despite my initial misgivings and skepticism, a terrific albeit modest Western in its own right.

The story of a disparate group of people traveling by stage through dangerous Apache country is basically the same, but done differently enough to reward our interest.  Not only are the individual stories of these characters engaging, but the ever-present threat of attack by Geronimo and his warriors builds up to an exciting action sequence in the film's latter half that pays off really well, leading then to the climactic shootout in Lordsburg.


One source of skepticism on my part was the overt stunt casting.  Country-western singers abound, especially those of the "outlaw" variety--Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny and June Carter Cash, and Waylon Jennings play major roles, while Billy Swan, David Allan Coe, and Jesse Colter can also be seen here and there.  What's surprising is that they're all such naturally good actors.  I mean, really good.

A taciturn Kristofferson stands in for John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, a wrongly-convicted prison escapee on his way to Lordsburg to confront the men who murdered his brother. Johnny Cash is Marshal Curly Wilcox, out to capture both men. 

Jennings is gentleman gambler Hatfield, gruff but smooth, who assumes a protective role regarding the pregnant wife (Mary Crosby as Mrs. Mallory) of a cavalry officer stationed near Lordsburg.  Each is not only fully convincing in his role, but, in fact, outstanding.


One interesting difference from the original film is that the character of Doc Josiah Boone, played in 1939 by Thomas Mitchell, has been replaced by none other than Doc Holliday himself.  Willie Nelson fits comfortably into the role, with nary a hint of "novelty" value in his casting.  This inclusion of Holliday as one of the passengers is inspired.

Elsewhere in the cast, "Dukes of Hazzard" co-star John Schneider actually manages to look grizzled as coach driver Buck.  Tony Franciosa (TENEBRE, A FACE IN THE CROWD) does his nervous act as Gatewood, the embezzing banker on the lam, and celebrated oddball Anthony Newley puts in a brief but marvelous appearance as tipsy whiskey salesman Trevor Peacock. 

As fallen woman Dallas who will eventually warm up to Ringo, Elizabeth Ashley puts her broad acting skills to good use.  Merritt Butrick (STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN) and Western legend Lash La Rue are also on hand.

While dazzled by such an eclectic yet effective cast, I also found the screenplay by James Lee Barrett (who also wrote the screenplays for THE GREEN BERETS, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD) to be consistenty engaging from start to finish, with plenty of sharp dialogue.


Production values are above-average for a TV movie.  In fact, I often felt as though I was watching a feature film despite the occasional fadeout for a commercial. Direction is capably handled by old pro Ted Post, who also helmed such memorable films as MAGNUM FORCE, HANG 'EM HIGH, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, and THE BABY.

The DVD from Olive Films is in the original 1.33:1 full screen with stereo sound.  Subtitles are in English.  No extras.   

If one lowers expectations just enough to accept a remake of a John Ford classic on its own terms, then this version of STAGECOACH should easily rise to meet them.  As an avid Western fan, it's the kind of Western I love to make an acquaintance with and then get to know better with each repeat viewing.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Release date: June 21, 2016



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