HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY" Trailer Now Available! In Theaters 12/9/16



OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

In Theaters December 9, 2016

TEASER TRAILER
NOW AVAILABLE!


In OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, when the CEO tries to close her hard-partying brother's branch, he and his Chief Technical Officer must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Vanessa Bayer, Jillian Bell, Jamie Chung, Rob Corddry, Abbey Lee, Kate McKinnon, TJ Miller, Olivia Munn, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Courtney B. Vance

Directors: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

#OfficeXmasParty

                                             Watch the Trailer




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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shout! Factory Films: Christophe Gans' "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE)", starring Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux



SHOUT! FACTORY FILMS ANNOUNCES U.S. THEATRICAL RELEASE OF
HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHE GANS

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (La Belle et la Bête)
STARRING VINCENT CASSEL AND LEA SEYDOUX WITH ANDRE' DUSSOLLIER

OPENS IN LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK AND SELECT THEATERS
ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2016


Los Angeles, California – July 28, 2016 – Shout! Factory Films announced today that epic fantasy adventure BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE), a film by Christophe Gans, will open theatrically on September 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, New York and select major markets, to be followed by openings in additional cities.

Directed by Christophe Gans (Silent Hill, The Brotherhood of the Wolf), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE) stars Vincent Cassel (Jason Bourne, Black Swan) and Léa Seydoux (Spectre, Blue Is the Warmest Color) with André Dussollier (A Very Long Engagement, Amélie). Produced by Eskwad and Pathé, this visually opulent major motion picture is a modern take on classic French fairytale. Filmed with state-of-the-art technology and under the imaginative vision of Christophe Gans, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE) delivers a lush and vibrant cinematic adventure.


                                  Watch the trailer

After the wreck of his ships, a financially-ruined merchant (André Dussollier) exiles himself in the countryside with his six children. Among them is Belle (Léa Seydoux), his youngest daughter, a joyful girl full of grace. One day, during an arduous journey, the merchant stumbles across the magical domain of the Beast (Vincent Cassel), who sentences him to death for stealing a rose.

Feeling responsible for the terrible fate which has befallen her family, Belle decides to sacrifice herself and take her father’s place. At the Beast’s castle, it is not death that awaits Belle, but a strange life in which fantastical moments mingle with gaiety and melancholy. Every night, at dinner, Belle and the Beast sit down together.

They learn about each other, taming one another like two strangers who are total opposites. When she has to repulse his amorous advances, Belle tries to pierce the mysteries of the Beast and his domain. And when night falls, the Beast’s past is revealed to her bit by bit in her dreams. It is a tragic story, which tells her that this solitary and fearsome being was once a majestic prince. Armed with her courage, ignoring every danger, and opening her heart, Belle manages to release the Beast from his curse. And in doing so, she discovers true love.

Richard Grandpierre and Jérôme Seydoux present BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE), a Christophe Gans Film. The film stars Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux with André Dussollier, Eduardo Noriega, Myriam Charleins, Audrey Lamy, Sara Giraudeau, Jonathan Demurger, Nicolas Gob, Louka Meliava and Yvonne Catterfeld.

A production of Eskwad, Pathé, TF1 Films Productions, Studio Babelsberg and 120 Films, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE) is directed by Christophe Gans; screenplay by Gans and Sandra Vo-Anh; produced by Richard Grandpierre and Jérôme Seydoux; executive producer, Frederic Doniguian; co-producers, Romain Le Grand, Henning Molfenter, Christoph Fisser and Charlie Woebcken.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE) opens in New York, Los Angeles and select cities on September 23, 2016. The film is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 112 minutes.  For more information about BEAUTY AND THE BEAST(LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE) , please visit BeautyandtheBeastFilm.com

North American film distributor: Shout! Factory Films

Social media: #beautyandthebeast


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"An American Werewolf in London" -- Restored Edition



AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON -- Restored Edition
Theatrical Studio: Polygram
Theatrical Release: 8/21/1981
Release Date: 9/27/2016


Synopsis: Re-discover one of the most gripping horror films of all time with the cult classic An American Werewolf in London Restored Edition. Blending the macabre with a wicked sense of humor, director John Landis (National Lampoon's Animal House) delivers a contemporary take on the classic werewolf tale in this story of two American tourists who, while traveling in London, find their lives changed forever when a vicious wolf attacks them during a full moon.

Starring David Naughton, Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter, An American Werewolf in London is newly restored and features groundbreaking, Academy Award® winning make-up by Rick Baker (The Wolfman; Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Music Video).


Blu-ray Widescreen  Restored Edition(61181158) : Disc 1 (Side A): An American Werewolf in London
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23708-8-5
 Unit Type:      Standard      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/27/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 38 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French European DTS Digital Surround 2.0
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      Restored Edition      Picture:      Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      R      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Beware the Moon
• I Walked with a Werewolf
• Making An American Werewolf in London
• An Interview with John Landis
• Makeup Artist Rick Baker on An American Werewolf in London
• Casting of The Hand
• Photograph Montage
• Feature Commentary with Cast Members David Naughton and Griffin Dunne


DVD Widescreen (61123352) : Disc 1 (Side A)
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-21527-5-7
 Unit Type:      Standard      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/4/2012      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 38 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
French
Spanish

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Anamorphic Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      R      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • I Walked With A Werewolf
• Making An American Werewolf in London, An Original Featurette
• Feature Commentary wtih Cast Members David Naughton and Griffin Dunne
• An Interview with John Landis
• Makeup Artist Rick Baker on An American Werewolf in London
• Casting of the Hand
• Photograph Montage

Buy the Blu-ray at Amazon.com


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pierce Brosnan Joins Dave Bautista in Scott Mann's "Final Score"



PIERCE BROSNAN JOINS DAVE BAUTISTA IN SCOTT MANN’S “FINAL SCORE”

Principal Photography on the Action Thriller to Begin on August 8th with Highland Film Group handling Global Sales


LONDON / LOS ANGELES (July 26, 2016) – Highland Film Group (HFG) announced today that two-time Golden Globe Nominee Pierce Brosnan (No Escape, Tomorrow Never Dies) will star in Scott Mann’s Final Score, alongside Dave Bautista (Spectre, Guardians of the Galaxy), Alexandra Dinu (Red Valentine, Island) and Julian Cheung (The Grandmaster).  Signature Entertainment’s Marc Goldberg is producing the action-packed thriller alongside The Fyzz Facility’s Robert Jones, James Harris, Mark Lane, and Wayne Marc Godfrey. Babak Eftekhari will co-produce. HFG’s Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier will handle global sales and serve as executive producers alongside Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon, Zac Adler and David Sullivan. The Gersh Agency is co-representing U.S. rights.  Principal Photography is set to commence on August 8th in London.

Penned by The Brothers Lynch and Jonathan Frank, Final Score takes place at a major sporting event, during which the stadium is seized by a group of heavily armed criminals demanding ransom.  An ex-soldier must use all his military skills to save the 35,000 capacity crowd, one of which is the daughter of his fallen comrade.

“Final Score may be set in London but truly it’s a story that’s relatable the world over,” said The Fyzz Facility’s Robert Jones. “Scott Mann’s vision has scale, white knuckle tension, humor and heart.  We’re thrilled that the concept and screenplay has attracted such an exciting cast in Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan and Julian Cheung, and firmly believe that this will be a standout in 2017’s movie release calendar."

The main shooting location for Final Score will be at the world renowned Upton Park Stadium a famous London landmark that has been the home of Premier League soccer club West Ham United for over 100 years. West Ham United will be relocating to Olympic Stadium in East London next season. The venue will be handed over to a British property developer following production.

Brosnan recently completed production on Martin Campbell's The Foreigner co-starring Jackie Chan and produced by The Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Marc Godfrey. This fall, Brosnan will star in Across the River and into the Trees based on Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel of the same name, which will also be directed by Campbell. Brosnan is currently filming AMC’s new drama series “The Son,” based on the Philipp Meyer novel about the rise and fall of a Texas oil family. Last year, Brosnan starred in the soon-to-be released thriller I.T., produced by his production company, Irish DreamTime, alongside Voltage Pictures and Friendly Films. Most recently, Brosnan also co-starred in the thriller No Escape alongside Owen Wilson and Lake Bell and Survivor with Milla Jovovich for director James McTeigue.

Bautista was previously seen in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy; Columbia Pictures’ Spectre starring Daniel Craig, and most recently wrapped production on Matthias Hoene’s Warrior’s Gate for EuropaCorp.  Bautista will next be seen in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 alongside Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana and the Untitled Blade Runner Project alongside Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, and Robin Wright, both are dated for 2017.  Bautista is a six-time WWE world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice.

Brosnan is represented by CAA, Bautista by The Gersh Agency, and Cheung by Raymond Man.

Highland Film Group recently wrapped principal photography on Vaughn Stein’s anticipated noir thriller, Terminal, starring Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Max Irons, Dexter Fletcher and Mike Myers. The Highland Film Group slate includes: Jon Avnet’s Three Christs starring Richard Gere, Julianna Margulies, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford;; Lin Oeding’s thriller Braven starring Jason Momoa; Kevin Connolly’s Gotti starring John Travolta; Steven C. Miller’s Southern Fury with Nicolas Cage and Marauders starring Bruce Willis; the Brewer Brothers’ The Trust starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood; and Osgood Perkins' The Blackcoat’s Daughter starring Emma Roberts, which had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by A24.

ABOUT HIGHLAND FILM GROUP
Highland Film Group (HFG) was started in 2010 by Arianne Fraser, who partnered with Delphine Perrier in 2012 to form an independent worldwide sales, production and film financing company. HFG provides financing through a combination of pre-sales to help cover senior and subordinated debt, gap, tax credit, and facilitates capital for mezzanine and equity financing.

ABOUT THE FYZZ FACILITY
Established in 2010 by Wayne Marc Godfrey (“The Foreigner”) and Robert Jones (“The Usual Suspects”, “Dirty Pretty Things”, “Babylon”) The Fyzz Facility is a prolific film production and financing company that has invested over $95m into 115 feature films over the last six years. With an aggregate production spend in excess of a billion USD, company credits include Scorsese's SILENCE starring Liam Neeson, THE YELLOW BIRDS starring Jennifer Aniston, Jack Huston and Alden Ehrenreich, Stephen Fingleton’s BAFTA nominated THE SURVIVALIST and THE FOREIGNER directed by Martin Campbell and starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.

ABOUT SIGNATURE ENTERTAINMENT
Signature Entertainment is the leading Independent Film Distributor in the UK. Founded in 2011 by Marc Goldberg, Signature has now released over 400 films across theatrical and all home entertainment Platforms. Signature’s upcoming impressive slate includes Imperium starring Daniel Radcliffe, Operation Chromite featuring Liam Nesson, The Hatton Garden Job starring Matthew Goode and Joely Richardson and The Titan starring Sam Worthington and Taylor Schilling.



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Sunday, July 24, 2016

HOODLUM -- DVD Review by Porfle



There's a certain number of kick-ass gangster flicks that I can depend on to deliver solid shoot-em-up action, thrills, and drama whenever I'm in the mood for that sort of thing. These include the GODFATHER trilogy, SCARFACE (both versions), GOODFELLAS, DILLINGER, HEAT, and a few precious other classic flicks of that nature.  Now, joining the ranks of those dependable sources of gangster goodness is actor Bill Duke's sixth directorial effort, HOODLUM (1997, Olive Films).

The venerable Duke (PREDATOR, PAYBACK) helmed such films as A RAGE IN HARLEM and SISTER ACT 2 as a lead-up to this explosive tale of small-time Harlem hood Bumpy Johnson (Laurence Fishburne, THE MATRIX, APOCALYPSE NOW), who gets paroled from Sing Sing in the 30s only to get mixed up in a war between his old friend "Queen" Stephanie St. Clair (a regal Cicely Tyson) and notorious gang boss Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) over who gets to dominate the numbers racket in Harlem. 

With Queen's arrest Bumpy is put in charge of her business, which he runs in a much more ruthless fashion against her wishes.  This leads to a succession of action-packed, bullet-riddled setpieces with the black hoodlums battling Schultz's gunmen in the streets and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.  Duke knows how to stage this kind of action and the results are powerful.


In addition to such visceral thrills, however, is a truly interesting battle of wills between not only Bumpy and Dutch but also Mafia bigwig "Lucky" Luciano, played with his usual panache by Andy Garcia ("Vincent Corleone" in GODFATHER PART 3).

With these cunning businessmen plotting against each other, and Schultz's impulsive, borderline-insane antics adding an element of unpredictability to every encounter, the chess-like strategies of the three competitors in crime generate as much interest as the violence.

Fishburne is a strong presence as Bumpy Johnson, who begins the film as the default "good guy" since he's opposing the loathsome Schultz (Tim Roth of PULP FICTION and RESERVOIR DOGS has a field day in the role) but gradually lets his ruthlessness turn him into a coldblooded killer, dashing the hopes of his beautiful social-worker girlfriend Francine (Vanessa Williams in one of her best roles) of reforming him.


Also suffering the eventual fallout of their increasingly toxic relationship with Bumpy Johnson are his loyal best friend Illinois (Chi McBride) and Illy's beloved girlfriend "Pigfoot" Mary (Loretta Devine), along with various other colorful gang associates and adversaries.  William Atherton (GHOSTBUSTERS) as a D.A. on Luciano's payroll and "Man in a Suitcase" star Richard Bradford (playing another crooked cop as he did in THE UNTOUCHABLES) also add their talents to the mix.

One of the film's biggest assets is Clarence Williams III as Schultz' right-hand man, "Bub" Hewlett, a black gangster who suffers constant indignities from his blatantly racist boss as well as being a pariah among his own people.  Williams, whom I've always liked ever since his days as the soulful hippie-cop "Linc Hayes" on TV's "The Mod Squad", brings his own unique intensity to the role and makes "Bub" one of the film's most interesting and conflicted characters. 

Period ambience is strong, with rich production values shot through with that familiar golden-hued visual nostalgia so prominent in similar historical pieces since the 70s.  Old-time Harlem is well reproduced as are such locations as the fabled Cotton Club.  Supporting players are good, including Queen Latifah, Mike and Beau Starr as a couple of hulking, pickaxe-wielding hitmen, and Ed O'Ross as one of Schultz' not-so-bright toadies.


The only drawbacks for me are a not-quite-satisfying ending, a tendency toward sudden melodrama at times, and, worst of all, a surprisingly overpowering and ill-conceived musical score by music maestro Elmer Bernstein (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE).  In fact, it seemed to me that the film as a whole would've been twice as effective without any music at all save for the period songs. 

The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby sound and subtitles in English.  The sole extra is the film's trailer. 

While not quite on the same level as those classic gangster pictures that I mentioned before, HOODLUM would be right at home among them as part of a gangland-themed movie marathon.  If my experience is any indication, fans of this kind of entertainment aren't likely to be disappointed.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD




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Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE RATINGS GAME -- DVD Review by Porfle



The best reason to watch the Showtime original movie THE RATINGS GAME (1984, Olive Films), which is directed by and starring Danny DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman, is if you have a really big nostalgia jones for the 80s, and specifically bad 80s television.  Because not only does this film spoof bad 80s television, it IS bad 80s television.

DeVito plays feisty New Jersey trucking magnate Vic De Salvo, who has just set up shop in Hollywood so that he can realize his dream of pawning one of his awful TV show ideas off on some gullible producer. 

When evil MBC network programmer Parker Braithwaite (Gerrit Graham) fires one of his longtime executives, the spurned employee gets revenge on his way out by putting Vic's terrible pilot script for a smutty "Three's Company"-style sitcom called "Sittin' Pretty" into production. 


Meanwhile, Vic's budding romance with Francine Kester (Rhea Perlman), who works for a Nielsen-like network ratings service, yields big-time rewards when he persuades her to use her position to make sure "Sittin' Pretty" gets monster ratings. 

Vic does his part by getting 200 families whose TV choices are monitored to disappear for several weeks by basically kidnapping them onto a fake sea cruise, then hiring a bunch of goombas to break into their houses and watch his programs on their TVs. 

This premise sounds promising, but THE RATINGS GAME seems off in every department.  Not only is the script by Jim Mulholland and Michael Barrie, who gave us AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, about as bland as anything I've ever seen, but the leaden direction and performances--not to mention an awkward musical score--fail to inject much life into it.


Hard to believe this is the same DeVito who would go on to direct the biting WAR OF THE ROSES and the raucous THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN.  Despite his endless mugging, sequences such as the taping of his sitcom pilot before a live audience and the chaos that erupts during a climactic TV awards show where he's chased down by the police for fraud just seem to sit there.   

Even the chemistry between Danny and real-life wife Rhea Perlman is lacking.  The rest of the cast are unable to overcome the dull script, especially less comedy-savvy players such as Joe Santos (THE LAST BOY SCOUT) and Frank Sivero (GOODFELLAS), while venerable stars Kevin McCarthy, Barry Corbin, and Ronny Graham manage to add some zing to their scenes.  Vincent Schiavelli, bless his heart, is required to queen it up as the resident unfunny gay stereotype.

The movie comes to life when DeVito stages some wickedly funny mock promos for upcoming fall season premieres including some of the really bad shows that Vic has conned the network into green-lighting.  There's also some "spot the familiar face" fun with cameos from Bowery Boys alumnus Huntz Hall, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, George Wendt, Randi Brooks, Schiavelli's wife Allyce Beasley ("Moonlighting"), Jason Hervey, Lainie Kazan (in a deleted scene), Army Archerd, John Megna (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD's "Dill"), Michael Richards, and, very briefly, a pre-stardom Jerry Seinfeld. 


The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.33:1 widescreen with 2.0 sound and subtitles in English.  Extras consist of a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, a Showtime trailer, and a collection of four short films directed by Danny DeVito.  Also included is a terrific 28-page collector's booklet with liner notes and art from the film. 

THE RATINGS GAME appears to have amassed a generous amount of glowing reviews from reputable publications, including some genuine raves.  So clearly my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to it should hardly be taken as the final word on the subject.  I only wish that I'd enjoyed watching it as much as Danny DeVito seems to have enjoyed making it.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD





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"BLAIR WITCH" Is Hiding In "THE WOODS"



BLAIR WITCH Is Hiding In THE WOODS
In Theaters September 16th


BLAIR WITCH Director Adam Wingard, Screenwriter Simon Barrett, Producer Keith Calder, and Producer Jess Calder completed a Q+A at a Fan Screening at San Diego Comic-Con Friday night. 

During the screening, THE WOODS' identity in theater and online was revealed to be BLAIR WITCH, a sequel to the global phenomenon THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

BLAIR WITCH opens in theaters on September 16, 2016.






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Friday, July 22, 2016

"PITCHFORK" -- New Slasher Cuts Deep With New Teaser and Art



Pioneer Motion Pictures Debuts New Teaser for "Pitchfork"
Emmy Nominee Glenn Douglas Packard
Makes Directorial Debut With New Slasher Film

   
Los Angeles, CA - Pioneer Motion Pictures has unleashed a new teaser and poster for the new slasher film Pitchfork.  The first film from Emmy-nominated choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard, Pitchfork kicks off a new franchise of horror, sending a broken and misshapen beast on a rampage fueled by secrets and betrayal.

Co-written by Packard and executive producer Darryl F. Gariglio, Pitchfork presents a new monster for the ages, joining the pantheon that has terrified audiences for decades as mutilated bodies pile up in their wake.  Daniel Wilkinson stars as the titular Pitchfork, joined by Brian Raetz, Lindsey Nicole, Ryan Moore, Celina Beach, Keith Webb, Sheila Leason, Nicole Dambro and Vibhu Raghave.


Having recently shared a life-changing secret with his family, Hunter recruits his friends to come with him from New York to the farm where he grew up as he faces his parents for the first time.  As the college students enjoy the fresh air of Michigan farm country, an older, more dangerous secret slowly emerges.  While Hunter navigates a new place within his conservative family, a vicious creature from their past descends on the farm, putting the unsuspecting city kids in mortal danger.




Pitchfork will world premiere in 2016.


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"SAUSAGE PARTY" New Red Band Trailer



Sausage Party, the first R-rated CG animated movie
Release: 08/12/2016


One sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.

The film features the vocal talents of a who’s who of today’s comedy stars – Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek.



Starring
Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Salma Hayek

Directed By
Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Produced By
Megan Ellison, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Conrad Vernon

Executive Produced By
Jonah Hill, James Weaver, Ariel Shaffir, Kyle Hunter

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Olive Films Releases Rare Film from Preminger and Liza Minnelli, Nostalgic 80’s Action Flicks, and Beloved Classic



Olive Films Releases Rare Film from Preminger and Liza Minnelli, Beloved Classic, and Nostalgic 80's Action Flicks

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 August 16th will be the Blu-ray debut of eight films including Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970); the first four American Ninja films (1985-1990); and The Pride and the Passion (1957).

TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, JUNIE MOON (1970)

“Working on this film with Ken Howard was such a joy,” said Liza Minnelli in regards to the Olive Films release of Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. “I look forward to watching this film again for the first time in years and am so happy that a new audience will be able to discover it.”

The film, which has been previously unavailable on disc, comes to DVD and Blu-ray August 16th. It boasts a reputation amongst fans of Otto Preminger, because it fits perfectly into and provides an interesting perspective on his oddball late career, including films such as Skidoo, Such Good Friends, and Bunny Lake is Missing. The cult classic also showcases one of Liza Minnelli’s most emotional and powerful performances.

At the time of the film’s original release, director Preminger said of its star, “I am not the easiest man in the world to work for and I do not praise people promiscuously, but I tell you Liza Minnelli is a professional actress who has more natural acting talent than almost any other young actress I can think of.”

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon focuses on a trio of misfits rejected by mainstream society, made up of a former party girl whose face has been badly scarred by an acid attack (Liza Minnelli), an epileptic young man (Ken Howard), and a gay paraplegic man (Robert Moore). Painting a rich and loving portrait of its characters, the film found its way into the hearts of audiences everywhere. With the film robbed of a previous DVD or Blu-ray, fans of Liza Minnelli, Otto Preminger, and cult classics can look forward to the Olive Films release.

THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION (1957)


The Pride and the Passion, directed by Stanley Kramer, also receives its Blu-ray debut from Olive Films on August 16th. This spectacle of a historical epic is perhaps best remembered for its all-star cast, beautiful shot-on-location cinematography, and troubled production history. In the lead role is Cary Grant, playing against type as a noble and serious English captain. Starring alongside him is Sophia Loren in a breakthrough year. She had already begun her rise to fame, but this film and Boy on a Dolphin (1957) solidified her status as an international sex symbol. Behind the scenes, Grant was falling madly in love with Loren, and they began an affair. He proclaimed his love to her publicly, prompting her longtime foot-dragging boyfriend Carlo Ponti to appear on set and propose to her.

Production was no easier with the film’s other star, Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, he filled in for Marlon Brando only to be near his wife Ava Gardner, who would be nearby filming The Sun Also Rises. As their marriage crumbled and Sinatra came to dislike Spain, he acted out on set in ways such as hanging a banner that said “Franco is a Fink” outside his hotel window. He eventually stormed out on the filming early, necessitating some of the scenes to be filmed in the studio. The film’s previous DVD release was lackluster, with a troublesome color palette and matting issues. The Olive Films Blu-ray will improve on the color and is presented in 1.78:1, created using the best possible materials available with a slight modification of the aspect ratio to fit home viewing screens.



AMERICAN NINJA (1985), AMERICAN NINJA 2: THE CONFRONTATION (1987), AMERICAN NINJA 3: BLOOD HUNT (1989), AMERICAN NINJA 4: THE ANNIHILATION (1990)

These quintessential low-budget 1980’s action films occupy a special place in the hearts of many people who grew up in the era of VHS. Full of cheesy moments and goofs that endeared them to their audiences, Cannon Films’ American Ninja series still packed enough ninja action to launch a wave of martial arts obsession amongst young people across the US. Olive Films is proud to bring these four campy nostalgic favorites to 80’s kids everywhere on DVD and Blu-ray with new, original bonus features.

The first film teams up Michael Dudikoff and Steve James, a duo with uncanny chemistry and charisma. American Ninja 2: The Confrontation, often considered to be the best film of the series, reunites the two stars and director for even more ninja action. Although Michael Dudikoff was not in American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt, he was replaced by the skilled martial artist David Bradley and aided by returning cast member Steve James. Director Sam Firstenberg also stepped aside to make room for Cedric Sundström for film 3. In American Ninja 4: The Annihilation, Michael Dudikoff returned to the series to save the day with David Bradley.

The newly produced extras for the releases are as follows:

American Ninja

    Audio Commentary with director Sam Firstenberg
    A Rumble in The Jungle: The Making of American Ninja featuring interviews with director Sam Firstenberg, actors Michael Dudikoff and Judie Aronson, Screenwriter Paul De Mielche and Stunt Coordinator Steve Lambert
    Theatrical Trailer

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation

    Audio Commentary with director Sam Firstenberg
    An American Ninja in Cape Town: The Making of American Ninja 2 featuring interviews with Director Sam Firstenberg, actors Michael Dudikoff and Gary Conway, Executive Producer Avi Lerner and Stunt Coordinator BJ Davis
    Theatrical Trailer

American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt

    Strike Me Deadly: The Making of American Ninja 3 featuring interviews with Director Cedric Sundström, Executive Producer Avi Lerner, and actor Gary Conway
    David Bradley Audition Tape
    Theatrical Trailer

American Ninja 4: The Annihilation

    Last Tango in Lesotho: The Making of American Ninja 4 featuring interviews with director Cedric Sundström and Executive Producer Avi Lerner
    “The Cobra Strikes” Music Video
    Theatrical Trailer

Other Olive Films August Title

Blu-ray debut of Wild in the Streets (1968), directed by Barry Shear, starring Christopher Jones, Shelley Winters, Hal Holbrook, Millie Perkins, and Richard Pryor.

Blu-ray debut of Saved! (2004), directed by Brian Dannelly, starring Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Patrick Fugit, Macaulay Culkin, Chad Faust, and Eva Amurri.

Extras: Audio commentary with Mandy Moore and Jena Malone; Audio commentary with Brian Dannelly, Sandy Stern, and Michael Urban; Deleted/Extended Scenes; Bloopers; Featurettes; Trailer

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.



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"Frankenstein" & "The Wolf Man" Complete Legacy Collections



Frankenstein & The Wolf Man Complete Legacy Collections
Release Date: 9/13/2016

FRANKENSTEIN: COMPLETE LEGACY COLLECTION


Synopsis: The original Frankenstein is one of the silver screen's most unforgettable characters and, along with the other Universal Classic Monsters, defined the Hollywood horror genre. Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection includes all 8 films from the original legacy including the tragic classic starring Boris Karloff and the timeless films that followed. These landmark motion pictures defined the iconic look of Henry Frankenstein's Monster and his Bride, and continue to inspire countless remakes and adaptations that strengthen the legend of Frankenstein to this day.

Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 1 (Side A): Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 11 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
French Canadian DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
• Karloff: The Gentle Monster
• Monster Tracks
• Universal Horror
• Frankenstein Archives
• Boo!  A Short Film
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• Trailer Gallery
• 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
• My Scenes


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 2 (Side A): The Bride of Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 15 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
French European DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • She's Alive!  Creating The Bride of Frankenstein
• The Bride of Frankenstein Archive
• Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen
• Trailer Gallery
• 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
• My Scenes


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 3 (Side A): Son of Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 40 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:     

Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 4 (Side A): Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 13 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Theatrical Trailer


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 5 (Side A): Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 23 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
French
Spanish

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters
• Theatrical Trailer
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Gregory W. Mank
• 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
• 100 Years at Universal: Unforgettable Characters


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 3 (Side A) (Feature 2): The Ghost of Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 8 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:     
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • The Ghost of Frankenstein Theatrical Trailer


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 4 (Side A) (Feature 2): House of Frankenstein
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 8 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:     
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • House of Frankenstein Theatrical Trailer


Blu-ray Full Frame Multi-Feature(61181214) : Disc 4 (Side A) (Feature 3): House of Dracula
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23713-0-1
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      9/13/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 7 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:     
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • House of Dracula Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 1 (Side A)

 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 11 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
• Karloff: The Gentle Monster
• Frankenstein Archives
• Boo! A Short Film
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 2 (Side A): The Bride of Frankenstein
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 15 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • She's Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein
• The Bride of Frankenstein Archives
• Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen
• Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 3 (Side A): The Ghost of Frankenstein
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 8 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 4 (Side A): House of Dracula
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 7 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 2 (Side A) (Feature 2): Son of Frankenstein
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 40 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:     
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:     

DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 3 (Side A) (Feature 2): Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 14 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:     
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 4 (Side A) (Feature 2): Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 23 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:     
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Gregory W. Mank
• Production Photographs
• Theatrical Trailer


DVD Full Frame Multi-Feature(61163324) : Disc 3 (Side A) (Feature 3): House of Frankenstein
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-22483-9-9
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      2/3/2015      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 11 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:     
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Slip Sleeve      Layers:     
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Full Frame
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     BLACK & WHITE
 Rating:      Not Rated      CARA Rating:      -
 Bonus Features:      • Theatrical Trailer




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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

KING KONG (2005) -- Movie Review by Porfle



(NOTE: I wrote this review in 2006 and posted it at the now-defunct Bumscorner.com.  This is the first time it has been reposted since then.  My opinion of the film has soured considerably since this somewhat overly generous review--I can barely watch it now--but most of my reservations toward it are adequately expressed.)

Well, I never got around to seeing it in the theater, but thanks to the magic of DVD, I finally watched Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of KING KONG. If you're curious about my reaction to it, please keep reading. If not, here are some lovely pictures of giraffes.

(There are spoilers ahead, even if you're well familiar with the original film, since Jackson's version differs in several ways. So please proceed with caution if you haven't seen it yet.)

The story in a nutshell: flamboyant movie producer Carl Denham charters a merchant ship to take him and his leading lady, Ann Darrow, in search of the legendary Skull Island, where he hopes to capture such wonders on film that audiences will line up around the block to pay admission. But instead, he ends up capturing a fearsome 25-foot-tall gorilla named Kong -- who has left the safety of his jungle lair to pursue Miss Darrow, with whom he has become hopelessly smitten -- and then transports him back to New York to put him on display and make millions of dollars. Kong escapes, of course, and wreaks havoc in downtown NYC before recapturing Ann Darrow and climbing to the top of the Empire State Building, where he is picked off by machine gunners in biplanes.

The original 1933 version of this story by producer Merian C. Cooper and director Ernest B. Shoedsack is an undisputed classic. Okay, maybe it's disputed by some who now regard it as a creaky old black-and-white bore with crummy special effects. I feel that these people are missing out on one of the greatest cinematic experiences of all time -- a marvel of compact storytelling, pacing, and bravura filmmaking with a wonderful cast and groundbreaking special effects by master craftsman Willis O'Brien that are still astounding.


How does Jackson's film compare to the original? First of all, it looks absolutely beautiful. The first and last thirds of the movie display a dazzling recreation of Depression-era New York City that is rich in detail and utterly convincing. Jackson spends a lot more time here than Cooper and Shoedsack, who were more interested in setting up the story and getting us on our way to Skull Island as quickly as possible. In fact, Jackson spends a lot more time on everything in this version, making it twice as long as the original.

This time, we get Ann Darrow's (a radiant Naomi Watts) backstory in more detail -- she's a struggling vaudeville hoofer whose show just closed down, forcing her to consider the horrors of performing in burlesque rather than starving -- before her fateful meeting with Carl Denham, who in this version is a much more devious and manipulative, almost villainous character (although Jack Black somehow manages to make him mostly likable anyway).

Ann accepts Denham's offer of "money, adventure, and fame -- the thrill of a lifetime and a long sea voyage" after finding that a playwright she greatly admires, Adrien Brody's Jack Driscoll (who was the ship's first mate in the original version) is writing the screenplay to Denham's picture. So off they go, one step ahead of the police who have a warrant for Denham's arrest for bilking his previous film's investors.


The voyage to Skull Island gives Jackson a chance to introduce us to still more characters, subplots, etc., such as the close relationship between the first mate and a youngster named Jimmy (Jamie Bell, TURN: WASHINGTON'S SPIES) whom he once found stowed away in the cargo hold. This doesn't really go anywhere, except for the fact that Jimmy is reading Joseph Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness" and it's supposed to tie in with everything somehow. I never read "Heart Of Darkness" but I know APOCALYPSE NOW was based on it, so I guess Kong is Colonel Kurtz. Come to think of it, the later Marlon Brando would've made a pretty good Kong.

Anyway, Ann and Jack sorta fall in love, Denham and Captain Englehorn clash (Englehorn pretty much despises Denham in this version), the self-absorbed actor hired as Denham's leading man, Bruce Baxter, admires himself in the mirror, and when they finally get to Skull Island there's a thrilling sequence in which the ship is almost dashed against the rocks.

The island natives are a much more bizarre and murderous bunch this time, leading to some truly creepy moments, and when they kidnap Ann and offer her as a sacrifice to Kong by tying her to one end of a rickety drawbridge and then lowering it across a deep chasm on the jungle side of the great wall which separates them from the rest of the island, Jackson's staging and execution of the scene are impressive. All of which leads up to the big moment -- Kong's entrance -- which somehow just doesn't have the impact of the original. We only get to see fog-shrouded glimpses of him at first, and a close-up of his eyes, but never one definitive reveal, which I found disappointing.

Kong snatches Ann from her bonds (somehow managing not to rip her arms off in the process) and heads off into the jungle with her. This leads to a protracted series of fierce battles as Kong protects his golden-haired prize from a succession of prehistoric foes such as T-Rexes (three this time instead of the previous one) and giant bat-like creatures that infest the cave inside his mountaintop lair. Meanwhile, Driscoll, Denham, and a group of sailors who have set out to rescue Ann end up running for their lives from a herd of stampeding brontosauruses who are running from a group of hungry raptor-like creatures. This scene becomes almost cartoonish as the men skedaddle between the stomping brontosaurus feet and the huge beasts finally begin to pile up in a scene that resembles, as one message-board poster put it, the police car pile-up at the end of THE BLUES BROTHERS.


As if that weren't enough, their attempt to cross a gorge via a fallen log (which parallels the famous scene from the original) is foiled as an angry Kong shows up and starts to shake them off the log and into the pit below. Here, Jackson makes up for the excision of the fabled "Spider Pit Sequence" from the '33 version by having the hapless sailors attacked by the most nightmarish collection of giant insects, spiders, leeches, etc. that he and his SPFX crew could conceive of. I'm wondering how many walkouts there were when this was in theaters -- it's pretty horrifying. But it's also pretty cool.

Jack survives the pit, of course, and goes it alone as he makes his way up to Kong's lair. What he and the ragged remains of the rescue team don't know, however, is that while they were going through hell trying to rescue Ann, she was falling in love with Kong. And this is the element of Jackson's remake that I was dreading the most since advance word on the movie began to hint at it, and which serves as a giant stumbling block in my enjoyment of the film as a whole. I thought it was a dumb idea when it was injected into the stupendously awful 1976 remake, and I still do.

Let's face it -- if a giant rampaging gorilla grabbed me and carried me off into a jungle filled with prehistoric monsters, I'd be screaming my head off in mortal terror non-stop, just like Fay Wray's Ann Darrow did any time Kong came near her. I wouldn't be teaching the big, hairy ape sign language, nestling in his lap to watch the sunset, or making soulful googly eyes at him. I like the part where Ann attempts to calm the beast down by performing her vaudeville routine for him and eliciting a delighted reaction, but I just can't accept seeing the film turn into a love story that could almost pass for a Harlequin Romance novel with Kong taking Fabio's place on the cover.

At this point in the movie, it's almost as though Jackson had decided to remake TARZAN, THE APE MAN instead of KING KONG -- but when Tarzan carried Jane off into the jungle and she eventually came to love the untamed wild man, it was romantic. Here, it's just weird, and I found myself wondering at times if Ann wasn't a bit off in the head. And when Jack finally shows up and whispers for her to leave the sleeping Kong and come to him, for a moment there I thought she might actually refuse.


Perhaps recalling that she does have a prospective human lover and a life back in the real world, Ann manages to tear herself away from her beloved Kong and join Jack as they race back to the native village with Kong hot on their heels (a shot from the '33 version of them running through the jungle is beautifully duplicated here). When they arrive, Ann realizes with horror that Denham and Englehorn plan to capture Kong and take him back to New York as a big money-making attraction.

As Kong kills still more sailors left and right by smashing them, flinging them, and biting them in half, Ann can hardly contain her indignation and heartbreak at such a foul scheme. Although she must've come to know these hapless guys during the voyage -- we see her happily dancing for them at one point -- their violent deaths now seem to mean little or nothing to her, just as the deaths of several innocent New Yorkers and would-be rescuers in biplanes will later have no effect on her while she's in Kong's thrall. She's even furious at Jack for restraining her as Kong smashes his way through the door of the great wall, so I guess going through all kinds of hell to save her didn't keep her erstwhile human love interest out of the old debit column for long.

Kong, as everyone knows by now, does get captured and taken back to the big apple and made the star of the biggest show on Broadway. We discover that Jack and Ann have drifted apart in the interim, and he goes to the theater to try and win her back, not even knowing that she's left Denham and gotten a job in a chorus line somewhere else.


Kong's unveiling to a shocked audience is a grand affair which Jackson uses as one of the film's most blatant homages to the original, as Jack Black's Denham recites almost word for word the introductory speech Robert Armstrong gave back in '33 and the orchestra strikes up a stirring rendition of Max Steiner's famous score. The stage show also consists of a re-enactment of the native sacrificial ritual from the old version, but when the shackled Kong wakes up to find that the peroxide-blonde actress being offered to him as a bride isn't Ann Darrow, he goes ape and breaks loose. (I had to use the term "goes ape" somewhere.)

This is when the movie really starts getting good. Kong smashes his way through the front of the theater and goes on a destructive rampage through the icy streets of New York City, smashing vintage autos and trolley cars, snatching up any blonde he sees in search of the real Ann and tossing her aside when she turns out to be the wrong one. Jack jumps into an abandoned taxicab and tries to lure Kong away, but in the resulting chase Kong manages to cause even more destruction than before.

But just when he catches up to Jack and is about to smash him to a pulp, he senses something and looks around -- and there, gliding toward him out of the mist, is his beloved Ann. She leaps into his outstretched hand and off they go to Central Park for a romantic romp on a frozen lake (referred to by some as "the Thumper scene"), where they exchange more soulful gazes until the military arrives to break up their reverie. As the army guys blast away at everything in sight and terrified civilians run for their lives, Kong at last makes his way to the Empire State Building and begins his legendary climb.

All else aside -- and whatever gripes I may have, this is still an awesome film packed with one exhilarating scene after another -- Peter Jackson's staging of Kong's last stand atop the Empire State Building is a magnificent achievement. The attacking biplanes swoop down deliriously out of the sky toward Kong in several vertigo-inducing shots as he leaps around fighting them off amidst a hail of bullets. Every time I see this movie I have to go back and watch this part again, because it's simply one of the best action set-pieces ever filmed.


It's also one of those rare instances in which I'm glad they created CGI -- rarely has it ever been employed to such impressive effect (and when it is, come to think of it, it's usually in a Peter Jackson film). By this time, Kong has come into his own as a character that we can sympathize with (due to both the skill of the SPFX technicians and Andy "Gollum" Serkis' motion-captured performance), and his final emotional scene with Ann as he clings tenuously to the side of the building before finally slipping off and falling to the street far below is memorable. Even Jack Black's stiff repetition of the original film's final line somehow works as we reach the stirring fade-out at last.

So there you have it -- a rousing, gorgeously-photographed adventure story, a heartfelt tribute to the 1933 version by one of its most ardent fans, and a film that stands on its own and is definitely worth seeing and worth having. Which makes its one great, nagging flaw all the more bothersome to me. Maybe if Peter Jackson hadn't gone so overboard on the Ann-loves-Kong angle and used a bit more subtlety it would've worked, and might even have made Ann's offering herself to Kong in New York in an attempt to avoid further carnage seem like a more heroic act.

But as it is, she just seems abnormally and irrationally obsessed with this giant ape in a weirdly romantic way, as though he were the "man" of her dreams. Which makes her embrace with Jack at the end seem somewhat cursory. (There are, however, an awful lot of people who are utterly enamored with this aspect of the film, so -- as with any movie review -- take my opinion for what it is and decide for yourself.)

Anyway, that's the thing that really bugs me about the remake and prevents me from wholeheartedly embracing it; otherwise, I found the new KING KONG highly enjoyable on its own terms. Definitely a worthy effort, although, for me, it still doesn't quite live up to the first one.



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Monday, July 18, 2016

"THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN" Ride Sept. 23 -- New Trailer and One Sheet



THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Riding Into Town September 23, 2016


Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ The Magnificent Seven.

With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.


                               Watch the Trailer

Directed by:    Antoine Fuqua
       
Screenplay by:   Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk

Produced by:   Roger Birnbaum
                        Todd Black

Executive Producers:   Walter Mirisch
                        Antoine Fuqua
                        Bruce Berman
                        Ben Waisbren
           
Cast:               Denzel Washington
                        Chris Pratt
                        Ethan Hawke
                        Vincent D’Onofrio
                        Byung-Hun Lee
                        Peter Sarsgaard

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.





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Sunday, July 17, 2016

DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. (aka ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST) -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



I really scored this week, getting to see two notorious exploitation titles from the 80s that I hadn't seen before.  Well, not quite, since they're both pretty much the same movie. 

Thanks to Severin Films, both are now available in a 2-disc Blu-ray set under the title DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. (1980), which includes that noteworthy "video nasty" along with its predecessor, ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST. 

The initial film, an Italian gorefest directed by Marino Girolami (father of Enzo G. Castellari of "Inglorious Bastards" fame) and featuring both loinclothed zombies and ravenous cannibals on a tropical island, was then purchased by ballyhoo master Terry Levene and somewhat "Americanized" for the 42nd Street crowd. 


In addition to some general editing for time and a different score, the main changes consist of the new name (from "Zombie Holocaust" to "Dr. Butcher, M.D.") and an entirely new prologue and main titles sequence with footage taken from an unfinished anthology film called "Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out" and starring its producer Roy Frumkes as a zombie whose presence is totally unrelated to the original storyline.

What the two versions have in common is the story of a New York hospital plagued by a rash of weird cadaver mutilations that stymie Dr. Peter Chandler (Ian McCulloch) and Lori Ridgeway, a hospital staff member who's also an anthropologist (Alexandra Delli Colli, renamed "Alexandra Cole" for the altered version). 

After catching the culprit actually eating the heart of one of the cadavers and then jumping to his death to avoid capture, Peter and Lori organize an expedition to the man's native island in the West Indies where it is said that primitive tribes still engage in cannibalism.


With Peter's assistant George (Peter O'Neal) and an annoying photo-journalist named Susan (Sherry Buchanan) in tow, they meet up with Dr. Obrero (Donald O'Brien) in his island research retreat and head out for the dreaded Kito Island.  Soon after arriving, their party is attacked by bloodthirsty cannibals who dismember and devour anyone they can lay their hands on. 

Thus, after a prolonged stretch of exposition and build-up, the stage is set for an almost non-stop parade of some of the most grisly and disgusting gore effects that a low budget and ample imagination can provide.  They range from obviously fake-looking to near Tom Savini-quality gore, and even the less convincing stuff displays a sort of giddy showmanship. 

(The main FX fail, in fact, is when a dummy thrown from the hospital roof loses an arm upon hitting the ground, whereupon in the next shot the victim's arm is intact.)


Entrails are strewn, eyeballs plucked out, scalps lifted--and that's before the zombies show up.  It turns out the living dead are the result of Dr. Butcher's mad experiments in his island laboratory, which he soon stocks with the survivors of the expedition in order to include them as additional unwilling subjects in what resembles an even more horrific variation of "The Island of Dr. Moreau."

This guy's a real sadistic bastard, which means that we're in for some more grotesque makeup FX which must've delighted gorehounds over the years while giving anti-"video nasties" crusader Mary Whitehouse and her ilk heart seizures.  The exposed brain effect with its pop-top skull foreshadows a very similar, and much more expensive, one in Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL.

Marino Girolami's direction is serviceable as are the modest production values--the film has the same basic look as other Italian cannibal and zombie pictures of the era by directors such as Lucio Fulci and Ruggero Deodato, as well as later ones by Bruno Mattei (ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING, IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS, MONDO CANNIBAL).  The dubbing is often amusingly bad, yielding (as expected) some lines of dialogue that are real corkers. 


The acting isn't always top-notch either, but the cast give it their all.  Alexandra Delli Colli shows off her nude body a few times to stunning effect, especially in her big human-sacrifice scene during the film's climax.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin Films is a treasure trove of extras.  The keepcase itself features a reversible cover insert and a barf bag.

Disc one contains the feature film DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. plus the following extras:

"Butchery and Ballyhoo": an interview with Terry Levene
"Down on the Deuce": Roy Frumkes and Chris ("Temple of Schlock") Poggiali's nostalgia tour of 42nd Street's grindhouse theaters
Roy Frumkes' unfinished segment from "Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out"
"The Butcher Mobile": an interview with "Gore Gazette" publisher Rick Sullivan
"Calling Dr. Butcher": an interview with editor Jim Markovic
"Experiments With a Male Caucasian Brain": an illustrated essay by Gary Hertz
Theatrical and Video trailers


Disc two contains the feature film ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST and these extras:

"Voodoo Man": an interview with star Ian McCulloch
"Blood of the Zombies": an interview with FX master Rosario Prestopino
"Neurosurgery Italian Style": an interview with FX artist Maurizio Trani
Filmmaker Enzo G. Castellari Remembers His Father/Director Marino Girolami
Interview with Actress Sherry Buchanan
"New York Locations Then vs. Now"
Ian McCulloch sings his hit "Down By the River"
Theatrical trailers

The films are anamorphic widescreen with English 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  "Zombie Holocaust" can also be viewed with its original Italian soundtrack.  Picture quality is a bit rough at times due to the source material but the films probably look as good here as they're ever going to look.

All in all, DR. BUTCHER M.D. is a gorehound's delight, with its slower first half giving way to a veritable charnel house of hokey horror later on.  Which might truly horrify if it were meant to be taken at all seriously, instead of being such total dumb fun that your main reaction to its ample atrocities may be simply to laugh yourself sick.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Release date: July 26, 2016



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