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Friday, March 31, 2017

"WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES" NEW Trailer and Poster Released!



WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES hits theaters everywhere July 14, 2017!

For Freedom. For Family. For the Planet.

20th Century Fox has debuted a brand NEW trailer and poster for WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.


In the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise starring Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Action/Drama
Release: July 14, 2017
Director: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves
Producers: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer & Terry Notary

WATCH THE TRAILER


Facebook Live chat with Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, hosted by IGN!


SYNOPSIS
In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.  After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.  As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Official Channels
WEBSITE: WarForThePlanet.com
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ApesMovies
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ApesMovies
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ApesMovies/
#WarForThePlanet


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

CATHY'S CURSE -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



I'd never watched CATHY'S CURSE until now, but I do remember seeing a TV spot for it way back in 1977 and thinking that the title sounded like some kind of weird Everly Brothers song.

Today, this charmingly quaint little Canadian chiller-thriller is one of those late 70s film artifacts that seem to foretell the kind of supernatural horror flicks that we'd be seeing all through the 80s when we weren't watching some unkillable stalker-killer slashing his way through a teen cast.

Much of what happens was already pretty familiar stuff at the time.  There's a 1947 prologue featuring the violent deaths of a father and his young daughter Laura--the mother having just abandoned them, taking younger son George with her--whose spirits will return to haunt the living in the present day.


Those haunted are a family consisting of grown-up George (Alan Scarfe, LETHAL WEAPON 3, LOCK UP), his troubled wife Vivian (Beverley Murray) who's still recovering from a nervous breakdown, and their adolescent daughter Cathy (Randi Allen). 

When they return to the old homeplace to live, we know pretty much what's in store for them, and it will involve Cathy being possessed by Laura's angry spirit and making life a living hell for everyone else--especially Vivian, since Laura, like her late father, tends to regard all women as "bitches."  (George seems to be soaking up some of the old man's malevolent spiritual residue himself at first, but not much is made of this.)

French director Eddy Matalon has a lean, unfettered style and the cinematography has that chilly sort of starkness you often see in 70s and 80s Canadian cinema.  The editing is rather jumpy at times, adding to a sense of unpredictability and illogic that seems to enhance rather than detract from the film's modest appeal.


Once settled into their new house, Cathy wastes no time switching over to "creepy possessed kid" mode with the help of a hideous doll with sewn-together eyes that she finds in the attic along with a glowing-eyes portrait of Laura. 

This allows the writers to toss dashes of THE EXORCIST and THE OMEN into the stew albeit never anywhere close to the same intensity or fear level.  In fact, most of what happens is more delightfully amusing than scary, and is at times downright rib-tickling. 

This includes Cathy getting the old caretaker Paul drunk and then unleashing a gaggle of imaginary snakes and spiders on him, and sending a poor old lady who's babysitting her out an upstairs window by telekinetically launching that ugly doll at her. (The investigating police detective is familiar David Cronenberg regular Sonny Forbes, who played the bald black assassin in SCANNERS.)


There's a cool scene early on with Cathy reenacting Laura's fatal car crash with some neighborhood children while Vivian entertains two women, one of whom happens to be a medium.  Her extreme reactions to a picture of Laura's father, jerkily intercut with Cathy's menacing behavior toward her playmates, are a hoot.

The main focus of Cathy's wrath, however, is poor, frazzled Vivian herself, who's in and out of the nervous hospital throughout the film.  This allows Beverley Murray to emote to her heart's content, as when she's having a Calgon moment in the bathtub and suddenly finds herself awash in blood and leeches. 

The rest of the film is a series of derivative but pleasingly off-the-wall "fright" scenes that build to a blandly diverting finale boasting some fun burn makeup for Cathy.  Little Randi Allen, in her first and only film, is endearingly cute acting all menacing and scary.


The Blu-ray from Severin Films is 1080p HD full resolution with Dolby mono sound in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.  English subtitles are available.
 
Severin once again offers a loaded bonus menu including an interview with director Eddy Matalon, a charming interview with grown-up Randi Allen and her mother Joyce (who worked in wardrobe on the film), a fannish audio commentary with critic Brian Collins and filmmaker Simon Barrett, a trailer, and more.  The disc contains both the U.S. release cut and the longer director's cut. 

CATHY'S CURSE never gets nearly as scary as it wants to be--in fact, I don't think it raises a single hackle--but for those who can appreciate this sort of thing, kicking back to watch it is one of life's simple pleasures.  It's just the kind of relatively minor cult horror flick that's a throwaway to some, and a euphoria-inducing treat to others.


Buy it at Amazon.com

Release date: April 11, 2017


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"OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY" -- Arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack April 4, 2017



The funniest movie of the year!” — Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV

JENNIFER ANISTON, JASON BATEMAN AND T.J. MILLER LEAD AN ALL-STAR CAST IN THE UPROARIOUS UNRATED COMEDY

Featuring Outrageous Footage Not Shown in Theaters, Unrated Cut Arrives on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack April 4

Get the Party Started on Digital HD March 21


HOLLYWOOD, Calif.  – Party like your job depends on it when the “hilarious” (Neil Genzlinger, New York Times) and “raucous” (Frank Lovece, Film Journal) OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY arrives in a new unrated cut on Blu-ray Combo Pack April 4, 2017 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  Get the unrated version two weeks early on Digital HD March 21.

When an overbearing CEO (Jennifer Aniston) decides to close her hard-partying brother’s failing branch, he (T.J. Miller) and his fired up co-workers (Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon) decide to throw an epic office party to land a big shot client and save everyone’s jobs.  Fueled by booze and bad decisions, things quickly spiral out-of-control in one of the craziest nights of their lives.  OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY features an incredible supporting cast of comedic talent including Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine), Jillian Bell (Fist Fight), Vanessa Bayer (“Saturday Night Live”), Fortune Feimster (“The Mindy Project”) and Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”).
   
The OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Blu-ray Combo Pack features both the theatrical and unrated version of the film, which includes outrageous footage not seen in theaters.  In addition, the Blu-ray Combo Pack boasts hilarious outtakes, deleted and extended scenes, commentary by directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck and more.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Blu-ray Combo Pack
The OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.  The DVD in the combo pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.  The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film as well as the following:

Blu-ray
⦁    Unrated Version in high definition
⦁    Theatrical Version in high definition
⦁    Bonus Content:
⦁    Commentary by directors Josh Gordon & Will Speck
⦁    Throwing an Office Christmas Party
⦁    Outtakes
⦁    Deleted & Extended Scenes
DVD
⦁    Theatrical Version in standard definition

    The Blu-ray Combo Pack available for purchase includes a Digital HD copy of the theatrical version of the film that can be accessed through UltraViolet™, a way to collect, access and enjoy movies.  With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them—reliably and securely—to a variety of devices.   

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Single-Disc DVD
The single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.  The disc includes the theatrical version of the film in standard definition.

http://www.OfficeChristmasParty.com/
Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/OfficeChristmasParty
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/OfficeXmasParty
Instagram: https://www.Instagram.com/OfficeXmasParty
Amazon: http://j.mp/OwnOfficeXmasParty
iTunes: http://j.mp/OfficeXmasPartyWebsite

DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment present a Bluegrass Films/Entertainment 360 production, a Speck/Gordon film: “Office Christmas Party.”  Music by Theodore Shapiro.  Executive producers Josh Gordon, Will Speck, Beau Bauman, Richard Vane, and Matthew Hirsch.  Produced by Scott Stuber, p.g.a., Guymon Casady, p.g.a. and Daniel Rappaport, p.g.a.  Story by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore and Timothy Dowling.  Screenplay by Justin Malen and Laura Solon and Dan Mazer.  Directed by Will Speck & Josh Gordon.

About Paramount Home Media Distribution
Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD) is part of Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.  PPC is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), home to premier media brands that create television programs, motion pictures, consumer products, and digital content for audiences in 180 countries and territories.  The PHMD division oversees PPC’s home entertainment and transactional digital distribution activities worldwide. The division is responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of home entertainment content on behalf of Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CBS and applicable licensing and servicing of certain DreamWorks Animation titles.  PHMD additionally manages global licensing of studio content and transactional distribution across worldwide digital distribution platforms including online, mobile and portable devices and emerging technologies. 

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Street Date:           March 21, 2017 (Digital HD)
            April 4, 2017 (Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand)
U.S. Rating:       R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity (Theatrical Version)
Canadian Rating:    14A for nudity, coarse language (Theatrical Version)


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Dystopian Thriller "ROBOT WARS" on DVD/VOD from Breaking Glass 4/11



"A strong narrative centered on mankind versus technology" -DecayMag

"ROBOT WARS"

FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE

Breaking Glass Pictures will release the upcoming sci-fi/action feature ROBOT WARS on DVD/VOD April 11, 2017.

Check out the trailer:



CAST: Ben Naasz (The Men Who Fell), Teddy Cañez (Now You See Me, Tracers), Jennifer Sydney (American Crime, Gang Money Run), and Faye Kingslee (‘Legends of Tomorrow’, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Halo Wars 2).

SYNOPSIS:
In the near future, powerful corporations at war with each other over advanced technology development rule over an industrial wasteland. Corporate espionage has reached new heights of infiltration and bloodshed.

A convict is offered a second chance at freedom, but there is a catch: he must help a team of corporate thieves steal secretive prototype technology from a rival company. With a surgically-implanted camera and data links, he joins the team of thieves to complete the heist.

However, the mission is quickly compromised. With no contact to their company, the team is forced to take their stolen prize out into the lawless industrial sprawl. Savage gangs and corporate death squads are hot on their trail, and even worse, the team must come to grips with the true nature of their mission….and the terrifying power of their stolen technology.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Billy Zane Joins Eric Bress' "GHOSTS OF WAR" For Miscellaneous Entertainment



KYLE GALLNER, ALAN RITCHSON, BILLY ZANE AND SHAUN TOUB JOIN WRITER/DIRECTOR ERIC BRESS‘ GHOSTS OF WAR FOR MISCELLANEOUS ENTERTAINMENT

BRENTON THWAITES, THEO ROSSI, AND SKYLAR ASTIN WILL ALSO STAR; Principal Photography HAS COMMENCED


LOS ANGELES (March 28, 2017) ––Kyle Gallner (American Sniper, The Finest Hours), Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games), Billy Zane (Titanic, Tombstone) and Shaun Toub (Iron Man, “Homeland”) have joined the cast of Writer/Director Eric Bress’ supernatural psychological thriller Ghosts of War, alongside Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Maleficent), Theo Rossi (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Luke Cage”), and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect 1 & 2). Principal photography has commenced in Bulgaria. Miscellaneous Entertainment’s D. Todd Shepherd, Shelley Madison, and Joe Simpson are producing and financing the project alongside Colleen Camp. Adrian Jayasinha will Executive Produce alongside Bernard Stewart, Billy Zane and Andrew Mann. Highland Film Group is handling international sales.

Ghosts of War follows five battle-hardened American soldiers assigned to hold a French Chateau near the end of World War II. Formerly occupied by the Nazi high command, this respite quickly descends into madness when they encounter a supernatural enemy far more terrifying than anything seen on the battlefield. The five soldiers will be played by: Thwaites as Chris Goodson; Rossi as Kirk; Astin as Eugene; Gallner as Tappert; Ritchson as Butchie; and Zane in an undisclosed role. Toub will fill the role of Mr. Helwig.

Gallner currently stars as Hasil in the hit WGN series "Outsiders," with notable film credits including: American Sniper, The Finest Hours, Dear White People, and Beautiful Creatures. Ritchson has carved a space for himself on both the large and small screens in films such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and television series including: “Black Mirror,” and “Blue Mountain State.” Zane first appeared on the big screen in Back to the Future followed by the sequel Back to the Future Part II. His slate also includes: Titanic, Memphis Belle, Zoolander, and appearances in the television series‘ “Twin Peaks,” “Mad Dogs” and “Guilt.” Toub has received accolades for his film and television appearances including: the Iron Man franchise, Crash, War Dogs, The Last Airbender, “Homeland,” “Grimm” and many more.

Producer D. Todd Shepherd said: “Audiences continue to resonate with entertaining and socially relevant genre films. Eric is a master craftsman and has created some truly memorable characters. The addition of Kyle, Alan, Shaun and Billy to our exceptional acting ensemble will ensure Ghosts of War will be a stand out cinematic experience.”

Gallner is represented by UTA. Ritchson is represented by UTA and Industry Entertainment. Zane is represented by Underground. Toub is represented by Abrams Artists Agency

Miscellaneous Entertainment and Highland Film Group previously collaborated on the noir thriller Terminal starring Margot Robbie which is now in post-production.

About Miscellaneous Entertainment
Miscellaneous Entertainment focuses on the development, production, and finance of high-impact feature films. Most recently executive producing Taran Killam’s upcoming directorial debut Why We’re Killing Gunther, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the noir thriller Terminal, starring Margot Robbie, Mike Myers, and Simon Pegg, both set to be released in 2017, the company previously executive produced Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, and Robert Pattinson, Eduardo Sanchez’s found footage thriller Exists, and Parts Per Billion starring Josh Hartnett, Teresa Palmer, and Rosario Dawson.

About Highland Film Group
Led by Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier, Highland Film Group (HFG) is 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.

The Highland Film Group slate includes: Vaughn Stein’s Terminal starring Margot Robbie; Jon Avnet’s Three Christs of Ypsilanti starring Richard Gere, Julianna Margulies, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford; Lin Oeding’s thriller Braven starring Jason Momoa; Scott Mann’s Final Score starring Dave Bautista and Pierce Brosnan; and Osgood Perkins' The Blackcoat’s Daughter starring Emma Roberts for A24. The company recently acquired remake rights to The Crow and is planning a fall 2017 start.



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"CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER" -- Gravitas Ventures Acquires Documentary With Tom Hanks, John Mayer, Sam Shepherd, and More



GRAVITAS VENTURES ACQUIRES ‘CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER’ DOCUMENTARY

TOM HANKS, JOHN MAYER, SAM SHEPARD AND MORE STAR IN THE CINEMATIC LOVE LETTER

Doc set as Cleveland International Film Festival opening night film Wednesday, March 29, 7pm.


CLEVELAND (March 28, 2017) — Gravitas Ventures has announced the acquisition of U.S. rights to California Typewriter, which is set to show tomorrow evening at Tower City Cinemas as the Opening Night Film of the 41st Cleveland International Film Festival. The critically acclaimed documentary launched at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival. It will open theatrically in Los Angeles, New York and a dozen additional markets in the late summer.

California Typewriter is named after one of the last remaining typewriter shops in Berkeley, Calif., which plays a major role in the film. Run by Herbert Permillion III and his family, the business is depicted trying to balance financial security with its decades-long passion for selling and restoring typewriters.

“The film was a real labor of love for everyone involved and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Gravitas and their team,” said Director Doug Nichol, who made the self-funded film over a period of five years.   

With the rise of computers and smart phones, typewriters are teetering on the edge of obscurity — much to the chagrin of nearly everyone profiled in this emotionally moving and entertaining documentary. The film masterfully interweaves stories including artist Jeremy Mayer, whose “typewriter assemblage sculpture” uses typewriter parts to assemble intricate, human-like works of art, and expert Martin Howard, who's collected typewriters for nearly 30 years and is on a quest to add a legendary, rare Sholes and Glidden machine to a collection that holds typewriters dating all the way back to 1880.

Nuanced typewriter testimonials from super fans Tom Hanks (who has over 250 machines in his collection), musician John Mayer, playwright Sam Shepard and author David McCullough add incisive perspective. California Typewriter is a love letter to the enduring societal, historical, creative, and artistic value of these machines.

“In exploring the history and fondness people still carry for the typewriter, we are forced to confront an even larger question of how technology factors into our lives and what it’s pushing away,” stated Gravitas Founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher. “It is timely in this age of growth in tech to bring these thought provoking stories to the big screen.”

California Typewriter was directed by Doug Nichol (Sting: Ten Summoners Tales) who also photographed and edited the film. Nichol produced with John Benet (All God’s Children Can Dance). Executive Producers are Charlotte Chatton, James Redford (Paper Tigers) and Dana Schwartz (The United States of Detroit). The deal was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher for Gravitas and Kevin Iwashina and Zac Bright from Preferred Content on behalf of the filmmakers.

ABOUT GRAVITAS VENTURES
Gravitas Ventures is a leading all rights distributor of independent cinema. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with more than 500 content partners, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over 100 million homes. Recent releases include Katie Holmes’ feature directorial debut, “All We Had,” Jonathan Hock’s “Fastball,” Colin Hanks’ “All Things Must Pass,” “Being Evel” from Academy Award® winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville, “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of,” and “For The Love of Spock” from Director Adam Nimoy.

For more information, please visit gravitasventures.com, and sign up for the e-newsletter, follow @GravitasVOD on Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.


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Monday, March 27, 2017

DONNIE DARKO -- Movie Review by Porfle



(NOTE: Arrow Films' dazzling new 4K restoration of DONNIE DARKO--both the 132-minute Director's Cut and the 113-minute Theatrical Cut--will begin theatrical showings on March 31st.  You can read all about this right after the review.)

DONNIE DARKO (2001) is kind of like an ultra "Twilight Zone" episode by way of "The X-Files" as filtered through the mind of David Lynch and decorated by Tim Burton.  With some Robert A. Heinlein, Clive Barker, and John Irving thrown into the mix as well.  (The director has called it “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick.")

And yet it's also its own unique, one-of-a-kind sort of funhouse mirror with all the giddy fear and dark exhilaration of a malfunctioning spook house ride.

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, ZODIAC) gains our sympathy right away because he's a nice teenaged kid with a nice family, and he'd like to be a normal guy, but he isn't--I mean, really, really isn't--and he can't help it.


His befuddled psychiatrist (Katherine Ross) tells his parents he's schizophrenic.  Sometimes he skips his meds.  He knows he's "crazy", and that his attempts not to be are probably doomed. 

So, occasionally, he just goes with the flow and sets the fires and vandalizes the things that the tall guy in the scary-looking bunny costume and mask tells him to do. 

Why?  Because the scary bunny, who goes by the name of Frank, is a time traveler, helping Donnie to fulfill his destiny and maintain the space-time continuum by influencing the lives of everyone around him in very fundamental ways before the world ends, which will occur at the end of the month on Halloween night.


The incredible event that sets all of this into motion occurs early in the film, after we've met Donnie and the other Darkos and things have settled down for the night, and suddenly, there's a tremendous crash that shakes the house like an earthquake. 

That's the detached jet airplane engine demolishing Donnie's bedroom from above, mere minutes after he's been awakened and summoned safely out of the house by Frank.

For me, this weird and wonderful event is the sort of thing that just makes me fall in love with a movie right off the bat and stay with it every step of the way if it continues to be that wonderful, which DONNIE DARKO does the way a mindbending page-turner of a novel or comic book does.
 

Mary McDonnell (DANCES WITH WOLVES, INDEPENDENCE DAY, SCREAM 4, "Battlestar Galactica") and Holmes Osborne (THAT THING THAT YOU DO!, BRING IT ON, AFFLICTION) are ideal as Donnie's long-suffering but loving parents Rose and Eddie, and Gyllenhaal's real-life sister Maggie (THE DARK KNIGHT) is his sister Elizabeth.  Their younger sister Samantha is played cutely by Daveigh Chase (AMERICAN ROMANCE, SPIRITED AWAY).

Executive producer Drew Barrymore makes a strong impression as Donnie's progressive, perceptive English teacher, Miss Pomeroy, whose methods will be called into question by stiff-assed fellow teacher Miss Farmer (Beth Grant, OPERATION: ENDGAME, SPEED), an emotionally backward harpy whose classes seem to consist solely of videotapes by New Age self-help guru Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze, ROADHOUSE, DIRTY DANCING, GHOST).

Other supporting players in this very interesting cast include Noah Wyle, Seth Rogan, James Duval (AMERICAN ROMANCE, THE BLACK WATERS OF ECHO'S POND, INDEPENDENCE DAY), and Patience Cleveland (PSYCHO III) as Roberta Sparrow, aka "Grandma Death", a crazy old recluse who, it turns out, may know a thing or two about time travel herself.


High school life is a daily parade of the usual nerdy friends and scary bullies, as well as a pretty but troubled new student (Jena Malone as "Gretchen") who catches the eye of lonely but attractively enigmatic Donnie. 

I tried the lonely but attractively enigmatic thing in high school but it never worked for me.  It does, however, work for Donnie as he and Gretchen form a sympatico relationship that will become crucial in the scheme of things as time counts irrevocably down to Frank's mysterious end-of-world deadline.

As Donnie, Jake Gyllenhaal maintains just the right attitude throughout--bemused, puzzled, sad, resentful, fearful, and yet deeply intrigued by what's happening to him, because who knows?  It just might be real.

Visually, DONNIE DARKO is an eye-pleasing, idealized evocation of everyday life, sort of an updated Kodachrome version of Capra's small town in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE or the deceptive veneer of normalcy in Lynch's BLUE VELVET, all shot through with a warm nostalgia for the 80s. (Donnie takes Gretchen to see THE EVIL DEAD at the neighborhood bijou, while familiar 80s songs enhance the soundtrack.)


Richard Kelly directs the whole thing with the skill of a craftsman and the sensibility of an artist who likes to turn everyday things inside out and explore the beauty and mystery within, occasionally uncovering the ugly side of things as well. 

He also imbues the film with a sense of dark, magical fun that makes the serious aspects and underlying humanity of the story resonate even more.

This is exemplified by the loving but impishly humorous interactions between Donnie's parents, who sometimes act like a couple of kids, and between Donnie and his sisters.  It's nice to see a functioning family unit in a movie these days, even though this family does have one huge dysfunction, which is Donnie.

It's been a while since I was this totally caught up in a film and entranced by it until the very last frame.  DONNIE DARKO is like a big, juicy Tootsie Pop made of mystery and imagination, and you savor the act of seeing how many licks it takes to get to the chewy cult movie center.


Donnie Darko: English / USA / 113 min (theatrical) /
134 min (Director's Cut)



Here's our original coverage of the upcoming re-release:



Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko Returns to Theaters
Arrow Films Debuts 4K Restoration of Theatrical & Director's Cuts
 

Weeklong Runs in Los Angeles, New York and More

"Excitingly original indie vision" - Entertainment Weekly
"A mini-masterpiece" - Empire

   
Los Angeles, CA - Arrow Films has announced the March 31st domestic theatrical debut of the 4K restoration of Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko. Following a wildly successful re-release in the UK for its fifteenth anniversary, the film will return to theaters in cities across the United States. Fifteen years before "Stranger Things" combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Kelly set the template and the benchmark with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. The 4K restoration of Donnie Darko will premiere at the Vista in Los Angeles on March 30th, and officially open in Los Angeles at the Cinefamily and in New York at Metrograph on March 31st.

Described by director Richard Kelly as "The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick", Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast: pre-stardom Jake (Nightcrawler, Brokeback Mountain, Nocturnal Animals) and Maggie Gyllenhaal ("The Honourable Woman", The Dark Knight), Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Neon Demon), the late heartthrob Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing, Ghost), Drew Barrymore (E.T., "Grey Gardens", "Santa Clarita Diet") Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell (Dances With Wolves, Passion Fish, "Battlestar Galactica") and Katharine Ross (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford Wives), and television favorite Noah Wyle ("ER", "Falling Skies") and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran.

The brand-new 4K restoration was produced by Arrow Films from the original camera negatives and supervised and approved by Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster. The 4K restoration premiered to a packed audience at the National Film Theatre in London on December 17th, 2016, with an introduction by Richard Kelly. A screening of the Director's Cut followed the next day. The re-release opened nationwide in the UK on December 23rd, eventually grossing £70,000.

Both the theatrical cut and the director's cut are being made available to venues via a partnership with Cartilage Films, and locations will vary. 

Donnie Darko will also return for weeklong runs in Denver, Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Tempe, Tulsa and San Francisco on March 31st, and in El Paso, Portland and Detroit on April 7.

Special screenings include Jacksonville, Austin, Dallas, Honolulu, Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Sioux Falls, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Durham and Stamford throughout March and April.  A full list of screenings is available at Cartilage Films.
http://www.cartilagefilms.com/donnie-darko.html?utm_source=Copy+of+Donnie+Darko+Theaters&utm_campaign=Outfest&utm_medium=email

March 31st Theatrical Release:
The Cinefamily
611 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Metrograph
7 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002

Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank's maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum.





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THE SWAN PRINCESS: ROYALLY UNDERCOVER -- DVD Review by Porfle



I'm not that big a fan of the endless parade of digital "cartoons" these days, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy an engaging and pleasantly-rendered romp like THE SWAN PRINCESS: ROYALLY UNDERCOVER (2017) when it comes my way. 

Directed by former Disney animation director Richard Rich, it's the sixth direct-to-video sequel to his 1994 theatrical film THE SWAN PRINCESS which was done with old-school handpainted cel animation (which I sorely miss) as were the first three sequels. 

The main characters of that film were a beautiful princess named Odette and a handsome prince named Derek.  In the current sequels, they're older, married, and have an adopted daughter, Princess Alise. 


She and her friend Lucas, a shy peasant boy living with his parents on a tulip farm, are the new focus of our attention as they have colorful adventures in and around their mythical kingdom.  Here, they go undercover as spies to find out if ditzy Queen Uberta's dashing young suitor, a Count from a nearby kingdom, is really as nice as he seems or if he has ulterior motives that could threaten the entire kingdom and its royal family.

Alise and Lucas are the typical spunky, likable kids who get in and out of trouble by their own wits and also with the help of their talking animal friends.  Their grown-up ally is a grandfatherly Lord Rogers, an inventor with a secret subterranean vault full of cool steampunk spy gadgets.  He's sort of a Hans Conried type with the look of a sage old gentleman but the heart of a child, and he secretly loves the Queen.

Aside from some shots of him, the kids, and their animal friends wearing shades and walking in slo-mo RESERVOIR DOGS style (to accentuate the "spy" theme), there are refreshingly few "nudge-nudge" modern references barring a rather spectacular nod to GOLDENEYE in the pre-titles sequence. 


Moreover, this film really is G-rated, with no smirky double-entendres or unwelcome sexual innuendos of the kind that crop up in much of the so-called "childrens" entertainment these days.  Everything remains resolutely juvenile throughout--in a good way.

Adults should find it more than tolerable, especially in the second half when the kids infiltrate the Count's castle and all that spy stuff starts to pay off in a big way.  Alise and Lucas encounter a number of bad guys and dangerous situations, and the action and suspense are pretty much nonstop.

At this point in the series, the songs (what few there are) aren't that special and there are no celebrity character voiceovers, but I doubt if kids will really mind all that much. 


Characters are genuinely warm and caring toward each other, and the story puts forth various benevolent themes of togetherness, teamwork, and charity (a neighboring kingdom damaged by a flood receives emergency aid) in unobtrusive ways. "Don't trust kindly strangers bearing chocolate" is another subtle message.

The DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound in English and French, and Dolby Surround in Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, and Thai.  Subtitles are available.  In addition to several trailers for other Sony kids' films, there's a brief featurette with singer Macy Kate recording the end titles song.

Online comments from fans of the series indicate that some feel THE SWAN PRINCESS: ROYALLY UNDERCOVER is inferior to its predecessors.  But it's such a colorful and brightly entertaining diversion that, not having seen any of the earlier ones, I found this sequel quite enjoyable.

Buy it at Amazon.com



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Saturday, March 25, 2017

HEIDI (2015) -- DVD Review by Porfle



Before, whenever I heard the name "Heidi", I thought of Shirley Temple being cute, or a children's book that I never read, or, most infamously, an American Football League game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets on November 17, 1968 which, during an intensely suspenseful fourth quarter, was suddenly interrupted by NBC for the premiere of a brand new "Heidi" TV-movie, causing frenzied football fans all along the East Coast to tear their hair out in utter, gibbering consternation.

But that was before.  Now, having just seen the latest Swedish film adaptation of Johanna Spyri's 1881 children's book HEIDI (2015), not only has my perception of the story gone up considerably, but you might even call me a fan.  At least, a fan of this wonderfully rendered and exquisitely produced version.

Anuk Steffen is disarmingly endearing in the title role as a young orphan girl pawned off on her gruff grandfather by an uncaring aunt. Grandfather is played by Bruno Ganz, known mainly these days as Adolf Hitler in DOWNFALL (2004) thanks to all those "Hitler Reacts" video memes on the internet.


Here, he convincingly plays an old hermit living on a mountaintop in the Swiss Alps who rejects the child at first but eventually warms up to and then learns to love her.

The mountain sequences are dazzling with their beautiful locations and photography, whether during the lush green spring and summer or the frosty snow of winter.  Heidi frolics almost as a feral child, accompanying her young friend Peter during his daily goatherding duties or just hanging out with and gradually humanizing the once misanthropic old man. 

Her happiness is short-lived, however, when mercenary Aunt Dete (Anna Schinz) returns and takes her away to the city to live with a wealthy widower--and mostly absentee father--as a companion to his wheelchair-bound daughter, Klara (Isabelle Ottmann), an arrangment from which the unscrupulous aunt makes a tidy profit.


Although Heidi and Klara become fast friends, Heidi's life is made miserable by the stiflingly formal regimen of upper-class life (where she is addressed by her real name, Adelheid) personified by stiff, sadistic governess Miss Rottenmeier (Katharina Schüttler), who more than lives up to her name.

Thus, Heidi's dilemma is that she yearns to escape back to Grandfather and her beautiful mountaintop home but also dreads leaving poor Klara alone in her dreary, joyless existence. 

Director Alain Gsponer (LIFE ACTUALLY) has a very nimble and imaginative style that adapts well to the various settings.  The cinematography is consistently fine, as is the film's musical score. 

While the Swiss Alps provide some incredible eye-candy, even the believably gritty city and village settings are impeccably rendered and totally convincing.  The mansion scenes are suitably oppressive, sort of like a children's story as written by one of the Brontë sisters. I also sense something of a GREYSTOKE vibe at times, so jarring is Heidi's forced transition into so-called civilized life, with a bit of A LITTLE PRINCESS thrown in as well.



The cast are so good at their roles and the script so well-written that Heidi's story is effortlessly engaging from beginning to end.  Her eventual reunion with Grandfather and her precious mountains delivers a well-earned emotional catharsis. 

One of the film's main strengths is that it takes its story seriously--the drama and pathos are realistically handled, and lighthearted moments spring naturally from the situations without seeming forced or artificially cute.

The DVD from Omnibus Entertainment and Film Movement is in 2.40:1 widescreen with 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby surround sound.  Dubbed English or original German with English subtitles are available.  No extras.

I feel now as though I've been missing out on this story all these years, although I can't imagine it being presented in such a realistic and satisfying fashion as it is here.  There's so much more to this version of HEIDI than its innocuous-sounding title might suggest, and it should please both children and the adults who watch it with them to an equal degree. 


DVD Available exclusively at Walmart
DVD and Digital Debut: April 4, 2017



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Friday, March 24, 2017

"VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS" From Luc Besson -- Watch the Trailer Now!



VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is the visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, the legendary director of The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy, based on the ground-breaking comic book series which inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers.

In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha-an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other. 


There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

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WATCH THE TRAILER:



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"FIGHT FOR SPACE" Where Is Your Space Program? -- Trailer Premiere



FIGHT FOR SPACE lands in theaters and on demand MAY 19

FEATURES: Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jim Lovell, Story Musgrave, Rick Tumlinson, James Muncy, Marcia S. Smith, Bill Nye, John Logsdon, Gene Kranz, Jeff Greason



In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that NASA would send astronauts to the Moon by the end of the decade. The Space Race inspired an entire generation to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering, creating the technological boom of the 1990s.

As the balance of world power shifted, interest in space exploration declined and NASA became old news.

Fight for Space examines the past, present and future of the US Space Program through in-depth interviews with the world’s leading experts on space travel, including astronauts Jim Lovell & Story Musgrave, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, engineers, space industry entrepreneurs and others.

Restored film footage from the National Archives and years of historical research take you on an exciting journey from the beginning of NASA, into the future, re-awakening our sense of wonder, discovery and desire to reach for the stars.

WATCH THE TRAILER:





Pre-order the film from iTunes




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Thursday, March 23, 2017

WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD -- DVD Review by Porfle



I only saw WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD (Olive Films) once before, when me and the guys caught it during its initial run back in 1976, and we all hated it.  Why?  Because we were expecting something really wildly, wickedly funny and off-the-wall, like a Mel Brooks or Monty Python flick. 

Well, this movie isn't like that. In fact, it seems to be willfully corny and sometimes gives the impression that it actually wants to be bad just to mess with us, although it doesn't really.  And now that I'm an avowed bad movie fan, I find this irresistible and maybe even a little wonderful.

It certainly has a chipper enough attitude with its sunny early-Hollywood atmosphere, fast action, rapid-fire (and often dumb) comedy dialogue, and utter lack of seriousness even when Won is being led to the doggy gas chamber with none other than Andy Devine, as a priest, reading his last rites.


That's another thing about this movie--it is literally packed with guest star cameos.  Like, dozens of them.  The whole running time is a spot-the-stars thing where every bit part is a potential Old Hollywood has-been passing through. 

Some get a bit of business with a few lines, such as the two surviving Ritz Brothers, while others flash by so briefly and thanklessly you're not even sure who you think you just saw.  (Sadly, many of today's younger viewers will probably recognize only a small percentage of them.)

They include such Tinsel Town luminaries as Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Johnny Weissmuller, Ann Miller, Broderick Crawford, Walter Pidgeon, Ethel Merman, Cyd Charisse, Rhonda Fleming, Fritz Feld, Georgie Jessel, Virginia Mayo, Billy Barty, Peter Lawford, Sterling Holloway, Janet Blair, Fernando Lamas, Aldo Ray, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Huntz Hall, Stepin Fetchit, and many, many more. I even spotted an unbilled Toni Basil as Dean Stockwell's date at an award show.


One of the most unusual casting choices is Ron Liebman (NORMA RAE) as Rudy Montague, a Rudolph Valentino type who dresses in drag so that he can attend his own movies without getting mobbed since he's his own biggest fan. 

The plot, if it matters, is about starving actress Estie Del Ruth (Madeline Kahn, BLAZING SADDLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN) and aspiring screenwriter Grayson Potchuck (Bruce Dern, THE COWBOYS, THE TRIP) both managing to break into silent pictures on the coatttails of a talented German Shepherd named Won Ton Ton, who loves Estie and does whatever she tells him to do. 

This delights unscrupulous studio boss J.J. Fromberg (Art Carney, "The Honeymooners"), who sees big, fat dollar signs when Won's first picture is a smash.  Estie has a harder time convincing him that she's actress material, however--in fact, after J.J. has her thrown off the lot, Potchuck must sneak her back in so that she can direct Won from behind the camera.


As per the usual "rise and fall and rise" Hollywood yarn which this movie spoofs, Won's success doesn't last and he eventually hits the skids.  He ends up getting drunk in an alley with a homeless John Carradine and then, in one of the film's strangest sequences, unsuccessfully attempts various methods of doggy suicide.

As for the rest of the comedy, it's a real hit-and-miss affair.  Some is just so loud and destructive that we can't help but laugh, or at least cringe, while other attempts, such as an old-fashioned piefight and various bits of traditional slapstick, simply lack the imagination, finesse, and timing of the original silent comedies they're imitating. 

This isn't helped by the fact that director Michael Winner is hardly known for his comedy skills, having helmed such films as the DEATH WISH series (along with other Charles Bronson shoot-em-ups), THE BIG SLEEP, MURDER ON THE CAMPUS, et al.


Striving for a light touch, he often achieves a level of physical and verbal humor akin to a cheap Filmation cartoon, and tends to simply aim the camera at his myriad of actors in hopes that they'll just naturally be funny and charming.

And sometimes they are.  It's hard to miss with Madeline Kahn and Bruce Dern as the leads (as unlikely as it sounds, perennial bad guy Bruce was funny when given a likably sleazy character to play) and supporting players such as Art Carney and Teri Garr (YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS). 

The setting is another plus, encompassing several Hollywood landmarks and an overall atmosphere of silent-film-era nostalgia that's vivid and colorful.  (Vintage car buffs will love seeing the classic old models, and then cringe as they crash into each other.)  Even the simulated silent movies we see during various premieres appear authentic, although much too aged-looking to have been newly filmed.

The DVD from Olive Films is in 1.78:1 widescreen with mono sound and optional English subtitles. No extras.

Those expecting excellence will be disappointed, as will those settling in for a total bad-movie bash.  But those who set their sights in between and take the good with the bad--between which extremes this film fluctuates wildly--should find WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD a passable time-waster at worst, and, at best, a cheerfully featherbrained and delightfully screwy sort of novelty artifact.

Order the Blu-ray or DVD from Olive Films


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Karl Urban, Sofia Vergara, and Andy Garcia to Star in Revenge Thriller "BENT" From Academy Award® Winner Bobby Moresco



KARL URBAN, SOFIA VERGARA AND ANDY GARCIA TO STAR IN REVENGE THRILLER “BENT” FROM ACADEMY AWARD® WINNER BOBBY MORESCO

Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi’s AMBI Media Group Producing with Joseph O’Donnell’s Deadly Codes Productions


March 23, 2017 – Karl Urban (“RED,” “Star Trek,” “Riddick”), multiple Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family,” “Chef, “Machete Kills”) and Academy Award® nominee Andy Garcia (“Ocean’s Eleven,” “The Godfather: Part III”, “The Untouchables”) have signed on to star in the revenge thriller “Bent” for Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi’s AMBI Media Group and Joseph O’Donnell’s Deadly Codes Productions.

Academy Award® winner Bobby Moresco (“Crash,” “Million Dollar Baby”) will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote himself, based on characters created by Joseph O’Donnell.

Producers are Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi and Joseph O’Donnell.

“Bent” is a powerful action/suspense/thriller in the classic noir tradition. It’s the redemptive tale of Danny Gallagher (Karl Urban), a shamed and discredited narcotics detective who, upon his release from prison, makes plans to seek revenge on the accuser who framed him and killed his partner. In seeking out the truth of what happened the night his partner was killed, and he was framed, Gallagher investigates the mysterious car bomb murder of a local bookie’s sister. Gallagher soon discovers that the murder is connected to an elaborate conspiracy involving high-stakes treason with major international implications.

The story of the film examines the themes of loyalty and betrayal played out through the vast corruption of our most secret government agencies along with the compelling characters of society’s criminal underbelly. The story’s twists and turns force Gallagher to confront a ruthless, seductive government agent (Sofia Vergara), who may or may not be on his side; and his mentor Murtha (Andy Garcia), a retired cop, who’s fought corruption his entire career.

Producer Andrea Iervolino said, “’Bent’ delivers on the best of film noirs - a main character driven by revenge, who is forced to choose between the truth he knows, the evidence against that truth, and the woman he loves most in the world. Karl, Sofia and Andy are a powerful onscreen trio who have a rich story to work with, thanks to the brilliant story and characters created by Bobby and Joseph.”

Principal photography will commence this month in Rome, Italy.

Karl Urban is represented by UTA.  Andy Garcia is represented by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Sofia Vergara is represented by UTA and management company Latin World Entertainment. Bobby Moresco is represented by ICM and Primary Wave Entertainment.

About AMBI
AMBI Group is a consortium of vertically integrated film development, production, finance and distribution companies wholly owned and operated by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Gomez del Campo Bacardi, Lady of Bayfield Hall, better known as “Monika Bacardi.”

AMBI has quickly emerged as one of the industry’s most prolific financing, production and sales companies with the capacity to develop, package, finance, produce and sell a broad array of films for worldwide distribution. Among the films on AMBI’s burgeoning film slate are the heist movie “Finding Steve McQueen,” starring Travis Fimmel, Rachael Taylor, William Fichtner and Forest Whitaker, which Mark Steven Johnson is directing; the Andrea Bocelli biopic “The Music of Silence”, directed by Oscar® nominated Michael Radford and starring Antonio Banderas, Toby Sebastian and Jordi Molla; a new Sarah Jessica Parker music-drama, James Franco’s post-apocalyptic thriller “Future World”, starring Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu, Method Man, Suki Waterhouse, Snoop Dogg, and James Franco; the psychological thriller “Black Butterfly” starring Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; a remake of Christopher Nolan’s iconic film “Memento”;  “Lamborghini – The Legend,” a biopic on Lamborghini founder Ferruccio Lamborghini to be written by Bobby Moresco; the faith based children’s film “Beyond the Sun,” featuring His Holiness Pope Francis; the contemporary fairy tale “This Beautiful Fantastic” starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson; James Franco’s “In Dubious Battle,” featuring an ensemble cast that includes Franco, Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston, Josh Hutcherson, Zach Braff and Sam Shepherd; the 3D, CGI animated family film “Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad” starring Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Heidi Klum, John Cleese, James Franco and Anjelica Huston; and the sci-fi thriller “Rupture” starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis and Peter Stormare.

In 2015, AMBI acquired the Exclusive Media Group film library, which includes an incredibly diverse portfolio of critical hits, commercial blockbusters and cult favorites such as “Begin Again,” “Cruel Intentions,” “Donnie Darko,” “End of Watch,” “Ides of March,” “Hit & Run,” “Memento,” “The Mexican,” “Parkland,” “Rush,” “Sliding Doors,” “Snitch,” “Undefeated” and “The Way Back,” to name a few.  In addition to the library titles, AMBI now has the rights to a number of titles within EMG’s active movie development slate, as well as all sequel and remake rights to the popular EMG films.

Andrea Iervolino has produced, funded and distributed over 55 feature films including “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Humbling.” He is considered one of the youngest and most accomplished entrepreneurs in the Italian film industry and was the recipient of the coveted Mimmo Rotella Award for his contributions to the Italian cinema industry - presented to him at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, alongside fellow recipients Al Pacino and Barry Levinson. Iervolino most recently received the Honor of Recognition as Ambassador of Italian Cinema in the World at annual Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF).

Renowned for her passion of modern art and love of photography and movies, Monika Bacardi is a highly successful businesswoman who is now committed to producing films, through AMBI, on top of her numerous philanthropic activities.

For more information on AMBI please visit http://ambidistribution.com/



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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE DELINQUENTS -- DVD Review by Porfle



Often these teenage delinquency thrillers are pretty bad--the ones that aren't directed by Nicholas Ray, anyway--and must be perversely enjoyed for what they are.  However...

With Robert Altman's 1957 feature debut THE DELINQUENTS (Olive Films) we get a briskly executed, fast-moving tale of heated teen intrigue that can be appreciated on its own modest terms without the usual "so bad it's good" vibe needed to keep us interested.

Ed Wood-like, budding auteur Altman (MASH, NASHVILLE, THE PLAYER) enjoys his own "Written, Produced, and Directed By" credit, while the film is like a top-drawer cousin to those often dreary exploitation cheapies whose sanctimonious sermonizing was an excuse to indulge in gratuitous violence and debauchery.


Here, Altman is careful to make the characters and situations much more realistic and true-to-life than in many such films and we don't get the feeling that we're "slumming" as we watch, despite a narrator's hokey Sunday School sermonizing (which Altman himself clearly did not write) bookending the film.

The story begins with a bunch of twenty-something teens disrupting a jazz bar after being refused alcohol and then piling into their top-down jalopy and going on the prowl for more trouble to get into. 

Led by smooth but surly narcissist Cholly (Peter Miller, whose other credits include FORBIDDEN PLANET, THE ONION FIELD, BLUE THUNDER) and his hotheaded toady Eddy (familiar actor Richard Bakalyan, CHINATOWN), this group of ne'er-do-wells are on their way to evolving into the same type of ultra-violence addicts we meet in Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.


Taking in a drive-in movie, they encounter Tom Laughlin (BILLY JACK) as Scotty, sitting alone and dejected in his car after being ordered to stop seeing his girlfriend Janice (Rosemary Howard) by her overly protective parents, who consider her too young to "go steady."  After Eddy punctures someone's tire with his shiv, the gang help Scotty fight off a group of boys who mistake him for the culprit. 

Thus begins a sick "friendship" between Scotty and Cholly, whose only intention is to abuse Scotty's trust for his own amusement and even try to move in on Janice after helping her sneak out of the house to see Scotty. 

During a wild party in a vacant house, Eddy gets Scotty drunk so that Cholly can make advances on Janice, and in the ensuing police raid Scotty is once again unjustly blamed, this time for being the snitch who led the police there.


The rest of the film is a tense and often violent series of clashes between Scotty and the gang with innocent bystanders like Janice (who is ultimately kidnapped to lure Scotty into a trap) representing the adverse effects of delinquency on decent society in general. 

With most of the young cast finally ending up in the police station, the film rather abruptly ends where REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE begins, as the narrator once again exhorts us to do something about this teen delinquency scourge before it's too late.

With THE DELINQUENTS, Robert Altman proves himself a more than competent director with a lean efficiency that would serve him well in such television shows as "Combat!" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."  His hastily-written script displays the same qualities, as well as a knack for snappy and engaging dialogue.


Already he was directing his actors well and getting good performances out of them, including his own cute little daughter Christine as Scotty's kid sister Sissy and his wife Lotus Corelli as Janice's mother.  Peter Miller as Cholly and Richard Bakalyan as Eddy are convincingly sleazy and volatile, while the energetic, expressive Laughlin, trying his best to channel James Dean, is fascinating to watch.

It's particularly interesting to see Laughlin in his starring debut being so boyish and open (happy-go-lucky Scotty often enters the scene whistling, while he and Janice play and giggle like children when alone), in sharp contrast to the tortured and taciturn Billy Jack character who, years later, would spin-kick and method-act his way through a series of preachy action flicks with the intensity of a constipated gorilla.

Laughlin would later write and direct his own cautionary teen dramas such as LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON (1961) and THE PROPER TIME (1962) before becoming the iconic Billy Jack in 1967's THE BORN LOSERS.


As late-50s teen exploitation, this film is noteworthy for its lack of both rock-and-roll music (the gang listens only to jazz) and drugs (they only get high on alcohol).  There's also little reference to school, meaning no sympathetic or antagonistic teachers and fellow students complicating the narrative.  And aside from a few minor authority figures and some bossy parents, the conflicts are kept strictly between the younger characters.

The crisp black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous, the print used here being pretty much pristine.  I love the stark, shadowy night photography (all done on location in Altman's hometown of Kansas City, Missouri) with the somewhat lurid but exhilarating aura of the era's low-budget horror thrillers. Some of the violence, while mild today, is shockingly bloody for its time. 

The DVD from Olive Films has an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and mono sound.  English subtitles are available.  The film's trailer is the sole extra.

"The Hoods of Tomorrow! The Gun-Molls of the Future!" extols the breathless trailer for THE DELINQUENTS, and while not quite that sensationalistic, the film itself is both exciting and genuinely absorbing. Altman and star Laughlin may skirt the edges of "so bad it's good" territory here, but for the most part, in its own modest way, it's just plain good.

Buy it from Olive Films



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Kenneth Mader's Sci-Fi Thriller "DISPLACEMENT" Opens In Los Angeles Apr. 28, Day & Date With VOD



KENNETH MADER’S SCI-FI THRILLER ‘DISPLACEMENT’ OPENS IN LOS ANGELES APRIL 28, DAY & DATE WITH VOD

CHICAGO & DALLAS THEATRICAL PLAY DATES TO FOLLOW

HTTP://WWW.DISPLACEMENTTHEMOVIE.COM


Los Angeles, CA, March 22, 2017— Arcadia Releasing Group today announced that it will release writer/director Kenneth Mader’s award-winning sci-fi thriller DISPLACEMENT for an exclusive LA theatrical run at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center as well as on VOD April 28th, followed by play dates in Chicago and Dallas. VOD platforms include: Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play, and the DVD will be available for rental from Family Video in May. Further DVD/BD release to follow.

DISPLACEMENT stars Method Fest and Telly Award Winner and Young Artist Award Nominee Courtney Hope (“The Bold and the Beautiful”, “Transparent”) alongside Academy Award® Nominee and Golden Globe® Winner Bruce Davison (X-Men, Longtime Companion), Golden Globe® Winner Susan Blakely (“Rich Man, Poor Man”, “This is Us”), Sarah Douglas (Superman, Superman II), Lou Richards (“Mad Men”, “How To Get Away With Murder”) and Christopher Backus (“Bosch”, “Rodies”).

“The response to the film at festivals around the country has been great,” said Mader, “and I’m thrilled to be able to bring it to theatrical audiences in L.A., Dallas and especially my hometown of Chicago!”



Have you ever wanted a second chance? To give someone a gift you weren't able to give? Tell them you loved them one last time? These are the questions at the heart of DISPLACEMENT, a character-driven time travel story that explores themes of love and loss, the power of forgiveness, and the consequences of turning back the clock.

All of this within the context of a mind-bending mystery thriller that follows brilliant young physics student Cassie Sinclair (Hope) as she attempts to solve the murder of her boyfriend Brian (Backus) while battling memory loss, mysterious pursuers and severe physical distress caused by a quantum entanglement event.

Grieving over the death of her mother (Blakely) to cancer, Cassie must find a way to reverse the anomaly and solve the mystery of Brian’s death, all while avoiding a shadowy group that is dogging her every move, sending Cassie on a journey that will shake her very core, setting off a chain of events that brings her to the brink of complete emotional and physical collapse.

In order to untangle the anomaly, Cassie seeks counsel from her old physics professor (Davison), encounters her estranged physicist father (Richards) and finds herself being repeatedly interrogated by the mysterious Dr. Miles (Douglas) all of which reveal clues that lead her further down a path toward discovery and potential redemption. But at how steep a price?

DISPLACEMENT

Cast: Courtney Hope, Bruce Davison, Susan Blakely, Sarah Douglas, Lou Richards, Karan Oberoi and Christopher Backus
Written and Directed by: Kenneth Mader
Producers: Kenneth Mader and Zander Villayne

Theatrical Information:
Laemmle’s Monica Film Center
1332 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller, Mystery
Running Time: 112 mins.
Rating: Unrated
Language: English

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