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Saturday, April 29, 2017

THEATER OF MR. & MRS. KABAL -- DVD Review by Porfle

Walerian Borowczyk was a Polish avant-garde artist who chose film as one medium through which to express his wildly imaginative musings.  In 1967, he tackled the art of animation with the feature-length cartoon THEATER OF MR. & MRS. KABAL, aka "Théâtre de Monsieur & Madame Kabal" (Olive Films).

Or perhaps "tackled" isn't the correct term as much as "drugged, wrestled into submission, and dressed up funny."

With what appears to be a mix of cel art, cutouts, and other elements (at times it looks as though Borowczyk is drawing directly onto white paper in increments), he tells the story of a day in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Kabal--he a short, mousey husband and she a tall, grotesque wife who appears to be a soulless mechanical monster of some kind.

The first scene catches her in the midst of assembling herself out of spare parts and choosing a head (after many tries, she picks the most alarming-looking one) before going along her un-merry way into what passes for a narrative, which actually isn't one at all.

Mr. Kabal, meanwhile, whiles away his spare time gazing around at the barren scenery through his telescoping binoculars until he catches brief glimpses of live-action women lounging in bikinis who are then menaced by an old man with a beard. These clips are the only color in this stark pen-and-ink world save for a few splashes here and there, including the ever-present butterflies flying endlessly about.

One sequence features the couple lying on the ground (he reading a newspaper, she lying face down) while the butterflies flit by for several minutes.  Some flutter, some flap, and others sound like trash can lids rolling by.


Borowczyk has a field day with the sound design throughout the film, as Mrs. Kabal foreshadows "Star Wars" robot C3PO with her staccato speech consisting of a barrage of electronic beeping noises. 

Borowczyk himself appears early on and urges her to simply act naturally (relatively speaking) so that we can observe the Kabals going through a typical day.  She beeps furiously in response (her dialogue is subtitled in three languages) before conjuring a weight out of thin air to drop on Borowczyk's head. 

The early scenes are the best, because they're slower paced and we can better assimilate what's going on, as nonsensical as it is, such as Mrs. Kabal shedding her outer metal husk in order to bath in the ocean, or Mr. Kabal attending a cinema show entitled "The Depths of the Human Body" which features live-action closeups of pulsating organs and a quivering esophagus.

In another scene, a giant crosscut saw separates Mrs. Kabal's head from her reclining body, which then expands to such great size that Mr. Kabal immediately scampers inside to explore the depths of its Escher-like interior.

As the film progresses, so does the pace, until we're assailed by a dizzying procession of utterly bizarre and senseless images that grow more relentlessly incomprehensible by the minute.  Finally the story is nothing more than pure stream-of-consciousness incongruity, and the effort to take it all in becomes rather taxing. 

For this reason it may be advisable to watch THEATER OF MR. & MRS. KABAL in several short bursts rather than trying to handle it all in one mind-numbing sitting.  The more adventurous cineastes among us may consider the latter something of a challenge, while others will be both unable and unwilling to endure more than a few minutes of it.

One thing's for sure--I would be very surprised if Terry Gilliam, who supplied the celebrated animations for "Monty Python" throughout his tenure with the group, weren't at some time influenced by Borowczyk's work, just as the Polish artist's later live-action film GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE seems to foreshadow the early stylings of David Lynch.   

The story of the Kabals is similar to GOTO in its arbitrary and thoroughly unapologetic strangeness for its own sake (or, rather, for art's sake).  But unlike that film with its more coherent plot and less rampant surrealism, the almost hallucinatory THEATER OF MR. & MRS. KABAL remains in the uppermost stratosphere of strangeness from beginning to end, like the long, fervid dream of a rarebit fiend, and dares us to still be there when it's finally done.

Tech Specs
Regional Code: region 1
Languages: French
Subtitles: English (optional)
Video: 1.33:1 aspect ratio; b&w + color
Runtime: 78 minutes
Bonus features: none

Buy the Blu-ray or DVD at Olive Films


"THE GODFATHER" and "THE GODFATHER PART II" Cast Reunion Live In The Comfort Of Your Home


Tribeca to Exclusively Livestream Once-in-a Lifetime Conversation From Radio City Music Hall on Facebook Live on Saturday April 29

New York, NY [April 28, 2017] – The Tribeca Film Festival will bring the excitement of its sold-out closing night celebration directly to you with an exclusive, real time Facebook Live event on Saturday, April 29 at 8:10 PM EDT.

A once-in-a-lifetime panel discussion about The Godfather saga with Academy Award®-winning director Francis Ford Coppola and actors Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Robert De Niro, will be livestreamed from Radio City Music Hall to mark the 45th anniversary of the iconic film. The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and the discussion’s livestream are presented by AT&T.

The livestream is available exclusively via Facebook Live on the Tribeca Film Festival Facebook page at

Saturday, April 29

8:10 PM: Closing Night The Godfather and The Godfather Part II Discussion

Join Tribeca live from famed Radio City Music Hall for a sold out discussion for the 45th anniversary of The Godfather with Academy Award®-winning director Francis Ford Coppola and actors Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Robert De Niro, moderated by director Taylor Hackford. The talk follows an epic back-to-back 45th anniversary screenings of The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. 


Friday, April 28, 2017

GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE -- DVD Review by Porfle

Polish artist Walerian Borowczyk began his film career with bizarre animated shorts and features, then applied his unique artistic sensibilities to live-action film with the amazing GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE, aka "Goto, l'île d'amour" (Olive Films, 1969).

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that this film was one of David Lynch's influences when he conceived his cult classic ERASERHEAD.  While GOTO isn't as overtly surreal as Lynch's work, it's so unremittingly odd, pictorially beautiful (in a perverse way, despite being a stark study in ugliness and decay), and meticulously rendered in gorgeous, finely-etched black-and-white that it exudes an almost intoxicating dreamlike quality during each moment it's on the screen.

Goto is an island where, due to some natural catastrophe, 90% of the population has been wiped out and the survivors exist in an almost primitive state in which they must make do with the crumbling remnants of their former civilization.  The people are governed by a military dictator named Goto (Pierre Brasseur) and live in the walled ruins of a fortress which, in better days, would have been condemned and demolished.

The story is fairly simple.  Petty criminal Grozo (Guy Saint-Jean) is pardoned by Goto and given three important responsibilities--taking care of Goto's beloved dogs, shining his and his beautiful wife Glossia's boots (a task Grozo savors since he's desperately in love with Glossia), and killing flies via several elaborate fly traps that he distributes daily around the heavily-infested fortress. 

Complications arise when Grozo discovers that Glossia (Ligia Branice) is having an affair with her horseback riding instructor, Gono (Jean-Pierre Andréani), with whom she plans to escape the island in a rowboat.  Grozo then puts his cunning little criminal mind to work to hatch a plan that will somehow rid him of both Goto and Gono so that he can weasel his way into the good graces of the henceforth unattainable Queen. 

While the story is an engaging one, what fascinates us about GOTO is the way Borowczyk executes it all as an artist creating a work of cinematic beauty out of the ordinary and at times repellant, the way a sculptor might use a scrap metal heap as raw material in welding together a makeshift masterpiece.

Each scene is filmed in formal, proscenium-arch wide shots dotted with cartoonishly-edited inserts, some in startling full color for emphasis (as when Grozo fantasizes about Glossia's boots or feeds the dogs luxuriously bloody hunks of raw meat).  Stark lighting eliminates all shadows, giving everything a blanched, almost too-real look.  Yet even without the shadows and wild camera angles, the visuals are somewhat reminiscent of German expressionism. 

Paint-peeling ruin and crumbling brick walls are the eternal backdrop of these people's lives, brightened only by rare artifacts which survived the catastrophe.  Scraps of fine clothing and other items are bartered for goods and services, even in the island's brothel where no money changes hands. 

The prostitutes are seen bathing communally in a nude scene quite titillating for 1969, as Grozo indulges himself while dreaming that he is with Glossia. They, along with some lovely shots of horses and a visit to the seaside (the boundary of Glossia's prison from which she yearns to escape), are the only respite from the film's grim tableaux of stagnant despair.

Inhabiting this world are characters all of whom are either rumpled military buffoons or destitute peasants risking extreme penalties (including the guillotine) to pilfer rotting apples that have fallen from the Governor's trees. Grozo himself is an engaging though ratlike little anti-hero, Glossia a flawed diamond in the roughest rough.  Even Goto has enough good qualities for us to empathize with him as more than just a tinhorn tyrant.  

Fortunately, GOTO isn't as depressing as it sounds since Borowczyk's bone-dry, deadpan sense of humor and keen mastery of the absurd keep us engaged in the most delightful and darkly enchanting ways throughout this otherwise hopelessly bleak tale. 

At times it's as though we're seeing the kind of distressingly odd world that illustrator John Tenniel created for "Alice in Wonderland" come to life, as strange and inescapable as a nightmare yet perversely compelling as well.

The DVD from Olive Films has an aspect ratio of l.66:1 with mono French sound and English subtitles.  Extras consist of the film's trailer, an introduction by artist and Turner Prize nominee Craigle Horsfield, and the lengthy featurette "The Concentration Universe: Goto, Isle of Love" featuring interviews with actor Jean-Pierre Andréani ("Gono") and several key crewmembers from the film.

GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE never fully engages us emotionally--it's just too odd, in both wonderful yet strangely off-putting ways--but we care when the story takes a classically tragic turn and ends on a haunting note.  Most of all, however, I enjoyed it as a stunning work of pure, joyful cinematic art.  Watching it is like creeping through a nightmare gallery in which the artist's fevered subconscious visions have achieved crude substance.

Order the Blu-ray or DVD from Olive Films


Evil Baby On Board -- See the "PREVENGE" Stunt Video

SHUDDER presents

Written and Directed by Alice Lowe

View the FUNNY OR DIE stunt video HERE

"Rocking a dirty mind and a sick sensibility... A brilliantly conceived meditation on prepartum anxiety and extreme grief. You'll laugh, you'll squirm, you'll want to get sterilized immediately."
- Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"A pitch-black, blood-soaked comedy and phenomenal first feature by Alice Lowe."

"Lowe has sculpted [Prevenge] to smash taboos and social norms. As smartly crafted and grimly funny as it is terrifying. "

A pitch black, wryly British horror comedy from the mind of Alice Lowe (“Sightseers,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paddington”) that’s as funny as it is vicious,  PREVENGE follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree. It's her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth's actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father.

The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of prepartum madness, Ruth must ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood.

PREVENGE marks the directorial debut from Lowe (star and co-writer of Ben Wheatley’s “Sightseers”), who is a true triple threat, writing, directing, and acting in the film during her own real-life pregnancy.  It received a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Directorial Debut.

Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving fans of thrillers, suspense, and horror. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder has a growing and dynamic selection of thrilling premieres, originals, and exclusives, which complement its impressive library of international and independent films, gripping TV series, and Hollywood blockbuster favorites.

TRT: 88 min
Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Jo Hartley
Distributor: Shudder


Shark Thriller "47 METERS DOWN" -- New US Trailer and One-Sheet

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures has released the first trailer and one-sheet for 47 METERS DOWN

Opens nationwide on June 16, 2017

On the rebound after a devastating break-up, Lisa (Mandy Moore) is ready for adventure while on vacation in Mexico. Even still, she needs a little extra persuasion when her daring sister Kate (Claire Holt) suggests they go shark diving with some locals.

Once underwater in a protective cage, Lisa and Kate catch a once in a lifetime, face-to-face look at majestic Great Whites. But when their worst fears are realized and the cage breaks away from their boat, they find themselves plummeting to the bottom of the seabed, too deep to radio for help without making themselves vulnerable to the savage sharks, their oxygen supplies rapidly dwindling.

47 METERS DOWN is a terrifying tale of survival set in the domain of the ocean's fiercest creatures.


Official Channels

Release: June 16, 2017
Distributor: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Producers:  Mark Lane and James Harris
Executive Producers: Bob Weinstein & Harvey Weinstein, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson Mike Runagall, Iain Abrahams, Simon Lewis, Christopher Lannic, Byron Allen, Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Mark DeVitre, Chris Charalambous, Mark Borde


Thursday, April 27, 2017

"THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ALADDIN" New Trailer/Poster -- VOD Release on May 16



Opening on VOD Nationwide on Tuesday, May 16 on all major platforms including:

iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft, Vudu, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon, Vimeo, and various other cable operators.

Film will be released in both dubbed into English and French language versions (With English Subtitles).


On Christmas’ eve, Sam and his best friend Khalid both dress up as Santa Claus to steal everything they can at their local department store. Quickly, Sam is stopped by a group of children asking for a story... the story of Aladdin. Or his own version of it. In Aladdin’s shoes, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him to the heart of the city of Baghdad, a place of infinite wonders.

Unfortunately, behind the picture-perfect setting, people are suffering from the tyranny of the terrible Vizir, known for his ferocity and questionable breath. Helped by his Genie, will the young thief Aladdin be able to thwart the evil plans of Vizir, save Khalid and conquer the heart of the princess Shallia?

(Photo Credit: Under The Milky Way)

107mins / Comedy /France /Color / Distributor: Under The Milky Way

DIRECTED BY: Arthur Benzaquen

STARRING: Kev Adams,Jean-Paul Rouve,Vanessa Guide,
William Lebghil, Audrey Lamy, Eric Judor, Michel Blanc


"SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER" -- New Directors Cut on Blu-ray and DVD May 2, 2017

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Seminal Classic

New Director's Cut Arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD May 2, 2017

With John Travolta's electrifying Oscar®-nominated performance, the Bee Gees' explosive soundtrack and, of course, the unforgettable dancing, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER captured the angst and brio of the time and had an indelible impact on popular culture. 40 years later, the film about a Brooklyn kid with no prospects who lives for Saturday night continues to be revered and celebrated.

Director John Badham worked with Paramount in 2016 to restore the film in 4K using the original negative and update the surround sound mix to further enhance viewers' enjoyment of the incredible soundtrack. During this process he added scenes to the theatrical R-rated version that round out character and plot, making this new Director's Cut the definitive representation of his original vision.

The SATURDAY NIGHT EVER Blu-ray includes both the Director's Cut and theatrical version of the film, commentary by director John Badham, a five-part look at the film entitled "Catching the Fever," behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

The film is available now on Digital HD.


"RINGS" -- Samara Returns on Blu-ray Combo Pack May 2, 2017

Samara Returns on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack May 2, 2017

When a radical college professor (Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory") finds the mysterious video rumored to kill viewers seven days after watching, he enlists his students in a dangerous experiment to uncover the secrets behind the Samara legend.

When the deadly video goes viral, they must figure out a way to break the curse and defeat Samara before her evil is unleashed upon the world. But, how do you stop her when she's everywhere?

RINGS also stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (Summertime), Alex Roe (The 5th Wave), Aimee Teegarden ("Friday Night Lights") and Vincent D'Onofrio ("Law & Order: Criminal Intent").

The film is available now on Digital HD.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE OTHER HELL -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Definitely the bad-vibes movie of the year so far (for me, anyway) is Bruno Mattei's 1981 dreary nunsploitation shocker THE OTHER HELL, which, despite being laughably inept at times, is also drenched with oppressive atmosphere and some truly demented imagery.

Here again is one of those tales of a nunnery gone bad--in this case, about as bad as it gets. It's infested to the gills with all manner of dark forces and blasphemous activities, including a really weird dungeon laboratory where embalmings and disembowelings are performed by cackling maniac nuns. 

Things get to the point where an old priest is sent to investigate, and, upon failing to turn up anything via his traditional methods, is replaced by the younger, more forward-thinking Father Valerio (Carlo De Mejo), who believes that true evil doesn't exist and is merely the result of psychological malajustment.  (Boy, is he ever in for a shock!)

I won't go too far into the story but suffice it to say that Valerio encounters some mighty weird nuns, including a shifty-eyed Mother Vincenzia (Franca Stoppi), who runs the place and seems to be hiding some rather deep, dark secrets, and another young nun who's had such a terrifying experience in the bowels of the convent that her hair's gone gray and she's in a vegetative state. 

Some of the other nuns tend to totally freak out from time to time, which arouses the young detective-priest's suspicions to the point where he decides to give the place a full shakedown from top to bottom.  It's at that point where he crosses the line and becomes a target for all the malevolent forces at work (including a strange, ghostly-looking nun who creeps around with her face fully obscured by a veil). 

Typical of Bruno Mattei's work (including ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE JAIL: THE WOMEN'S HELL, and MONDO CANNIBAL), THE OTHER HELL is directed in a kinetic but unpolished style (co-writer Claudio Fragasso handled much of the directorial chores as well) that often bursts forth with startling and extreme images.

These unfortunately include Mattei's tendency to show real animal cruelty, as when a chicken is beheaded in closeup, and of course the obligatory maggot scene familiar to so much of Italian horror cinema. 

Mattei's found locations are an invaluable asset to the film's production values, with most of the action taking place within both an actual former convent and a palace, both of which are quite impressive.  Adding to the spook factor are scenes which take place in a genuine catacomb in Italy which serves as a mass tomb and is stacked with thousands of skulls and bones. 

(Not adding much is a soundtrack featuring Goblin music not written for the film which sounds good but is totally inappropriate for most of the scenes it's used in.)

It's here and in the aforementioned dungeon laboratory that the story's climax takes place, which is deliriously over-the-top and comes on like a wave of brain-rotting horror that may leave you reeling right up until the very last jolt.

The Blu-ray from Severin Films is in 1080p full HD resolution with English, French, and Italian 2.0 sound and English subtitles.  Severin once again comes through with the extras, this time with a commentary featuring Claudio Fragasso and "Freak-O-Rama"'s Federico Caddeo, an interview with actress Franca Stoppi, archive interviews with Mattei and actor Carlo De Mejo, and the film's trailer.

For me, this was one of the most feel-bad flicks I've seen in quite a while, and when it was over I almost felt like I needed to take a long, hot bath in a tub of holy water.  But for fans of Bruno Mattei, nunsploitation, and totally whacked-out horror flicks in general, THE OTHER HELL will probably be right up their really, really dark alley.

Buy it at


Monday, April 24, 2017

"THE DROWNING" Starring Julia Stiles and Josh Charles; Trailer Premiere

THE DROWNING Opens Theatrically in New York at IFC Center on May 10th

National rollout to follow

The Drowning
Directed by Bette Gordon
Screenplay by Stephen Molton and Frank Pugliese; based on the novel by Pat Barker
Starring Josh Charles, Julia Stiles Avan Jogia, Tracie Thoms and Leo Fitzpatrick

Watch the Trailer HERE

The fourth film from Bette Gordon (VARIETY, LUMINOUS MOTION), and based on the acclaimed book by Pat Barker, THE DROWNING tells the story of a forensic psychologist haunted by his expert witness testimony that sent a young boy to prison for a chilling murder.  When the boy later reappears in his life, he is drawn into a destructive, soul-searching reinvestigation of the case.

A psychological, erotic thriller, THE DROWNING celebrates the genre with electrifying performances and a complex, riveting story of shifting identities that will keep audiences guessing until the very end.

Country: USA
Language: English


Sunday, April 23, 2017



Yes, the winners of the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Awards have been announced (didn't somebody just say that?) and are up at the ever-lovin' Classic Horror Film Board for your perusal!

Where, you might ask?  Right here is this here thread HERE.  

And everything else you might want to know or comment upon concerning the awards can be found HERE.

(Hear! Hear!)

Did your favorites win?  Or are you a little upset by the results, as our friend Rondo Hatton himself seems to be in the photo below?  

Oh well, that's how the Rondo crumbles.  CONGRATS TO ALL THE WINNERS, and see you again next year!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Justin Foia’s "DOE" Begins Production In Los Angeles with Timothy Davis, Tatyana Ali, and Mira Sorvino

Justin Foia’s DOE Begins Production In Los Angeles

Cast Includes Timothy Davis, Tatyana Ali, Mathew St. Patrick, Aaron Farb, Anne Leighton, Faithe Herman, Stacey Oristano, Steven Swadling and Mira Sorvino; Mark Mathias Sayre and Jonathan Piumelli Producing

Los Angeles, CA (April 20, 2017)–Double El Productions, Sigil, and Room in the Sky Films in association with Lexicon today announced the start of production on DOE, the sophomore feature-length film for writer-director Justin Foia (Point Defiance) who directs from a screenplay co-written with his brother Timothy Foia (Point Defiance), from a story by Landon Reagan and the Foia brothers.

"DOE is a psychological thriller written in the vein of Memento, Unknown, and Proximity.” Foia says. “When John Hutton (Timothy Davis, "Billions") mysteriously awakens with no recollection of his past, yet with the ability to speak dozens of languages fluently, he decides to start a new life, marrying Rachel (Tatiana Ali, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Love That Girl!") and starting a family.

Years later, he is sent tumbling down the proverbial rabbit hole after meeting another man that shares a similar condition and learning that there are several more individuals like him, all amnesiacs with extraordinary abilities. With the help of a private detective (Matthew St. Patrick, "Six Feet Under"), John races against time before his past can rise up to destroy himself and his family."

In addition to Davis, Ali and St. Patrick, DOE stars Mira Sorvino (Romy And Michele's High School Reunion, "Falling Skies"), Stacey Oristano ("Friday Night Lights"), Aaron Farb (Kill The Messenger, "Powers"), Anne Leighton ("Grimm"), Faithe Herman ("This is Us"), and Steven Swadling (Kickboxer: Vengeance & Retaliation).

Producers on the project are Mark Mathias Sayre (The Timber, Point Defiance and the recently completed Waterlily Jaguar) and Jonathan Piumelli (Waterlily Jaguar) with Larry Nealy (Waterlily Jaguar, Kickboxer: Vengeance & Retaliation, Point Defiance), Christine Kelly, and Steven Swadling (Waterlily Jaguar, Kickboxer: Vengeance & Retaliation, Point Defiance) serving as executive producers.

Production has just commenced and is expected to last several weeks on various locations throughout Los Angeles County. (@DOEmovie) (@officialdoemovie)


Friday, April 21, 2017


If you're a certain age, the three-disc DVD set BOB HOPE SALUTES THE TROOPS (Time Life) will no doubt come as a primo slice of Grade-A nostalgia, as it did for me. 

If not, you might still have a good time stepping into the wayback machine and seeing something that was such a big part of so many people's lives for around half a century.

That's about how long Bob Hope traveled the world entertaining our troops for Christmas, starting in 1941 and lasting until Operation Desert Shield in the early 90s. 

Wherever there were American soldiers stationed far away from home during wartime, Bob and his stalwart troup of performers were there putting on a show.

Over the span of years, the faces in the crowd are always different, yet somehow the same--excited to have celebrities coming all that way just to entertain them, wildly enthusiastic for every lame joke, soft shoe dance step, or sexy girl, and often just a bit wistful at this teasing glimpse of "back home."

Bob's monologues are always corny and cheesy as all get out, but that's pretty much the appeal of these shows, especially in retrospect.  And it's all done with love and a sincere desire to both honor these soldiers and make whatever hardships they endure a bit more bearable, if only for a few minutes. 

(He doesn't neglect those who can't attend the show either, visiting military hospitals in each location.)

Bob clearly relishes the spotlight in front of such an appreciative, entertainment-starved audience, and milks every gag for all it's worth.  Who can blame him?  He's definitely getting as much of a charge out of all this as they are.

The same can be said for Bob's guest stars, some of whom probably never got quite this kind of a welcome back in the States.  These include ever-present comic foil Jerry Colonna, comedian Redd Foxx, astronauts Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong, and sports legends Johnny Bench, Rosey Grier, and Roman Gabriel.

And then, of course, there are the ladies, including Lana Turner, Jill St. John, Ann Jillian, Frances Langford, Marie Osmond, Anita Bryant, Janis Paige, Fran Jeffries, the Pointer Sisters, the Gold Diggers, Lola Falana, various beauty pageant winners, and a sizzling Ann-Margret (clearly the crowd favorite).

Naturally, Bob works just a tad more "blue" than usual for the soldiers, throwing in plenty of military in-jokes and cracks about the often inhospitable locations they're stationed in.

These gags go over like gangbusters every time, as do the endless succession of (family-TV-friendly) sexual references.  Needless to say, most of the humor in these shows is gloriously un-PC.

The first show, "Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer in Saudi Arabia" (Original Airdate: 1/12/91) is the latest one in the collection (and the only one on videotape instead of film) and features scenes from Bob's final overseas shows during Operation Desert Shield. 

These include topical references to Hussein and Khadafi and lots of jokes about sand and camels.  By this time Bob was getting on in years so it's heartwarming to see him still at it, entertaining the troops.

Other 60 and 90-minute segments in the set, which are mostly clip shows assembled from several different stops all over South Pacific and Far Eastern military bases, are "The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the World with the USO" (Original Airdate: 1/16/69), "Bob Hope: Memories of WWII", "The Bob Hope Christmas Special" (Original Airdate: 1/15/65), "The Bob Hope Christmas Show" (1/16/63), "The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the Globe with the U.S.O." (Original Airdate: 1/17/72), and "The Bob Hope Christmas Special" (Original Airdate: 1/17/73).

These earlier shows feature a relatively younger and more energetic Hope, who, along with his faithful entourage, often brave dangerous surroundings and less than reliable transportation (a propeller stops working during one airplane flight). 

Of course, such nerve-rattling events only serve to give Bob more stories and jokes with which to regail his next joyous audience.  And if you're like me, you'll greet BOB HOPE SALUTES THE TROOPS with roughly the same enthusiasm, along with that inescapable nostalgia that adds so much to its undying appeal. 

Format: DVD/3 Discs
Running Time: 395 minutes
Genre:  TV DVD/Comedy
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Stereo
Street Date: May 2, 2017
DVD SRP: $29.95

Available exclusively at Walmart

Read our original full coverage HERE


"SCORE": A Documentary About Great Film Music -- Watch the Trailer Now



This celebratory documentary takes viewers inside the studios and recording sessions of Hollywood's most influential composers to give a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of a truly international music genre: the film score.

Directed by Matt Schrader

Produced by Robert Kraft, Trevor Thompson, Kenny Holmes, Nate Gold, Jonathan Willbanks
Distributed by Gravitas Ventures


STARRING: Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Williams, James Cameron, Trent Reznor, Rachel Portman, Randy Newman, Howard Shore, Quincy Jones, Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg), Alexandre Desplat, Harry Gregson-Williams, Brian Tyler, Joe Kraemer, Heitor Pereira, Steve Jablonsky, Thomas Newman, Bear McCreary, Moby, Garry Marshall, Jerry Goldsmith, John Debney, Steven Spielberg, Marco Beltrami, Christophe Beck, Tyler Bates, David Arnold, Christopher Young, James Horner, Dario Marianelli, Leonard Maltin, David Newman and many, many more!

Read our original coverage of the film


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Glass Eye Pix and Hood River Entertainment Announce the Cast of Teen-Punk Horror Thriller "THE RANGER" Starring Jeremy Holm

Glass Eye Pix and Hood River Entertainment Announce the Cast of Teen-Punk Horror Thriller THE RANGER

Genre Masters Unite for Jenn Wexlers Directorial Debut Lensing in New York Starring Jeremy Holm, Chloe Levine and Amanda Grace Benitez

(LOS ANGELES, CA – April 20th, 2017) Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix and Andrew van den Houten’s Hood River Entertainment have announced the cast of Jenn Wexler's THE RANGER, which began principal photography this week in New York. Jeremy Holm (House of Cards, Mr Robot), Chloe Levine (The Transfiguration, The OA), Amanda Grace Benitez (All Cheerleaders Die) star alongside Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, and Bubba Weiler.  

THE RANGER follows a group of teen punks who get in trouble with the cops. The punks escape to the woods to hide out where they come up against the local authority, an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind, hell-bent on preserving the serenity of his forest.

Wexler currently has three movies on the festival circuit as a producer, Robert Mockler's LIKE ME which premiered at SXSW 2017, Ana Asensio’s MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND which premiered and won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2017, and Mickey Keating's PSYCHOPATHS, set to world premiere this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. She also produced Keating's DARLING which world premiered at Fantastic Fest and was released in 2016. THE RANGER marks her feature directorial debut.

THE RANGER was written by Jenn Wexler and Giaco Furino. Andrew van den Houten and Ashleigh Snead produce for Hood River Entertainment and Larry Fessenden and Heather Buckley produce for Glass Eye Pix, along with Wexler. 

Holm is represented by Leading Artists and managed by Lori Kay of Prevail Artist Management.  Levine is represented by Agency for the Performing Arts and managed by Carolyn Anthony of Anthony & Associates.  Benitez is represented by AEFH Inc. and managed by Bob McGowan of  Bob McGowan Management. Lahu is managed by Avi Lipski of Cinetic Media. Pope is represented by Harden-Curtis Associates and managed by Robert Stein of Robert Stein Management. Weiler is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency and managed by Michal Zecher of MZ.MGMT.NY.

About Hood River Entertainment:
The new company from award-winning producer Andrew van den Houten (THE WOMAN, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, JUG FACE, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE), Hood River Entertainment has produced CAMERA OBSCURA with NBC-Universal Chiller and the action-drama HAYMAKER, coming soon.

About Glass Eye Pix:
Glass Eye Pix (“one of the indie scene’s most productive and longest-running companies”—Filmmaker Magazine) is the fierce independent NYC-based production outfit headed by art-horror auteur Larry Fessenden (BENEATH, THE LAST WINTER, WENDIGO, HABIT, NBC’s FEAR ITSELF).  Fessenden has operated the company since 1985 with the mission of supporting individual voices in the arts.  The company has produced numerous critically acclaimed films in and out of the horror genre, including STRAY BULLETS (Jack Fessenden), STAKE LAND II (Dan Berk & Robert Olsen), DARLING (Mickey Keating), LATE PHASES (Adrian Garcia Bogliano), BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD (Rob Kuhns), THE COMEDY (Rick Alverson), THE INNKEEPERS (Ti West), STAKE LAND (Jim Mickle), WENDY AND LUCY (Kelly Reichardt), THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (Ti West), LIBERTY KID (Ilya Chaiken), and I SELL THE DEAD (Glenn McQuaid). Upcoming films include Robert Mockler’s LIKE ME and Ana Asensio’s MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, which both world premiered at SXSW 2017, and Mickey Keating’s PSYCHOPATHS, world premiering at Tribeca 2017.


Kasra Farahani's "TILT" (Midnight) Starring Joseph Cross -- TRIBECA FF Teaser Debut




All seems normal with Joseph and Joanne. Joanne is pregnant with their first child. Life in their little urban house is cozy and familiar.

But something is off about Joseph. He doesn’t seem excited about the baby. Work on his documentary is becoming increasingly untethered. As Joseph struggles to maintain the routines of his domestic life, his mask begins to slip.

Late at night, while Joanne thinks he is working, Joseph prowls the streets of Los Angeles, deliberately courting danger. Joanne is growing worried about Joseph’s odd behavior. But not as worried as she should be.

Tilt explores how quickly the most familiar person in your life can become the most terrifying. How quickly we can become terrifying to ourselves.

Director: Kasra Farahani
Screenwriter: Kasra Farahani, Jason O’Leary
Cast: Joseph Cross
Producers: Kasra Farahani, Giri Tharan and Kristina Kondrath
TRT: 100 MIN
TFF Section: Midnight
Sales: CAA

TFF Screenings:
Sunday, April 23 | 10:15 AM | Cinepolis Chelsea – 03 (PRESS & INDUSTRY)
Sunday, April 23 | 10:00 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea – 09
Monday, April 24 | 9:15 PM | Regal Battery Park Stadium 11-01
Thursday, April 27 | 9:45 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea – 02
Friday, April 28 | 3:15 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea -05 (PRESS & INDUSTRY)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Announcing the Lineup For Our First-Ever Animation Showcase! -- Midwest Independent Film Festival

First Tuesdays: Animation Showcase at the Midwest Ind FF!

May. 02, 2017

6:00pm - 9:30pm


@Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark, Chicago, Illinois

The Midwest Independent Film Festival presents its first ever Animation Showcase at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema on Tuesday, May 2nd, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m.

The best in animated filmmaking throughout the Midwest will take to the screen, including the World Premiere of Joel Benjamin’s WHEN IT FLOODS and the Chicago Premiere of 2016 Student Academy Award winner DIE FLUCHT from Champaign filmmaker Carter Boyce.

Fourteen outstanding animated films in all, with filmmakers in attendance for a post-screening discussion with the audience.

Here is the lineup for the Midwest Independent Film Festival's first-ever Animation Showcase!

6:00 p.m.     Pre-Show Reception
6:30 p.m.     Producers Panel TBA
7:30 p.m.     Animation Showcase     
9:30 p.m.     After-Party TBA

Purchase Advance Tickets

About the Midwest Independent Film Festival
The Midwest Independent Film Festival is the nation's only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker, presenting audiences with regionally produced independent cinema every first Tuesday of the month at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark in Chicago.  This year-round film festival sits proudly at the center of the independent film scene in Chicago and the Midwest and is dedicated to celebrating and strengthening that community.

This film festival is made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, which receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

THE DARK TAPES -- Movie Review by Porfle

There's more to "found footage" than just the convention of seeing an entire movie through the lenses of various cameras.  There has to be a good reason for it, and it has to add to a film's effect in a way that justifies it.  

Directors Michael McQuown and Vincent J. Guastini have scored on both counts with their excellent indy chiller THE DARK TAPES (Epic Pictures, 2017).  Not only is it well-written, well-acted, and technically impressive, but it manages to make "found footage" scary again. 

Basically an anthology piece whose segments relate to one another in some way (more or less), the wraparound story concerns a couple of college students who stumble upon the remains of a sleep research experiment gone wrong.  The lab is a shambles, the bed is bloody, and the professor and his assistants are missing.  Perhaps the footage on their video cameras will reveal what happened...

We meet Professor Callahan, one of those quietly obsessed types; Nicole, working on her doctorate in physics; and Jason, the group's camera operator. They're deep into their research into sleep paralysis, or "night terrors."  Callahan has a theory about the "shadow people" who often appear to those suffering from this condition--that they're actually trans-dimensional entities who exist in a different time continuum than ours. 

But before we get too involved in their story, we're then told the tale of David and Karen, a happily married couple whose beautiful new dream house turns out to be haunted by things that go bump in the night (and all day, too). 

After some pretty eerie events (footsteps on ceiling, a rubber ball that stops and rolls back to them) which gradually escalate into sheer terror, they finally call in a team of paranormal specialists in what will seem a familiar scenario to viewers of the SyFy Channel's "Ghost Hunters."

These "experts" are obviously in over their heads, and what follows is a nail-biting succession of scares taking place with that creepy night-vision effect that makes everything seem even scarier.  I'm not going to elaborate further, but suffice it to say that things (a) get a lot worse, and (b) do not end well.

After more with Professor Callahan's group we see the story of two young women running one of those cyber-sex webcam rackets.  This one also starts out rather uneventful until mysterious outside forces begin to interfere with the good clean fun, and suddenly Caitlin is trying to persuade one of her horny clients to get a knife and cut himself juuust a little bit.  And no, this one doesn't end well, either. 

Next is an intense segment called "Amanda's Revenge", which gives us further insight into the problem of "night terrors" and "shadow people."  After Amanda is molested at a party, she starts to experience strange intruders in her bedroom and feels as though they're performing sinister experiments on her.

With the help of her friend Ryan, she tries to fight them or at least record their presence.  What happens next is not only disturbing, especially if you have a primal fear of the dark, but leads right into the film's finale in which Professor Callahan and his assistants learn more than they ever wanted to know about the subject of trans-dimensional entities.

This final segment is not only nail-bitingly suspenseful, but it also contains at least one killer jump-scare that froze my blood ice cold.  The acting and direction are extremely well-handled, making it a prime example of using imagination and skill to get the most out of a limited budget. I felt pretty numb when it was all over, having been both thoroughly scared and thought-provoked.

Think of how the original "The Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone" used to fire up your imagination while giving you a severe case of the creeps, and you'll begin to understand how unnerving THE DARK TAPES is.  I started watching it around midnight--alone--and it wasn't long before I paused it and thought: "Okay, the rest of this can wait until daylight."

Order it now on iTunes

Also available on Google Play, Vudu, iNDemand (Comcast- Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House & more), Dish TV, Amazon, Vubiquity (Verizon Fios, Charter, Sudden Link, Media Com &more), Xbox, Playstation, Sling TV & Vimeo.