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Thursday, May 31, 2018

THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ -- Blu-ray/DVD Review by Porfle

THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ (Cinedigm, 2018) is one of those dystopian Oz tales in which L. Frank Baum's wonderful fairytale land has gone to pot and needs someone to restore the magic.

And much like writer-director Sean Patrick O'Reilly's HOWARD LOVECRAFT AND THE FROZEN KINGDOM, it's also one of those modestly-rendered digital cartoons that will probably look decidedly low-tech to someone who's more used to lush, polished Disney and Pixar product.  (Although, ironically, it would've looked amazingly cutting-edge back in the "dawn of CGI" days of the 80s.)

As such, the character/background design and execution are of uneven quality throughout, with the underground and city sequences looking the best and the forest/battle scenes often having a somewhat unfinished look.  Not surprisingly, the film's steampunk angle is one of its most appealing elements.

The story begins in the vast subterranean world beneath the Emerald City, where a plucky young "Mary Sue" type named Victoria, whose job it is to help keep the city's massive steam engines running, is chosen by good witch Locasta and her flying monkeys to help defeat the city's tyrannical ruler and restore order to Oz.

Surprisingly, this dreaded tyrant is none other than the Tin Man, who rules with an iron fist (so to speak) in his quest to abolish magic and spread his steam-engine technology throughout the land to the detriment of the environment (giving the story an ecological slant).

A flashback in black-and-white motion-comic form--one of the film's best-looking sequences--explains Tin Man's motives (he's doing it all for love) but that doesn't lessen the image of him as a snarling metal monster (more of a sinister, hulking Doctor Doom than the benevolent little tin fellow we're used to) trying his best to chop the good-guy characters to pieces with his massive axe during the big battle sequence that occurs about halfway through the story. 

The film doesn't hold back on such imagery, portraying Tin Man's armies as goose-stepping fascists wielding lethal weapons (indeed, in one scene a likable main character is melodramatically shot to death with a lightning-bolt rifle).

Leading up to all of this, Victoria emerges "topside" for the first time in her life so that she can escape the Emerald City and seek out the help of the Munchkins as well as that of the fabled Wizard of Oz (here voiced by none other than William Shatner). 

Accompanied by her friends Mr. Digg and a comical Munchkin named Gromit, whom she freed from their dungeon cells as "honored guests" of the Tin Man, Victoria enlists the aid of Magnus, son of the Cowardly Lion, and the rest of his pack in what will eventually lead to the aforementioned battle with Tin Man's forces as THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ becomes a bonafide war movie.

During all this we'll recognize obvious callbacks to various other action movies such as THE MATRIX, 300, and KILL BILL.  At one point, one of the Munchkin leaders exhorts his troops with the phrase, "Let's go, Munchspendables!"

Later, Victoria and company return to the Emerald City, entering Tin Man's dreaded steam engine chamber in search of the imprisoned Scarecrow and resuming the film's "quest" theme, which will eventually be resolved in a "love conquers all" ending.

I'm not sure how little kids will respond to THE STEAM ENGINES OF OZ, since it seems aimed mainly at those who read the graphic novel and/or prefer their Oz stories with a hefty dose of adult grit and grime.  I spent most of its running time reacting to it rather than actually enjoying it, my assessment varying as wildly as the gauges on one of Tin Man's smoldering steam engines. 

Ron Perlman ("Sons of Anarchy," Hellboy)
William Shatner ("Star Trek," Miss Congeniality)
Julianne Hough ("Dancing with the Stars," Footloose)

Format: BD+DVD / Digital (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and more)
SRP: BD+DVD:$19.97
Running Time: 75 mins.
Genre: Animation/Family
Audio: Dolby 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 (1.78:1)

Subtitles: English
Extras: none
Street Date: June 5, 2018


Worst Three Stooges Stand-Ins Ever? ("Grips, Grunts, and Groans", 1937) (video)

Worst Three Stooges Stand-Ins Ever? 

Actually, the Moe and Curly ones aren't THAT bad.

But the tall, gangly guy trying to act like Larry is the worst.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

It's a familiar story: aging crook gets idea for the perfect score that'll set him up for life, then puts together a crew composed of the wrong guys and it all threatens to blow up in their faces. 

In the 1959 noir thriller ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (Olive Films), Ed Begley, Sr. is the old, broken-down ex-cop with dollar signs in his eyes.  The guys he never should've invited onto the same team are a struggling young black man (Harry Belafonte) who owes a loan shark big-time, and an ex-convict (Robert Ryan) with a serious anger management problem and an even more serious hatred of blacks.

But Begley won't be put off--his simple plan for knocking over a smalltown bank after closing time on payday is just too "foolproof"--and he eventually coaxes the unwilling odd couple into joining up. 

Harry, a divorced father who loves his little girl (he gains our sympathy when we see them having a fun Daddy-Daughter Day together) must act when that powerful loan shark threatens both her and his ex-wife. 

Ryan, on the other hand, wrecks what sympathy we might have for him with his race hatred and general hostility, yet we feel sorry for his needy girlfriend Lorry (an excellent Shelley Winters) whose desperate love and financial support keep him afloat even as he cheats on her with the hotsy-totsy married woman upstairs (Gloria Grahame in fine form).

Director Robert Wise (WEST SIDE STORY, THE SAND PEBBLES, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE) works wonders with his low budget in establishing a somber, reflective, sometimes ominous mood (he often pulls back the pace to let us drink in the atmospheric visuals and noirish ambience), with stark black-and-white photography that's crisply, achingly evocative. Both gritty urban and folksy small town milieus are equally well-rendered. 

We want to linger on such things early on because the intimate scenes are so well acted and written, and because the story deftly and gradually builds its suspense without rushing things toward what we know will be a devastating climax. 

There's even a long, pregnant lull before the bank job during which the ill-fated trio wait for sundown while quietly pondering what's in store for them, each in his own deeply contemplative way, as Wise indulges his keen eye for moody visual storytelling.

Performances are uniformly flawless--I was reminded just how solid an actor Ed Begley was, with equal honors going to top-billed Harry Belafonte and, in a real tough-guy role, the venerable Robert Ryan.  All play complex and conflicted characters, as do Winters and Grahame. 

Look for bit parts by young up-and-coming actors such as Wayne Rogers ("M*A*S*H"), Cicely Tyson, Zohra Lampert, Mel Stewart ("All in the Family"), and Richard Bright ("Al Neri" in all three GODFATHER films) as an effeminate muscle man for loan shark Bacco (Will Kuluva). 
The film's finale lives up to its meticulous build-up in ways that are both expected and surprising.  Director and writers handle it in consistently interesting ways, right up until a final irony that's startlingly apropos. 

Without undue sensationalism, ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW tells its tragic tale with a kind of sordid elegance and leaves us sad but satiated. 

Buy it from Olive Films

Rated: NR (not rated)
subtitles: English (optional)
Video: 1.85:1 aspect ratio; b&w
Runtime: 96 minutes
Extras: none


South Korean Action Thriller “GOLDEN SLUMBER” Releases on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play on June 5

South Korean Action Thriller “Golden Slumber”
Releases on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play on June 5, 2018

From acclaimed director, NOH Dong-seok (“My Generation”) and
Based on the novel “Golden Slumber” by Isaka Kotaro

Los Angeles, CA (May 30, 2018) – “Golden Slumber,” is a South Korean action thriller packed with twists, turns and deception as a man fights to stay alive after being framed for murder. It will release on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play on June 5, 2018. The film is directed by award-winning director NOH Dong-seok.

After getting his start with two critically acclaimed indie features, “Golden Slumber” is director NOH’s first mainstream action film. He previously received the Special Jury Award from 2004’s Busan Film Critics Association Awards for “My Generation.” His second feature film, “Boys of Tomorrow” won International Competition from 60th Festival del Film Locarno. “Golden Slumber” stars GA NG Dong-won (“Romance of their Own”), KIM Eui-sung (“Train to Busan”), KIM Sung-kyun (“The Neighbors”), and KIM Dae-myeung (“Insignificant Life”).

In “Golden Slumber,” Gun-woo (GANG Dong-won) is an honest and hardworking courier who even won a Model Citizen Award for saving a singer from a robbery incident. Out of the blue, his old friend Moo-yeol comes to visit him at work. With just a short moment to enjoy the pleasant surprise, Gun-woo witnesses a bombing incident that kills a presidential candidate right before his eyes. Moo-yeol tells Gun-woo that he is responsible for the bombing and that everyone will come after him as it is the agency’s plan to make him the prime suspect.

Gun-woo manages to flee from the scene but all evidence, including security camera footage, witness testimonies and fingerprints point toward him as the suspect. Teaming up with former secret agent Mr. Min (KIM Eui-sung), who is an old friend of Moo-yeol, they work to clear Gun-woo’s name as he fights with all his strength to stay alive.

“Golden Slumber” is distributed by CJ Entertainment. The cost is $14.99 to purchase High Definition (HD), $9.99 to purchase Standard Definition (SD), $4.99 to rent High Definition (HD), and $3.99 to rent Standard Definition (SD).


Launched in 1995, Korea’s #1 film studio, CJ Entertainment, is the film division of CJ Entertainment and Media (CJ E&M) which produces award winning content across an array of genres for theatrical and non-theatrical distribution, television broadcasts, digital download, and interactive gaming portals. To grow its presence in the film industry, CJ Entertainment has aggressively invested, developed, and distributed motion pictures both domestically and abroad. To date, CJ Entertainment has released over 505 titles and three of those titles, “The Admiral” (2014), “Ode To My Father (2014), and “Veteran” (2015), respectively, have gone on to become the top three, highest grossing films in Korean history. Moving into the future, CJ Entertainment seeks to create and popularize original, award winning Korean content across the globe. To that end it has created successful global productions including, 2013’s “A Wedding Invitation” in China, Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, and 2014’s “Let Hoi Decide,” which became Vietnam’s highest grossing film of all time. Visit us online at:

Trailer and photos all courtesy of CJ Entertainment.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

COLD TURKEY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

I don't remember exactly what year they showed Norman Lear's 1971 comedy COLD TURKEY (Olive Films) on television, but I do remember how intriguing and funny I found the premise as a kid.
I still do, only now I (a) understand more of the jokes, and (b) know exactly what it's like to be addicted to cigarettes and then quit smoking, as the title indicates, "cold turkey."

The ramshackle little town of Eagle Rock, Iowa will soon know, too.  They've been chosen by a major tobacco company to stop smoking for thirty days--every single smoker in town, which is a considerable number--at which point the sorely cash-strapped burg will receive a whopping 25 million dollars and perhaps qualify for a lucrative missile plant to be built there.

The catch is that the tobacco company only wants the publicity and has no intention of shelling out the cash.  To that end, their weaselly PR guy, nicely played by that master of the deadpan Bob Newhart, pulls every underhanded trick in the book to make sure that someone in town will light up before midnight on that final day.

That's the set-up, and rest assured that the maestro of caustic, cynical comedy in the 70s, Norman Lear (creator of such TV classics as "All in the Family", "The Jeffersons", "Maude", "Sanford and Son", "Good Times", and "One Day at a Time") will milk this promising premise for every joke, sight gag, outrage, and bathos-drenched moment from beginning to end.

Once things get started, COLD TURKEY piles on the gags and twisted situations non-stop and doesn't let up, hovering on the edges of total farce while zinging it all with strokes of bitter reality.  Smokers will empathize with the frantic citizens' panic for a smoke and desperate attempts to somehow light up or at least quell their overwhelming urge to.

The town becomes a free-for-all of chaotic acting out of violence and frustration at first, until gradually many citizens begin to see a light, and a substantial paycheck, at the end of the tunnel.  Still, there are the nicotine-crazed holdouts such as Dr. Proctor (Bernard Hughes), who holds an operating room hostage until someone gives him a light. 

Then there's Dick Van Dyke's staid, sternly moral Reverend Brooks, a fascinating character whose flaws--he's vain and self-righteous--threaten to work themselves out as he becomes aware of how greedy and materialistic the town is becoming due to fame and notoriety.  His blandly obedient wife, played by Pippa Scott (THE SEARCHERS), is suffocated in their relationship and will have the only positive character arc in the film.

Meanwhile, Graham Jarvis (of Lear's classic "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman") is fine heading his self-appointed police squad of smoking narcs who operate a roadblock searching for smokable contraband, as are harried cig addict Jean Stapleton (Edith Bunker of "All in the Family"), frantic mayor Vincent Gardenia (also of "All in the Family"), hypnotist/guru Paul Benedict ("The Jeffersons"), and a cast brimming with other familiar comedy talents including Sudie Bond, Judith Lowery, Edward Everett Horton, and M. Emmett Walsh.  

Future "Newhart" co-star Tom Poston (I loved him as a kid) is the upper-class town drunk who absolutely must smoke when he drinks ("The booze bone's connected to the smoke bone").  The great comedy team of Bob and Ray pop up throughout the story as caricatures of various respected newsmen of the time such as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley, as the media circus infesting the town intensifies. 

Indulging himself in rich satire of rural midwestern types and their ways (and filming on location in Iowa with actual locals as extras), Lear gives the film the pace of a vintage screwball comedy and stages it all with exhilarating creativity, easily handling crowd scenes dotted with MAD Magazine-style comedy vignettes as well as the more intimately complex character exchanges. 

There's a constant anticipatory suspense throughout it all, as we wonder if Eagle Rock will make the deadline (a last-minute scheme by Newhart's character is brilliantly devious) and if any of its citizens, especially Dick Van Dyke's morally-conflicted pastor, will learn anything from the experience.

Not as much a black comedy as it is thoroughly nicotine-stained, COLD TURKEY is the sort of frenetically-silly laughfest that's based on an exaggerated reality which makes much of it strike home for the viewer. It's bracketed by Randy Newman's wistfully melancholy little hymn, "He Gives Us All His Love", emphasizing the acrid, bittersweet comedy cloud billowing around us like a raw burst of second-hand smoke. 

Buy it from Olive Films

Rated: PG-13
Subtitles: English (optional)
Video: 1:85:1 aspect ratio; color
Runtime: 102 minutes
Extras: none


Phantom Bullet Holes in "PULP FICTION" (1994) (video)

Phantom Bullet Holes in "PULP FICTION" (1994)

When Jules and Vincent enter the apartment, there are no bullet holes in the wall.

Later, the bullet holes suddenly appear -- BEFORE they get shot at.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Monday, May 28, 2018

RWBY: VOLUME 5 -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

When I was a kid, it was Santa Claus and the county fair that gave me some of my best annual thrills.  Now, it's the disc release of each season of Rooster Teeth/Cinedigm's mind-candy American anime series, "RWBY", the continuing adventures of those four multi-hued heroines Ruby Rose (red), Weiss Schnee (white), Blake Belladonna (black), and Ruby's sister Yang Xiao Long (yellow)--the latest of which being the 2-disc Blu-ray, RWBY: VOLUME 5

Here's the backstory: after a catastrophic war that almost destroyed everything, the world of Remnant has been divided into four kingdoms dedicated to maintaining peaceful relations.  Also drawing them together is a common enemy, the Grimms, a never-ending army of terrifying supernatural beasts that constantly attack both urban centers and outlying villages, drawn by negative emotions such as fear, panic, and hatred. 

The main line of defense consists of hunters and huntresses, those born with various super-powers who train from a young age at special academies until ready to take on the Grimms.  This is where we first met Team RWBY shortly before their academy was attacked and virtually destroyed by a combination of Grimms and a group of terrorists known as White Fang, made up of human-animal hybrids called Faunus under the command of a secret cabal of sinister villains.

As season five commences, the mixed group of RWBY and JNPR (Juniper) team members have completed their arduous journey to the neighboring land of Mistral and its Haven Academy, in a quest to gather more huntsmen and huntresses for the battles to come.  But all is not well--the academy has been infiltrated by evil forces of both White Fang and the dreaded sorceress, Salem, and most of its best warriors murdered.

Meanwhile, Ruby's sister Yang is not only dealing with her new robot arm but must confront her own mother, Raven, now a renegade criminal with very dark dealings involving Salem and her minions.  These include vengeful Cinder and some of the worst members of White Fang, who are now targeting Blake and her family because of their efforts to establish peaceful relations between the Faunus and the human race.

It may sound complicated, but darn if all this drama and intrigue isn't just as riveting as the many intense battle sequences that occur during these fifteen serial-like chapters.  The characters are all fascinating and beautifully conceived, with scintillating dialogue that's either richly dramatic or breezily funny. 

This time there is, in fact, much more personal and political intrigue, now that more of a foundation for such plot complications has been gradually established over the previous seasons and our increased familiarity with the characters makes deeper explorations of them possible.  Both good and bad guys this time around are three-dimensional and increasingly interesting to observe. 

As always, the looks of the series is absolutely gorgeous--even moreso, now that the technology used in creating the digitally simulated "cel animation" look of the show has gotten better and better over time.  Never has "RWBY" looked this gorgeous, richly colorful, and stunningly designed.  The result is often breathtaking, and always a treat for the eyes.

As for the battles themselves, they're choreographed and executed for maximum drama and excitement, with new species of Grimm as well as new human and Faunus opponents.  In an early episode, Weiss takes on a swarm of Grimm resembling giant hornets who attack the transport she's using to get to Mistral.  In the thrilling finale, all the forces of good and evil clash in a prolonged battle that spans several chapters and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The 2-disc Blu-ray set from Rooster Teeth/Cinedigm contains the 15-chapter saga on one disc and special features on the other.  These include exciting character studies (deleted scenes), a "Five Years of RWBY" series recap, a collection of featurettes ("CRWBY") detailing various elements of the show's creation, and a manga booklet. Total story running time: 244 minutes.  Widescreen with English Dolby 5.1.  English captions are available.

As always, RWBY: VOLUME 5 kept me thoroughly, deliriously entertained and left me wanting more.  So while my younger friends are awaiting Santa's return, I'll be looking forward to my next annual wallow in the incredible adventures of my current favorite cartoon heroes. 

Release date: June 5, 2018


Title Role Recast Mid-Scene in "Return of the Ape Man" (1944) (video)

Actor George Zucco, as "The Ape Man", received third billing after Bela Lugosi and John Carradine.

But a sudden illness (or, perhaps, second thoughts) made him drop out before a single scene was completed.

It begins with two brief shots of Zucco on the table. 

Then Zucco is replaced mid-scene by actor Frank Moran. 

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Horse-Laugh Scream in "Werewolf Of London" (1935) (video)

In 1935, Valerie Hobson was featured in both "Bride of Frankenstein"...

...and "Werewolf of London."

She's quite lovely, although in one close-up in "Werewolf of London"...

...she displays her patented "horse-laugh" scream face.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977): The "Carrie!" Blooper (video)

After the successful attack on the Death Star in "Star Wars: A New Hope"...

...Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) slips up and calls Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) by her real name.


P.S. Mark Hamill has since claimed that he's actually saying "There she...!" as in "There she is!" It still sounds like "Carrie!" to me. You be the judge!

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material. Just having some fun with it. Thanks for watching!


Friday, May 25, 2018

The Jekyll-to-Hyde Transformations (Barrymore, March, Tracy) (video)

The Jekyll-to-Hyde Transformations (Barrymore, March, Tracy)

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (John Barrymore, 1920)
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (Fredric March, 1932)
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (Spencer Tracy, 1941)

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Truth Can Be Prescribed in "ALTERED PERCEPTION", a Psychological Thriller Starring Jon Huertas ("This is Us") and Jade Tailor ("The Magicians") On 6/5



Street Date: June 5, 2018
SRP: $14.99

Directly Following its Theatrical Release, Synkronized Films Releases Director Kate Reed Davies' Feature-Length Debut on DVD from Travis Romero, The Creator of USA Network's "White Collar" and Executive Producer Michael Biehn; Also Starring Jennifer Blanc and Matthew Ziff


Truth can be prescribed in ALTERED PERCEPTION, a taut thriller from Travis Romero, the creator the USA Network's "White Collar" and executive producer Michael Biehn.

When the government attempts to produce a designer drug aimed at correcting the false perceptions that people develop during trauma and stress, the implications are deadly. Advertised as a cure for socio-political tensions, four couples volunteer, but end up with far more than they bargained for as their past and present are examined while taking variations of the new drug.

However, this causes them to doubt their own memory, perceptions -- and even their own sanity in this thriller in the vein of Disturbing Behavior and The Faculty.

Jon Huertas ("This is Us," "Castle")
Jade Tailor ("The Magicians," "Murder in the First")
Jennifer Blanc (The Night Visitor, "Dark Angel")
Matthew Ziff (Trafficked, Kickboxer: Vengeance, Six Gun Savior)
Ehmrys Cooper (Nosferatu, Frank and Ava, "Vanity")
Nichola Fynn ("Transparent," "Hot in Cleveland")
Hallie Jordan ("Ladies Like Us," She Rises, The Girl)

Type: DVD
Running Time: 73 minutes
Genre: Thriller
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Widescreen
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital

About Synkronized
Founded in 2000, SKD has distributed the work of some of the world's major directors and box office worthy movies. Synkronized boasts the independent content industry's preeminent end-to-end supply chain solution for physical and digital distribution. Synkronized is one of the only labels outside of the major studios to be exclusively distributed to the industry's largest physical content providers (Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sam's Club) and is the leading independent supplier to digital platforms including iTunes, Netflix and all the VOD market. With a catalog of over 250 film titles and over 100 TV properties, Synkronized has deals for the ongoing distribution of film titles produced by clients including Paramount, Amazon, LionsGate, SND/M6, Warner bros., Netflix, Sony, Microsoft, among many others.

Social Media
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Terror Films Unveils Twenty-Two Horror Titles on the Steam Platform


Placing 22 Horror Films on the Massive Gamer Platform!

Los Angeles, CA. (Thursday, May 24, 2018) As part of their ongoing effort to release diverse, indie horror films all over the globe while expanding consumer awareness of their content, genre distributor TERROR FILMS has placed 22 films from its library onto the popular gamer site STEAM.

STEAM is the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming. In recent years, it has started to make movies available on their platform with the most notable content coming from LIONSGATE. LIONSGATE made over 100 films available on the platform in 2016.

Although Terror Films doesn’t have the same star power behind their films, company president Joe Dain believes that’s what makes the placement special. Dain said of the change: “this was a calculated move on our part. There is a natural, connective tissue between gamers and horror, science fiction and fantasy film fans.  We believe our films are interesting, entertaining and diverse enough to gain the attention of STEAM’s massive user base. It was an easy decision on our part as we continue to expand onto new platforms and territories around the world.”

As of early 2018, STEAM had over 150 million registered accounts with a peak of 18.5 million concurrent users.  Terror Films intends to launch a marketing effort to drive attention to their developer page on the platform. The STEAM slate of films can be found HERE.

This most recent move comes on the heels of the company’s Amazon Prime expansion, which now has the ability to release films directly onto the platform in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Austria, Belize, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the UK.

To learn more about Terror Films:

And here:


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wildly Risque' 1933 Pre-Code Shower Scene: "Meet The Baron" (video)

Before the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 became seriously enforced around 1934...

...movies were getting away with an awful lot of naughty stuff, like this frothy semi-nude shower scene from 1933's "Meet the Baron."

Also appearing in the film--fully clothed, thank goodness--were Ted Healy & His Stooges and Jimmy Durante.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


"THE SISTERS BROTHERS" With Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal -- See the Official Trailer Here!

Brothers by blood. Sisters by name.

Written and directed by Jacques Audiard, stars Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed

In Theaters Fall 2018

Based on Patrick Dewitt's acclaimed novel of the same name, follows two brothers - Eli and Charlie Sisters - who are hired to kill a prospector who has stolen from their boss.

The story, a genre-hybrid with comedic elements, takes place in Oregon in 1851. The film is Jacques Audiard's follow-up to his Palme D'Or Winning DHEEPAN, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.


Genre: Dark Comedy
Release: 2018
Director: Jacques Audiard
Writers: Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reill, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed        
Production Company: Why Not Productions
Distributor: Annapurna Pictures

Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7 Times John Wayne Got Killed In A Movie (video)

7 Times John Wayne Got Killed In A Movie


Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
Fighting Seabees (1944)
Wake of the Red Witch (1948)
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
The Alamo (1960)
The Cowboys (1972)
The Shootist (1976)

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SHOCKING DARK -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

"So bad it's good" has a new name, and that name is SHOCKING DARK (Severin Films, 1989), a mind-rotting Italian sci-fi/horror fever dream from director Bruno Mattei and writers Claudio Fragasso and his wife Rossella Drudi.

As Drudi admits in an interview included on the Blu-ray, she and Claudio were hired to pen a direct rip-off of James Cameron's ALIENS and TERMINATOR, which would be released to theaters in time to cash in on Cameron's own upcoming TERMINATOR 2 (in some countries, they even used the same title along with copycat posters).

The main difference here, besides the rock-bottom budget, is that Mattei's film is set in scenic Venice as well as a genuine nuclear power plant, complete with control room, endless hallways, and massive machinery surrounded by walkways.  It's a goldmine of found locations that add immeasurably to the production values. 

Not that this makes SHOCKING DARK look like a lavish or even competent effort. The film is laughably bad from start to finish, with subpar performances and some really poor dialogue (some of which is lifted right out of ALIENS), and the big, scaly creatures that menace our heroes aren't far removed from the ones that stalked THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH.

And yet these very qualities are what make it such an involving experience.  The story is about a future Venice that's so polluted it's uninhabitable, and a research company called Tubular that's working to solve the problem when something goes terribly wrong (something involving monsters, that is) and all contact with them is lost.

Enter this movie's version of Cameron's colonial marines to venture into Tubular's vast underground system of corridors, laboratories, etc. and try to sort things out along with a brainy civilian, Dr. Sara Drumbull (Haven Tyler), who will be our official equivalent of Ripley.

Part of the fun of SHOCKING DARK is spotting all the other equivalents, such as the female marine who reminds us of Vasquez, other soldiers who remind us of other ALIENS characters, and the Newt-like little girl Samantha who latches onto Sara (even though the actress playing her appears to be far past adolescence).

Last but not least, there's the member of the group who is secretly a robot (or "replicant") and will eventually stalk Sara and Samantha through the compound like a Terminator as the familiar countdown to self-destruct ticks away. 

Whole scenes are copied, as when Samantha asks Sara, "Why do monsters exist?" during an intimate moment, right before they get locked in a lab with two of the slimy buggers while the traitor in the group turns off their surveillance camera.  Earlier, victims of the initial attack are, as you might guess, found cocooned.

Things don't really take off until the final third when all the stalking and counting down to self-destruct begin.  As a recorded voice reels off the elapsing seconds, Sara chugs through a series of Ellen Ripley/Sarah Connor moments until finally there's a rather unexpected time travel finale involving the one and only set built specifically for the movie. 
SHOCKING DARK is one of those movies that's sort of beyond criticism since the worse it is, the more fun I have watching it.  It's sincerely, almost creatively bad.  The filmmakers set out to entertain, and in their own colorful, flamboyantly inept, and wholly inadvertent way, they pretty much did just that.

Buy it at Severin Films

Special Features:
Terminator in Venice – An Interview with Co-Director / Co-Screenwriters Claudio Fragasso and Co-Screenwriter Rossella Drudi
Once Upon A Time in Italy – An Interview With Actress Geretta Geretta
Alternate Italian Titles


Most Violent Three Stooges Comedy Ever? ("They Stooge to Conga", 1943) (video)

Is "They Stooge To Conga" (1943) the most violent Three Stooges comedy ever?

Many believe this raucous comedy short contains the most concentrated amount of pure, over-the-top physical mayhem of any Stooges film...

...including the notorious "climbing spike" scene.

You be the judge!

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


"EARLY MAN" - Now Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital! See Trailer and Pics Here

Star-Studded Animated Comedy for the Entire Family!


The Hilarious Tale Rolls onto Digital on May 15 and Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on May 22 from Lionsgate®

SANTA MONICA, CA (April 17, 2018) – Meet the team that rocked the Stone Age when Early Man arrives on Digital May 15 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand on May 22 from Lionsgate. From Aardman, the award-winning tribe that brought you Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep Movie, this prehistoric romp tells the epic story of Dug the caveman and his goofy friends who challenge invaders to a game of soccer in order to win back their home.

Perfect for the young and young-at-heart alike, the cheerful tale told in charming, well-crafted claymation is Certified Fresh™ on Rotten Tomatoes and is full of “abundant delights” (Ella Taylor, NPR). Starring in the film are Oscar®-winner Eddie Redmayne (Best Actor, The Theory of Everything, 2014; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Tom Hiddleston (Thor: Ragnarok, Kong: Skull Island), Maisie Williams (TV’s “Game of Thrones”), as well as Timothy Spall (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Harry Potter Franchise).

Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures roamed the Earth, Early Man tells the story of courageous caveman hero Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his best friend, Hognob, as they unite their tribe against a mighty enemy — Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City — to save their home.

The animated world of Early Man has extensive special features including never-before-seen featurettes that reveal the love, passion, hard work, and magic that goes into creating an Aardman Studios animated film. Early Man will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $29.99, respectively.

⦁ “Before the Beginning of Time: Creating Early Man” Featurette
⦁ “Nick Park: Massaging the Funny” Featurette
⦁ “The Valley Meets the Bronze” Featurette
⦁ “Hanging at Aardman Studios: A Workshop Exploration” Featurette


Instagram: @earlymanmovie
Twitter: @earlymanmovie

Year of Production: 2017
Title Copyright: Early Man © 2018 Studiocanal S.A.S. and The British Film Institute. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2018 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: PG for Rude Humor and Some Action
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 89 minutes
BD Format: 1080p High Definition 16x9 Widescreen 2.39:1 Presentation
DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen 1.85:1 Presentation
BD Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio 
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio

The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies. Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.


Monday, May 21, 2018

THE GREAT SILENCE -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

In 1968, the same year Italian director Sergio Leone unleashed his western masterpiece ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, his compatriot Sergio Corbucci (DJANGO, NAVAJO JOE) gave us this very different take on the usual "spaghetti western"--THE GREAT SILENCE, aka "Il grande silenzio" (Film Movement Classics).

It's a fascinating change of pace from the usual lurid, bombastic entries in the genre with sweaty men fighting and dying amidst much sound and fury in the blazing heat of the desert.  Corbucci's film takes place in a snowbound setting with dark figures riding their horses over plains of stark white or walking down the streets of a town glazed with frost.

Like the setting, everything's muted in this film, including its hero, The Great Silence (French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant, ...AND GOD CREATED WOMAN, Z, IS PARIS BURNING?).  His backstory, seen in familiar flashback form, tells of him having his throat cut as a child by the same bounty hunters who just killed his parents as his father was surrendering to them. 

Silence, with his rapid-fire automatic pistol (the story takes place near the turn of the 20th century), is a hero who's also atypical in that, in addition to having deep feelings, he isn't the stoic, emotionally distant figure we see in Clint Eastwood's self-centered mercenary. In fact, he's a bit of a white knight, avenging women whose men have been murdered by bounty hunters. (Although he's not above charging a fee for his services.)

This time, in another departure from Leone, all of the bounty hunters in the story--namely, sadistic thrill-killer Loco (Klaus Kinski, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE) and his motley cohorts--are the bad guys, preying upon a haggard group of outlaws hiding out in the mountains until word of their amnesty comes through from the government. 

Some decide to give themselves up and are picked off, while the rest will eventually be lured to town only to fall into the bounty hunters' ambush.  It's here, with Silence going up against Loco and his crew as they hold their captives hostage in the saloon, that the film's shocking finale will take place.

But before that, Corbucci lingers upon Silence's increasingly fond relationship with the beautiful widow Pauline (Vonetta McGee) after she pleads with him to avenge her husband's murder by Loco.  Their scenes are thoughtful, contemplative--a respite from the bursts of bloody violence that erupt from time to time.

We also follow the tale of seriocomic sheriff Gideon Burnett, played by Frank Wolff (the ill-fated "Brett McBain" in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST) who is tasked by the governor to solve the bounty hunter problem but finds it quite a handful.  How Loco manages to outwit him as he's being transported in chains to the nearest prison is almost enough for him to earn a smidgeon of our admiration.

More than anyone else, this is Klaus Kinski's film.  In the cheerfully vile Loco he gives us a delightfully low-key villain, and deftly underplays the role.  Loco never heard of "dead or alive"--his pleasure is in luring errant felons into surrendering and then gunning them down with great satisfaction. 

This tendency will reach its peak in the film's final sequence, which suddenly turns into a bloodbath as the story ends on an incredibly nihilistic note.  I was floored by it, and left unsure how I felt about the movie as a whole as the final music of Ennio Morricone's haunting score began to swell.  And I don't know if that's a bad thing or a good thing.

Corbucci filmed two alternate endings (included in the Blu-ray extras), one of which is exactly how I wanted the film to end.  But regardless of all that, THE GREAT SILENCE is a haunting, beautifully-rendered, and very offbeat western that should stay with you for some time after experiencing it. 

Buy it at Film Movement Classics

Tech Specs:
New 2K digital restoration
1.85:1 widescreen
Italian and English soundtracks, English subtitles

"Cox on Corbucci"--Alex Cox pays tribute to the maestro
"Western, Italian Style"--1968 documentary on the Italian film industry, western style
Two alternate endings
Illustrated booklet with the essay, "Ending the Silence" by Simon Abrams
Original and new trailers