HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, August 14, 2017


Finally, a comedy show that was ALL comedy.  No out of character chit-chat, no maudlin songs, no fake sincerity--just wall-to-wall silliness that kept going right through the closing credits and beyond.  Joke followed gag followed blackout followed non sequitur, with absolutely no qualms about coming off as supremely silly.  As a kid, I felt as though the show had been designed specifically with me in mind.

The format would start to get tired and a bit worn out as time went on, but in 1968, during the groundbreaking, trailblazing ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Time-Life, 4-disc DVD), it seemed like a totally fresh, endlessly inventive comedy powerhouse.

Dan Rowan, the cigarette-puffing straight man who looked like he should always have a bourbon on the rocks in his hand, and Dick Martin, the wisecracking "funny" one who seemed to have already had a few, were like dinner-theater comics who'd stepped into their own network comedy show by surprise and decided to have the time of their lives.

The cast were an eclectic bunch of crazies who would almost all become household names--Jo Anne Worley, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, "Get Smart" star Barbara Feldon, Henry Gibson, Eileen Brennan, Larry Hovis, announcer Gary Owens, and "sock it to me" girl Judy Carne.  The show's biggest star, Goldie Hawn, would enter the scene in the third episode and become the show's reigning dumb blonde.

The jokes came fast and furious, practically piling up on each other, much of them silly sight gags and wordplay.  Weekly features included "The Party", "News of the Past, Present, and Future", "Sock It To Me" Time, "The Joke Wall", "It's a Mod, Mod World", and "Potpourri."  All were just excuses for more comic madness. 

And despite the show's counterculture vibe, much of it is actually your standard "old fogey"-type comedy with a veneer of feigned "hip"-ness--a weird mixture to be sure.  But it seemed fresh and rebellious at the time because it was so different from the usual straightlaced variety shows (such as Carol Burnett's over on CBS).

The "Party" sequences play like Hugh Hefner's "Playboy After Dark"--complete with middle-aged swingers awkwardly dressed in mod clothes--but packed with oodles of groan-worthy one-liners ("My brother's a Quaker--some of his best Jews are friends", "I wanted a nose job, but my husband said it would be like putting a new luggage rack on a 1953 De Soto.")

The jokes cover previously taboo subjects such as birth control, marijuana, race, and various kinds of sex, with the censors seemingly letting them get away with a lot more than usual.  But this was back before everyone was so easily triggered and being politically incorrect was an act of social rebellion by the counter-culture against the "establishment."

Weekly guest stars doing their bit(s) included Flip Wilson, Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Johnny Carson, Cher, Tim Conway, Sammy Davis Jr., Sally Field, Jerry Lewis, Muriel Landers, Kaye Ballard, Sheldon Leonard, Tommy Smothers, and even John Wayne.  The infamous ukulele-playing folk singer Tiny Tim, who became a superstar because of the show, makes three separate appearances.

The DVD set from Time-Life contains four discs with 14 remastered episodes.  Disc one's bonus features include a cast reunion, blooper reel, a new interview with creator and executive-producer George Schlatter, and the show's entire pilot episode.

ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON was a blast in its time and still comes through as fresh and funny, but with added nostalgia value.  It's just as much a treat to watch now as it was back in 1968.

Buy it at

Street Date: September 5, 2017

Dan Rowan
Dick Martin
Pamela Austin
Ken Berry
Eileen Brennan
Ruth Buzzi
Judy Carne
Barbara Feldon
Henry Gibson
Goldie Hawn
Larry Hovis
Arte Johnson
Gary Owens
Jo Anne Worley

Format: DVD/4 Discs
Running Time: 869 minutes
Genre:  TV DVD/Comedy
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Stereo


Saturday, August 12, 2017

"OPEN WATER 3: CAGE DIVE" -- In Theaters, On Demand and on Digital HD TODAY


Genre:    Thriller 
Rating: R for language and some bloody images.
U.S. Release Date:  August 11, 2017 (In Theaters, On Demand and on Digital HD)
Run Time:   80 minutes

Cast: Joel Hogan (Jeff Miller), Josh Potthoff (Josh Miller), Megan Peta Hill (Megan Murphy), Pete Valley (Greg)

In this intense thriller, three friends from California head to the rugged Australian coast for a cage-dive encounter with deadly Great Whites. But after attracting a swarm of vicious sharks, their tour boat is destroyed by a massive rogue wave.

As clouds gather and darkness descends, the three friends find themselves alone and defenseless, afloat in the chilly ocean as hungry man-eaters begin to circle. With little hope of rescue, they must fight to survive using only their courage.

Directed by:  Gerald Rascionato

Written by:  Gerald Rascionato

Story by:  Gerald Rascionato
 Stephen Lister

Produced by:  Gerald Rascionato
 Antoine Mouawad
 Charles M. Barsamian
 Rana Joy Glickman

Co-Produced by:  Andre Stamatakakos

Executive Produced by:  Tony Rascionato
 Paul Adams
 Wilma Adams
 Pete Valley
 Marcel Mouawad
 John Mouawad
 Jacob H. Gray
 Robert Lambert
 Michael Favelle
 Herb Ankrom

Cinematography by:  Gerald Rascionato
 Andy Bambach

Production Design by: Angela Rascionato
 MacPherson Downs

Edited by:  Gerald Rascionato
 Antoine Mouawad
 Andre Stamatakakos

Casting by:  Gerald Rascionato
 Stephen Lister

Just One More Productions presents, in association with Odlin’s Eye Entertainment, a Gerald Rascionato Film.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

FACE 2 FACE -- Movie Review by Porfle

So, when seriocomic cyber-drama FACE 2 FACE (2016) started out as two childhood friends reuniting online after many years, with the whole thing taking place on their webcams and iPhones and the dialogue all fluffy and cutesy and coy, I thought I was in for an ordeal of unendurable boredom. 

Thankfully, however, it gets better as we get to know these initially shallow characters--he, a lonely, friendless gamer nerd named Teel (Daniel Amerman, COLLEGE MUSICAL, "Arrested Development"), and she, an outgoing bundle of teen energy named Madison (Daniela Bobadilla, TEXAS HEART, MOTHERS OF THE BRIDE)--who eventually get to know one another well enough to suss out each other's weak points, insecurities, etc. and try to fix them.

For her, it means getting Teel to admit he's a friendless gamer nerd and do wild things like joining Facebook and auditioning for parts in school plays even though his mom wants him to be a jock.  For him, it means helping her appreciate her natural qualities and identifying various behavioral traits and social interactions that are in serious need of a tune-up.

It threatens to be a feature-length meet-cute at first, which much of the early section pretty much is.  But little by little, things start to get more serious, and that's when Teel and Madison begin to delve into one another's lives in depth.  Not surprisingly, this also makes the story that much more fun and involving for us.

In fact, FACE 2 FACE reaches a point somewhere along the way where we stop noticing the whole "found footage"-esque premise so much and just start following the story.

Director and co-writer (with brother Aaron) Matthew Toronto helps open things up as much as possible by switching to mobile cams now and then to catch outside action such as Teel getting beaten up by school thugs or Madison having way too much "fun" at wild parties to over-compensate for serious troubles in her personal life. 

There are a couple of plot twists to spice things up, one of which should come as no surprise to absolutely anyone (except Madison, who obviously isn't as perceptive as we thought), and another which I did find rather startling.  Both contribute greatly to giving the story a depth and gravitas that the initial scenes don't hint at, setting us up for the big finish. 

Of course, we're left to wonder if Teel and Madison would hit it off romantically if not separated by thousands of miles and limited only to contact in the digital realm.  This question, as you probably guessed, will be answered sooner or later, in somewhat predictable but still satisfying fashion. 

Performances by the leads are quite good.  Then again, they'd have to be in order for these two actors to carry the entire film with nothing but their faces and voices for much of the running time.  Mary Gordon Murray shows up a few times as Teel's overbearing mother, and we see various boyfriends and girlfriends here and there, but most of the other characters are fleeting background figures. 

FACE 2 FACE restricts itself to an unwieldy format from the start and then does its best to make it engaging and cinematic for us.  It succeeds to a pleasing degree, mainly because the lead characters and their stories have a way of growing on us until we actually care what happens to them next.

Type: DVD/Digital HD
Running Time: 88 min.
Rating: N/A
Genre: Drama
Aspect Ratio: 1.85
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound
Release Date: August 15


"30 YEARS OF GARBAGE: THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS STORY" -- Documentary In Theaters Aug. and DVD/VOD Sept.

30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story
“From Counter-culture to Candy Culture”

West Hollywood, California (Tuesday, August 8th) - Indican Pictures is set to release the pivotal documentary on the Garbage Pail Kids. Titled 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story, this documentary revisits the artists, who made these collectibles famous. Showing a rare glimpse into the corporate culture of Topps as they launched Garbage Pail Kids through the height of the cards fame, the downfall from the legal battle with the Cabbage Patch kids and their untimely demise.

The film is jam packed with interviews of over a half dozen artists. Each artist penned these counter-culture trading cards and each artist gives you the inside story of why these cards poked fun at: the collectibles’ movement, the 80’s culture of greed and gave kids a unique piece of historical fun. Details on the film’s theatrical and home entertainment launch are available here.

This documentary interviews actors from the ‘80s film, Garbage Pail Kids the Movie (1987). Interviews take place with: Mackenzie Astin, Debbie Lee Carrington and others. It also includes interviews with Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Art Spiegelman, Pumpkinhead screenwriter Gary Gerani, comic book artists Tom Bunk and John Pound. It even includes an interview with TV producer Adam F. Goldberg (creator of the Goldbergs TV Series).

Many of the artists from the original series are revisited, for their take on what made these cards so popular. The film also includes collectors, of the cards, who share their nostalgic memories and collections with the world, in this one-of-a-kind documentary. All of these people and more give their take on what made The Garbage Pail Kids so famous, such a worldwide sensation.

30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story hits theatres this summer in select cities. Indican Pictures will launch this title in several theatres, starting August 18th and continuing throughout the month of August and September. On 9/20/17, 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story will show in front of an even larger audience as the film is launched nationwide, throughout the United States. All of the release details on this artistic movement and the collectors are hosted here.

The trailer for:

The film’s official synopsis: In the 1980′s some eclectic underground cartoonists parodied a popular doll craze (whose name cannot be spoken…). The resulting pop culture commercial trading cards/stickers tapped into an international zeitgeist that was brewing in a young generation who felt that this product spoke to the revulsion they had for the corporate junk that was being fed to them. Learn the truth behind the myth of The Garbage Pail Kids, the lawsuit that ensued and the resulting iconic status!

Release Date: August, 2017 (U.S., Limited Theatrical) and September 20th, 2017 (VOD/DVD).

Director/writer: Jeff Zapata, Joe Simko.

Interviewees: Art Spiegelman, John Pound, James Warhola, Adam F. Goldberg, Tom Bunk, Jay Lynch, Mark Newgarden, Gary Gerani, Len Brown, Mackenzie Astin, Debbie Lee Carrington, Arturo Gil.

More film details at Indican:

The film’s homepage:

About Indican Pictures
Indican Pictures acquires and distributes feature films to a broad range of entertainment outlets by providing a diverse selection of movies across: theatrical, home video, TV, VOD, PPV and streaming platforms.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"DEATH FIGHTER" -- Action-packed Thriller With Don "The Dragon" Wilson Now Out On DVD & VOD in the USA


Los Angeles, CA – The all new action-packed thriller movie DEATH FIGHTER is now available on DVD and VOD in the USA, courtesy of Vision Films!

Starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson (“The Martial Arts Kid,” “Stealing Harvard”), Joe Lewis (“Jaguar Lives!,” “Force: Five”), Matt Mullins (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Divergent”) and Cynthia Rothrock (“Showdown in Manila “Sci-Fighter”), DEATH FIGHTER follows a young American cop with a bounty on his head. He teams up with a rage-filled ex-military outcast to avenge his slain mentor’s death. His mission proves a hard and dangerous one when he finds himself in a head-to-head showdown with one of the most notorious and ruthless criminals in the country.

Watch the Trailer:

DEATH FIGHTER was written by Lawrence Riggins and directed by Toby Russell. Kazu Patrick Tang is the Action Director and Stunt Coordinator. Tang has previously choreographed action scenes with Jackie Chan, Orlando Bloom and Jason Statham, among others. Karen Kaing.

Karen Kaing says:

“Making a film is like building a home. I was very excited to work with the talented cast. Joe Lewis was one of Bruce Lee’s students and Don Wilson has won 11 championships." 

Vision Films’ Managing Director/ CEO, Lise Romanoff says:

“The revenge plot, non-stop action and kickass authentic fight scenes in DEATH FIGHTER gives a modern spin on classic martial arts films. Fans of the genre won’t want to miss this one!”

DEATH FIGHTER is out now on DVD and VOD in the USA.

About Vision Films
Vision Films is an Independent Worldwide Distributor and VOD Aggregator of over 800 Feature Films, Documentaries and Music Programs from some of the most prolific independent film producers in the world.  Led by Lise Romanoff, Managing Director/CEO Worldwide Distribution, Vision Films releases 2-4 films a month through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and manages all the windows between Theatrical, DVD, VOD and Television.


Phillip Noyce to Direct World War II Thriller "THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE"


Foresight Unlimited to Handle International Sales with Principal Photography Commencing at the End of This Year

LOS ANGELES (August 9, 2017) — Foresight Unlimited has announced that Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Giver, The Bone Collector) has been tapped to direct The Devil’s Brigade. Moshe Diamant will produce the World War II action-thriller, and Foresight Unlimited will handle international sales. Principal photography is set to begin at the end of this year in France, with casting currently underway. 

The Devil’s Brigade tells the true story of how Davie Berman, the only Jewish member of the Luciano mob, is requested by the U.S. military to help turn the tide of events against the Germans in Italy. In organizing a team of Sicilian Cosa Nostra to work with the Americans, he almost single-handedly drives the Germans out of the southern region of Italy, and returns to America as a decorated hero.

Australian-born Noyce is known for his work across various action-dramas, most notably he directed Academy Award Nominated Salt starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber for Colombia Pictures. His previous work also includes the box-office smash hits Clear And Present Danger and Patriot Games, Collector also starring Jolie and Denzel Washington for Universal Pictures, and the critically acclaimed Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American.

Noyce is currently in production on TV drama series “Reside” starring Emily VanCamp and Matt Czurchry. He most recently completed crime-thriller Above Suspicion for Bold Films starring Emilia Clarke, Thora Birch and Jack Huston.

Noyce is represented by WME, Cameron Creswell Agency, and Fireman Entertainment.

Foresight Unlimited is currently in production on Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure, with an all-star cast led by Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Peter Fonda, and Amy Madigan. The Foresight slate also includes: Rob Cohen’s The Hurricane Heist, starring Toby Kebbell and Maggie Grace; Michael Mailer’s Blind, starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin; and the $130M sci-fi epic Inversion.

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


Monday, August 7, 2017

"JUSTICE" -- Revenge Has a New Name in Latest Western From Universal


Release Date: 10/17/2017 
Theatrical Release: 9/15/2017

Synopsis: It's 1868 and the Civil War has been over for three years. An old, abandoned mine is now being transformed into a military stronghold by a corrupt mayor and a band of bloodthirsty outlaws hell-bent on reigniting the war.

When a U.S. Marshal comes to town only to find out that his brother, the town priest, has been murdered, his search for the killer leads to an inevitable clash that becomes a life or death struggle for a much greater cause.

Blu-ray Widescreen (61188189) : Disc 1 (Side A): Justice
 Format: Blu-ray
 UPC: 1-9132-90183-3-0
 Unit Type: Standard
 Number of Media: 1
 Street Date: 10/17/2017 11:38:00 AM
 Run Time (HH:MM): 1 Hour 33 Minutes
 Language: English
 Disc Type: BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging: Snap Case
 Layers: Single
 Audio:English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
 Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, Latin Spanish
 Picture: Widescreen
 Version: Blu-ray + Digital
 Rating: R
 Bonus Features: • Digital Copy of Justice

DVD Widescreen (61188190) : Disc 1 (Side A): Justice
 Format: DVD
 UPC: 1-9132-90183-4-7
 Unit Type: Standard
 Number of Media: 1
 Street Date: 10/17/2017 11:38:00 AM
 Run Time (HH:MM): 1 Hour 33 Minutes
 Language: English
 Disc Type: DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging: Snap Case
 Layers: Single
 Audio:English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
 Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, Latin Spanish
 Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen
 Rating: R