HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, August 14, 2017

ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON -- DVD Review by Porfle



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 Amazon.com

Street Date: September 5, 2017

CAST
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

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






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Saturday, August 12, 2017

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



OPEN WATER 3: CAGE DIVE
LIONSGATE


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)

SYNOPSIS
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.


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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.


TECH SPECS:
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



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"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: https://vimeo.com/228398601

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: http://bit.ly/2flLdAX

The film’s homepage: https://www.30yearsofgarbage.com/

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.




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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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



ACTION-PACKED THRILLER MOVIE “DEATH FIGHTER” OUT NOW 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.


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



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.

ABOUT FORESIGHT UNLIMITED
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.


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Monday, August 7, 2017

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



JUSTICE

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
 

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

MGM's "DEATH WISH" With Bruce Willis -- See the Trailer Now



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's
DEATH WISH


RELEASE DATE: November 22, 2017
GENRE: Action- Thriller
DIRECTOR: Eli Roth



Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presents director Eli Roth's reimagining of the classic 1974 revenge thriller Death Wish. Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of Chicago violence when it is rushed into his ER - until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts his family's assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media's attention, the city wonders if this deadlyvigilante is a guardian angel or a grim reaper. Fury and fate collide in the intense, action-thrillerDeath Wish.

Paul Kersey becomes a divided person: A man who saves lives, and a man who takes them; a husband and father trying to take care of his family, and a shadowy figure fighting Chicago crime; a surgeon extracting bullets from suspects' bodies, and the vigilante called "The Grim Reaper" who detectives are quickly closing in on.

Updated from the original novel by Brian Garfield, director Eli Roth  and screenwriter Joe Carnahan's (The Grey, Narc) Death Wish also stars Vincent D'Onofrio (The Magnificent Seven, TV's Daredeviland Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas), Camila Morrone, Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Kimberly Elise (The Great Debaters). It's a knife's-edge portrayal that challenges our assumptions, and pushes our buttons.

By bringing the complex psychology of Brian Garfield's book up-to-the-moment and injecting new thrills and a stark, unflinchinglook at the American psyche in 2017, Eli Roth and Death Wish brings audiences to the height of unforgettable suspense.

A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures production, Death Wish is set for release on November 22, 2017. It will be distributed in the U.S. by APR and internationally by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. Death Wish stars Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise. Directed by Eli Roth.Screenplay by Joe Carnahan, based on the 1974 Motion Picture by Wendell Mayes from the Novel by Brian Garfield. Producer, Roger Birnbaum. Associate Producer, Stephen J. Eads. Executive Producer, Ilona Herzberg. Director of Photography, Rogier Stoffers.Edited by Mark Goldblatt. Music by Ludwig Göransson. Production Design by Paul Kirby. Costume Design by Mary Jane Fort.

SCREENPLAY: Joe Carnahan, based on a novel by Brian Garfield
PRODUCER: Roger Birnbaum
CAST: Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise

DEATH WISH Official Channels
Website: http://deathwish.movie/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeathWishFilm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeathWishMovie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/DeathWishMovie


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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SIMPLE CREATURE -- Movie Review by Porfle



A keg party meet-cute between sophisticated city girl Em (Carollani Sandberg) and old-fashioned farm boy Seth (D'Angelo Midili) leads to a quirky yet believable courtship. 

We predict romance and its usual complications, with either a happy or tragic resolution, but what surprises us is when SIMPLE CREATURE (Indican Pictures, 2016) takes a sharp left turn into the sci-fi genre after such a mundane build-up and is all the more convincing for it. 

We're not really sure where the story's going at first, as it initially focuses on Em's college life full of wild parties, drinking too much, etc. and then switches its P.O.V. to show Seth's plight after his dad dies and the farm's in danger of having to be sold even though this may kill his invalid mother.  The two meet halfway, literally, in a motel between city and country, and ponder their future together--if they indeed have one.


So far, the story is passable human drama.  We learn that Em and her emotionally distant father have barely related to one another since her mother's death. Seth, on the other hand, is desperate to keep his farm, mainly for his mother's sake, as his creditors close in.  Not exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff, but still the basis for an interesting story if handled well.   

What happens next is one of those great unexpected moments that a film is able to pull on us from time to time, elevating it in the blink of an eye to a whole different level. 

I won't give it away, but this where the sci-fi comes in--Em is suddenly in critical condition, and the only thing that can save her is the fact that her father is part of a top-secret scientific project known as "Singularity" involving artificially-enhanced human beings, and she has come along at just the right time to become its main guinea pig.

Now we're talking. From this point, SIMPLE CREATURE spins an absorbing speculative tale in which Em receives life-saving human and artificial organ transplants along with an electronic device embedded in her brain which enables her to interface with a computer.  But while seemingly super-human, she struggles to regain lost memories and even her identity as a person, to the point of wondering if she still has a soul.


Writer-director Andrew Finnigan is treading into "Frankenstein" territory here, as well as recalling a number of interesting sci-fi stories about identity and humanity and technology gone too far.  When Em finally escapes from the lab and into the (wild) world, as we know she will, the "Stranger in a Strange Land" aspect is explored along with her plight as a fugitive struggling to stay one step ahead of potentially sinister pursuers. 

Em's eventual reunion with Seth dredges up the romance angle again with a dark twist--believing her dead all this time, he doesn't know what to make of the hybrid creature that suddenly confronts him.  His involvement with a fringe conspiracy cult holding their meetings in his barn also bodes ill when they find out about her.  Suffice it to say, "complications ensue."

SIMPLE CREATURE is one of those satisfying sci-fi thrillers where imagination, clever writing, and sharp performances take the place of a big budget and flashy SPFX.  Even the downbeat ending seems right, especially if you're a fan of George Orwell. 

Tech Specs
Runtime: 92mins
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: DolbySR
Country: USA
Language: English
Website: www.IndicanPictures.com
Genre: Sci-Fi


Amazon Video






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Monday, July 31, 2017

MAN UNDERGROUND -- Movie Review by Porfle



MAN UNDERGROUND (2016) is about how hard it can be for one man to get the truth out to the people when nobody wants to hear it or believe it.  Especially when shadowy forces in the hush-hush inner government would rather such truth remain secret despite the obsessive efforts of one lone conspiracy theorist (i.e. "nut") to shine a light on it.

Unkempt, eccentric loner Willem Koda (George Basil) is the "nut" in question, or at least he seems like one to the waitresses at the diner in rural Middle America where he eats the same thing every day. 

One of them, Flossie Ferguson (Pamela Fila), takes a shine to him and, being an aspiring actress, agrees to appear in an autobiographical shot-on-video film Willem has decided to make with his goodnaturedly nerdy pal Todd Muckle (Andy Rocco) in order to tell Willem's story to the public more effectively than with the occasional sparsely-attended speech or social media video.


So far, the whole thing seems to play like an ultra-dry deadpan comedy, especially when we start to see the three of them filming Willem's comically overdramatized account of his past trauma under the most amateur of conditions. 

The events that made him the man he is today, we find, involve his working as a geologist for the government until having a terrifying close encounter of the worst kind after uncovering a sealed underground vault. 

We know of Willem's horrific past experience, resulting in a painful breakup with his wife, solely through these humorously-staged, laughable recreations (there are no dramatic flashbacks), and thus have no way of knowing whether he's telling the truth or simply tragically delusional.

Still, the smartly-written script of MAN UNDERGROUND by co-directors Michael Borowiec and Sam Marine manages to come up with some spooky clues here and there which, at times, have us hanging on this pathetic, socially-malajusted paranoiac's unsettling nocturnal encounters as though we're watching a low-key political thriller or an episode of "The X-Files."


All of this potential background intrigue, meanwhile, is presented within the context of three societal misfits (and Flossie's annoying boyfriend Francis, played with smooth-nerd aplomb by Felix Hagen) making a glorified home movie while stumbling through their own awkward relationship problems--most of which stem from Willem's mercurial, distrustful nature--as deadpan humor gives way more and more to increasingly absorbing human drama. 

The film's climax, in fact, is surprisingly dramatic, and by this time the writer-directors have managed to make these borderline-farcical characters more than sufficiently well-rounded enough for us to care about them.  More than that, they're quite thoroughly sympathetic and likable, even realistic in their own way, which is due in no small part to some wonderfully deft performances by the leads. 

MAN UNDERGROUND is unlike any "conspiracy theory" story I've seen, mixing subtle humor and serious drama the way real life often does, with the same variances in tone and lack of clear-cut resolution, and with the same kind of unsettling yet somehow appealing unpredictability.   

Tech Specs
Runtime: 93 mins.
Format: 1:85 Flat
Sound: Dolby 2.0
Country: USA
Language: English
Website: www.IndicanPictures.com
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror/Comedy




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"TELETUBBIES: FOLLOW THE LEADER" On DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on September 5



"TELETUBBIES: FOLLOW THE LEADER"

Six All-New Episodes and a Special Featurette with the Adorable Tinky Winky on DVD September 5

Family Entertainment with Developmental Benefits


CULVER CITY, Calif. (July 28, 2017) – The wonderful world of Teletubbies is back with 6 all-new adventures for your little ones when TELETUBBIES: FOLLOW THE LEADER arrives on DVD on September 5.

Celebrating 20 years of entertaining families across the world, the new generation of Teletubbies is designed to appeal to today's tech-savvy infants and toddlers through relatable storylines, and high-tech features including their Touch-Screen Tummies and Tubby Phone smartphone. Parents will be able to provide their toddlers with creative learning experiences that are fun, playful and inclusive.


The DVD encourages early social skills, including taking turns, physical activity and coordination, as well as recognizing colors, objects and patterns.

Synopsis:
Join Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po as they laugh, play, sing, dance and share big hugs. Teletubbies makes exploring and experimenting so much fun, your child will shout "Again! Again!". Contains six new episodes, including “Follow the Leader”.

Bonus Feature Includes:
·         Meet the Characters: Tinky Winky

TELETUBBIES: FOLLOW THE LEADER has a run time of approximately 75 minutes. The collection is not rated. 

ABOUT SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

ABOUT TELETUBBIES
Originally created in 1997, Teletubbies is one of the most successful global children’s brands of all-time. Targeted at young pre-school viewers, it has reached over 1 billion children to date. The original episodes have aired in over 120 territories in 45 different languages.

Debuting on Nick Jr. in May 2016, the new Teletubbies series (60 x 12 min. episodes) stays true to the original series but is designed to captivate today’s digital toddlers with updated elements and visual CGI-enhancements. The characters now have Touch-Screen Tummies and high-tech gadgets like the Tubby Phone smartphone, introducing a contemporary twist for a new generation of pre-schoolers. The multi award-winning Teletubbies encourages young children to watch television creatively, providing a safe and beneficial viewing experience. Teletubbies is produced by DHX Media. www.teletubbies.com

ABOUT DHX MEDIA
DHX Media Ltd. (TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B; NASDAQ: DHXM) is a leading children’s content and brands company, recognized globally for such high-profile properties as Peanuts, Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Caillou, Inspector Gadget, and the acclaimed Degrassi franchise. One of the world’s foremost producers of children’s shows, DHX Media owns the world’s largest independent library of children’s content, at 13,000 half-hours. It licenses its content to broadcasters and streaming services worldwide and generates royalties through its global consumer products program. Through its subsidiary, WildBrain, DHX Media operates one of the largest networks of children’s channels on YouTube. Headquartered in Canada, DHX Media has 20 offices worldwide. Visit us at www.dhxmedia.com.

TELETUBBIES and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of DHX Worldwide Limited. ©2017 DHX Worldwide Limited. All Rights Reserved.



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Artsploitation Puts Theatrical Release Under the Tree for "RED CHRISTMAS"



Artsploitation Decks the Halls with a
"RED CHRISTMAS"


Craig Anderson's Festival Hit Opens in Los Angeles August 25th
Blood-Soaked Holiday Cheer to Spread in Limited Release


"An energetic, candy-colored romp through genre tropes that manages to take its subject matter seriously while poking fun at itself at the same time."
-- Variety 


"Quite simply, Wallace can do no wrong, and Red Christmas proves that she still is - and always will be - a horror force to be reckoned with."
-- Horror Film News


Philadelphia, PA - Artsploitation has unwrapped a gift for all the bad boys and girls with the upcoming limited release of the Australian horror film Red Christmas.  Veteran television director and actor Craig Anderson makes his feature debut with Red Christmas, combining the banal horror of family gatherings with the issues of abortion, feminism, ethics, religion and privacy, with a blood-splattered twist on what happens when secrets refuse to stay dead.


Genre icon Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, E.T., Cujo, Critters) stars as the stressed-out mother of a squabbling family, gathered together in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Eve.  Their petty dramas threaten to blacken the holiday until a mysterious and deformed stranger appears at the door seeking bloody vengeance.  Red Christmas will open in Los Angeles August 25th for a weeklong run at the Laemmle Music Hall, and expand to screens in San Francisco, Denver, Dallas and more over the coming weeks.

August 25th Theatrical Release:
Laemmle Music Hall 3
9036 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Dee Wallace headlines as Diane, a matriarch presiding over the gathering of her squabbling grown children on Christmas Day.  Tensions give way to terror when a deformed stranger appears at the door with vengeance on his mind.  Diane must protect her family as limbs are severed and secrets are brought into the light.

Red Christmas (Official Trailer)

Red Christmas: English / Australia / 82 minutes


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Sunday, July 30, 2017

APT 3D -- Movie Review by Porfle



The old "haunted apartment" routine gets another crack at chilling our jaded blood in APT 3D (2014).  And, in its own slow, low-key, almost minimalist sort of way--with a few unexpected elements tossed into the mix, including sci-fi--it kinda does.

First-time writer-director Zack Imbrogno (with co-director Horst Dieter Baum) plays it like a slow tease, never giving us too much information at a time but always keeping us on edge, making us wait for each little clue as to what the hell's going on.

It all starts when Ben (Imbrogno) and his girlfriend Erin (Maxxe Sternbaum) move into the New York apartment of Ben's sister during her three-month jaunt to Africa.  Ben's all excited about his new TV-writing job, but Los Angeles girl Erin feels like a fish out of water and hates being left alone during the day.  This is just the beginning of a growing rift between them.


Making matters worse is a pushy, too-friendly neighbor named Chris (Jordan Lewis), whom Erin eventually suspects of stalking her.  The tension level is increased when we're shown brief glimpses of this.  But is he simply a pervert?  Or is there something more complicated, and perhaps more sinister, at work?

The apartment is small and modern, hardly the spacious old Gothic layout we see in such films as THE RESIDENT, but the directors manage to make it eerie enough with peripheral touches we almost don't notice--a shadow flitting across the wall, a closed door creaking open a crack--and weird, unexplained noises emanating from the most unlikely places.

It seems like a simple case of either stalking or paranormal infestation, except there are other things at work here such as UFOs glimpsed from the rooftop and bizarre visions that come over both Ben and Erin.  Some of the physical manifestations they experience along with these hallucinations seem...well...alien in nature.


APT 3D strings us along expertly and maintains a constant level of suspense, brimming with paranoia, that neither overdoes it nor loses its tension.  The gradual introduction of the more unbelievable, improbable aspects of their baffling plight only adds to our rapt involvement, even when we share Ben and Erin's skepticism when the enigmatic Chris turns out to be their main source of information.

Any more than this I'm loathe to reveal, save that this modestly budgeted mini-thriller with limited locations, a tiny cast, and a modicum of visual effects lets its actors and story carry us along in lieu of spectacle or sensation.  It's like a crackerjack extended episode of some excellent TV anthology like "The Outer Limits" or "Friday the 13th--The Series."

The one sticking point--which may be a make-or-break thing for many viewers--is the abrupt ending. Just when I think it's switching into high gear, there's the fadeout leaving us hanging.  But the more I thought about it, the more satisfied I was with the way APT 3D gives me just enough information and then allows me to imagine what happens next.  

Tech Specs
Runtime: 79 mins
Format: 1:85 Flat
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller

Buy it at Amazon.com





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Saturday, July 29, 2017

BEYOND THE DARKNESS -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



I love to watch movies while I'm eating. Some movies, however, really--and I mean really--don't lend themselves to mealtime viewing.  Joe D'Amato's BEYOND THE DARKNESS, aka "Buio Omega" (1979, Severin Films) is one of them.  Hoo boy, is it ever.

Generally speaking, it's your basic Italian 70s-era Grand Guignol potboiler dripping with that old-country Goth flavor and a sort of lurid, rough-hewn visual flair characteristic of much of Italian cinema. 

But it's the particulars in this case that really drive the film into gut-punch territory.  When D'Amato (THE ALCOVE, EMMANUELLE AND THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE) wants to shock or gross us out, he delivers with some strong, graphic gore and cringe-inducing perversion that'll most likely set your nerves on edge and your stomach on "queasy."


It all starts when otherwise handsome and normal-looking young Frank (Kieran Canter, THE LONELY LADY) loses his beloved wife Anna (Cinzia Monreale, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME, THE BEYOND).  Unable to bear the loss, he steals her body from its grave and, using his skills as a taxidermist, preserves it in his basement laboratory so that he may, err..."consort" with her as before. 

In this he's helped by faithful family servant Iris (Franca Stoppi, THE OTHER HELL), who has an unhealthy relationship with Frank that's sexual, yet weirdly maternal.  Having Anna offed by a voodoo priestess was just step one in Iris' plot to become the mistress of the manor--and now, she has a vested interest in not only helping Frank preserve his dead wife's body (for the moment, anyway) but also in covering up the murders of young women that he just can't seem to resist having sex with in the bed next to Anna's corpse.

This latter activity is where BEYOND THE DARKNESS is indeed at its darkest, as D'Amato indulges in some classic body disposal that includes meat-cleaver dismemberment and then the old acid bath.  (Cremation comes later as well.)  Entrails, eyeballs, and all matter of offal are on the menu, especially when Frank gets a bit peckish during passion.  But even he has to hurl at the sight of Iris gobbling down a post-body-disposal platter of disgusting food in a scene that's the polar opposite of the erotic meal in TOM JONES.


Making these scenes even harder to stomach are several close shots that could pass as footage from an actual autopsy.  Indeed, they're often thought by fans to be just that, although D'Amato himself reveals that animal entrails and pig skins were used.

At any rate, the film continues along its morbidly merry way until a predictable plot twist sets up the very lively, very splattery finale.  A final heart-stopping shock right at the fadeout is particularly satisfying.  

(And speaking of hearts, we just know the director is pulling our legs when Frank, having removed Anna's heart while "processing" her, lovingly kisses and then lustily bites into it, causing the severed arteries to squirt blood.  Now that's some really dark humor, folks.)


Kieran Canter is a pretty one-note actor as Frank, but it's just the right note and he plays it with conviction.  Franca Stoppi, on the other hand, gives a bravura performance as a woman who's a monster, in the words of Ed Wood, to be both pitied and despised.  Also performing at their peak are The Goblins, who contribute their usual excellent musical score.

The Blu-ray from Severin Films features both English and Italian (with English subtitles) 2.0 soundtracks.  A generous Severin bonus menu includes a documentary-length interview with D'Amato that's augmented by comments from friends and coworkers and packed with film clips.  There are also interviews with Franca Stoppi and Cinzia Monreale, as well as a live Goblin performance from 2016 of the main title track, a "Locations Revisited" short, and the film's trailer.  Best of all, the first 2500 units will contain the entire Goblins soundtrack on its own CD disc. 

"Shock is an ideal way to involve the audience in the film," Joe D'Amato declares during his interview footage. "And cannibalism is definitely pretty shocking."  As is much of what he dishes out in BEYOND THE DARKNESS, for horror fans who like to gorge themselves on the grotesque.

Buy it from Severin Films




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"CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND" -- 40th Anniversary Trailer & Poster -- In Theaters Sept. 1



Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(Sony Pictures)


Release Date: September 1, 2017
On Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Sept. 19


40th Anniversary Trailer and Poster

After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.
 


Written and Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Produced by:
Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips

Cast:
Richard Dreyfuss
Teri Garr
Melinda Dillon
with Francois Truffaut as Lacombe

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Friday, July 28, 2017

THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE -- Movie Review by Porfle



The story of a man frantically trying to juggle family and career, THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE (2017) is a simple, somewhat threadbare tale even though it's made up of two interwoven storylines.

In the first one, Louis (Christopher Mychael Watson, UNTOUCHED) is an aspiring screenwriter whose big break comes when he and his narcissistic young agent Kyle (Darren Hummel) are allowed the privilege of pitching some story ideas to big-wig producer Harold (Todd Christian Elliott).

But when Louis gets cornered into whipping up a script over the weekend, this conflicts with all the fatherly stuff he's promised he would do with his daughter Makayla (Aliyah Conley), putting him in the dog house with both her and his rather unyielding wife Alyssa (Erica Auerbach, UNDERCURRENT).


The second storyline consists of the relatively pedestrian sci-fi yarn Louis is making up on the fly about an astronaut from Mars who crash-lands on post-apocalypse Earth and discovers two inhabitants, a mother and her daughter, living in the wild. 

The three characters are played by Louis and his family, so it becomes clear pretty quick that this is all a metaphor for what's going on in his real life at the moment.  The astronaut will eventually have to decide what's more important--his mission, or the relationship between him and his new "family."

In his feature debut, writer-director Ben Hall does a decent job with a modest budget while giving us a story so predictable that actually watching it to the end feels like going through the motions.

The real-world Louis has my sympathies as he desperately struggles to make good on his big break despite being made out as a neglectful father by a wife who seems to have zero empathy and understanding for him.  The kid I can understand, but Alyssa really turned me off as a character.


Fantasy-Louis is somewhat more interesting despite the fact that his big sci-fi saga--the one that's supposed to grab the demanding producer's attention--is about as original and deep as "Space Ship Sappy" with the Three Stooges. 

And when some of his fellow astronauts from Mars show up acting all arch and threatening, it reminded me of TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.  Which was fun in a way, but not terribly involving.

My reaction to THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE as a whole was similarly mixed--fun at times (mainly the bad sci-fi elements) but not all that engaging overall.  Maybe next time Louis could come up with a more harrowing script based on his life, and call it "The Man Who Was Almost Nagged To Death."





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