HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

CENTRAL PARK -- Movie Review by Porfle



Another group of annoying teens is stalked by another mysterious slasher in another forest, but this time the forest is in CENTRAL PARK (2017) and the teens are even more annoying, and dumber, than usual.

Of course, the fact that they're so annoying and their antics and dialogue so insipid actually helps the film's realism.  As for "dumb", well--they're in the heart of New York City and they still can't manage to get through to 911 on their cell phones when the gore hits the blade.

The reason they're in Central Park in the first place is to help cheer up their friend Harold (Justiin A. Davis), whose father has been caught bilking people out of about three billion dollars, throwing his family and his whole life into chaos.


Thus, time for a friendly get-together around the campfire with a few illicit substances and, since the group consists of three couples, some harmless hanky-panky.
   
But first, the exposition, and CENTRAL PARK takes its sweet time introducing us to all the characters and showing what daily high school life is like for them--a little getting in trouble with teacher in English class, a little girl talk in the girls' room, and, for Harold, some really hurtful taunting about his criminal dad.

By the time they finally make it into the park, we're about ready for a break, too.  And after some extended chit-chat, including a tense game of "Truth or Dare", first-time writer/director Justin Reinsilber brings on the carnage and doesn't let up.


Everything's complicated by a subplot in which a woman who lives nearby enlists her ex-husband, a plainclothes cop, to help locate her current husband who's missing after taking a bike ride into the park. 

Gorehounds may be disappointed, since much of the violence is implied (unless you count some quick shots of a guy on fire and a glimpse of a blade protruding from someone's mouth) and there really isn't that much of the old wet stuff to be seen.

The killer himself turns out to be rather intriguing after a surprise reveal late in the story in which we learn both identity and motive.  As for his victims, the more likable ones go first (that's purely subjective, of course) leaving us to rather enjoy watching the rest of them get picked off.


And speaking of "dumb" again, the first time they stumble across a body they all go screaming off into the dark woods in different directions, alone, making themselves perfect targets for the killer to dispose of at his leisure.  His techniques, we discover, are fairly ordinary as far as stalker/slashers go.

CENTRAL PARK itself is pretty standard, old-school stuff of the kind one might have rented on VHS (video stores used to be full of titles like this) or watched on Cinemax back in the 80s.  Nothing special, but perfectly passable entertainment for undemanding genre fans with some time to kill.


Premieres at Dances With Films Saturday, June 3, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
11:45 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028

Tickets:  https://danceswithfilms.com/central-park/



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"SOUL ON A STRING" Available on VOD June 6th



FILM MOVEMENT RELEASES ZHANG YANG’S SOUL ON A STRING (PI SHENG SHANG DE HUN / 皮绳上的魂) ON VOD JUNE 6TH

“Visually stunning….The landscape of Tibet has rarely looked so striking.” – David D'Arcy, Screen Daily


May 26, 2017 (New York, NY) Film Movement, the New York-based distributor of independent, foreign and documentary films, is pleased to announce that Zhang Yang’s “Tibetan Western,” SOUL ON A STRING, will be available on cable VOD on June 6th.

SOULSOUL ON A STRING is a film about a young Tibetan wanderer’s journey to return a sacred stone to its holy origins. Director Zhang Yang (PATHS OF THE SOUL) serves up “picturesque visuals, highland-dry humor, and karmic plot twists,” notes Variety, in a film that has been described as a “Tibetan Western.”  Also called “a panoramic masterpiece (Willamette Week); “a beautiful and thought-provoking work” (The Skinny), and “richly textured” and “breathtaking” (Hey U Guys), SOUL ON A STRING won the award for Best Cinematography at the 2016 Shanghai International Film Festival.

After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a slain deer, Taibei, a young Tibetan wanderer, embarks on a mission to bring it back to the holy mountain of Buddha’s handprint. His journey proves to be long and difficult as black market traders seek the priceless artifact for themselves and two brothers – Kodi and Guori – seek revenge for the murder of their father. Joining him on the journey is an obstinate woman, Joan, and a psychic elf, Pu, but the trio’s earthly conflict is suddenly thrown off course by strange and mystical events.


Holdover on-demand programming in June will also include APPRENTICE, Singapore’s 2016 Academy Award submission directed by emerging Asian talent Junfeng Boo.  The critically acclaimed thriller about capital punishment was called “One of 2017’s real foreign language highlights” by Josh Brunsting of Criterion Cast.

SOUL ON A STRING will be available on June 6th on cable VOD providers Comcast, Charter Spectrum, Time Warner Spectrum, Cox Communications, Verizon and other providers.  The film will be available for digital VOD on September 12th via partners like iTunes, Amazon and Vudu.

New to On Demand this Month:
SOUL ON A STRING -- premieres June 6th, 2017– View Trailer
Directed by Zhang Yang. Written by Tashi Dawa and Zhang Yang. Produced by Zhang Yang. Starring Kimba, Qui Ciren, and Siano Dudiom. China. Drama. A Film Movement Release.


Holdover Title on Cable and Digital VOD:
APPRENTICE – View Trailer
Directed and written by Junfeng Boo. Produced by Fran Borgia, Raymond Phathanavirangoon and Fong Cheng Tan. Starring Firdaus Rahman, Wan Hanafi Su and Mastura Ahmad. Singapore. Thriller. A Film Movement Release.





About Film Movement
Celebrating its 15th year, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City.  Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide, and last year it had its first Academy Award-nominated film, Naji Abu Nowar’s THEEB. Film Movement’s theatrical distribution strategy has evolved to include promising American independent films, documentaries, and an even stronger slate of foreign art house titles.  Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Koreeda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"A CURE FOR WELLNESS" - Available on Blu-ray & DVD June 6th



WELCOME TO THE CURE, IT’S WONDERFUL HERE

Gore Verbinski has created a ravishing spectacle” –Kyle Smith, New York Post

Gore Verbinski’s Visually Stunning, Critically Acclaimed Psychological Thriller
A CURE FOR WELLNESS Arrives on Digital HD May 30 and on Blu-ray™ & DVD June 6


From the director of The Ring comes this psychological thriller and “fantastically creepy experience” (Kyle Smith, New York Post) about an ambitious young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote and mysterious “wellness center.”  When he begins to unravel the retreat’s terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there longing for the cure.


Featuring hauntingly mesmerizing performances from Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter films) and Mia Goth (Everest), the Blu-ray and DVD includes a deleted sequence, a behind-the-scenes look at the scoring of the film and individual meditations from the wellness center.

Digital HD, Blu-ray & DVD Special Features Include
⦁    Deleted Sequence: “It’s Wonderful Here”
⦁    Meditations
⦁    Water is the Cure
⦁    Air is the Cure
⦁    Earth is the Cure
⦁    The Score
⦁    Trailers
⦁    Theatrical trailer
⦁    Red Band trailer
⦁    International trailer

A CURE FOR WELLNESS Disc Specifications
Street Date:         June 6, 2017
Prebook Date:    May 3, 2017
Screen Format:     Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1)
Audio:         English 7.1 DTS-HD-MA / Spanish 5.1 DD / French 5.1 DD (Blu-ray)
English 5.1 DD / Spanish 2.0 Surround DD / French 2.0 Surround DD (DVD)
Subtitles:        English / French / Spanish (Blu-ray & DVD)
Total Run Time:    Approximately 146 minutes
Rating:        R
Closed Captioned:     Yes


ABOUT TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film. TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions as well as all third party distribution partners on DVD, Blu-ray™, 4K Ultra HD, Digital HD, and VOD (video-on-demand). Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets and digital stores throughout the world.



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Monday, May 29, 2017

Enter the Mind of a Madman with the Psychological Thriller "WICHITA" on DVD/Digital HD from Candy Factory Films 6/20



SOMETHING PSYCHO THIS WAY COMES...

A CHILDREN'S TV DIRECTOR SPIRALS INTO INSANITY IN A DARK PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM CANDY FACTORY FILMS

WICHITA

Street Date: June 20, 2017


A Provocative Play on the Horror Genre, this Official Selection of the
Santa Fe Film Festival Will be Available on DVD and Digital HD Platforms Including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play

Official WICHITA Trailer


PROGRAM SYNOPSIS
Something psycho this way comes in the deep, suspenseful psychological thriller, WICHITA.  When Jeb (Trevor Peterson) leads a writing retreat to Aspen with a team of young writers intending to save his failing kids' TV show, it becomes a new opportunity for his hidden cameras - and hidden rage. 

This Official Selection of the 2016 Santa Fe Film Festival will be available on DVD and Digital HD on June 20, only from Candy Factory Films.

Directed by Matthew Ward and Justyn Ah Chong, and starring Peterson (Sky), Caitlin Gerard (The Social Network, Magic Mike) and Persia White ("The Vampire Diaries"), WICHITA explores the pain of a modern mass killer on a frighteningly familiar level.  As the voyeuristic director struggles to find dignity in a cruel world that has alienated him to the point of no return, this taut, provocative play on the horror genre leads to a disturbing, emotional climax.

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Type: DVD//Digital HD (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play) 
Running Time: 85 mins.
Rating: N/A
Genre: Horror
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound


About Candy Factory Films
Candy Factory Films is a forward-thinking, filmmaker-friendly multimedia company dedicated to producing and distributing high impact, unique and compelling films.  Embracing emerging distribution trends to successfully promote releases, Candy Factory is at the forefront of a new vanguard of independent distributors maximizing profit by reaching distinct audiences in numerous ways.  With a catalog stocked with award-winning and acclaimed films across every genre, they're committed to creating and fostering communities around independent and progressive cinema.  Avenues for distribution include all leading digital platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iTunes and the national Video on Demand platform on cable television.



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Sunday, May 28, 2017

"BLACK BUTTERFLY" - Now Playing In Theaters, On Demand and Digital HD



"BLACK BUTTERFLY"
LIONSGATE PREMIERE

Watch the Trailer


Outside a mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, Paul (Antonio Banderas), a reclusive writer, struggles to start what he hopes will be a career-saving screenplay.

After a tense encounter at a diner with a drifter named Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Paul offers Jack a place to stay – and soon the edgy, demanding Jack muscles his way into Paul’s work. As a storm cuts off power to the isolated cabin, the two men begin a jagged game of one-upmanship that will bring at least one tale to an end.  

Antonio Banderas ( Desperado , Haywire , The Skin I Live In ), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point , Mission: Impossible III , “The Tudors”) and Piper Perabo ( The Prestige , Looper ) star in this riveting adaptation of the acclaimed French thriller, Papillon Noir . Directed by Brian Goodman and written for the screen by Justin Stanley & Marc Frydman, BLACK BUTTERFLY will be in theaters and on demand on May 26th.



 #BlackButterfly
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Genre:     Thriller  
Rating:  Rated R for language
U.S. Release Date:   May 26, 2017 (In Theaters and On Demand)
Run Time:   93 minutes 

Cast:  Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo 

Directed by: Brian Goodman  Screenplay by:  Justin Stanley & Marc Frydman  Produced by: Silvio Muraglia, Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Alexandra Klim, Marc Frydman, Rod Lurie, Alberto Burgueño, Juan Antonio García Peredo



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Saturday, May 27, 2017

"BEING BLACK ENOUGH OR (HOW TO KILL A BLACK MAN)" Premieres at Dances With Films June 10th



Devin Rice's Being Black Enough Premieres at Dances With Films
World Premiere at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres June 10th

   
Los Angeles, CA - Devin Rice Studios is honored to announce the World Premiere of Devin Rice's Being Black Enough or (How to Kill a Black Man) at the 20th Dances With Films Festival.  Based on writer-director-star Devin Rice's youth in Los Angeles, the semi-autobiographical drama touches on what it means to "be Black", how race is seen through the eyes of different people and groups and the consequences of these perspectives.  Being Black Enough will premiere at Dances With Films at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters June 10th.

On the genesis of his directorial debut, Rice said, "Being Black Enough is a very personal film, laced with my own life experience. All throughout my childhood, even up to today, I was made fun of for not being 'Black Enough'. This, based on the clothes I've worn, the way I speak, my interests in life. Not just from White or Black people, but from people from all walks of life. Everyone seems to have this idea of what it means to be 'Black'. This unspoken thing that's understood all throughout America. It's like self-perpetuating slavery without chains."


Rice felt the need to make this project after he saw the increasing news coverage of Black men being shot by the police. "It made me frustrated and very angry...What if that was me who got shot by the police?" Shortly after Rice wrote the script and he and his producing partner Jacqueline Corcos crowdfunded the film. They ended up making it for a meager budget and wore nearly all the filmmaking hats themselves, inspired by films like El Mariachi and Clerks.

Tickets:  https://danceswithfilms.com/being-black-enough/

Dances With Films:
Saturday, June 10, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
7:15 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028

A young Black man, raised in a predominantly white neighborhood and ridiculed for not being "Black enough", decides to go to the hood to hang out with his gangster cousin and discover what it really means to be "Black." He eventually faces the harsh realities of gang violence, drugs and police confrontation.

Watch the Trailer



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Friday, May 26, 2017

Take the Bus "FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE" in Theaters June 16th



"From Hollywood to Rose" Takes the Bus to Beverly Hills
Festival Favorite Comedy Opens in Limited Release June 16th

   
Los Angeles, CA - Following an acclaimed run on the festival circuit, From Hollywood to Rose is making its limited theatrical release in Los Angeles.

The film world premiered at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, where it took the prize for Best Comedy Film and went on to screen at the Manhattan Film Festival, winning Best Comedic Screenplay.  From Hollywood to Rose will open in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall on June 16th for a weeklong run.


Eve Annenberg (writer-director of Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish) stars as the focal point of a group of interconnected eccentric strangers over the course of one long night on the LA Metro system.  Annenberg leads a talented cast of Angeleno artists, including Bradley J. Herman, Maxx Maulion, stage actress Nija Okoro, local standup Isadora O'Boto, MMA champion Krzysztof Soszynski (Logan), Linda Bisesti and Chia Chen. Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs directed from a script by Jacobs.

June 16th Theatrical Release:
Laemmle Music Hall 3
9036 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

In the city of Angels, everyone is on a quest.  A disheveled, middle-aged woman in a bridal gown boards a Metro bus on Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night. As the bus heads further west, she meets an assortment of eccentrics and social outcasts who make her question where she's been and where she's going.  Each person she meets is at their own personal crossroads, who in turn shape the course of her bizarre journey.

Watch the Trailer

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

"INHERITANCE" Unlocks Dark Family Secrets in World Premiere at Dances With Films June 2nd



Tyler Savage's "Inheritance" Premieres at Dances With Films
Psychological Thriller Twists the Question of Nature vs. Nurture
World Premiere at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres June 2nd


Watch the Trailer 
   
Los Angeles, CA - Portola Pictures has announced the World Premiere of Tyler Savage's Inheritance at the 20th Dances With Films Festival.  Savage directed from his own script, putting a chilling twist on the universal feeling of being trapped by your family history, for better or worse.  He makes his feature film debut alongside executive producer Nicholas Gonda (Tree of Life), cinematographer Drew Daniels (Krisha, It Comes At Night) and producers J.P. Castel (Krisha), Dash Hawkins (Party Crashers), and Chase Joliet (It Comes at Night), who also leads the cast.  Inheritance will premiere at Dances With Films at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters June 2nd.

Joliet is joined onscreen by Sara Montez ("Pitch"), Tim Abell (Sniper: Special Ops), Kate Norby (The Devil's Rejects), Dale Dickey (Hell or High Water, "True Blood"), Krisha Fairchild (Krisha) and Drew Powell ("Gotham").  The film was shot on location along the California coast and LA-based indie pop band Mini Mansions provided the score.



 Tickets:  https://danceswithfilms.com/inheritance/

Dances With Films:
Friday, June 2, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
9:30 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028

Ryan Bowman has just inherited a $2.5 million beach house on the central California coast from his biological father, a man he's never known and thought long dead. Arriving in the charming town with his pregnant fiancé, Ryan's curiosity about his father soon leads him into an introspective investigation. As a looming family presence tightens its grip on him, Ryan pushes away his adoptive family and expectant fiancé. When he finally discovers the horrifying truth about his birth parents, he might be too late to stop himself from repeating a similar pattern...



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Get Lost in the Trees at the World Premiere of "CENTRAL PARK" at Dances with Films June 3rd



Justin Reinsilber's "Central Park" Premieres at Dances With Films

The World's Most Famous Park Becomes a Hunting Ground
A Killer Stalks the Children of Manhattan's Elite

   
Los Angeles, CA - Feast and Bourbon Films has announced the World Premiere of Justin Reinsilber's Central Park at the 20th Dances With Films Festival.  Set and shot in the titular 843 acre park, the film stars a group of exciting young actors as the unwitting prey of a vengeful madman.  Central Park will premiere at Dances With Films at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters June 3rd.

Justiin A. Davis ("Boardwalk Empire", Catfight), Ruby Modine ("Shameless", Half to Death), Grace Van Patten (Tramps, Under the Silver Lake), Malika Samuel ("Orange is the New Black", "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), Guillermo Arribas (The Awakening, Preppie Connection) and Deema Aitken (The Sisterhood of Night, Nerve) headline the cast as privileged teens blowing off stress in the park.  Reinsilber, a long-time actor, makes his directorial debut with his own script and producing partner Melissa Chamberlain.

Tickets:  https://danceswithfilms.com/central-park/

Dances With Films:
Saturday, June 3, 2017
TCL Chinese 6
11:45 pm
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028



When a New York billionaire is disgraced by the collapse of his Ponzi scheme, the devoted friends of his teenage son rally around him.  As the doors of their gilded world shut to him, they set out for an epic night in Central Park to blow off some steam. Little do they know the consequences of his father's crimes will go far beyond his client's bank accounts.  A vengeful soul waits in the trees, and the sins of the father will soon be visited on all the children with the help of a sharp blade.



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"MUSTARD PANCAKES" Breaking Glass Revives Beloved Children's TV Series In Anticipation Of Full-Length Feature Release



BREAKING GLASS SERVES MUSTARD PANCAKES

Children’s Television Series VOD Roll-Out Begins This May
Feature Film Sequel to Hit-Series in Pre-Production for 2018 Release


Philadelphia, PA, May 16, 2017--Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired World Rights to the award-winning children’s series MUSTARD PANCAKES starring beloved children’s entertainer Courtney Campbell. Breaking Glass acquired World Rights to the series in a deal negotiated between Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff and producer Joel Wertman. Breaking Glass will be re-releasing the 39 episodes of this successful series on Amazon Prime in anticipation of the upcoming feature film revival of the concept. Breaking Glass will be bringing the entire series to market for the Marche du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.

MUSTARD PANCAKES is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Dove “Family Approved” Seal, and the Dove “Faith Approved” Seal. The show had also been rated #1 by Nielsen Ratings.

Along with Campbell, MUSTARD PANCAKES also stars Frank Meschkuleit, Trish Leeper, and Lee Armstrong The series’ production team includes Producers Karen Wong, and Executive Producers Liza Perel and Joel Wertman.

MUSTARD PANCAKES features renowned children’s entertainer Courtney Campbell, and her cat and dog puppet friends as they experience everyday life situations, and illustrate, through a gentle and humorous manner, how children can resolve or appreciate each situation. The series promotes the wonder and excitement of everyday life with positive themes and messages for young viewers.

Courtney Campbell is an award-winning singer, songwriter, master storyteller, writer, and musician. She travels world-wide giving concerts and workshops for children, families, teachers, and parents. Courtney is also the creator, co-writer, and star of the award-winning children's TV/DVD series Mustard Pancakes.

“We are extremely happy to bring Mustard Pancakes to the digital community after its successful run on PBS”, said Rich Wolf, CEO of Breaking Glass. “A new generation of young fans will delight in the songs and antics of the characters. A MP feature film is in development which will have a theatrical launch.”

“Mustard Pancakes has always been, and continues to be to this day, a labor of love”, said producer Joel Wertman. “The goal of this series is to make a difference in the lives of children, and I am proud to bring this venerable series to a new generation.”



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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



The thing about "talking heads" documentaries is that you really have to be interested in the subject for it to work.  Although I'm a lifelong fan of older comics (the Bronze Age is pretty much my cut-off point), I never saw an issue of "2000AD" and so must depend on a compelling story and presentation for the documentary FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD (Severin Films, 2014) to be of any interest to me. 

Unfortunately, I found it to be bland at best.  One talking head after another take turns expounding on various aspects of the comic's history ranging from drawing and writing concerns, which I found somewhat diverting, to business and technical stuff that tends to veer into snooze territory.

These interview segments are augmented, rather sparsely, by snatches of artwork from the comic itself as well as clips of various movie projects inspired by it.  While this may suffice for viewers who are longtime "2000AD" readers, others will likely find themselves wishing for a more dynamic presentation. 


The comic itself, we learn, is a weekly sci-fi anthology created in the late 70s and featuring groundbreaking artwork and stories that challenge the social and political norms of its British audience with such characters as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog, Halo Jones, and the ABC Warriors.  Management and staff have changed over the years amidst much internal strife which we hear about at length, mainly from outspoken co-creator Pat Mills. 

Mills, in fact, is the film's key figure and whether you find him fascinating or insufferable will be a major factor in your reaction to FUTURE SHOCK!  He is, if anything, passionate about his baby--to hear him and his colleagues tell it, "2000AD" was the genesis of almost every major fad and/or movement in both sci-fi comics and films from the 70s onward. 

To an extent this is hardly deniable, as we're shown how the comic's main character, Judge Dredd, was a virtual blueprint for ROBOCOP, and the way Richard Stanley's cult classic HARDWARE seems to have "borrowed" much of its plot from one of their stories. 


Mills waxes especially resentful when recounting how the comic eventually became a jumping off point for British artists and writers hoping to get on at the big American companies such as DC and Marvel. And some of the talent we hear from definitely regard this as a dream come true, even though some claim eventual disenchantment. 

This leads to the usual chest-swelling by Mills and others about British superiority in comics, movies, and pretty much everything else, which I found off-putting--these guys don't realize how full of themselves they sound when complaining about how full of themselves Americans can be.

Also a bit heavy-handed are the nods toward social justice, of which they fancy themselves anti-establishment crusaders, and the inevitable charges by aspiring female comics artists that "2000AD" is a "boys' club." Which, quite understandably, it is.


The documentary picks up some steam in the second half when we learn about a new "Judge Dredd" movie with Karl Urban which seems poised to wipe away the memory of the earlier Sylvester Stallone travesty. 

Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon are among those chiming in during interview segments, as well as members of such heavy metal bands as Anthrax who have been influenced by the comic over the years. 

The Blu-ray from Severin Films is in 1080p full HD resolution with English 2.0 sound and subtitles.  Bonus features consist of:

EXTENDED SEQUENCES--
2000AD vs the USA
Dredd 2012 – True In Spirit
Judge Dredd Extended sequence
Cheap Entertainment – The appeal of comics

BEHIND THE STRIPS--
Bad Company – Peter Milligan
Future Shocks
Rogue Trooper – Dave Gibbons & Cam Kennedy
Slaine – Pat Mills
Strontium Dog – Carlos Ezquerra

PRODUCTION EXTRAS--
Art Blast – Jock & Henry Flint
Blooper Reel
Pat Mills Visits Kings Reach Tower
Soundtrack – Behind the Scenes
Festival Teaser Trailer
UK Release Trailer

EXTENDED INTERVIEWS--
Grant Morrison
Karen Berger
Pat Mills
Neil Gaiman
Dave Gibbons

Without the bonus supplements, we learn surprisingly little about what actually makes "2000AD" such a great comic save for passing glimpses of artwork and dialogue, and much about the behind-the-scenes business and personal conflicts.  This will be of interest to the comic's most ardent fans, but for me, watching FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD was a little like attending a lecture that I knew I'd be graded on later. 


 
Buy it at Severin Films

Release date: May 30, 2017




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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



It sounds like they put all their eggs-ploitation elements into one basket with the title VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST (aka "Vudú sangriento"), but this wonderfully awful 1974 Euro-horror potboiler, now available on Blu-ray from The Film Detective, is actually pretty short on exorcism (there isn't any) and black people (two of them are actually white actors in dark body makeup). I guess VOODOO WHITE NON-EXORCIST just didn't have the same ring to it.

They didn't skimp on the voodoo, though--the opening flashback sequence, which is revisited several times throughout the film, was filmed in real Caribbean locations such as Jamaica and Haiti, and there's a frenzied voodoo ceremony during which the beautiful Kenya (Eva León) is beheaded.  After everyone tosses her noggin around like a beach ball at a rock concert, her lover Gatanebo (Sergio Leone regular Aldo Sambrell) is entombed alive as punishment for their illicit love. 

Kenya turns up again centuries later, reincarnated (sans body makeup) as Silvia, assistant and mistress to archeologist Dr. Kessling (Alfred May).  As fate would have it, the newly-unearthed mummy they're traveling with via cruise ship is none other than the undead Gatanebo, who not only stalks the ship killing descendants of those who buried him alive, but discovers his lost love right there on board with a new identity and complexion.


It's pretty much a shipboard retelling of THE MUMMY but with voodoo instead of Egyptian curses.  The buff, bald, and now inexplicably Caucasian Gatanebo passes for normal most of the time but occasionally reverts back to mummy form with a makeup job that resembles crinkled papier-mache', whereupon he either murders people or pokes them with his golden asp-ring to make them his slaves. 

He kills a bartender descended from the man who beheaded Kenya, then leaves the guy's head on Silvia's pillow for her to find, Godfather-style, when she wakes up.  (He's like a cat bringing home a dead mouse to its master as a present.)  Later, he intercepts a visiting professor at the airport in order to assume his identity, squishing the poor sap under a steam roller.

Production values for this low-budget Spanish effort are fair to poor--direction and camerawork are slipshod at best (but with the odd flash of style now and then), the script is half-baked and filled with howlers ("In infinite time, what must happen happens"), and much of the acting and dubbing are below par.  SPFX and makeups are fake-looking but fun, including some man-to-mummy (and vice versa) transformations.


The Caribbean locations are nice, and the cruise ship is actually at sea during the on-deck exteriors, adding much to the film's ambience.  (Is it just me, or does the recurring island musical theme sound just like the first bars of "Ferry Cross the Mersey"?)  Animal lovers will find the killing of an actual chicken during the voodoo ceremony distressing.

The cast of characters can be a real hoot, especially an excitable lady named Mrs. Thorndyke who reads cards and tells the future (her visions about what's happening aboard the ship are totally accurate yet nobody takes her seriously).  Some of the exchanges between her and henpecked husband Alfred are hilarious:

"Alfred! I would like to get a sarcophagus like this to rest in eternally."
"I'll do my best, honey."


There's also an exotic dancer who's the very definition of "overripe" (I mean that in a really good way) constantly being courted by a world-famous hamburger tycoon, and a portly police inspector who makes like he's Hercule Poirot by deducing that since the first murder occurred at sea, then the culprit must be someone on board the ship.  "It's a shame," he opines after the hamburger guy is killed.  "The best hamburgers in the world."


After more mindnumbing mayhem, the finale has the inspector and his dangerously callow assistants tracking the mummy and the kidnapped Silvia to a cave where they manage to cause more chaos than they avert, leading to a startlingly abrupt ending that slams a sarcophagus lid on the whole shebang. 

The Blu-ray from The Film Detective is widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35 and Dolby digital sound.  English captions are available.  No extras.  The film itself is "in HD with a brand new 2K scan from a rare 35mm archival print.”  The picture quality is likely the best this film has seen since the 70s, although there's still a lot of blemishes here and there which I assume couldn't be helped. 

To be fair, many will find this film about as boring as...well, actually being a mummy.  But for those hardy souls who seek out bad movies to willingly subject themselves to, VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST may prove as pleasantly entertaining as it is woefully inept.


http://www.thefilmdetective.com/

Buy it at Amazon.com

Release date: May 23, 2017

(Stills used are not taken from the Blu-ray disc)



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Saturn Awards Special Achievement Citations Unveiled -- Lee Majors ("Six Million Dollar Man") Among Honorees



Lee Majors, Akiva Goldsman, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, KJ Apa and Heavy Metal Magazine                    
Special Honorees at The 43rd Annual Saturn Awards!



LOS ANGELES – May 23, 2017 – The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films today announces special achievement awards to be presented at the 43rd Annual Saturn Awards in June along with the best and brightest in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror motion pictures and television.

This year the Life Career Award will be presented to TV’s legendary “Six Million Dollar Man” himself, Lee Majors.  In this era of omnipresent superheroes, Lee Majors’ Colonel Steve Austin was ahead of his time, The Fall Guy continued his Hollywood bounty hunting, and his star power continues to shine on the hit Starz TV show “Ash Vs Evil Dead.”

Writer/director/producer Akiva Goldsman is recipient of this year’s Visionary Award.  Goldsman has written such blockbuster films as: “I, Robot,” “Cinderella Man,” “I Am Legend,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons,” “Insurgent,” the Oscar-winning “A Beautiful Mind” and the upcoming “The Dark Tower” and “Firestarter” (as director).   On TV, he’s worked on “Fringe,” “Childhood’s End,” WGN’s original drama series “Underground,” and the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery” and Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment live action drama series “Titans.”


The Filmmakers Showcase Award will be bestowed to the dynamic writing/producing team of Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.  Together, they’ve worked on such successful genre films as: “The Hand that Rocked the Cradle,” “Relic,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Jurassic World,” and this summer’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.”  Upcoming is Disney’s live-action “Mulan” and “Avatar 3.”

The Breakthrough Performance Award goes to KJ Apa, who stars as the iconic Archie Andrews on The CW’s hit show “Riverdale” from Berlanti Productions.   KJ’s “Archie” brings a whole new dimension to the classic Archie’s Comics character and opened up its pages to a new generation of fans. 

Receiving the Special Recognition Award will be Heavy Metal Magazine.  Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the name “Heavy Metal” has become synonymous with cutting edge stories and art, and continues to be the world's premier illustrated magazine for science fiction, horror and Fantasy for the new millennia and beyond.

The Academy was founded in 1972 by noted film historian Dr. Donald A. Reed to honor and recognize films often overlooked by mainstream awards.  Over the years, the Academy has expanded its reach to include recognizing excellence in television and home entertainment, as well as other genres, including adventure, thriller and action. 

This year’s Saturn Awards will be presented on Wednesday June 28, in Burbank.  For a complete list of nominations and more information about the Academy, visit www.saturnawards.org, www.youtube.com/c/OfficialSaturnAwardsChannel, and @SaturnAwards1


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"GILBERT" -- Gilbert Gottfried Documentary Acquired By Gravitas Ventures and Submarine For September Release



GRAVITAS VENTURES AND SUBMARINE DELUXE HAVE ACQUIRED ‘GILBERT’ FOR A SEPTEMBER THEATRICAL RELEASE AND FOURTH QUARTER RELEASE ON DEMAND AND DVD

Iconic Comedian Gilbert Gottfried Profiled in Neil Berkeley’s Documentary Which Recently Debuted At The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival


NEW YORK (May 23, 2017) — Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Gilbert, the wildly funny and unexpectedly poignant portrait of the life and career of one of comedy's most iconic figures, Gilbert Gottfried. Coming off its critically acclaimed showing at the Tribeca Film Festival, they have slated it for a theatrical release in September as well as a VOD and DVD release in 4Q. Gottfried is joined throughout the film by a who’s who of comedy icons including Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Belzer, Lewis Black, Susie Essman, Arsenio Hall, Anthony Jeselnik and many more.

Legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried has had quite the career. Rocketing to fame in the 1980s, he was thrust into the public consciousness almost immediately thanks to his brash personality, unique worldview, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has shockingly reinvented himself…as a family man.

Gilbert reveals an unexpected side to the iconic comedian. The film peeks behind the larger-than-life persona at a more personal story about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a husband and father late in life. Gottfried’s singular outlook on life and his ability to bring humor to even the darkest situations has, at times, gotten him into trouble. Still he soldiers on, an expert craftsman at bringing his audience to the edge -- and sometimes pushing them over. Gilbert strips the comedic character away to reveal the man behind it,.

“With Gilbert, Neil Berkeley has given us access to a side seldom seen of this comedic icon,” stated Gravitas Founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher. “Watching Gottfried out of ‘character’ is surprisingly refreshing and relatable.”


Berkeley shared that "Gilbert is a labor of love made by a very small group of passionate people.  For a film like this to find a partner like Gravitas is a real thrill and we're very excited to be working with them.  Our hope has always been to make a movie that shows the world an unexpected side of Gilbert and we think Gravitas Ventures is the perfect team to help make that happen."

Gilbert is the third film from Director Neil Berkeley (Beauty Is Embarrassing, Harmontown). Berkeley produced with David Heiman, Maggie Contreras and James Andre Leche, with whom he also co-wrote. The Executive Producers are Eddie Schmidt, Clay Tweel and Bart McDonough

The deal for Gilbert was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher on behalf of Gravitas and by Josh and Ben Braun of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

ABOUT GRAVITAS VENTURES

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

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

ABOUT SUBMARINE
Submarine Entertainment, based in New York City was founded in 1998 by twin brothers Dan and Josh Braun, has become one of the leading sales, distribution, and production companies for independent documentaries and feature films. Submarine has been involved in the sale and distribution of 5 Academy Award® winning documentaries — Citizenfour, 20 Feet From Stardom, The Cove, Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar man.

Titles sold by Submarine include Weiner, Life, Animated, Tickled, Mavis!, Dior & I, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Muscle Shoals, Miss Sharon Jones!, The Music of Strangers:YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Presenting Princess Shaw, Troublemakers: the Story of Land Art, Burden: a Film about Artist Chris Burden, Finding Vivian Maier, The Wolfpack, Meru, Yayoi Kusama: a Life in Polka Dots, 3-1/2 Minutes, Best of Enemies, City of Gold, Batkid Begins, Tangerine, Nas: Time is Illmatic, Blackfish, Danny Says, Last Man on the Moon, Houston We Have a Problem, Accidental Courtesy, Lo and Behold, Zero Days, Lovers and the Despot, Cameraperson, among many others.

Submarine includes theatrical releasing & DVD imprint, Submarine Deluxe; genre label, Torpedo Pictures; a German distribution imprint with NFP Film called NFP Submarine Doks; and Submarine 360, a museum distribution imprint, and a pan-Scandinavian imprint Non-Stop Submarine. Submarine principals also represent comic book libraries Creepy and Eerie, which are being developed across all platforms. www.submarinedeluxe.com

ABOUT FUTURE YOU PICTURES
Future You Pictures is a Los Angeles based film and television production company founded in 2009 by producer/director, Neil Berkeley and executive producer, Bart McDonough.  The documentary Gilbert (2017) is the company's third feature length production following the Emmy nominated Beauty Is Embarrassing (2012) and Harmontown (2014). The company is currently developing several television and film projects.


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