"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini


Oct 212013

From the Big Screen:

“Before Midnight,” “The Conjuring,” “The Way, Way Back,” “Only God Forgives” and “The Internship.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.


Heading up the must-have releases this week is “The Uninvited,” a very spooky and chilling horror film from 1944. A pair of siblings (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price; soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, “The Uninvited”, directed by Lewis Allen, was ground breaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a photo for The Uninvited mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night — ­this gothic Hollywood classic has it all. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. From The Criterion Collection). Speaking of horror, Scream Factory/Shout! Factory has released the Blu-ray version of “The Vincent Price Collection,” a four-disc set with the first-ever Blu-ray presentation of Price outings “Fall of the House of Usher” (1960), “The Haunted Palace” (1963), “The Masque of Red Death” (1964), “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961), “Witchfinder General” (1968) and “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (1971). Includes a 24-page collector’s book. Extras include a vintage and rare introduction and final words from Price; commentaries with Roger Corman, others; an audio interview with Price by historian David Del Valle; “A Change of Poe” interview with director Corman; theatrical trailers; still galleries, more. The Criterion Collection has given the Blu-ray treatment to the “John Cassavetes: Five Films Set,” with hi-def restorations of “Shadows,” “Faces,” “A Woman Under the Influence,” “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” and “Opening Night.”

From TV to DVD:

“Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear” (2013) is an anthology of five Chiller Network macabre short films on the human senses: “Smell,” “See,” “Touch,” “Taste” and “Listen.” On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Scream Factory/Shout! Factory … photo for Kindred: The Embraced – The Complete Series “Kindred: The Embraced — The Complete Series” (1996) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes of the cult genre vampire series starring C. Thomas Howell, Mark Frankel, Jeff Kober and Kelly Rutherford. The collectible edition packaged in a special keepsake box including an exclusive edition of “The Book of Nod” (he sacred vampire text that inspired the series’ creation) and a letter to fans from series creator John Leekley. While investigating an alleged mobster, San Francisco police detective Frank Kohanek (Howell) discovers that his suspect is actually Julian Luna (Frankel), the undead “Prince of the City” and leader of five vampire clans collectively called “The Kindred.” Julian and Frank form an uneasy relationship, working together to prevent a vampire war, while Julian finds himself falling in love with Caitlin (Rutherford), a human photo for Primeval New World: The Complete Series reporter. $39.98 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … “Nikita: The Complete Third Season” (2012-13) is a five-disc DVD ($59.98) and four-disc Blu-ray ($69.97) with all 22 episodes, from Warner … “Primeval New World: The Complete Series” (2012-13) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes of the North American spin-off of the hit U.K. television series. When an invasion of prehistoric creatures threatens North America, visionary inventor Evan Cross assembles a team of highly-trained scientists and animal experts to battle the deadly predators and investigate the anomalies that brought them through time. On $29.98; Blu-ray Disc, $39.98. From Entertainment One.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Dead in Tombstone” (2013) is a wild, blood-soaked supernatural Western starring Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall and Mickey Rourke. After a ruthless gang overruns a small mining town, they murder their own leader, Guerrero Hernandez (Trejo), in a cold-blooded power grab. Sentenced to eternity in hell, Guerrero finds himself confronted by Satan himself (Rourke), who offers a daring proposition: deliver the six souls of his former gang and he will escape damnation. With rated and unrated versions, on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Universal … photo for I Give It a Year In “I Give It a Year” (2013), starring Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Alex Macqueen, Stephen Merchant, Jane Asher, Terence Harvey, Minnie Driver and Jason Flemyng, newlywed couple Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) are deliriously happy despite their differences, though friends and family aren’t convinced that they can last. With their first anniversary approaching and attractive alternatives in the mix, can they last — especially when Josh’s ex-girlfriend and Nat’s handsome American client enter the scene. On DVD and Blu-ray from Magnolia Home Entertainment … When St. Parick’s Day in Irish Channel, Louisiana, is restored after a 65-year ban, a vengeful demon returns to terrorize the citizens in “Red Clover (aka Leprechaun’s Revenge)” (2013), starring Billy Zane, Courtney Halverson and William Devane. From After Dark Films/Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

“Just Like a Woman” (2012), starring Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani, is a kind of 21st century “Thelma & Louise” about two women — Mona, an Egyptian (Farahani) living with her husband and abusive mother-in-law and Marilyn, (Miller) a hard-working warehouse clerk with dreams of becoming a professional belly dancer — who team up for a road trip from Chicago to Santa Fe, paying their way by photo for Just Like a Woman stopping in dumpy clubs and restaurants to dance. Marilyn dreams of winning an audition to join a famous belly dancing company, while Mona has a secret: She’s a fugitive from justice, accused of her mother-in-law’s death. Though ripe with possibilities, the film is bogged down with a predictable story line, slow pacing and uninvolving characters. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Cohen Media Group … In “Homecoming” (2012), starring Jerry Ford, Nina Ashe, Sheldon Shaw and Tiffany-Denise, a group of five college friends reunite for homecoming weekend nearly 20 years after graduation, happily reminiscing about their university memories, rekindling their close friendships, until cracks in the surface start to show as they remember one of their old roommates, whose recent death brings up long-hidden secrets. From One Village Entertainment … photo for As Cool As I Am “Oka!” (2011) is the story of Louis Sarno, an American ethno-musicologist who lived among the Bayaka Pygmies in Central Africa for 25 years to record their music. Stars Kris Marshall, Isaach De Bankole, Will Yun Lee and the Bayaka of Yandombe. On DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA … In “Storm Rider” (2013), starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, C Thomas Howell and Dani Chuchran, spoiled 18-year old Dani Fieldings’ world is turned upside down when her father gets arrested for securities fraud, and she has to leave her upscale life in the city to stay with her gruff Uncle Sam out in the country. As Dani and her uncle struggle to bond, she’s given an orphaned horse to foster and train, calling her Stormy and giving her all the attention she’s missing from her unsettled life. From Arc Entertainment … Born to teenaged parents in a small town, a smart teenage girl comes of age with her self-centered, immature working mother and a strict, frequently absent father in “As Cool As I Am” (2013), starring Sarah Bolger, Claire Danes, James Marsden, Thomas Mann, Jeremy Sisto, Jon Tenney, Anika Noni Rose and Peter Fonda. On DVD and Blu-ray from IFC Films.


“The Wall” (2012 — Austria/Germany), starring Martina Gedeck, is based on Marlen Haushofer’s highly-regarded 1962 novel, the story of an unnamed character — ­The Woman — ­who is vacationing in the spectacular Austrian mountains when an invisible wall inexplicably encompasses the countryside. The Woman is cut off from all human contact and is separated from photo for The Wall the rest of the world; accompanied by her loyal dog Lynx, she becomes immersed in a world untouched by civilization and ruled only by the laws of nature, which prove to be both benign and dangerous. As she grapples with her bizarre circumstances, The Woman begins an inward journey of spiritual growth and, ultimately, transcendence. From Music Box Films … “Paradise: Faith” (2013 — Austria/Germany/France) is director Ulrich Seidl’s second film in the “Paradise” Trilogy about three women in one family who take separate vacations: one as a sex tourist (“Paradise: Love”), another as a Catholic missionary (“Paradise: Faith”) and the third at a diet camp for teenagers (“Paradise: Hope”). For Anna Maria, a single woman in her fifties, paradise lies with Jesus. She devotes her summer vacation to doing missionary work, so that Austria may be brought back to the path of virtue. On her daily pilgrimage through Vienna, she goes from door to door, carrying a foot-high statue of the Virgin Mary. When her husband, an Egyptian Muslim confined to a wheelchair, comes home after years of absence, her life is turned upside down. From Strand Releasing.

For the Family:

“Digimon: The Official Seasons 1-4 Collection” (1999-2002) consists of the first four seasons of “Digimon,” together for the first time on DVD in a 32-disc set with 205 episodes of the series, with “Digimon Adventure” and “Digimon Adventure 02,” the classic seasons that started it all, and “Digimon Tamers” and “Digimon Frontier,” the continuation of the series with all new characters and worlds. The series revolves around the life forms known as “Digital photo for Digimon: The Official Seasons 1-4 Collection Monsters,” living in a “Digital World,” a parallel universe that originated from Earth’s various communication networks. The release is timed for the new season, “Digimon Season 6,” airing on Nickelodeon. $229.95 from Cinedigm … “Barbie & Her Sisters in a Pony Tale” (2013) is the latest feature-length adventure of Barbie; here Barbie and her sisters set off on a Swiss adventure to the majestic Alps, where they spend the summer at a riding academy. Although the vacation gets off to a rocky start, Barbie discovers a mysterious wild horse in the woods, making their visit truly magical. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal.

Special Interest:

  • “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story” (2013): One man’s wild, lifelong adventure of testing society’s boundaries through his subversive art, this feature combines traditional documentary storytelling with original animation culled from seven decades worth of art from the renegade children’s book author and illustrator. Ungerer is an award winning illustrator and author who has published more than 140 books, ranging from his much loved children’s books to his controversial adult work. He’s famous for his sharp social satire and his witty aphorisms and he ranges from the fantastic to the autobiographical; in photo for Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story the 1960s his political posters against the Vietnam War and racial injustice and his adult books caused many conservatives to boycott his kids books. Using a palette of 20th century events to paint the artist’s controversial life story, the film offers a retrospective of Ungerer’s life and art, and ponders the complexities and contradictions of a man who, armed with an acerbic wit, an accusing finger and a razor sharp pencil, gave visual representation to the revolutionary voices during one of the most tantalizing and dramatic periods in American history. From First Run Features.
  • “In a Town This Size” (2011): Documentary introduces an Oklahoma town and its long-ignored tragedy of child sexual abuse during the 1960s and 70s. Told through poignant first-person interviews with the victims, their families and professionals, these stories inform viewers about the lifelong harm of childhood sexual abuse, yet emphasize the resiliency of the human spirit: through determination, support and direct conversation, survivors can heal themselves and become advocates for change. From First Run Features. photo for The JFK Collection
  • “The JFK Collection” (2013): History Channel three-disc set explores the life and legacy of the 35th president, and includes biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joseph P. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ted Kennedy, along with never-before-seen lost Kennedy home movies filmed by Robert and Ethel Kennedy in the early 1950s. $19.98 from Lionsgate.
  • “Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics” (2012): Feature-length documentary about DC Comics villains, from The Joker to Lex Luthor to Sinestro, exploring the thin line between right and wrong, photo for Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics the nature of evil, and how super-villains can reflect society’s dark side as well as our own personal fears. It also attempts to uncover the reasons why comic book fans are so fascinated by the very characters they hope to see defeated. Included are interviews from over forty subjects, including: DC comic book writers, artists, executives, filmmakers, comic experts, critics, historians and celebrities. Contains footage from DC Entertainment’s animated series, TV shows, video games and live action films, as well as spotlighting hundreds of covers, pages and panels created by DC Comics’ legendary artists. Narrated by Christopher Lee with exclusive interviews with Richard Donner, Guillermo del Toro, Zack Snyder and more. Due October 25: on Blu-ray ($19.98) from Warner.
  • “Shepard & Dark” (2012): Documentary paints an indelible portrait of the complex relationship between Sam Shepard (the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated actor and Johnny Dark, a homebody with a penchant for letter writing, photography and supporting himself with odd jobs from dog-catcher to deli worker. The two met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by photo for Shepard & Dark family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters. Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed to publish his correspondence with Dark. The task required them to meet and sift through years of their shared history, stirring memories both good and bad. Wurmfeld observes the two men over a period of 18 months and captures a complex male friendship rarely depicted on screen. Film Comment voted this one of the 50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012. From Music Box Films.
  • “The Waiting Room” (2012): A character-driven documentary that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital (in Oakland, Calif.) struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners. Steel workers, taxi cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. The film — using a blend of cinema verite and characters’ voice over — offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, executive staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices. From Cinedigm.
  • “WWII: 3 Film Collection” (2013): Three History Channel specials that deconstruct the deadliest conflict in human history from three separate perspectives: “WWII in HD,” “WWII in HD: The Air War” and “WWII From Space.” Five-disc DVD, $24.98; four-disc Blu-ray, $29.99; from Lionsgate.

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

intolerance“Intolerance,” D.W. Griffith’s 1916 silent cinema milestone, has been remastered in 2K by the Cohen Film Collection and will be made available on Blu-ray for the first time on Nov. 5. (A remastered DVD version will also be released).

Griffith changed the course of film history with his 1915 Civil War blockbuster “The Birth of a Nation,” and, spurred on by its colossal success, he went even bigger on his next epic, the ambitious and still awe-inspiring “Intolerance,” in which Griffith masterfully links four centuries-apart stories of universal suffering. Stung by charges of glorifying racism in “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith decided to make his next film a plea for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. An epic like nothing that came before , the monumental film remains as powerful today as it was almost a century ago; the major innovation in screen narrative tells four stories in parallel about social injustice and the effects of intolerance through the ages.

“The Modern Story,” about a working man wrongly accused of a crime, was later issued as a separate film (“The Mother and the Law,” 1919). “The Judean Story” tells of Jesus’ conflicts with the Pharisees and Rome. “The Medieval Story” is about the effects of the massacre of 16th-century French Huguenots. “The Babylonian Story,” about the conquest of Babylon by Persia, also was issued later as a separate film (“The Fall of Babylon,” 1919). Skillful cross-cutting and linking shots of a figure representing Eternal Motherhood rocking a cradle, bring all four stories to a tense climax.

With the profits from “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith spared no expense on “Intolerance,” constructing huge sets and hiring thousands of extras for spectacular crowd scenes; the most iconic representation of this lavishness remains the sequence set at the immense walls of Babylon. Many of the leading stars of the silent screen appear in the film, including Griffith regular Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Elmo Lincoln, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge.

“Intolerance” proved to be an important training ground, with several of its assistant directors going on to important directing careers of their own, including Victor Fleming (“The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone With the Wind”), Allan Dwan (“Sands of Iwo Jima”), Sidney Franklin (“The Good Earth”) and Tod Browning (“Dracula,” “Freaks”).

The musical soundtrack for “Intolerance” is in mono for the DVD and 2.0 LPCM for the Blu-ray. Carl Davis’ orchestral score is in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Blu-ray and DVD extras include the two full-length features drawn from “Intolerance”: “The Fall of Babylon” and “The Mother and the Law,” accompanied by new scores by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; a 2013 featurette with film historian Kevin Brownlow; new essays by Cineaste magazine editor Richard Porton and historian William M. Drew; and a theatrical rerelease trailer.

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Based on the best-selling book series. A seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures Extras: “Bringing Them to Life” behind-the-scenes featurette, “Descendants of the Cup” featurette on the stunts and the cast’s transformation into Shadowhunters, “Almost Is Never Enough” music video by Ariana Grande, deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds “Interactive Lineage Tracker,” “Deadly Attraction” behind-the-scenes featurette with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower on their roles as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, “Entering the Shadow World” creatures featurette, “Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen.” Vitals: Director: Harald Zwart. Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kevin Zegers, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Fantasy Adventure, Box office gross: $31.046 million, Sony. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Percy Jackson The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson — son of the Greek god Poseidon — continue in this sequel. Out to prove he’s not just a “one-quest wonder,” Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. Their mission: to bring home the fabled Golden Fleece and save their dying safe haven, Camp Half-Blood. Based on the teen fiction book series by Rick Riordan. Extras: “Back to Camp Half-Blood” featurette, “It’s All in the Eye” featurette. Blu-ray adds Motion comic, collectible character cards, “Deconstructing a Demigod” featurette. Vitals: Director: Thor Freudenthal. Stars: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel, Anthony Head, Stanley Tucci, Sean Bean, Nathan Fillion. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 107 min., Action, Box office gross: $65.380 million, Fox. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for A sensual and provocative drama about two lifelong friends who find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention. An unpredictable tale of misguided love and a heartfelt celebration of the enduring nature of female friendship, “Adore” is the English-speaking directorial debut of Anne Fontaine (“Coco Before Chanel”). Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty, the film explores the intricacies of love, family, morality and passion as the two women become romantically involved with each other’s sons. Based on a novel by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing. Vitals: Director: Anne Fontaine. Stars: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe, Jessica Tovey, Gary Sweet. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 111 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.317 million, Paramount. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 212013

photo for Blackfish Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000 pound orcas, or “killer whales,” soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore, this mighty black and white mammal is like a two-faced Janus — beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. “Blackfish” unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who — unlike any orca in the wild — has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. Extras: Extended interviews, AXS TV: “A Look at Blackfish,” theatrical trailer. Vitals: Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 83 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $2.043 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 21, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 182013

photo for Kick-Ass 2 Sequel to the surprise 2010 hit about costumed high-school heroes. Self-made superhero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and sweet-faced, foul-mouthed assassin Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) try to return to life as “normal” teenagers, but soon find themselves faced with their deadliest challenge yet. To seek revenge for his father’s death, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has re-invented himself as The Mother F%&*^r and assembled an evil league of super-villains. To defeat their new nemesis, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl must team up with a new wave of masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), in this battle of real-life villains and heroes. Extras: Extended scenes; “Upping the Game” featurette; “Going Ballistic: Weapons & Stunts” featurette; “Creating a Badass World” featurette; commentary with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and writer-director Jeff Wadlow. Blu-ray adds alternate opening; “Big Daddy Returns: The Unshot Scene”; “An Ass-Kicking Cast” featurette; “Street Rules: Showdown at the Evil Lair”; “Hit Girl Attacks: Creating the Van Sequence.” Vitals: Director: Jeff Wadlow. Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Lindy Booth, Yancy Butler. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $28.751 million, Universal. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 18, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 162013


Featuring Efrem Zimbalist Jr, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Maher, Kim Basinger, Louis Gosset Jr, Sam Jones, Joan Bennet, David Carradine & Keye Luke as Master Po.



THE FBI: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (1970-71) At the dawn of the 70s the Culture War captured as much attention as the Cold War, and the storylines seen in this season of The FBI reflected this. While still on the watch for saboteurs and spies, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds), and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) were just as likely to be tasked with tracking down psychotic Vietnam veterans or stopping college kids with a terrorist bent. All-star actors who battle the FBI as kidnappers, bank robbers, and extortionists or play the innocent victims whose aid Erskine and co. come to include Martin Sheen, Joan Van Ark, Billy Dee Williams, Robert Loggia, Bradford Dillman, Dabney Coleman, Suzanne Pleshette, and William Shatner as a mob drug dealer gone rogue!


KUNG FU: THE MOVIE (1985) Bridging the gap between the classic original series and its syndicated hit sequel Kung Fu: The Legend Continues is this mid-eighties movie of the week. Ten years after we last saw Kwai Chang Caine, the man of peace gets dragged into stateside fallout from the Opium Wars. Brandon Lee, son of the Caine-that-almost-was, adds to the action with the grace and gravity that propelled him to superstar status before his tragic death. Also stars Martin Landau and Keye Luke.

SIDEKICKS (1974) The James Garner/Lou Gosset comedy western The Skin Game gets a small screen sequel in this pilot movie that pairs Lou Gossett with Larry Hagman in the Garner role. Conman Quince Drew (Hagman) travels the west with his freeborn crony Jason O’Rourke (Gossett), playing a slavery shell-game that involves repeatedly selling his pal, then escaping with the money. On the run from a vengeful posse, the pair get tangled up in the schemes of a bankrobber. Also stars Blythe Danner, Harry Morgan and Jack Elam. 

THE EYES OF CHARLES SAND (1972) This first-rate paranormal TV thriller sees Peter Haskell playing Charles Sand, a businessman who comes into the family legacy – or curse – on the death of his uncle. Now possessed of a second sight, Sand is powerless in the face of his new fate and drawn into a macabre world of murder, madness and spectral visitors. Joan Bennett and Adam West co-star.

 THE SPIRIT (1987) Will Eisner’s immortal creation, the non-super hero The Spirit, gets a small screen tryout (and Ted’s Sam Jones) in this tongue-in-cheek crime caper. This fish-out-of-water take updates the setting by four decades, and makes Denny Colt, The Spirit, the straight man that the twisted world of the 80s deperately needs. Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) plays Denny’s galpal, Ellen Dolan.

CLUB MED (1986) World-renowned vacation hot spot Club Med (Ixtapa) provides the exciting and new, albeit stationary, location for love and romance for a diverse group of globe-trotting revelers. Young mom Kate (Linda Hamilton, Beauty and the Beast) travels from Boston in the wake of her marriage break-up and discovers her old flame O’Shea (Jack Scalia) is running the joint; runaway French blue-blood Simone (Traci Lind) sneaks into the resort thanks to some avuncular subterfuge courtesy of English widower Gilbert Anthony Paige (Patrick Macnee). Sinbad (Sinbad) costars as club comedian and Bill Maher plays a wisecracking mixologist that has trouble making the guests laugh.



KILLJOY (1981) Prolific helmer John Llewellyn Moxey directs a young Kim Basinger in this neo-noir murder mystery set around the delicious soapy confines of a major modern medical center. Surgeon Max Heller (Steven Macht) and pathologist Paul Trenton vie for the attentions of Laury Medford (Basinger) and the chief administrator’s job that comes with it. Laury gets wind that Max might have a secret side practice of his own by the name of Joy Morgan but when she gets murdered, plot twists come faster than the cry of “Stat!” Also stars Nancy Marchand as Paul’s scheming mother and Robert Culp as a relentless investigator. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Award for Best TV Feature.

FATAL DECEPTION: MRS LEE HAVEY OSWALD (1992) A young and gifted Helena Bonham Carter stars in this biopic about Lee Harvey Oswald’s forgotten victims – his wife and children. Carter plays Marina, Oswald’s Soviet spouse who sees her world turned upside down while a living as a stranger in a strange land. Frank Whaley plays Lee, an enigma even to the woman who knew him best. Was he just a troubled soul or a man with a troubling secret? Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) plays the conspiracist that leads Marina to question events and reopen some very deep wounds.



THE CABBAGE PATCH KIDS’ FIRST CHRISTMAS/THE LITTLE TROLL PRINCE HOLIDAY DOUBLE FEATURE Fire up your Yule log and get set for an early Xmas, courtesy of Xavier Roberts and a wannabe gnome! The Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas (1986) finds the magical brood leaving the safety of their Georgia hidden patch in search of the Christmas spirit in the big city courtesy of  Ruby Spears. Beyond the protection of their human guardian Xavier Roberts and Colonel Casey the stork, the kids find that the big city has its own brand of menace, one very similar to their own… Can they find the Christmas Spirit in time to help a very special orphan? The second feature, The Little Troll Prince (1984), finds Hanna-Barbera mixings Scandinavian folklore with traditional holiday spirit for a charming concoction about a royal monster that trades in menace for a simple life of domestic gnome-dom. An all-star voice brings the tale to life, including Vincent Price, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts and Cloris Leachman.

NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com

 Posted by on October 16, 2013 1 Response »
Oct 152013

photo for Guillermo del Toro has come a long way since “Mimic” (1997) and “The Devil’s Backbone” (2001). His horror instinct led him to direct “Hellboy” (2004) and the award-winning “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and write “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” as well as the “Hobbit” outings (and produce a host of horror and dark dramas). He’s certainly produced and written more films than he’s helmed. So fans who have been eagerly awaiting a new directorial effort on his part (it’s been five years since “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”) won’t be disappointed with “Pacific Rim,” a solid modern CGI-driven monster flick that can only be described as Godzilla meets the Transformers. The plot is simple — Legions of gigantic, monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, rise from another “world” through a breech in the Pacific Ocean, bent on destroying mankind and consuming the Earth’s resources. To combat them, the world’s armies cooperate to build massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But it’s a losing battle until a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Though the story line is a bit silly and full of holes, one easily suspends disbelief to savor del Toro’s style and flourish and his fantastic images. It’s a slam-bam action-adventure that doesn’t ask you to think too much — you just need to crank up the volume and allow the images to wash over you. Extras: Commentary by director-screenwriter Guillermo del Toro, “Drift Space,” “The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim,” “The Shatterdome,” “Focus Points,” deleted scenes, blooper reel. Blu-ray adds “The Directors Notebook.” Vitals: Director: Guillermo del Toro. Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 131 min., Sci Fi Action, Box office gross: $100.366 million, Warner. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 15, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 152013

photo for The Heat Even in this enlightened era, female buddy movies are far and few in between — so it’s a pleasure to have two top comediennes join forces to tear up the big screen with outrageous bits and wild shtick. It’s a great concept picture: Take sassy, foul-mouthed Melissa McCarthy and slapstick-savvy Sandra Bullock and cast them as a boundary-busting Boston cop (McCarthy) and a straight-laced FBI agent (Bullock), throw them on a typical crime case (they join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord), and watch the sparks — and laughs — fly. Needless to say, Bullock’s by-the-book procedures clash with McCarthy’s nasty and violent style of police work, but the pair eventually learn to work together and bring down the bad guys. Think “Rush Hour” with women. This is one funny movie. Sequel anyone? (Actually, there are rumors of a “Heat 2” in the works). Extras: Commentary, bloopers, alternate scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes. Vitals: Director: Paul Feig. Stars: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Michael Rapaport, Marlon Wayans, Kaitlin Olson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $156.392 million, Fox. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 15, 2013 No Responses »