Even with a history as long as mine is with Botcon, stretching back to its infancy in my home town in 1994, the sights, sounds, and unbridled enthusiasm of this convention never cease to enthrall me. Continue reading
Well after countless months (about three), the wait is finally over for the next volume of mechanoid maniacs to burst back on to your home theater system! Continue reading
“There are things that go bump in the night, and we are the ones who bump back!” Continue reading
Bigger than big, taller than tall, and ready to entertain you on DVD!! Continue reading
Exploding on to the scene back in 1994….wait back it up ten years… Exploding on to the scene back in 1984, The Transformers, a named as coined by a young, fresh 24 year-old exec named Jay Bacal, was first released as a four issue limited series by Marvel Comics. Continue reading
A word to the wise, never begin a dumb-humor movie with the title “Without”, as this can and will lead to a variety of derogatory usages to criticize the film, which I will have the good taste to refrain from. Continue reading
With a brand-new Trek in theaters, it only makes sense for Paramount to take advantage of you, the consumer, by releasing some absolutely wonderful new Blu-rays of your favorite Star Trek films. In this case, as with the new film, Spock is featured as the main thrust of the stories. Though seeming a bit random, the boxset produces a somewhat self contained story, which should be pleasing to both the hardcore trekker, as well as the “ooww, these are Star Trek films people like “ME” , a non trekker, like”.
First up is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the theatrical version), which takes its title character from an earlier original series character in the episode Space Seed. For both fans and non-affiliates, this is the Star Trek film that anyone can enjoy. It plays out much like a Shakespearian revenge/tragedy, with an exquisite performance by the late-great Ricardo Montalban, and top notch additions by the rest of the regular cast.
Spoiler: Spock dies at the end.
Of course, it is no surprise (until you see the documentaries) that the next film would be called Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, an excellent follow-up to the Wrath of Khan, if a little uneven purely from the technical stand point of its first time director, Leonard Nimoy. Still, the film has its high points, with a particularly creepy performance by Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon. The film also features some wonderful set pieces as well as visual effects, though still slightly dated.
Spoiler: Spock returns.
The third and final film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, takes place immediately after the events of the last film, as a giant probe threatens to destroy Earth before Captain Kirk and the others return to it. They soon discover that the signal coming from the probe is that of Whale-like language, however all whales in the 23rd Century are extinct (yes, the dreaded social conscience message, but fear not, it is not overly dwelled upon). SO, the crew journey back in time to pickup some of those blubbery bastards, while trying to fit into 1980’s San Francisco culture real-discreet-like. They are mistaken for weirdo-hippie-cum-crazies from the 1960’s, Spock makes out with a pregnant whale, Catharine Hicks drinks a lot of beer, Shatner does his thing, and somehow the film is still coherent and fun. And so the adventures continue….
Ok, so let’s be clear, there are A LOT of special features to cover, so I shall try to be concise here. There are the commentaries from the previous releases, as well as a new one on Voyage Home, which features my personally distasteful ‘two smug pricks’ who ruined the Transformers good name, as well as all the documentaries from the previous DVDs, including the trailers, photo galleries, vintage interviews etc.
In the new features department, on Wrath of Khan, there is a new interview with composer James Horner, a huge Star Trek nerd shares his collection of props, an awkward tribute to Ricardo Montalban by the director, The Library Computer (which will tell you everything, in case you don’t want to watch the movie…?), as well as a weird Starfleet Academy video that gives you little tidbits about some of the technical/cultural aspects of the films (sort of like Dharma videos on LOST). Unfortunately, they did not include the Director’s Cut of the film, which can only lead one to believe they will be doing so at a later date, buyer beware.
For the Search for Spock, there is a new Visual Effects featurette, Spock the Early Years interview with the guy who played 17 year old Spock, Star Trek Museum of Science Fiction tour, as well as Starfleet Academy and Library Computer.
Finally Voyage Home has the previously mentioned commentary, Chekov’s Screen Moments, The Three Picture saga, Star Trek for a Cause, Starfleet Academy and Library Computer.
WWWhhhheewww, alright, well as for the Blu-ray transfers, they look as bright and sharp as 20 year-old films can look, with some minimal grain and noise in the red and black areas. The sound is pretty impeccable in True HD (particularly Wrath of Khan), as those laser blasts and beaming-up sound pretty groovy. Overall it’s an excellent value for either the trekkers or the good cinema seekers. Live long and prosper Paramount!
Continuing where the first season left off, Dexter Season Two kicks the show off into high gear with even more murderous mayhem and blood drenched justice. Naturally with a twist of sardonic glee and well paced drama Continue reading
What could be better than spandex, bell bottoms, disco music, and John Travolta? The answer, a parody of it in Airplane, but that’s for another review. No, the answer is nothing beats the original Saturday Night Fever, which exploded on the scene back in 1977, changing and shaping the American culture in a way that would continue for the next 30 years. For those who haven’t seen the film, the story centers around a young, small time kid in Brooklyn, whose blue collar job at a paint store and troubled family life send him to the 2001 Odyssey Dance Club every Saturday night, just to get away.
In fact, most of the teens live for that night to dance and get down, so much so that Travolta’s character Tony starts to question what truly is important in his life. Much of the film is like a retelling of Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause, as the youths dance, play, fight, and die in the search for themselves in the society they live during the 1970’s.
For those who’ve been waiting for this bad boy on Blu-ray, the wait is finally over, and it’s been worth every sparkling piece of glitter. The film looks as crisp and pristine as it did 30 years ago, with a wonderful 5.1 true HD sound that keeps those classic Bee Gee’s tunes as fresh as the day they were recorded. In the special features department there’s an informative commentary by director John Badham, a ‘70’s Discopedia track that really doesn’t offer much more interesting info than “The poster on Travolta’s wall is of Farrah Facett….It was a popular poster…”, a 30-Year Legacy retrospective with everyone involved except Travolta oddly enough, as well as a Making Soundtrack History with the Bee Gees, Platforms and Polyester, Deejays and Discos, Spotlight on Travolta, Back to Bay Ridge, Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese (for those who would rather watch some guy instead of Travolta), Fever Challenge (hardcore fans only), and a selection of Deleted Scenes.
For one of the most popular films of the 1970’s this Blu-ray looks, sounds, and delivers all the goods you could hope for. This film truly has stayed alive!
Springing to vivid life in splendid Technicolor are two of Warner Bros finest musicals from the 1950’s, An American in Paris and Gigi, respectfully. Continue reading
In an age filled with dozens of comic book/graphic novel adaptations galore, director Robert Rodriguez has thrown his own spin into the mix with his epic adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City. Continue reading
Before The Ten Commandments, before Ben-Hur, before Spartacus (and of course Gladiator and 300) there was Quo Vadis!!!!!!! Continue reading
Riding the coat tails of the theatrical release of Zack Snyder’s silly mess Watchmen, Warner Premiere has made some of this travesty worth while. Continue reading
With Watchmen opening this weekend, the story is much in hype and demand, which the good folks at Warner Bros have been doing an excellent job of cashing in on. One of their many ideas was to actually just take the already existing graphic novel and animate it. Continue reading
With an impressive array of films that came to a much too soon conclusion, Peter Sellers was by far one of the most prolific and hilarious comedians of all time. Continue reading
In the pantheon of Leonardo DeCaprio/Post 9/11 action/spy/mystery/international thrillers which consist of Blood Diamond, The Departed, Munich, Syriana, Traffic, Body of Lies manages to be one of the better entries. Continue reading
With a title like How to Lose Friends and Alienate People how could one not find the exquisite irony of boring the audience with a cliched love story and a melodrama that takes its comedy seriously, there by losing the audience’s interest, as a hilariously manufactured joke on the viewer? Continue reading
This is the fourth installment of the Poison Ivy series, and quite possibly the worst. Continue reading
Appearing at the Apple store in Santa Monica this past Tuesday night, director Zack Snyder and visual effects supervisor John “DJ” DesJardin came to discuss the creation of the big blue guy himself, Dr. Manhattan. Continue reading
This is the zodiac speaking, I’m finally available on Blu-ray in a 2 disc speshul edditon. Continue reading
Springing from the mind of Jeff Lindsay from his book Darkly Dreaming Dexter and adapted for tv by James Manos Jr., the wonderful showtime series Dexter: Season One is now available for the first time on Blu-ray! Continue reading
Reading, Writing, Revenge! Who couldn’t love a look at the darker side of academia! Continue reading
Chchchch—Kakakaka, an immortal sound in horror if ever there was one. Yes folks, it’s that time again, that certain day that only happens in certain months, a Friday on the 13th day of the month. And we all know what that means…time to cash on old superstitions and worn to death genre films!! What better set of films to upgrade than the Friday the 13th films…..uuhh again?
Yes that’s right, Paramount is releasing newly updated versions of the first trilogy from the Friday the 13th series, corresponding with the coming remake no less. However there were no coupons to see the new film, and even stranger there were no promos of any kind for the new remake on any of the discs, an odd tactic indeed. Still, what you do get, is a nifty, if not a little unbalanced, package.
Up first is the original Friday the 13th, made as a strict rip-off of the success of Halloween (fans put your blades down, the creators repeatedly say this themselves), this little atmospheric gem still holds a special place in most fans hearts, despite its lack of a certain character. Fans should also have cause to celebrate, as this edition marks the first time the film has been uncut on DVD.
The second, Friday the 13th part 2, also keeps a special place in fans hearts, despite lacking a certain hockey mask. The opening especially remains a minor masterpiece unto itself, which I shant spoil for those who haven’t seen it. Sadly this DVD version is still the cut version, a fact they mention in the special features; seeming to imply that the cuts have been lost to time.
The third, Friday the 13th 3-D (creative titles, yes?), must also retain a special watermark in horror fans minds, as it marked the first time Jason donned the infamous hockey mask and made horror iconographic history. This DVD edition should also be of special interest to fans as well, as it presents the film in both a 2-D and 3-D versions. And though somewhat primitive in its appearance, the 3-D is a neat edition and fun enough with two pairs of glasses.
The discs, in addition to all receiving high definition transfers and 5.1 sound upgrades, have a decent trove of special features as well. The first film features a commentary by director Sean S. Cunningham and various other cast and crew, as well as featurettes: Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th, featuring interviews with most of the principals (except Kevin Bacon of course), The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham, which is an interview with the not so creative director who unashamedly tours his mansion “that Friday the 13th built” where he discusses the desperate circumstances that led to him wanting to make a quick buck and his pride in helping to create a subgenre of cheap horror films for a blue collar crowd, A Friday the 13th Reunion: taking place at a recent horror convention and featuring the primaries from the Fresh Cuts doc at a Q&A, and finally Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 1, which looks like a student film that won some contest to be on the DVD (it doesn’t even have Jason in it, pretty lame) and the trailer.
The second film features a continuation of the same docs, just carried to the second disc. No commentary this time just some more featurettes: Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”, which is an interview with the author of the book of the same title, where he discusses the cuts made, particularly in part 2, Friday’s Legacy: Conventions, more interviews from the conventions scene, Jason Forever, which features four of the key players of the iconic figure discussing the role at a convention panel and in interviews, Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 2, more of the same drek (seriously a waste of time, uugghh), and the trailer.
The third film has no features excluding the trailer and the optional 2-D and 3-D versions of the film.
Overall a decent package, though I don’t understand why they would release just the first three, as the fourth really does end the first half of the saga (and is a much more entertaining film then the first three combined). I suspect the thinking is to release the next three when the remake comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, or just release a whole new collection of all the films together as special editions, who knows. For now though, I’d dip into these offerings here a third time, as they are packed with great features and priced to own. And of course, don’t forget to check out the remake….?
As with all popular or successful brands and lines, they are hard to kill, and find themselves being revamped nearly every four years or so. Stretching back to the 1920’s, Batman has been perhaps one of the most popular and successful character lines ever created. Flourishing briefly in the 1930s and 40s as a movie serial and then 1960’s as a television show and cartoon, it wasn’t until Tim Burton’s seminal BATMAN in 1989 that the character fully breathed life as a full-fledged character. Since that time there have been five feature films (one of which was actually worthy of the title, and the most recent Dark Knight appropriately titled as it really has nothing to do with Batman….uugghh), as well as least four distinct animated series (again, only one of which could be considered perfect, that being the first one). But enough of this sappy nostalgic wallowing, ON to the FUTURE…or is it BACK….to the…Past..? Continue reading
While there are a lot of platitudes that can be assigned to the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, such as ‘classic’, ‘landmark’, or ‘timeless’ , which all seem rather over used and loosely applied, do in fact still ring true for the film. Setting the standard for serious science fiction films is no easy mantel to carry, but watching the film again reenforces this idea tenfold. Continue reading
Hello out there in tvland, or rather cartoon land, and welcome to my review of Silverhawks volume one on DVD! To those of you who are unfamiliar with this show, it is the cousin of one of the most popular cartoons of the eighties, Thundercats….HO! After kids in the mid-eighties went ga-ga over the pack of ferociously fun and morally upstanding humanoid felines, the same creative team of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass quickly assembled another animal/human/hero concept for the kiddies 1986 after school line-up.
Before I start this review I feel I must warn the reader that I do in fact have a bit of a personal bias, as I’ve been one of the most avid and devoted fans of the Transformers universe/franchise since 1985 (coincidentally, the time of my birth…).
Yes, I am one of those people who was even partially responsible for getting that disgusting piece of filth made by Michael Bay (whose only redeeming qualities were it gave Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, his props and well deserved big screen return, and that it got a proper release of the original 1986 film on DVD).