July 24, 2017

Blu-Ray News: KICK-ASS on 4K Ultra HD for the First Time October 3

Director and cowriter Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class) flips the superhero genre on its head in Kick-Ass, arriving on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD) October 3 from Lionsgate. Adapted from the comic-book franchise of the same name written by Mark Millar, Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Best Supporting Actor, Nocturnal Animals, 2017) brings the colorful teenage hero to life alongside Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) and Chloë Grace Moretz. Revisit the hilarious action comedy in four-times the resolution of Full HD with the Kick-Ass 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack.

VIEW THE NEW TRAILER:
 

July 22, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: THE FINAL MASTER

Starring Liao Fan, Jiang Wenli, Chin Shi-Chief, Song Jia, Song Yang, Huang Jue. Directed by Xu Haofeng. (2015, 110 min).

It's a damn good thing the action and performances in The Final Master are good, because the story is as confounding as any I've seen in recent memory.

Liao Fan is Chen, the last remaining master of the martial art known as Wing Chun. He wants to open a school in the city of Tianjin in order to pass his skills along. But it's not as simple as that. Tradition dictates that he must first challenge and defeat the other 8 schools (which later turns into 19). But it ain't that simple either. Since he's not from Tianjin, he's not allowed to fight himself; he must select and train someone from town. But that's also too simple. He takes a wife, Zhao (Song Jia), and poses as a local peasant to find a suitable apprentice, almost immediately deciding on Geng. Then he spends a few years training the young man to prepare for the challenge.

But, alas, more complications present themselves, mostly from masters of other houses who make it damn near impossible for Chen to achieve his dream. Much of this plot becomes so confusing that I more-or-less gave up trying to keep track of who is screwing over who and why. But in a nutshell, victory for Chen & Geng pretty much becomes a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't scenario.

East Side Story.
The behaviors and actions of most secondary characters are almost maddeningly ambiguous, and even when they explain themselves, it's difficult to understand why everyone is going to all this trouble just to keep another martial arts school from opening. Fortunately, The Final Master has enough fighting and action to compensate for its convoluted tale, enhanced by terrific fight scenes, great editing and what might be the most oddball music score I've ever heard (though it fits perfectly).

As Master Chen, Fan has a lot of interesting and dangerous toys at his disposal, including a staff adorned with several long, machete-like blades. The climax, which has Chen fighting dozens of foes as he makes his way down a narrow alley, is wildly choreographed and very exciting (though the outcome is never really in doubt).

So forget the plot - you probably will anyway - sit back and enjoy the action, all of which looks like it was done without any tethers or wires. The Final Master is visually impressive enough to please martial arts fans.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES: "The Weapons"; Director Interview
TRAILER
DVD COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW

Rest in Peace, John Heard

John Heard (1945-2017)

July 21, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: DEVIL'S DOMAIN

Starring Madi Vodane, Linda Bella, Michael Madsen, Kelly Erin Decker, Benna Tucker, The Onyx. Directed by Jared Cohn. (2016, 93 min).

Since there's nothing new under the sun, modern horror directors are challenged to put a creative spin on familiar material to justify their movie's existence. That challenge is even more daunting when strapped with limited financial resources. With Devil's Domain, writer/director Jared Cohn appears up for it, but sometimes falls victim to his own budget and narrative inconsistencies.

The movie is a modern spin on the reliable old deal-with-the-devil tale. Lisa (Madi Vodane) is an insecure, bulimic teenager who becomes a cyber-bullying victim after coming out as a lesbian to her best friend, Rhonda. Another trusted friend, Andrew, shoots hidden video of Lisa purging & masturbating, then posts it on the internet. A complete pariah at school and misunderstood at home, she contemplates suicide before receiving an online message from Destiny (Linda Bella), a sexy incarnation of Satan. Destiny offers to help Lisa get even with everyone who's wronged her in exchange for...well, not to give anything away, but I suspect Cohn is a big fan of Rosemary's Baby.

The whole revenge-through-Satan thing is nothing new, though using it to address - however superficially - the issue of cyber-bullying gives the story a timely twist. However, since Destiny and her minions begin slaughtering Lisa's tormentors before any deal is even made, why is this Satanic pact even necessary?

"Guys...I burnt my marshmallow."
Maybe Cohn wants to get to the sex & death before his audience gets bored with exposition. Fair enough. There's plenty of gonzo gore, with special effects which range from decent to silly. Bella certainly makes a hot-looking Satan worth selling one's soul for, but the demon she sometimes morphs into resembles the work of Face-Off contestants. And despite numerous scenes which tease the viewer into anticipating a few sleazy encounters, aside from Bella's revealing outfits and some titillating spit-swapping, those seeking carnal thrills will probably be disappointed. This is grindhouse without the grind.

Still, there's an earnestness to the proceedings that's sort of charming. Cohn & company display an appreciable amount of creativity with an obviously limited budget, some of which must have gone to secure the services of Michael Madsen, the only recognizable name in the cast. Speaking of which, the performances, while nothing exemplary, are certainly adequate for the material.

While the overall tone is a bit too serious for its own good, and not even remotely scary, Devil's Domain manages to mine a fair bit of fun from an overused premise. It's all been done better - and smarter - but at least it isn't boring.

EXTRA KIBBLES
MAKING-OF FEATURETTE
RED CARPET PREMIERE INTERVIEWS
SLIDE SHOW
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW

July 20, 2017

"CAPTION THIS" CONTEST: Win a Copy of Jim Henson's LABYRINTH

Win a 4K/Blu-Ray Combo Pack copy of Jim Henson's 1986 cult classic, LABYRINTH, starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly!

(YOUR CAPTION HERE)
TO ENTER: Come up with your own caption for this screen shot from the movie. Be as weird, goofy, funny or twisted as you wish. Send it to us using the KITTY KONTACT form near the top of our sidebar. We'll reply to the winning caption on July 31. Good luck!

July 19, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: BLACK BUTTERFLY (2017)

Starring Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo, Abel Ferrara, Vincent Riotta. Directed by Brian Goodman. (2017, 93 min).

Black Butterfly is one of those movies that isn't all that entertaining, but you feel somewhat compelled to see how it ends. And unfortunately, the wait is hardly worth it.

Antonio Banderas is Paul Lopez, a cash-strapped, alcoholic author with a severe case of writer's block. After a drifter, Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), intervenes during a potential violent confrontation between Paul and an angry truck driver, Paul invites him to stay at his remote cabin. There's also an elusive serial killer running around who's recently claimed another victim. Jack appears to fit the bill perfectly, especially after becoming increasingly violent and unstable. He eventually holds Paul against his will and forces him to write their ongoing "story." Shoe-horned into the plot is real-estate agent Laura (Piper Perabo), who Paul fleetingly pursues romantically, but primarily exists to be put in peril.

"No, I won't get you Robert Rodriguez's autograph."
The movie takes forever to get going and spends way too much time giving us Paul's sorry life & financial problems before Jack even shows up. Then the plot unfolds like a warmed-over retread of Misery, only not as witty and no villain as dynamic as Annie Wilkes. Additionally, we begin to suspect not everything is what is seems long before the ballyhooed twist ending that's supposed to knock our socks off. Still, we've come this far...might as well see if our suspicions are correct, right?

Unfortunately, the "twist" is not only underwhelming, it requires a gigantic suspension of disbelief. And even that doesn't matter because the subsequent resolution negates everything we just watched with one of the most overused, irritating tropes in film history. Unless Black Butterfly is the first movie you've ever watched, you'll probably feel more cheated than surprised.

EXTRA KIBBLES
MAKING-OF FEATURETTE
AUDIO COMMENTARY - With director Brian Goodman & co-writer Marc Frydman
TRAILERS
DIGITAL COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
MEH...

Blu-Ray News: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY – 4K and Limited Collector's Edition Box Set October 3

Director James Cameron’s iconic sci-fi action classic returns in pristine clarity when Terminator 2: Judgment Day arrives in a Limited Collector’s Edition EndoArm box set including a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD) on October 3 from Lionsgate. Still lauded by critics today as one of the greatest action films of all time, only 6,000 of the Limited Collector’s Edition EndoArm box sets will be released in the U.S., allowing fans to own a life-sized replica of the T-800 EndoArm mounted on a uniquely numbered stand with James Cameron’s signature. Say “hasta la vista, baby” to SD and relive each quintessential moment in four times the resolution with Full HD and High Dynamic Range on the film’s first-ever 4K scan. The Terminator 2: Judgment Day EndoArm Limited Collector’s Edition 4K Combo Pack box set is loaded with bonus content, including an all-new, never-before-seen documentary featuring commentary from the cast and crew (including James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Edward Furlong).

LIMITED EDITION BOX SETS INCLUDES:
  • Life-sized Terminator EndoArm
  • Each limited-edition EndoArm unit includes a uniquely numbered sticker, featuring the signature of writer-director James Cameron
BLU-RAY / DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES
  • *NEW* “T2: Reprogramming the Terminator” 55 Minute Documentary Including Exclusive Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Edward Furlong and More
  • 2 Feature Commentaries including 23 members of the cast and crew, including director James Cameron and co-author William Wisher
  • “The Making of T2” 30 Minute Featurette
  • Seamless Branching to View 3 Different Versions of the Movie
  • 2 Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary
  • Trailers 
VIEW THE NEW TRAILER:
 

July 18, 2017

DVD Review: WITH GREAT POWER: THE STAN LEE STORY

Directed by Terry Douglas, Nikki Frakes & William Lawrence Hess. (2010, 80 min).

Stan Lee is one of those public figures who transcends his medium. Like The Beatles, Michael Jordan & Bill Gates, just about everybody knows who he is, even if they aren't particularly interested in what he does. People like that are always fun to learn more about.

As the man behind Marvel Comics - and its evolution into a global entertainment superpower - Stan Lee has an interesting story indeed. With Great Power does a fairly decent job telling that story, though it's often more of an affectionate tribute to the man than an in-depth biography. Ergo, fans who worship at his alter should love it.

Lee himself discusses his life and career, from his early days when he was hired as a gofer working for Timely Comics, his rise as the head of Marvel - co-creating some of the genre's most iconic heroes - to the present, where he's treated as a rock star by both fans and peers. Interspersed throughout are interviews with various former colleagues and family members, as well as producers, actors & directors who've been involved in movies which made Marvel a Hollywood powerhouse.

"Hmmm, let's see...Spiderguy...no, Spiderdude! Wait...how 'bout the Eight Legged Freak! Damn, this is hard."
Everyone has nothing but gushing praise for the man, while Lee himself comes across as congenial and humble, always quick to point out that he didn't do it alone, extensively discussing the late Jack Kirby, the artist Lee co-created most of these characters with. Kirby's probably just as deserving of a tribute doc like this, though casual viewers probably don't even know who he was. As someone who's never really been into comics, I always assumed Lee was the artist and writer.

With Great Power is entertaining, though perhaps not comprehensive. A career almost eight decades long is tough to sum up in 80 minutes, meaning what we mostly get are the highlights (punctuated by a career setback or two). I also imagine hardcore comic buffs & collectors may already know much of Lee's story. Still, the film is pretty fun and I can't imagine his fans not getting a kick out of it.

This film was previously released on DVD in 2012. As far as I've been able to ascertain, this re-release is identical, including the bonus features.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES - Dozens of short segments related to Lee, comics and/or superheroes (public appearances, more interviews, etc). I'd list them all but I'd be up all night.
EXTENDED INTERVIEWS - Additional footage of over 40 actors, directors, colleagues & peers interviewed in the film.
CHARACTER GALLERY - A lengthy list of over 500 characters Stan Lee was involved with creating.
AUDIO COMMENTARY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW

Blu-Ray News: THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI 60th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD

A must-own for film fans and adventure-seekers alike, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment debuts THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI on next-generation 4K Ultra HD for the first time October 3 to commemorate its diamond anniversary. One of the crown jewels in the Columbia Pictures catalog, the release also includes the existing Blu-ray with incisive special features and historical context, making it the perfect holiday gift. Fully restored in 4K resolution and presented with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos audio, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean) and Best Actor (Alec Guinness.) William Holden also stars in this epic WWII drama of POWs in Burma forced to build a bridge to aid the war effort of their Japanese captors.

In 1997, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress. The American Film Institute included it among the best American films ever and in 1999, the British Film Institute voted it the 11th greatest British film of the 20th Century.

4K Ultra HD is the perfect way for fans to immerse themselves in this iconic classic.  The  4K Ultra HD features four times the resolution of high definition, high dynamic range (HDR)--which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays--and Dolby Atmos audio, remixed specifically for the home theater environment, delivering captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

July 17, 2017

Blu-Ray News: Disney's THE LION KING on Digital 8/15 and on Blu-ray 8/29


One of the biggest animated films in history, The Lion King, the coming-of-age masterpiece, filled with humor and heart, breathtaking animation and soul-stirring Academy Award–winning music (1994: Best Original Score and Best Original Song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”), joins the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection. The Lion King roars to Its rightful place in the Walt Disney Signature Collection on Digital Aug. 15th and on Blu-ray Aug. 29th.

Audiences will fall in love all over again with the treasured classic, and a new generation of fans will laugh with Timon and Pumbaa, cry with Simba and Mufasa, burst into song, and find their place in the “Circle of Life.” The Walt Disney Signature Collection release includes over three hours of classic bonus material and exclusive, brand new features inviting viewers to sing along with the film’s award-winning music, observe recording sessions, step inside the story room, witness the evolution of a villain, and join Nathan Lane (voice of Timon) and Matthew Broderick (voice of Adult Simba) for an extended conversation regarding the legacy of “The Lion King.”

July 16, 2017

Rest in Peace, Martin Landau

Martin Landau (1928-2017)

Rest in Peace, George A. Romero

George A. Romero (1940-2017)

Blu-Ray Review: RESIDENT EVIL: VENDETTA

Starring the voices of Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill, Kari Wahlgren, John DeMita. Directed by Takanori Tsujimoto. (2017, 97 min).

Resident Evil: Vendetta is the third film in the Japanese-produced computer-animated series. Unlike the live action franchise starring Milla Jovovich, these films are considered part of the same universe as the video games. While that might be preferable to purists, as someone who isn't much of a gamer, I found myself questioning Vendetta's purpose as a movie.

The story involves three characters from previous games (Chris, Leon and Rebecca) attempting to thwart the nefarious plans of Glenn Arias. A psychotic genius, he wants revenge for the death of his wife & family by unleashing a new virus on New York, which turns people into ravenous zombies.

The movie looks like a video game, plays like a video game and has a story structure like those in a video game (concluding on a rooftop, which is apparently a tradition in the Resident Evil world). I'll concede that Vendetta would probably be great fun to play. But as a viewing experience, well...it's like watching someone else play.

Spaceballs 2: Revenge of Pizza the Hut
While my own kids enjoy YouTube videos of that very thing, Vendetta does little to justify its existence as a movie, not helped by expressionless & dull animated characters and completely implausible action, the latter best exemplified in a scene where a character falls 500 feet and splats to the ground like a water balloon, yet survives long enough to speak. Sure, it's just an animated movie, but totally negates obvious efforts to make these characters move and behave realistically. Hell, even toddlers knew Mufasa was toast when he fell into that ravine.

The characters are inconsistent, as well. In a single scene, Arias goes from being creepily obsessed with marrying Rebecca (the spitting image of his dead wife) to deciding she he'd rather turn her into a zombie. As for Chris...for someone who's supposedly the world's most badass zombie killer, he sure spends a lot of time staring dumbstruck at the hordes of undead shambling his way.

Though plenty bloody and full of action, Resident Evil: Vendetta would probably be more exciting if you could pick up the controller and inflict the carnage yourself. As a movie, the CG mayhem quickly becomes repetitive and boring. Hardcore gamers might enjoy it, but there's a good reason the live action films chose to go in a different direction.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES: "CGI to Reality: The Creature"; "CGI to Reality: Designing Vendetta"; "Motion Capture Set Tour with Dante Carver"; "Designing the World of Vendetta"
"BSAA MISSION BRIEIFING" - Character Profiles
TOKYO GAME SHOW FOOTAGE - The creators speaking at a Comic-Con
STILLS GALLERY
AUDIO COMMENTARY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
MEH...

July 15, 2017

Book Review: THE MONSTER MOVIES OF UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

By James L. Neibaur. (2017, 228 pp).

Horror has been part of Hollywood since the silent movie days. While some studios delved into the genre more than others, none were as synonymous with movie monsters than Universal. In fact, as this book explains, films like Dracula, The Mummy and Frankenstein ultimately kept the studio afloat during the 30s and 40s. Collectively, they were a genre unto themselves. Today, "Universal Monsters" is an instantly identifiable brand name.

It all started somewhere. The Monster Movies of Universal Studios is a detailed and comprehensive chronicle of those glory years. Beginning with 1931's Dracula, each chapter thoroughly covers every Universal monster film through the 50s, from conception, casting & filming to release, critical consensus & box office performance.

Author James L. Neibaur writes more-or-less objectively, though he clearly displays affection for his subject. Most importantly, he does a great job making the reader appreciate the cultural impact these films had at the time, which in many ways is still being felt today. Those of you who assume the whole 'cinematic universe' began with Marvel...think again.

A must-read for any avid horror fan or classic movie buff, The Monster Movies of Universal Studios is an fascinating look back at a struggling studio and the genre that saved it. For those who weren't around at the time, the book provides a wealth of insight & trivia, and if it prompts the reader to revisit any of these classics, then it's done its job.

KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS

July 14, 2017

Blu-Ray News: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES on Digital 9/19 and 4K/Blu-ray Combo Pack 10/3

From Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, it was announced today at D23 Expo, that “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”—the fifth film in the now-iconic “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise—will sail home on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ on September 19, and on 4K Ultra HD™/Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on October 3.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a rollicking new tale of the high seas, infused with all the elements of fantasy, humor and action that have resulted in an international phenomenon for the past 13 years. Johnny Depp returns to his Academy Award®-nominated role as the outrageous, swashbuckling scoundrel Captain Jack Sparrow, and is joined by Oscar® winners Javier Bardem (Best Supporting Actor, “No Country for Old Men”) and Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor, “Shine”).

Fans who bring home “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will experience the nonstop action in stunning 4K Ultra HD format, the ultimate home entertainment experience with next-generation high dynamic range (HDR) visuals and Dolby Atmos® immersive audio. 

Bonus material includes a collection of behind-the-scenes, making-of stories, including a conversation with directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg; a sit-down with the two young newcomers who play Henry and Carina; the secrets behind the menacing new villain, Salazar, and his ferocious ghost sharks; an on-set visit with Jack’s first mate from all five films; a chat with Sir Paul McCartney who appears as Uncle Jack; and a discussion about the franchise’s legacy; along with hilarious bloopers, deleted scenes and memories from producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s photo diary. 

VIEW THE NEW TRAILER:

July 13, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)

Starring Scarlett Johansson, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Peter Fernando. Directed by Rupert Sanders. (2017, 106 min).

It ultimately boils down to how well a viewer can judge a movie on its own merits, not where it came from. This is especially true for films like Ghost in the Shell, which was a long time coming and probably burdened with more pre-release baggage than any mainstream film since Ghostbusters.

As someone almost completely unfamiliar with the original manga series or 1995 anime it's adapted from, I had no preconceptions, expectations or comparisons while reviewing this film. I couldn't care less if the film is a faithful adaptation, just like those who continue to praise The Shining even though it's a complete bastardization of the novel. All that really matters is whether-or-not Ghost in the Machine works as a singular live action sci-fi movie.

"My boat, a brewski, some bobbers and a babe. Yep...this is Heaven."
First and foremost, Ghost of the Shell is visually stunning. There's nary a single scene that isn't interesting to look at, from the elaborate production design, colorful imagery, convincing visual effects, creative costumes...right down to the imaginatively rendered cybernetic characters. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, this is Blade Runner on crack. That alone is probably enough to make the film worth checking out at least once. Additionally, the numerous action sequences are well-executed and - somewhat surprisingly - mostly free of the hyperkinetic editing style utilized to amuse those with ADHD. If nothing else, Ghost in the Machine is a technically impressive piece of work.

But despite a nifty idea - a future where most humans are physically augmented by cyber-technology - the story itself isn't all that involving. Scarlett Johansson plays Major Mira Killian, whose brain has been transplanted into a mechanical body after a supposed terror attack. The company that created her, Hanka Robotics, use her as a weapon against cyberterrorism. Mira also begins seeing images that were supposedly wiped from her memory. Meanwhile, several of Hanka's bigwigs are being murdered by Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt), one of the company's earlier failed experiments. However, when Mira finally confronts him, she learns more about her previous life than originally told, leading her to question her own humanity and purpose.

"Alexa...show me Free Kittens Movie Guide."
I don't know how faithful the story is to the original manga, but the underlying theme - technology's impact on personal identity - was explored more effectively in films like Robocop. There's a lot of gunplay and acrobatic combat, but no real depth or narrative surprises (not helped by trailers which essentially gave away its biggest twist).

With the possible exception of Kuze, none of the characters are particularly interesting. There's been a lot of outcry over the casting of Johansson, superficially made up to appear more Asian. But the real problem is, though she's physically capable and looks great in a body suit, she does nothing to distinguish Mira from her similar roles in Lucy or The Avengers.

But as someone with no expectations going in, while I found Ghost in the Shell narratively unremarkable, I wouldn't exactly call it a disappointment. In fact, I have to admit it's better than the aforementioned trailer suggested, Perhaps I'd think differently if I cared about its history, but as a stand-alone movie experience, the visuals alone are enough to make it worth catching at home, preferably on a huge screen.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES: "Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell"; "Section 9: Cyber Defenders"; "Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy"
DVD & DIGITAL COPIES
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW

July 12, 2017

Blu-Ray News: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray Coming 8/15

"The greatest western of all time."
-Free Kittens Movie Guide

50th Anniversary Edition
2-Disc Blu-ray and 3-Disc DVD Coming August 15, 2017

Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Mario Brega, Aldo Sambrell, Aldo Giuffre, Luigi Pistilli


For three men, the Civil War wasn't hell... it was practice! 

By far the most ambitious, unflinchingly graphic and stylistically influential western ever made, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a classic actioner shot through with a volatile mix of myth and realism. Screen legend Clint Eastwood (A Fistful of Dollars) returns as the "Man With No Name", this time teaming with two gunslingers to pursue a cache of $200,000 and letting no one, not even warring factions in a civil war, stand in their way. From sun-drenched panoramas to bold hard close-ups, exceptional camera work captures the beauty and cruelty of the barren landscape and the hardened characters who stride unwaveringly through it. Forging a vibrant and yet detached style of action that had not been seen before, and has never been matched since, this 50th Anniversary Special Edition includes the 4K restored versions of both the 161-minute original theatrical cut and the 179-minute extended cut. Hailed as "pure cinema" by Robert Rodriguez and "the best directed movie of all time" by Quentin Tarantino, this epic masterpiece was directed by the great Sergio Leone (For a Few Dollars More) and co-starred Lee Van Cleef (Death Rides a Horse) as Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven) in the role of Tuco. Music legendary composer Ennio Morricone (A Fistful of Dollars, Navajo Joe).

2-Disc Blu-ray
Disc 1:

- 4K transfer of the Original U.S. Theatrical Cut Available for the first time in HD
- New Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas
- Trailers From Hell with Ernest Dickerson
- Newly Restored 2.0 Mono Audio
- Restored 1967 UA Logo
- Alternate Scene: The Optical Flip
- Deleted Scene 1: Skeletons in the Desert
- Deleted Scene 2: Extended Torture Scene
- GBU on the: animated behind-the-scenes image gallery
- Promoting GBU: Posters & Lobby Cards animated image gallery
- Sergio Leone Westerns: Original Theatrical Trailers
- Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
- English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Audio
- Reversible Art

Disc 2:
- 4K transfer of the Extended Cut
- Newly Restored 2.0 Mono Audio
- Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Schickel
- Audio Commentary By Noted Cultural Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
- Leone's West: Making Of Documentary (19:55)
- Il Maestro: Ennio Morricone and GBU Featurette Part 1 (7:48)
- Il Maestro: Ennio Morricone and GBU Featurette Part 2 (12:26)
- The Leone Style: On Sergio Leone Featurette (23:48)
- The Man Who Lost The Civil War: Civil War Documentary (14:24)
- Reconstruction GBU (11:09)
- Deleted Scene 1: Extended Tuco Torture scene (7:15)
- Deleted Scene 2: The Socorro Sequence - A Reconstruction (3:02)
- Vignette 1: Uno, Due, Tre (0:40)
- Vignette 2: Italian Lunch (0:43)
- Vignette 3: New York Accent (0:09)
- Vignette 4: Gun in Holster (0:58)
- Original U.S. Theatrical Trailer
- Original French Theatrical Trailer
- English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Audio
- Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

www.kinolorber.com

Blu-Ray News: THE MUMMY Unleashes on Digital 8/22 and Blu-ray & DVD 9/12

TOM CRUISE CONFRONTS A LEGENDARY TERROR IN AN ALL-NEW STUNNING THRILL RIDE

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL AUGUST 22, 2017 AND 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY, DVD AND ON DEMAND ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

An ancient evil is unleashed after centuries of captivity and her lust for revenge threatens to destroy the world in The Mummy, a spectacular saga coming to Digital on August 22, 2017 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on September 12, 2017 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible franchise, Top Gun) battles the ultimate evil in a breathtaking version of the legendary and mystical monster that has captivated and terrified humankind for centuries. With more than an hour of never-before-seen bonus features, The Mummy 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD reveal the deepest secrets behind this sumptuous and wonder-filled epic.

Thought safely entombed deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella, Star Trek Beyond, Kingsman: The Secret Service) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day. Her malevolence has grown over millennia and with it come terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sands of the Middle East through modern-day London, The Mummy balances wonder, thrills, and imagination.

The latest action-packed entry from director and producer Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness, Now You See Me) and producer Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise), The Mummy also stars Oscar winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World, “New Girl”), Annabelle Wallis (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, “Peaky Blinders”), and Courtney B. Vance (“American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” Terminator Genisys).

July 10, 2017

Movie News: Neill Blomkamp and Oats Studios Present: ZYGOTE Available July 12

Oats Studios and filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, and Chappie) are pleased to announce the latest short film in the Oats Studios Volume I anthology, ZYGOTE.

Starring Dakota Fanning and Jose Pablo Cantillo, ZYGOTE will be available for free on July 12, 2017 via the Oats Studios YouTube, Steam, and Facebook channels.

Exclusively on the Steam platform, fans of ZYGOTE will be able to access a wealth of specialty behind-the scenes content including dailies, an HQ stereo version, concept art, sound stems, 3D models, the musical score, and more for just $4.99. This contribution will go towards Oats Studios and their mission of creating cutting edge, compelling films for their dedicated audience.



July 9, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivju, Kurt Russell, Elsa Pataky Helen Mirren. Directed by F. Gary Gray. (2017, 136 min).

There's a scene in The Fate of the Furious where cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) is trying to steal a nuclear football from some Russians traveling through New York. She hacks the computers of nearby cars, allowing her to control them from safety of her high-tech jet. Within minutes, thousands of driverless vehicles are giving chase, blocking the streets and literally falling from the sky...a veritable orgy of fiery destruction and twisted metal.

It's the quiet, understated moments we love about the franchise.

The aforementioned slice of hardcore motorporn isn't even the movie's climax, which is even more bombastic and audacious. This ultimately raises a question: Where can they go from here?

A quiet moment in The Fate of the Furious.
The Fate of the Furious is, of course, the eighth film in the long-running franchise, which shows no signs of slowing down  - or scaling back - anytime soon. Each film has steadily gotten bigger, longer & louder, evolving from a relatively straightforward depiction of super-cool street racers to an ever-growing cast - or 'family' - being recruited to save the world. It seems like half of the Screen Actors Guild shows up in this one. Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron and, in an amusing cameo, Helen Mirren (!) join the already ginormous cast, and there's still room for a subtle shout-out to the departed Paul Walker.

The numerous action sequences are so big and over-the-top they make the skyscraper jump in Furious 7 look like a Sunday drive. You haven't lived until you've seen Jason Statham swoop into a moving plane strapped to a winged jetpack, Dwayne Johnson shrug-off multiple hits from rubber bullets (without so much as flinching) and Vin Diesel square-off against a nuclear submarine...with his car.

Really, the next logical step for the franchise would be to resurrect Steve McQueen, put him back behind the wheel of his Mustang and send the entire crew into space to battle aliens.

Lords of the Dance.
As usual, you'll scarcely believe a minute of it, but unlike, say, the Transformers series, the Fast and Furious films have actually become a lot more fun with each subsequent entry (speaking as someone who absolutely hated the original). This is because, even though they're essentially cartoons, these characters have grown on us over the years (including the bad guys, who nearly always end up as part of the team). So when Dominic Toretto suddenly 'goes rogue' at the behest of Cipher, we're actually invested in what could have caused him to turn on his friends. Oh, I'm sorry...family. That word is tossed around a lot in this film, and plotwise, takes on a new level of importance.

I don't know how much bigger these films can get, and maybe The Fate of the Furious will be the nadir of the series (how can you possibly top zombie cars?). I certainly hope not, because even though I still hold the early films in low regard, I've truly enjoyed the last few and look forward to the next one. If nothing else, just to see if Toretto & company are able to time travel...or fold space...or touch God. Until then, this one will be well worth seeing more than once because it's entertaining as hell.

NOTE: The Extended Unrated Edition included with this release is a digital copy. 

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES:
"The Cuban Spirit" - On location with cast & crew members;
"Car Culture" - 3-part feature focusing on some of the vehicles, including the massive 'zombie car' sequence;
"All About the Stunts" - Title tells all;
EXTENDED SCENES
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Director F. Gary Gray
EXTENDED EDITION (Digital Copy Only - not previewed)
DVD COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS