October 17, 2018

THE MEG Swims Home on Digital 10/30 & on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD 11/13

"We...loved...this!"
-Free Kittens Movie Guide

Go head-to-head with the largest prehistoric shark to ever exist when The Meg arrives on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD Special Edition and Digital. Jason Statham and award-winning Chinese actress Li Bingbing star in this science fiction action thriller directed by Jon Turteltaub (the “National Treasure” movies). Turteltaub directed the film from a screenplay by Dean Georgaris and Jon and Erich Hoeber, based on the best-selling novel MEG by Steve Alten.

The Meg 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition contain the following special features: "Chomp On This: The Making Of The Meg" & "Creating The Beast."

On October 30, The Meg will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On November 13, “The Meg” will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

 

PEPPERMINT on Digital on 11/20 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on 12/11

A powerful story about an underdog hero (Jennifer Garner) fighting for justice, Peppermint arrives on Digital on November 20, 2018 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on December 11, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The release showcases exhilarating bonus content including a special featurette and film commentary with director Pierre Morel.

October 16, 2018

The Original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS: Olive Signature Edition

https://olivefilms.com/
Starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Winter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke, the ever-reliable Whit Bissell and the ever-eccentric Sam Peckinpah. Directed by Don Siegel. (1956/80 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Mr. Paws😸

One of the coolest things about the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers is that it's conceptually timeless, which is probably why the film has been remade three times since its inauspicious 1956 release (with another one reportedly in development). And let's not forget countless others - big & small, good & bad, classic & obscure - that have drawn obvious inspiration from it.

Social commentary and themes notwithstanding, the original still holds up as a smart slice of provocative sci-fi horror, certainly belying its minuscule budget and drive-in fodder title. Despite the film's iconic climax - when Miles (Kevin McCarthy) breaks the fourth wall to warn us we're next - its most effective moments remain the subtle ones. The scene where Miles (Kevin McCarthy) realizes Becky (Dana Wynter) is no longer Becky is still one of horror's most quietly chilling moments, while the pod people "gathering" at Santa Mira's town square is truly unnerving.

Everyone loves Mr. Bubble.
Then there's those seed pods. They may appear quaint compared to their horrifically-gooey counterparts in the 1978 remake, but a strong argument can be made that the greenhouse scene is one of cinema's earliest examples of the type of "body horror" David Cronenberg would make a career from decades later. It's amazing what you can do with a few soap bubbles, and the sequence remains a wonderful early example of gross-out entertainment.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been released on Blu-ray before, but this time Olive Films has thrown-in a plethora of new and vintage bonus features (outlined below), all of which are entertaining and informative. Along with a great video & audio transfer, this is, so far, the best release in Olive's ongoing Signature series and one of the best Blu-rays of the year. A must own for any cinephile, even if they own a previous version.

EXTRA KIBBLES
NEW FEATURETTES:
"The Fear is Real" - Directors Larry Cohen and Joe Dante recall their first experience seeing the film and its influence on thier own careers.
"I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wagner" - Author Matthew Wanger discusses the career of the producer, who derailed his own career by shooting a man.
"The Stranger in Your Lover's Eyes" - Director Don Siegel's son reads from the director's autobiography, along with vintage photos.
VINTAGE FEATURETTES:
"Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited" - The best of all the bonus features, with commentary from its two stars, contemporary directors and historians.
"The Fear and the Fiction" - A feature about the movie's cultural impact.
"What's in a Name?" - An amusing look at some alternate titles that were considered.
"Return to Santa Mira" - A look at the various shooting locations.
2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - One by historian Richard Harlan Smith, the other a vintage commentary by Kevin McCarthy, Dana Winter and director Joe Dante.
VINTAGE KEVIN McCARTHY INTERVIEW
IMAGE GALLERY
TRAILER
ESSAY - "At First Glance, Everything Looked the Same," by Kier-La Janisse

KITTY CONSENSUS:
LIKE BEING TURNED LOOSE IN A BIRD SANCTUARY

October 15, 2018

ELF // 15th Anniversary "Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition" on DVD and Digital 11/27

https://www.warnerbros.com/
Elf: Buddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition will be available on DVD and brand new Elf-inspired extra content, including a bouncing elf hat singalong with Buddy and his friends and all new fun, family-friendly interactive special features.  Also included in the DVD package are the original theatrical film and previously released special features.

Fans can also own ElfBuddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition via purchase from digital retailers beginning November 27th as a new standalone feature, as part of iTunes Extras, or in a bundle with the original film depending on the digital retailer platform.

ElfBuddy’s Sing & Cheer Along Edition will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

THE EQUALIZER 2 on 11/13 and 4K, Blu-ray & 12/11

http://www.sonypictures.com/
Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (Best Supporting Actor, Glory, 1989; Best Actor, Training Day, 2001) returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career when the gritty, pulse-pounding thriller THE EQUALIZER 2 hits digital November 13 and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD December 11 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Reunited with Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Washington is Robert McCall, who serves unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will his no-holds-barred vengeance go when the victim is someone he loves? THE EQUALIZER 2 also stars Pedro Pascal (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) with Bill Pullman (Independence Day) and Oscar winner Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress, The Fighter, 2010).

The digital & Blu-ray releases of THE EQUALIZER 2 are loaded with over an hour of action-packed bonus features, including “Retribution Mode,” deleted and extended scenes, The Equalizer 2 pop up trivia track and a behind-the-scenes featurette. “Retribution Mode,” the follow-up to The Equalizer’s “Vengeance Mode,” allows fans to watch the film with Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua as they take fans through the making of their favorite adrenaline-filled action scenes with exclusive in-depth and personal conversations.  In the featurette “Denzel as McCall: Round Two,” Denzel Washington describes his return as Robert McCall and why this continued story was so important for him to tell.

October 14, 2018

Good Vibes from BAD RONALD

https://www.wbshop.com/collections/warner-archive
Starring Scott Jacoby, Kim Hunter, Pippa Scott, Dabney Coleman, John Larch. Directed by Buzz Kulik. (1974/74 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Fluffy the Fearless😼

I have fond memories of the ABC Movie of the Week, which used to air on Tuesdays back in the early 1970s. This anthology series consisted of modestly-budgeted made-for-TV movies from a variety of genres. Not a lot of them were memorable, but some served as pilots for popular television shows and a few - such as Duel and Brian's Song - were as good as anything playing in theaters.

Some of the horror-based episodes, such as Trilogy of Terror and The Night Stalker, have since become cult classics among those who grew up on them. Watching these movies on a flickering, hand-me-down black & white TV was my first real introduction to horror, as it probably was for a lot of children of the 70s.

Bad Ronald is not as revered as those aforementioned titles, but like Killdozer, enough of a cult item to at-least inspire a band name. I vividly remember being disturbed by the concept: Teenage misfit Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) accidentally kills a taunting peer. His overprotective mother (Kim Hunter) comes up with an idea to keep him in a hidden room so no one can find him, telling the police he ran away. After she dies, Ronald remains in the house, staying hidden from the new owners, a family with three daughters, one whom he begins to obsess over.

Snickers satisfies.
Revisiting it with adult eyes - I think this is the first time I've ever actually watched it in color - Bad Ronald is more quaint and campy then it was all those years ago, playing more like the type of lurid quickie William Castle used to crank out a decade earlier. Still, the story remains kind-of fun, bolstered by tight storytelling and Jacoby's wonderfully creepy performance. Whatever happened to him, anyway?

Aesthetically, Bad Ronald is pretty dated and probably lost all its power to scare audiences a long time ago. But anyone who grew up on this stuff will certainly find it an amusing trip down memory lane. And with a great Blu-ray transfer, the movie didn't look this good even during its original broadcast.

KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...A FUN NOSTALGIA TRIP

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: An MCU Power Ballad

https://movies.disney.com/watch-at-home
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, T.I., Judy Greer, David Dastmalchin, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, Abby Ryder Forston. Directed by Peyton Reed. (2018/118 min). 

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM
DISNEY / MARVEL

Review by Stinky the Destroyer😸

When heavy metal was at the height of its popularity, most bands could be counted-on to include at least one power ballad on each album, a relatively quiet song that was seldom the best tune on the record, but got the most radio airplay and had fans whipping out their lighters during a concert.

The power ballad also served an important aesthetic purpose, offering a brief respite from the sonic fury of the rest of the album. For example, smack-dab in the middle of Metallica's Ride the Lightning is a song called "Fade to Black." While still heavier than anything Poison ever recorded, it was sort of a breather from the constant speed and intensity of the surrounding songs.

As films in the MCU grow longer, louder and increasingly epic, the Ant-Man films are sort-of like Marvel's power ballads. The second film, Ant-Man and the Wasp, is more tied to the MCU story arc than the first, but steadfastly maintains the same light, breezy and humorous tone, another welcome break from the serious implications and apocalyptic battle royals where the fate of the world is at stake.

"Guys...I gotta make a stop."
Not that it skimps on spectacle. As power ballads go, Ant-Man and the Wasp is still more Metallica than Poison. But the stakes are more personal, the characters more grounded and realistically flawed. One thing I appreciate about Paul Rudd's amusing take on the title character is that he screws up as often as he succeeds, and most of the supporting characters (Evangeline Lilly as Hope/Wasp in particular) are just as integral to the plot. Most distinctively, the action & visuals are as humorous as they are eye-popping (you haven't lived until you've seen a giant Pez dispenser take-out a henchman).

Other than an ominous MCU-related coda during the end credits, Ant-Man and the Wasp, while not strictly mining for laughs, is never overly serious. It's even shorter than other recent Marvel movies, never outstaying its welcome. Like heavy metal power ballads, the film may not be among the most essential entries in the franchise, but like the first Ant-Man, it's a welcome change of pace. Even fanboys need an occasional breather.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES - "Back in the Ant Suit: Scott Lang"; "A Suit of Her Own: The Wasp"; "Subatomic Super Heroes: Hank & Janet" (These three feature the cast & director talk about the main characters and the actors who played them); "Quantum Perspective"
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Director Peyton Reed
GAG REEL
OUTTAKES - The outtakes feature Stan Lee and comedian Tim Heidecker, who isn't funny
2 DELETED SCENES
DIGITAL COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS

October 12, 2018

THE OFFICIAL STORY: A Devastating Dilemma

http://cohenmedia.net/
Starring Norma Aleandro, Hector Alterio, Chunchuna Villafane, Chela Ruiz, Hugo Arana, Analia Castro, Guillermo Battaglia. Directed by Luis Puenzo. (1985/115 min). 

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM
COHEN MEDIA GROUP

Review by Fluffy the Fearless🙀

Imagine being unable to have children of your own, so you adopt a baby. For five years, you love, spoil and protect her like any good parent would. For all intents and purposes, she's yours and you never questioned the legitimacy of the adoption. Now imagine coming upon the slow realization that the girl's birth mother may not have given her up willingly, perhaps even murdered after the child was taken away. As a mother, how far would you go to learn the truth? Would you even want to know the truth?

That's the harrowing quandary presented by The Official Story, which won the 1985 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won or was nominated for a slew of other awards, all listed prior to the opening titles of this restoration from Cohen Media Group.

It's 1983, near the end of Argentina's military dictatorship. The country is essentially divided between elitists who support the regime, and liberal protesters, many of whom suspect the government has tortured and murdered thousands that were deemed subversive. Alicia (Norma Aleandro) leads a seemingly idyllic life, married to government official Roberto (Hector Alterio) while teaching history at the local high school. Together, they spoil their adopted daughter, Gaby.

That begins to change when an old friend, Ana (Chunchuna Villafane), returns from exile, who horrifies Alicia with stories of being tortured because she was living with a subversive, as well as other women whose babies were taken and sold to wealthy couples. Alicia asks Roberto for details about their own adoption, but he's dismissive of her concerns. Meanwhile, some of the more rebellious students and staff at school have her questioning not only possible government atrocities, but Roberto's involvement in them. Later, while searching for birth records, she meets Sara, who reveals her own daughter was kidnapped and Gaby may very well be her granddaughter. A scene where she shows Alicia her only remaining family photos is truly heartbreaking (for Alicia and the audience).

"I can't read this...it's written in IKEA."
The Official Story is a slow-burning film that's part family drama, part social commentary, part political thriller. Raising questions that neither we nor Alicia necessarily want answers to, the film grows increasingly unnerving, culminating in a devastating final act. We find ourselves questioning what we would do in the same situation, especially since the ramifications of learning the truth are potentially life-altering. Perfect performances by Aleandro and Alterio underscore the tragic effects on their marriage as it threatens to disintegrate.

While never overtly disturbing or suspenseful in the traditional sense - the film is pretty slow-going at times - it's ultimately engaging because the viewer can't help but put themselves in Alicia's shoes. The empathy we've developed for her renders the climax and resolution particularly distressing.

Considering some current events that have caused similar societal divisions in the United States, The Official Story might be more timely than we'd like to think. Not a cheery thought, but this isn't a film intended to entertain. It's barely-disguised commentary masquerading as a personal drama. By bringing the effects of atrocity to a home that one thinks would be unscathed by it, we ultimately realize none of us are immune.

EXTRA KIBBLES
4-PART INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR LUIS PUENZO
FEATURETTE - On the film's restoration process.
2018 RE-RELEASE TRAILER
KITTY CONSENSUS:
TRAGIC & TIMELY

October 11, 2018

ZOMBIE 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Coming 11/27

Just in time for its 40th Anniversary, Blue Underground is proud to present ZOMBIE in a brand-new 4K Restoration from the original uncut and uncensored camera negative. 

In Italy, it was considered the 'unofficial sequel' to DAWN OF THE DEAD. In England, it was known as ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and banned as obscene. In America, it was called ZOMBIE and advertised with the depraved tag line "WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU!" 

Tisa Farrow (THE GRIM REAPER), Ian McCulloch (CONTAMINATION), Al Cliver (CANNIBALS), and Richard Johnson (THE HAUNTING) star in this worldwide splatter sensation directed by 'Maestro Of Gore' Lucio Fulci (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY) that remains one of the most eye-skewering, skin-ripping, gore-gushingly graphic horror hits of all time.

This is a ZOMBIE release like never seen it before, bursting at the seams with hours of new and archival extras. It includes the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Fabio Frizzi (with an exclusive bonus track), a collectible booklet with a new essay by Stephen Thrower, and a ton of other killer bonus features.

October 10, 2018

THE CYCLOPS and the Notorious B.I.G.

https://www.wbshop.com/collections/warner-archive
Starring James Craig, Gloria Talbott, Tom Drake, Duncan Parkin and Lon Chaney Jr. as the Hammered Horror Has-been. Directed Bert I. Gordon. (1957/66 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

Bert I. Gordon may not have been what many would consider a great filmmaker, nor did he ever graduate from the type of B-movie drive-in fodder of which he was synonymous. But I'd be willing to bet the man had more fun making his movies than the typical auteur.

Gordon's heyday was during the 1950, cranking out budget-conscious sci-fi/horror flicks with concepts indicative of his initials. He directed, wrote, produced and even created a lot of his own special effects. One of his earliest efforts, The Cyclops, established a style and work ethic that he'd more-or-less adhere to throughout his career. From a visual effects standpoint, there's little to differentiate this one from his final film of behemoth beasts, 1977's Empire of the Ants.

One-too-many tanning sessions.
As no-frills fear-fests go, The Cyclops is enjoyable and amusing, often at its own expense. Susan Winter (Gloria Talbott) puts together a small group to search for her husband, Bruce, whose plane disappeared in an irradiated region of desert a few years earlier. Of course, they run into a variety of equally-irradiated critters the size of city buses. Poor Bruce is out there, too, now a disfigured, one-eyed giant running around in a loincloth.

Marty detects a road apple.
The visuals probably weren't convincing even in the 50s, but they serve what little plot there is just fine. But the best part of the film involves no special effects at all: Lon Chaney as Marty, a greedy prospector in search of uranium who basically exists to repeatedly put everyone's lives in jeopardy. At one point, his character punches their charter pilot during the flight, knocking him out and nearly causing the plane to crash. In the very next scene, everyone - including the pilot - acts as though nothing happened. Ya gotta love that.

While it's doubtful anybody would mistake The Cyclops for a good movie, one has to appreciate what the notorious Bert I. Gordon and friends were able to do with such a tiny budget while still putting-up with Chaney, who was allegedly drunk most of the time. Every mini-mogul had to start somewhere, and it was ultimately this tacky treat which led to bigger things (no pun intended), like Beginning of the End, The Amazing Colossal Man and Gordon's groovy Gortner-fest, The Food of the Gods.

This Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection is sadly lacking in bonus features, but the film itself has been given a great Blu-ray transfer.

KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD. LIKE CAT CHOW.