November 21, 2018

1,000,000 VISITS!

FREE KITTENS MOVIE GUIDE has now accumulated over ONE MILLION visits! Naturally, we're purring and making biscuits right now. Whether you're a frequent or  first time visitor, thanks to everyone who has stopped by (tell your litter-mates!). We'd also like to express our appreciation to the studios, PR groups and friends we've worked with over the years to bring you reviews, news, contests and insights on the movies. ONWARD..!

November 20, 2018

THE POOP SCOOP (Nov. 20) - HALLOWEEN & BAD TIMES are Coming

The Poop Scoop features news and press releases related to upcoming movies, Blu-rays & DVDs and anything else film-related that makes us purr. For more information, feel free to e-mail us at freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvERIvbV0qg
VIEW A DELETED SCENE
Jamie Lee Curtis Stars in Halloween, Available Digital 12/28 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD 1/15 from Universal.

The infamous killer Michael Myers strikes again in Halloween, arriving on Digital and via the digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on December 28, 2018, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on January 15, 2019. Hailed by critics as “a near perfect blend of craft, character growth and nostalgia” (Perri Nemiroff, Collider), Halloween takes place four decades after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween Franchise, “Scream Queens”) narrowly escaped the masked Michael Myers’ brutal killing spree. Packed with bonus features including chilling deleted and extended scenes as well as special featurettes showing behind the scenes looks at creating the film, Halloween delivers spine-chilling, hair-raising intensity and thrills to both new and repeat viewers.
 
Bad Times at the El Royale Arrives on Digital 12/18 and on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD 1/1 from 20th Century Fox.

Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm and Chris Hemsworth lead an all-star cast in this powerful thriller filled with gripping suspense and startling revelations. Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption…before everything goes to hell.

November 19, 2018

THE POOP SCOOP (Nov. 19): Noteworthy Upcoming Blu-ray Releases

The Poop Scoop features news and press releases related to upcoming movies, Blu-rays & DVDs and anything else film-related that makes us purr. For more information, feel free to e-mail us at freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com.
https://youtu.be/F3nHEOXoh7c
VIEW THE TRAILER
Maniac Limited Edition - New 4K Restoration Coming 12/11 from Blue Underground.
Exclusive Limited Collector's Edition includes 2 Blu-rays, Soundtrack CD, collectible booklet, and a ton of extras. Directed by William Lustig (MANIAC COP 2, VIGILANTE) and featuring landmark gore effects by Tom Savini (DAWN OF THE DEAD, FRIDAY THE 13TH), this relentlessly shocking and disturbing film was originally banned or censored all over the world due to its graphic violence. Now Blue Underground is thrilled to present MANIAC in a brand-new 4K Restoration from its recently discovered 16mm original camera negative, overflowing with hours of new and archival extras!

http://uni.pictures/HouseWithAClockTrailer
VIEW THE TRAILER
The House With a Clock in Its Walls Arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD 12/18 from Universal Pictures.
Enjoy the delightfully thrilling tale of a mysterious house where things, including the inhabitants, are not what they seem to be. The House With a Clock in its Walls arrives on Digital and via the digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on November 27, 2018, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on December 18, 2018. Based on the classic children’s book and praised as “creaky, freaky haunted-mansion fun” (LA Times), The House With a Clock in its Walls features over 60 minutes of bonus content including an alternate beginning and ending, stunning featurettes, deleted scenes, a hilarious gag reel, and feature commentary. Enchanting from start to finish, it’s the perfect adventure for families during the holidays.

http://www.sonypictures.com
VISIT SONY PICTURES
THE EQUALIZER 2 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD 12/11 from Sony Pictures
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.

Red vs Blue: The Shisno Paradox on DVD & Blu-Ray January 1, 2019.
Sixteen seasons in, the series has continued to reinvent itself and find ways to appeal to old and new fans alike, and The Shisno Paradox marks yet another fantastic addition to the Red vs. Blue canon. The home release of Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Paradox is a must-own piece of pop culture for fanboys and fangirls everywhere, and the perfect gift for them this holiday season.

November 18, 2018

Revisiting THE DEER HUNTER

Starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza. Directed by Michael Cimino. (1978/183 min). 

Essay by D.M. ANDERSON

The first time I saw The Deer Hunter, my only takeaway was that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must have lost their collective minds. This was the worst excuse for an Oscar winning movie I'd ever seen. Excruciatingly long and oppressively ponderous, it was hardly worth the effort just to catch the notorious Russian Roulette scene. Of course, I was much younger back then, naively expecting another Apocalypse Now, which epitomized the modern war film for me (or anti-war film, since only an asshole would ever dream of glorifying Vietnam).
 
Recently revisiting The Deer Hunter for the first time in at least three decades, it's hard to believe I once hated it. Sure, it's no Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket, which I still think are more entertaining (though my appreciation for both has diminished over the years). But The Deer Hunter isn't nearly as cynical, and now that I'm older and wiser, I also realize it isn't really a war movie at all. 
 
It’s equally hard to believe the film once stirred so much controversy for its alleged racist underpinnings, mostly leveled by those who accused the movie of stereotyping the North Vietnamese. Of course, Vietnam was still a hot-button issue at the time, but when you look at The Deer Hunter now, even the biggest soundbite junkie who ever walked the Earth might need to concede it was never about Vietnam. The backdrop could have been any war, a mere clothesline on which to hang themes of loyalty, friendship and promises kept under extreme duress.

I'm also reminded it’s possible for a director to shoot his entire creative wad with a single movie. Director Michael Cimino never came close to making another good film after this. Sure, Heaven's Gate has enjoyed some critical reassessment over the years, but I still think it's a pretentious dumpster fire. This raises the question of whether the success of The Deer Hunter is due to his directorial skill or the cast & crew he managed to assemble around him (sort of making him a cinematic Ozzy Osbourne). That’s a much more compelling topic of continuing debate than the so-called political agenda that raged all those years ago.

Christopher Walken...available for parties.
We all know about the infamous Russian Roulette scene (still unnerving after all these years) and I’ll try not to dwell on it since that horse has been beaten to death. The fact that very little of the film actually takes place in ‘Nam is evidence enough that The Deer Hunter has more to say about the human condition and the nature of friendship than the war itself. We spend over an hour getting to know the main characters (Robert DeNiro, John Savage, Christopher Walken & John Cazale) living their deceptively mundane, blue-collar lives before any of them are put in harm’s way, not so their fates have more dramatic impact, but because the movie is about their relationships to each other. We quickly identify with the bond between Mike (DeNiro) & Nick (Walken) - the crux of the film - and the promise Mike makes not to leave Nick behind should things turn out for the worst in Vietnam. 

Of course, things do turn out for the worst, but not in the way anyone (including the audience) expects. The movie is also deceptively (intentionally?) boring at times in its depiction of the everyday lives of these guys, laying the groundwork for a third act that is emotionally devastating. We see these guys' perception of the world ripped away, replaced by an unparalleled exposure to apathy and violence that soon becomes as routine as putting your shoes on in the morning, followed by the unreasonable expectation that you can simply return to your previous life when it’s all over. Yet loyalty & friendship overcomes that. These characters are flawed, occasionally unlikable & selfish. In the end, however, they display qualities we typically cherish most. Despite its somber tone and superficial cynicism, The Deer Hunter might be one of the more optimistic movies ever made about war's effect on the human psyche.  

"Ahh! Something touched my leg!"
The story is presented unconventionally, a major reason I originally found it off-putting. This is the first time I noticed how much of the story is told without exposition or ‘thoughtful’ dialogue...most of the script consists of seemingly meaningless banter and small talk, or in the case of the Russian Roulette scene, adrenaline-fueled desperation. In fact, the theme of the entire film can effectively be summed up in two lines of drunken dialogue between Mike and Nick, when one makes a off-handed promise to another. The relatively serene hunting sequence speaks more about these guys than pages of words could.

The Deer Hunter is also a technical marvel, and this is where one may question the presumed ‘genius’ which briefly earned Cimino carte blanche in Hollywood. Yes, he deserved to be at-least nominated for Best Director Oscar that year, but could he have done it without the cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond, whose camera is practically another character, or Peter Zinner’s editing? Then there’s the stellar cast, whose characters would have drowned in a sea of cliches in lesser hands. Cimino would never have this level of collective talent at his disposal in his later pictures. The Deer Hunter is the working definition of an ensemble film on both sides of the camera. 


Most importantly - what a lot of detractors fail to notice - the movie is not a statement. It has no agenda, no politics and makes no claims of historical accuracy. The Vietcong are simply a plot device to effect change in the main characters (they are evil, but not because they are Vietnamese). In fact, The Deer Hunter may be the only major Hollywood film ever made about Vietnam that never questions whether or not America should have gotten involved. Ultimately, the movie doesn’t give a damn about the war. 

The Deer Hunter is an epic character portrait - though still way too long - about how people emerge from traumatic events forever changed. With hindsight, it probably did deserve to win the Best Picture Oscar in 1978, one of the few times I’ve ever changed my mind over the Academy’s decision.

November 17, 2018

LUCIFERINA: Bumpin' Uglies with Ol' Scratch

http://www.artsploitationfilms.com/film/luciferina/
Starring Sofia Del Tuffo, Pedro Merlo, Malena Sanchez, Francisco Donovan, Stefania Koessl, Marta Lubos. Directed by Gonzalo Calzada. (2018/114 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

"Seek the devil, and he will come," reads the tagline of this Argentine horror film. After seeing Luciferina, those words could be considered a double entendre.

One thing is certain: the climax - no pun intended - gets points for audacity. Thank God Father Merrin never attempted to vanquish demons through sexual healing, because...yecch. Without giving too much away, the gonzo final act of Luciferina is definitely memorable, though not necessarily for the reasons writer-director Gonzalo Calzada intended.

Until then, the film struggles to find consistent narrative footing. Natalia (Sofia Del Tuffo) is a young nun who returns home after her mother dies. Dad is severely injured and bedridden, while semi-estranged sister Angela (Malena Sanchez) is about to venture into the jungle with abusive boyfriend Mauro (Francisco Sanchez) and some college buddies, where they plan on cleansing their souls with a local shaman. The rite involves drinking a hallucinogen taken from a mysterious plant, and Natalia reluctantly tags along.

Lucifer's llama.
Instead, one of the kids, Abel (Pedro Merlo) becomes possessed by Satan and violently kills everyone but Natalia, who's no ordinary nun. She is sort-of clairvoyant at times and can occasionally see a glowing aura around certain people. But aside from providing some surreal sequences, her gifts don't really figure into the plot, which is part of the problem. Luciferia is filled with some wonderfully dreamlike moments, but seem to exist for their own sake. The story is all over the place and often perplexing, at least until it's made clear how the evil must be defeated.

"Can't we just play some Twister?"
It's at this point that we're pretty sure the film exists solely for its sexually-charged climax, which is explicit, lengthy and, I have to say, often unintentionally funny. Still, it's lively and certainly something you don't see in a typical possession film. One only wishes the film had enough tricks up its sleeve to make the proceeding 90 minutes more than run-of-the-mill horror. As it is, our interest in the convoluted story ebbs and flows. There's a flashback birth scene that's pretty disturbing and a few fairly graphic deaths. On the other hand, there's a lot exposition that doesn't always make much sense and, aside from Natalia, we've seen most of these characters in countless other horror films. Exactly what is it about college students stuck in the middle of nowhere that filmmakers continue to find so fascinating?

While well made and certainly watchable, Luciferina is ultimately less than the sum of its parts. There are some effectively chilling moments and haunting imagery leading up to its bonkers climax, but from a narrative standpoint, the dots aren't connected as well as they should be.

EXTRA KIBBLES
TRAILER
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD. LIKE CAT CHOW.

November 16, 2018

MARY PICKFORD Comes Home

https://www.flickeralley.com/  https://www.flickeralley.com/

LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY
Starring Mark Pickford, William Haines, Walter James, Gordon Griffith, Carlo Shipa, Spec O'Donnall, Vota Vale. Directed by William Beaudine. (1925/94 min).
FANCHON THE CRICKET
Starring Mary Pickford, Jack Standing, Lottie Pickford, Gertrude Norman, Russell Bassett, Jack Pickford, Milton Berle (supposedly). Directed by James Kirkwood. (1915/94 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Mr. Paws😸

According to the press release, these two films are the first of several restored Mary Pickford films Flicker Alley plans to bring home on Blu-Ray. One is far more entertaining than the other, but from a historical standpoint, both are worth checking out and the transfers are outstanding.

LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY: PURR-R-R
Of the two, Little Annie Rooney is definitely the keeper. Pickford plays the titular character, a scrappy 12-year-old (though she was in her 30s at the time) who frequently brawls with the other boys in the Irish slums of New York. The film is, by turns, funny, silly, charming, tragic and ultimately poignant. Having never actually seen a Mary Pickford film until now, I was thoroughly impressed with her emotionally complex performance, especially considering the narrative limitations of silent films. The same can be said for the rest of the cast. Though we seldom know what most characters are saying, the story is consistently engaging, helped immensely by a newly-commissioned music score by Andy Gladbach

"...and I'll kill you last."
FANCHON THE CRICKET: MEH.
Fanchon the Cricket is far less engaging. While visually impressive, there's little characterization and the story itself is too slight to justify a feature length film. There are long stretches with characters dancing, frolicking, chasing and bickering. Since this one has even fewer title cards than Little Annie Rooney, we seldom know specifically what everyone is squabbling about. In fact, it's a long time before anything resembling a plot reveals itself: Pickford plays a local young outcast who lives with her grandmother, whom everyone in the nearby village thinks is a witch. Things get complicated when she falls for a local boy who's already engaged. During the duller stretches - and there's a lot of 'em - I found myself trying keep a sharp eye out for Milton Berle, who was seven at the time and supposedly appeared in the film. I never spotted him, though.

It goes without saying every self-respecting cinephile should check out at least one Mary Pickford film before they die. After all, she was the era's biggest movie star. Of these two initial Blu-ray releases, Little Annie Rooney best showcases her talent, while Fanchon the Cricket is too shapeless to leave any kind of impression.

EXTRA KIBBLES
DVD COPY (Both Films)
23 PAGE BOOKLET (Both Films)
LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY also includes a brief featurette in which musician Andy Gladbach (who looks about 12) discusses the challenge of creating new music for a century old film.

Rest in Peace, William Goldman

November 13, 2018

THE POOP SCOOP: Noteworthy Upcoming Blu-ray Releases

The Poop Scoop features news and press releases related to upcoming movies, Blu-rays & DVDs and anything else film-related that makes us purr. For more information, feel free to e-mail us at freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com.
 
HELL FEST ON DIGITAL 12/28 AND ON 4K ULTRA HD COMBO PACK, BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, AND DVD ON 1/8/19 FROM LIONSGATE

A group of friends are bound for a horror-themed Halloween event at a local amusement park — a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. But for one visitor, the ghoulish carnival of nightmares is not the attraction — it is a hunting ground. On the night the friends attend, a masked serial killer turns the amusement park into his own playground, terrorizing attendees while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show. As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowd continues to rise, who will fight to survive the night?

http://uni.pictures/NightSchoolTrailer
VIEW THE TRAILER
NIGHT SCHOOL ON DIGITAL 12/11, ON DEMAND 12/28, 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY & DVD 1/1, 2019 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Successful salesman Teddy Walker’s (Kevin Hart, Jumanji, Ride Along 1 & 2) life turns around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, Teddy soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for grown up class clowns named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip, Uncle Drew) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal Stewart (Taran Killam, Killing Gunther, Ted 2) who will strive to make sure he fails the course. With every rule in the book about to be broken, Teddy and his new friends find themselves in a battle of pranks and wit that you can’t simply learn in the classroom.

http://www.sonypictures.com
WHITE BOY RICK ON DIGITAL 12/11, COMING TO BLU-RAY & DVD 12/25 FROM SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
 

Enter the corrupt world of 1980s Detroit at the height of the War on Drugs in the compelling father-son story, WHITE BOY RICK, debuting on Digital and available via the Movies Anywhere App. on December 11 and on Blu-ray and DVD December 25 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Based on true events, WHITE BOY RICK tells the moving story of a blue-collar father, played by Academy Award® winner Matthew McConaughey (2013, Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club,) and his teenage son, played by newcomer Richie Merritt. Fifteen-year-old Rick Wershe Jr., dubbed “White Boy Rick”, becomes the youngest FBI informant in history, and later a drug dealer, manipulated by the very system meant to protect him, abandoned by his FBI handlers, and sentenced to life in prison.

THE PREDATOR ON DIGITAL, 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY AND DVD DECEMBER 18 FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT

The hunt has evolved – and so has the explosive action – in the next chapter of the Predator series, from director Shane Black (Iron Man 3). Now, the most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before….and only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.
With the special edition Predator 4-Movie Collection, fans can experience four times the terror with a killer collection of action-packed Predator movies, plus four collector cards of the original film poster re-issue with some of the franchises most iconic quotes on the back. In Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger wages an all-out war against an extraterrestrial that hunts humans for sport. Then in Predator 2, Danny Glover battles the fearsome creature in the urban jungle of Los Angeles. In Predators Adrien Brody leads a group of elite warriors on an alien planet targeted by a new Predator breed. Finally, in The Predator, Boyd Holbrook discovers that the most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever.


November 12, 2018

THE EXORCIST - LIMITED EDITION SOUNDTRACK Brings the Noise

http://www.perseverancerecords.com/
Featuring Mike Oldfield, Jack Nitzsche, Anton Webern and others. (2018/45 min). 

AVAILABLE ON CD FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

I should start by stating that The Exorcist is, in my opinion, the greatest horror film ever made. Everything about it is note-perfect, including the music, which only serves enhance the eerie atmosphere and slow-burning dread.

That being said, as an isolated listening experience, that same music leave a lot to be desired. Placed front, center and out of context, many tracks are just shapeless atonal noise, featuring screeching strings, weird sound effects and abrasive percussion. The longer tracks - some of which run ten minutes long - are the worst offenders.

Worse yet, the volume leveling is all over the place. Case-in-point, the first track, "Iraq," begins ominously before pointlessly tacking on the audio clip from that scene, at a jarringly higher volume. Other tracks have long segments which are barely audible. The most iconic piece, the piano segment from Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," takes a full minute to fade in. The original tune didn't do that, nor is it presented that way in the movie. Anyone considering picking up the disc for that track alone should seek out Oldfield's album instead.

As effective as it is in The Exorcist, some soundtracks simply don't lend themselves to casual listening. This limited edition re-release might be of interest to collectors, but others are better off enjoying the music where it was meant to be heard.

KITTY CONSENSUS:
MEH.

Rest in Peace, Stan Lee