August 31, 2015

ROCK THE KASBAH Starring Bill Murray – Official Trailer Has Arrived

The OFFICIAL TRAILER for Bill Murray’s upcoming film, ROCK THE KASBAH, has been released!

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock the Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson. Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s  version of “American Idol.”  Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) and a hair-trigger mercenary (Bruce Willis) and, braving dangerous cultural prejudices, manages his new protégée into becoming the “Afghan Star.” ROCK THE KASBAH hits theaters everywhere October 23rd. 

August 30, 2015

Rest in Peace, Wes Craven

Wes Craven (1939-2015)

Blu-Ray Review: FURIOUS 7

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (RIP), Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel. Directed by James Wan. (2015, 138 min/140 min [Extended Cut]).

Early in Furious 7, Brian (Paul Walker) makes a fleeting comment to his toy-tossing young son that cars don't fly, which may be the most obvious piece of foreshadowing in movie history. Anyone even remotely familiar with this franchise knows such a statement will indeed be put to the test - probably multiple times. In that respect, Furious 7 does not disappoint. More, more, more is the mission statement here...more cars, more stars, more action, more destruction, more gravity-defying motorporn. I'm convinced The Fast and the Furious franchise will only end once we've seen Vin Diesel hit the nitrous and launch his beloved Challenger into a low-Earth orbit.

If you aren't already along for the ride, Furious 7 is probably bad place to jump in. First of all, even though the series was never strongly rooted in reality, it took several installments to reach the deliriously over-the-top heights its core audience (and critics) have grown to love. To join the club now would likely have newcomers lamenting the sad state of modern blockbusters, never realizing the series earned its right to be ridiculous. Second, Furious 7 is arguably the first direct sequel in the franchise and presumes its audience has seen Fast and Furious 6. This time, super-assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is seeking revenge on the team who injured his brother in Part 6. After Deckard kills Han, sends Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to the hospital and blows up Dom’s house, the team is coerced out of ‘retirement’ by the government, led by “Mr. Nobody” (Kurt Russell). They want the team to rescue a computer hacker (who created a surveillance program called “God’s Eye,” which can instantly locate anyone in the world) from a band of mercenaries led by Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). In return, the team can use God’s Eye to find Deckard. I’m not sure why the team would even need God’s Eye, since Deckard is chasing them all over the world anyway.

This fight for the last parking space is officially a draw.

But we aren’t supposed to ask such questions. Nor should we question the need to airdrop various hotrods from a cargo plane so Brian, Dom and company can chase Jakande’s convoy when simply following them on the same road would have been easier. It also goes without saying we shouldn’t scrutinize the logistics of a sports car leaping from one skyscraper to another...then another. That would suck the fun from some of the film’s biggest action set-pieces. Fans of the series would never do that; they’ve been conditioned to expect - and appreciate - each film’s effort to top the previous one and simply enjoy the spectacle, logic be damned.

As such, the more ludicrous aspects of Furious 7 are also what makes it a hell of a lot of fun. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Johnson - bedridden throughout most of the film - leap back into action just days after breaking several bones. With the flex of a bicep, the cast on his arm crumbles away, and his armor & gear are at-the-ready in his hospital room. Since the scene is so knowingly over-the-top, you gotta admire this movie’s single minded drive to entertain at all costs.

It also helps that we generally like this ever-growing cast of characters. They may not be too complex, but at this point, seeing them again is like a visit from old friends (probably the ones we partied with in college). This adds additional emotional impact to the resolution, which provides a surprisingly poignant and poetic farewell to the late Paul Walker and his character. Without revealing anything specific, if you’re a longtime fan of the franchise, have a box of tissues handy.

Though an eighth film has already been announced, I have to believe even some die-hard fans might agree Furious 7 is the perfect conclusion to a hugely successful series of movies. Short of launching the cast and their cars into space, it’s hard to imagine topping this one’s massive action and destruction. That argument set aside, Furious 7 is yet-another consistently fun entry in a franchise most of us assumed would have petered out four films ago.


  • Numerous Featurettes: ""The Cars of Furious"; "Flying Cars"; "Tower Jumps"; "Inside the Fight"; "Talking Fast"; "Back to the Starting Line"; "Race Wars"; "Snatch and Grab" (many of these features include extensive behind-the-scenes footage of some of the more spectacular set-pieces)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Cut of the Film
  • Music Video
  • DVD & Digital copies


August 28, 2015

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and the Nasty Monkey Business

Starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Gabrielle Ferzetti, Woody Strode, Jack Elam. Directed by Sergio Leone. (1968, 165 min).

Essay by D.M. ANDERSON
As beloved animals go, I'm not a big fan of monkeys. In fact, they kind of creep me out.

I know a lot of folks think they're endearing because they resemble hairy little people when trained to ride a tricycle or water-ski. Maybe we're charmed by these critters because of an overall sense of evolutionary superiority and watching these primate cousins imitate our behavior is inherently cute or, in the case of most movies featuring monkeys (with the possible exception of Outbreak), a comedic trope as tired as fart jokes in an Adam Sandler film.

I never thought there was anything cute or funny about monkeys just because they superficially resemble us. After all, one of my late uncles looked and walked like a monkey with slightly less body hair, but no one ever thought he was adorable when attempting to water-ski (it was actually kind of sad). Furthermore, my aversion to primate charm probably goes a bit deeper than some monkey fans because I've personally witnessed another grotesque similarity we share with our biological brethren.

Several years ago, I went to the Oregon Zoo with my wife, parents and sister, the latter being 25 at the time. I'd visited the zoo many times before, and my least favorite exhibit was always the primate house because these critters were too much like us to be truly interesting. Personally, I always preferred the penguin house because, even though the stench of bird shit and dead fish was gag-inducing, these little beasties were adorably alien to anything resembling bird or man.

Anyway, in the primate house, as everyone watched in relative amusement from behind the glass at a rather large monkey perched upon a fake tree branch, this animal suddenly fixated on my sister, unblinking and motionless, apparently in awe of her. Then, never breaking eye contact, he reached between his legs, grabbed his monkey junk and commenced furiously masturbating.

Everyone laughed and my sister was suitably embarrassed, but my eyes burned with the knowledge that I'd never be able to unsee this horrific act of interspecies lust. The little beast was jerking off in plain view of children and families, something I hadn't seen since the last college party I attended, and at least that guy had the excuse of previously slamming back an entire bottle of Peach Schnapps.

The discovery that monkeys enjoyed bopping-the-baloney shed a dark light upon their species from my perspective. They were hairy little perverts and I'd never be able to look at them the same way again. Think about that if you ever happen to be in the jungle. The trees above could be teaming with masturbating monkeys and those sticky droplets landing on your face and arms may not necessarily be morning dew.

Tom Joad gone bad.

I felt the same way after seeing Henry Fonda's performance as Frank, the cold-blooded villain in Once Upon a Time in the West, one of director Sergio Leone's greatest westerns. Though he doesn't pull out Henry Jr. to yank-away in the presence of Claudia Cardinale (though I might have), he still participates in a fairly disturbing sex scene with her. In fact, everything Frank does is disturbing.

As a gunfighter hired by a ruthless railroad magnate to clear the land of those standing in the way of progress, Frank not only kills entire families, he appears to really enjoy his job. His steely blue eyes and bemused expression just before unceremoniously shooting a young boy is tough to endure, as is a flashback scene in which we finally learn why our hero, Harmonica (Charles Bronson), has such a vendetta against Frank. In this scene, Frank forces Harmonica to physically support his noose-bound brother on his shoulders until his strength gives out. The entire time, Frank looks like he's actually getting-off on their agony.

But most disturbing is the fact this was Henry-fucking-Fonda blazing this brutal, barbaric, bloody trail. Fonda was always an iconic symbol of undisputed righteousness in such classics as The Grapes of Wrath, Mister Roberts and 12 Angry Men. In terms of good guys, Henry Fonda was Hollywood's poster boy. To suddenly see him not only play a villain, but totally disappear into the role with such perverse intensity, was truly unnerving. Like witnessing that Oregon zoo monkey spank his own monkey, it forever changed how I viewed Fonda. On one hand, it's an extraordinary performance and pretty fucking brave at the time. On the other hand, to witness a beloved American icon so convincingly wallow in depravity would be similar to seeing Debbie Reynolds dominate a lesbian sex scene in a porn film. Our collective jaws drop and we aren't quite sure whether or not we like what we're seeing.

Yeah...I'd have gone the monkey route, too.

The fact that Henry Fonda was perfectly capable of dwelling in darkness for a role was a revelation, ultimately a tribute to his inherent talent. Yet at the same time, I was shocked that this congenial American everyman was able to find something within himself which rendered Frank such an awful, despicable and perverse human being. Put in modern terms, imagine Tom Hanks being cast as a serial rapist and totally nailing the part.

Despite ending his career with a slew of bad disaster movies and roles as cranky old curmudgeons, in Once Upon a Time in the West, Henry Fonda revealed a willingness to explore a dark side we never knew existed, much like that supposedly amusing monkey at the zoo who decided my sister was prime masturbation material. Fonda revealed what he was capable of, something I was never able to completely overcome when watching his later films or revisiting older ones.

August 23, 2015


Starring Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan, Quinn McColgan, Valeria Vereau. Directed by Miguel Angel Vivas. (2015, 113 min).

Nine years after a zombie apocalypse and new ice age have wiped-out most of the human race, two men and a child are doing their best to survive in the small town of Harmony. Patrick (Matthew Fox) and Jack (Jeffrey Donovan) have-since become bitterly estranged, while Jack also struggles with fiercely protecting his daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan), who begins to resent never being allowed to leave the house. Meanwhile, it turns out the zombie hordes did not die off over the years as once assumed. They've evolved to adapt to their frozen environment. Patrick and Jack are then forced to set-aside their animosity in order to defend themselves, and Lu, against this new wave of attacks.

Extinction is one of the more creatively ambitious entries in the continuing onslaught of low budget zombie epics. While no classic, the film is intelligently written, well acted and deliberately paced, with more emphasis on its trio of main characters than artery-spewing mayhem. Of course, that'll turn some genre fans off, and you should look elsewhere if all you want is a gory good time. In fact, there really isn't much action at all during the first half, which mostly focuses on the day-to-day monotony and personal conflicts of these characters in this post-apocalyptic world. Not only that, the film never bothers to explain the origins of the outbreak or subsequent arctic deluge, and only drops a few hints at what caused Patrick & Jack to hate each other in the first place.

The Dude does NOT abide!

But ultimately, such exposition isn't really central to the story. We learn just enough about these characters to accept them as they are, though there is a fairly heart-wrenching plot revelation late in the film which adds some emotional kick to the climax. From a technical standpoint, Extinction benefits from terrific production design and an overall look that borders on surreal. Sure, some of the creature attacks reek of low-rent CGI, but the scenes depicting the snowy landscape are suitably epic and bleak.

Its morose, dead-serious tone and emphasis on characters might initially remind some viewers of AMC's The Walking Dead. Extinction isn't as well-made or compulsively watchable, but still a cut above the usual low-rent gut-munchers that typically pop-up these days. For those who want their brains served-up with some brains, Extinction is worth checking out.

8 Making-of Featurettes (including behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, segments on the production design, special effects and creature make-up)


August 21, 2015


Edited by John Edgar Browning (2012, 192 pp).

This coffee table book is a decade-by-decade collection of various movie posters from around the world, along with occasional promotional stills. From undisputed classics to schlocky cinema to cult treasures and everything in between, there's a lot to admire from a pictorial standpoint.

The text leaves a lot to be desired, however, consisting of numerous personal comments and anecdotes from a variety of writers, most which are more about the movies themselves than the actual artwork (and nothing you haven‘t heard before). Considering it’s an art-based book and some of these posters have become iconic, it would have been more interesting to learn more about those responsible for their creation. Some of the editing is also occasionally boneheaded, such as the entry for Exorcist II: The Heretic, where it appears the author is claiming this putrid sequel “routinely makes people’s scariest-of-all-time lists,” but the write-up itself is obviously intended to accompany the poster for Suspiria on the bottom half of the same page.

Still, this is a colorful, attractive volume with hundreds of pieces of legendary movie-related artwork right up through 2010. It’ll have a lot of nostalgic value for cinephiles who grew up during one of these eras, and serve as a nifty visual history lesson for younger fans. Just ignore the text, since most of it is obviously subjective and serves no real contextual insight.


August 19, 2015


Starring Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs, Lauren Cohen, Chad L. Coleman, Emily Kinney, Sonequa Martin-Green, Lawrence Gilliard Jr, Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt; Seth Gilliam. Various Directors. (2014-15, 710 min).

Even after five seasons, The Walking Dead remains the best series on television. It still manages to find new and imaginative ways to shock, surprise, disturb and sadden viewers throughout its 16 episodes. And binge-watching on Blu-Ray is the best way to take it all in, even if it means forcing yourself to wait an entire year to do it.

This season hits the ground running, picking up right where the last one left off, with most of the cast lured into Terminus, supposedly an idyllic community, but controlled by people who've resorted to cannibalism to survive. While that particular plot thread is wrapped up in the first few (horrific) episodes, Rick Grimes and his group soon deal with other dilemmas, such as a church pastor barely clinging to his sanity, the debated decision to head to Washington D.C. (Eugene claims to be a bio-engineer who can destroy the walkers if they can get there), a hospital holding Beth captive and run by a cop-turned-dictator, and an invite to live in Alexandria, a fortified suburb holding the promise of a new life, free of the daily struggle to stay alive.

Upon hearing one of his captors say, "Bring out the Gimp," Daryl craps himself.

Storywise, Season 5 is big improvement over Season 4, arguably the slowest and most meandering of the entire series. Whereas Season 4 seemed content to let its characters separate, wander and do a ton of soul-searching during the final half-dozen episodes, this year is loaded with more action and more intriguing conflicts, both internal and external. There's no villain as gloriously hateful as The Governor, but Season 5 gives us a few who are pretty despicable in their own right, and one we may actually empathize with on occasion.

As usual, the writing is superlative, especially regarding the characters and how years of fighting for survival has affected them, both positively and negatively. For example, by the time everyone gets the opportunity to take a collective breather in Alexandria, several major characters are simply unable to switch-off the survival mode that’s kept them alive for so long, leading us to wonder if someone like Rick, seemingly the only one who knows the undead aren’t the real monsters, can ever fit-in there.

"I'm just gonna take a little off the top."

As with every other season, compelling new characters are introduced. At the same time, in true Walking Dead tradition, other longtime friends end up dying. As usual, those deaths are always shocking (we almost never see them coming) and occasionally heartbreaking. But the willingness to kill-off major characters has always been one of the more intriguing aspects of the show. Other than Rick Grimes and (maybe) Darryl Dixon, we're never 100% confident of anyone surviving the next episode (not even little Judith).

Most importantly, The Walking Dead continues to be the most compulsively watchable show on TV, an undead soap-opera which allows core characters to continually evolve. Its cinematic production, psychological tension and relentless bleakness put it in a class all by itself, not-to-mention the increasingly creative barrage of unflinching violence (the gag where Daryl uses a rotted walker’s skull as a weapon, its eyes serving as finger-holes, is easily this season’s biggest OMG moment).


  • "Inside the Walking Dead" & "The Making of the Walking Dead" (both consist of individual featurettes for every single episode)
  • Featurettes: "Beth's Journey"; "Noah's Journey"; "Bob's Journey"; "Tyreese's Journey" (you are advised not to watch these until after seeing every episode)
  • Featurettes: "A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz" (Abraham); "A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt" (Eugene); "Rotters in the Flesh"; "The Making of Alexandria"
  • Numerous Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital HD Copy

(or an open skull of brains)

August 17, 2015

PSYCHO (1960) and the Cold Hard Facts

Starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, Janet Leigh. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. (1960, 109 min).

Essay by D.M. ANDERSON
Why, yes, this is yet-another essay about Psycho.

And yes, I’m well aware that any serious cinephile has undoubtedly read countless other essays, analyses, lists and reviews (by more renowned writers than myself) extolling its virtues as Alfred Hitchcock’s crowning achievement, a perfect masterpiece of suspense and technical skill. If not one of the greatest films of all time, Psycho is certainly one of the greatest horror movies, perhaps only rivaled by The Exorcist in terms of influence on the genre.

So I won’t bore you with more heaps of praise you've heard before. Hell, even those who never actually sat down and watched Psycho are at-least familiar with the infamous shower scene. It’s arguably the most imitated and parodied death in movie history.

While it may be considered somewhat blasphemous, I still feel the need to call a wee bit of bullshit on this classic movie, the shower scene in particular. Far be it from me to criticize the master, since I’ll always hold Hitchcock in the highest respect as one of the greatest directors of all time. But after seeing this movie over a dozen times over the years, I find myself wondering if Hitch himself ever actually took a shower.

At this point, it might help to understand my eccentricities. I’ve been a film fanatic as far back as I can remember, an interest which I suppose borders on obsessive. I’ve watched countless movies multiple times (in the case of Jaws, probably over a hundred, since it’s the greatest movie ever made). That being said, sometimes I become a bit too analytical for my own good, obsessing over details the average filmgoer would never think about. No, I don’t sit down to look for mistakes or inconsistencies, nor do I set-out to debunk a movie’s logic or plausibility. If that were the case, Star Wars would be the worst offender of all time. But the more I watch a particular film, the harder it sometimes gets to overlook tiny details.

For example, I love 1973’s sci-fi classic, Westworld, which depicts an adult amusement park where lifelike androids cater to guests’ every whim, until a computer virus turns them homicidal. But the more I watched it, rather than question why these machines would be lethally armed to begin with, I began to wonder whose job it was to actually wipe all the spooge out of the female robots that male tourists are constantly fucking all day. Yeah, I know it’s a minor detail having nothing to do with the story, but it’s become a nagging question which torments me.

Similarly, the shower scene in Psycho leaves me with yet-another vexing problem...

I would never presume to critique the death scene itself. Even today, it’s still scary and you’d be hard-pressed to recall an onscreen murder so equally artistic and unnerving. However, the shower sequence is chilling in more ways than one, hence my problem. After settling into her room at the Bates Motel, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) decides to shower before turning in for the night. She undresses - with ol’ Norm watching, of course - ventures into the bathroom, steps into the tub, pulls the curtain closed and then turns the water on.

Who does that?


Unless your house is equipped with a nuclear-powered microwave water heater, what first-spews from any spigot is downright scrotum-shrinking. Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but don’t most of us let the water run for a few seconds, so when we finally step in we don’t feel like pledges in the Polar Bear Club? I’m pretty sure almost nobody jumps into a shower until that pulsating water is nice and toasty.

Yet Marion simply steps in and blasts that shit right into her face without so much as a flinch, let-alone the breathless “fu-fu-fuc-FUCK!” most of us would manage to wheeze as we pinned ourselves to the shower wall in order to escape the sudden arctic torrent.

Again, who does that? Nobody fucking does, especially at a hotel, arguably the only time you’re encouraged to waste all the water you want. As a homeowner whose blood vessels burst each month the water bill arrives, I’ve tried real hard to reign-in both of my daughters’ penchant for basking under the showerhead for 20 minutes every morning just to wake up. But even as much as I hate paying that bill, I still make sure my own showers are good & hot before stepping in. It’s worth a few extra bucks a month just to avoid having my frozen balls suck themselves into my chest cavity.

But I digress...this is just nitpicking, the ramblings of a guy who’s probably seen this movie one too many times. Psycho remains one of the all-time greats, undeserving of such anal-retentive scrutiny. Still, I’ll bet even the staunchest Hitchcock fan will think about this single implausible moment the next time they watch it. Sorry ‘bout that.


Blu-ray Bonus Materials Include the All-New 30-minute
Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival” Q&A.
Limited Edition Gift Set Features Unique & Interactive Castle Packaging,
Complete with Real Catapult Action & Rubber Farm Animals

CULVER CITY, Calif. (August 17, 2015) –Sony Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates the 20th Century’s most brilliant and outrageous comedy troupe and their essential comedy classic with the MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, available as a Limited Edition Gift Set and in standard Blu-Ray packaging on Oct. 27.  Both editions of the comic masterpiece include all-new artwork from Terry Gilliam and the all-new 30-minute “Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival,” a Q&A with Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Eric Idle, hosted by John Oliver and recorded live at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

August 15, 2015


I’ve attended movies where, when the end credits start to roll, people in the audience break into applause. Unless you’re lucky enough to be invited to a world premiere where members of the cast and crew are in attendance, who the hell are you applauding…the employee in the projection booth who made the sure film started on time?

Sometimes I'm almost thankful when a film I really enjoyed flops at the box office. It guarantees no one will come along and attempt a shitty sequel.

Have you ever met someone who thinks seeing Schindler's List or 12 Years a Slave suddenly makes them well-informed on historical atrocities?

Feeling threatened, guys? All part of Hollywood's master plan.

Studios have one make profitable movies. There's no racist agenda, black agenda, feminist agenda, liberal agenda, gay agenda or any other agenda consciously placed within a big-budgeted Hollywood movie with the sole purpose of personally offending you. George Miller did not spend ten years and $150 million making Mad Max: Fury Road with the intent of emasculating the few misogynists in the audience who felt threatened by a female ass-kicker.

Hey, make-up roughly 5% of the potential audience for any movie, and your die hard allegiance to the source material is of little concern to Hollywood. They don’t make these movies exclusively for you, despite how much you bitch online with other like-minded folks over changes to your precious comics. Your collective voice isn’t that loud, and the 95% of the audience didn’t care if Ben Kingsley wasn’t the real Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Speaking of Fanboys...why do some of you work yourselves into a frenzy with the incessant need to know and discuss every single detail, costume, plot-point or potential character revelation months before you even get to see the damn thing? What's the fun in that? Don't you ever want to be surprised on occasion, rather than pay your ten bucks just to confirm what you already know is going to happen?

One a related note, the internet is arguably the worst thing to ever happen to die hard cinema lovers. I can't count how many times, when there's been a major film I'm really looking forward to, I've forced myself to avoid various movie-related websites or forums because there's inevitably some lowlife hell-bent on giving everything away.

While we're on the subject, here's a message to legions of writers on the internet (myself included): No matter who you are, no matter how much you love or hate a franchise, no matter what your intentions...if you provide spoilers for any movie (even if you post a Spoiler Alert beforehand), you’re an asshole. And if, for some reason, you are unable to discuss a film without providing spoilers, learn to write better.

Just because a film is gory does not necessarily make it a horror movie.

Exactly when did movie trailers become newsworthy? They're commercials, certainly not worth writing entire articles about or discussing for hours in a public forum.

Am I the only one increasingly insulted by the number of franchises being rebooted before the corpses of the old ones are even cold?

If you don't know who John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola or Martin Scorsese are, kindly remove yourself from any serious movie discussion until you've gone back and watched a few of their masterpieces.

If a film-related article on the internet has a headline which ends with a question mark, chances are it's essentially worthless as actual news. It's most-likely click-bait loaded with unconfirmed speculation.

On Tuesdays, movie tickets are only five bucks at the Regal Cinemas in my hometown. Initially, my wife and I thought this would be the best time to catch the latest blockbusters. We were soon proven wrong however, because that’s also the time when worst people decide to go to the movies as well, those who obviously don’t get out much, forget they aren’t at home and still think it’s okay to talk and text to their hearts’ content. Bargain days are the worst days to go to the movies.

Stop making fun of Twilight. All the jokes, memes and rants have already been done. You’re adding nothing new to the argument. Move on.

If you've never bothered to watch a western, you aren't a movie fan.

...because movies didn't exist before this author was born.

There's an increasing number of writers on the internet who pretentiously post "Best of All Time" lists in various categories, then make it immediately obvious their definition of "All Time" is only the last 30 years or so.

True zombie fans know the undead don't just eat brains.

This current wave of Adam Sandler bashing is somewhat amusing, with countless folks ranting about how awful his recent films have been, apparently forgetting Sandler was never all that funny unless you're 12 years old. A few semi-dramatic roles notwithstanding, he's the Jerry Lewis of the 21st Century, a one-trick pony whose schtick has simply outstayed its welcome because his initial audience grew up.

The term, blockbuster, refers to any movie which becomes a massive hit at the box office. It has nothing to do with a film's budget, quality, pre-release hype, special effects, star power or franchise potential. Like it or not, Paranormal Activity was a blockbuster, Edge of Tomorrow wasn't (though it should have been).

August 14, 2015

INSIDE OUT on Blu-Ray 11/3

From the imaginative minds of Disney-Pixar comes Inside Out on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere October 13th and on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Combo Pack and On-Demand November 3rd! Additionally, along with the extensive line-up of bonus features including deleted scenes, the theatrical short film LAVA and “Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out,” comes the all-new animated short “Riley’s First Date?” For a hilarious sneak peek of the brand-new short please view the in-home trailer below.


Featuring Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, William Binney, Katy Scoggin. Directed by Laura Poitras. (2014, 113 min).

Unless my wife drags me kicking & screaming from the house for an outdoor excursion, scarcely a day goes by when I don't use the internet, be it for work, writing or recreation. I'm using it as we speak. Like most of you, I take it for granted and have a reasonable expectation of privacy when doing research, conversing with others or simply playing around. While I don't engage in anything illegal or naughty behavior that would land me in divorce court, I'm not crazy about the idea that everything I do online is being monitored by a higher power. Hell, even my TV is connected to the internet, meaning somebody somewhere would know if I suddenly decided to download Debbie Does Dallas. Yeah, I suppose I've always suspected my online time was never truly private, but having it confirmed by Citizenfour is still somewhat unnerving.

I generally don't consider myself paranoid (I know for a fact everyone's out to get me), but this film has me thinking maybe I should be. The NSA is apparently able to keep tabs on every computer and cell phone in the world, all in the interest of national security. Computer expert and former CIA employee Edward Snowden knew this and decided to go public, releasing countless classified NSA documents related to their surveillance activities. Well-aware of the threat to his freedom and safety, Snowden reached out to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald in advance, meeting them in Hong Kong before spilling the beans on camera. With Citizenfour, we're essentially watching this worldwide scandal as it's unfolding.

Some guys simply aren't able to grasp the concept of Rock-Paper-Scissors.

The implications suggested by this documentary are pretty disturbing, especially since we're left with the sinking feeling that not much has changed (other than Snowden being charged with treason and forced to seek asylum in Russia). If you're even the slightest bit paranoid, Citizenfour might just have you running for the hills. As for me, it provides even further justification for refusing to ever carry a cell phone.


  • Deleted Scenes
  • Discussion with Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden & David Carr
  • Film Society of Lincoln Center Q&A 
  • "The Program" (a short by Laura Poitras)


August 10, 2015


Featuring Chris Stamp, Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey, Terrence Stamp and archival scenes of Kit Lambert. Directed by James D. Cooper. (2014, 120 min).

As someone who's never been a big fan of The Who (although "We Won't Get Fooled Again" is a mighty fine song), I couldn't tell you much about their history. And after seeing Lambert and Stamp, I'd be willing to wager even their die-hard disciples don't know everything.

That's because they were 'discovered' almost by accident. Two aspiring filmmakers, Kit Lambert & Chris Stamp were hoping to include a band in a project dedicated to the English Mod movement of the early 1960s. Instead, they became so enamored with this band, named The Detours at the time, that they essentially abandoned the film to become their full time managers, and would remain so during The Who's glory years.

"Oh, I get it...Who's on first!"

Lambert & Stamp were an oddly-paired duo who played a huge part in, not only cultivating the band's image (which included a few name changes before settling on The Who), but creative aspects as well. For example, Pete Townsend's legendary rock opera, Tommy, was apparently a disjointed musical mess before Lambert himself used his screenwriting skill to shape it into cohesive concept (with hopes of someday turning it into a movie). The film features numerous candid interviews with Townsend, Stamp, his brother Terrence (yes, the actor) and Roger Daltrey. Lambert himself died in the 70s, but is featured in numerous archival interviews.

While The Who are prominently featured, this documentary is primarily about these two iconic and influential managers, whose hands-on approach not only guided the band's career, but eventually formed one of the first independent record labels, recording such acts as Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Brown and Golden Earring. As such, Lambert and Stamp tells a fairly interesting behind-the-scenes tale. Since it goes on far longer than necessary (especially during these guys' pre-rock days), it definitely helps to be a Who fan. I'd bet even the staunchest die-hards will discover something they didn't previously know about the band's formative years.


  • Director Commentary
  • Q&A with Henry Rollins & the director
  • Archival Footage of The Who
  • The Who Promotional Film from 1967


August 8, 2015

Blu-Ray Giveaway: Jackie Chan's POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN

Well Go USA and Free Kittens Movie Guide are proud to give away free Blu-Ray copies of Police Story: Lockdown, featuring the legendary Jackie Chan.

Internationally-acclaimed action superstar Jackie Chan (Rush Hour franchise, 1911) returns for the fifth installment of the action-packed franchise with POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD August 11 from Well Go USA Entertainment. A man looking for the release of a long-time prisoner takes a police officer, his daughter, and a group of strangers hostage. In addition to Chan, POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN also stars Liu Ye (Curse of the Golden Flower), Jing Tian (Special ID), newcomer Guli Nazha and Zhou Xiao Ou (The Unfortunate Car).  POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN includes a behind-the-scenes featurette that delves in to the visual effects employed in the film and the music that sets the mood.

To enter, simply fill-out the requested info in KITTY KONTACT, located near the top of our sidebar. Your name and email will not be shared or used for any other purpose. Winners will be chosen at random.


Various Directors. (2000-2014, 79 min).

Disney's full length animated features may get all the hype and attention, but their short subjects are nearly always as creatively entertaining, sometimes more so. I always had the impression the shorts were where Disney animators, unburdened by commercial expectations, really got to turn loose and spread their wings. This diverse collection features 12 of their best shorts since 2000.

Animation styles vary from film to film, from traditional to CG, though all are impeccably crafted. Narratively, stories range from the brilliantly comic (Mickey Mouse's visually astounding "Get a Horse" & Goofy's welcome return in "How to Hook Up Your Home Theater") to the totally tragic ("The Little Matchgirl," from Hans Christian Andersen's story, might be the most heartbreaking seven minutes Disney ever produced).

"Wait a minute! If Soylent Green is people, then Soylent Brown must, no!"

Oscar winners "Paperman" & "Feast" are included, as well as many other shorts which played with Disney's theatrical features, such as "The Ballad of Nessie," "Frozen Fever" and "Tangled Ever After." My personal favorite (if I had to pick one) would be "Tick Tock Clock," which was never included with any theatrical film or DVD release and reminded me of a lost Fantasia segment (I later discovered it actually was supposed to be part of a since-abandoned Fantasia 2006 project, as were "Lorenzo" and "The Little Matchgirl"). The oldest film, "John Henry," dates back to 2000, and while it's still a wonderful take on the old legend, it's arguably the weakest of the lot, an indication of just how great all the others are.

Most of these shorts have been previously included as bonus features on other DVDs in recent years. However, they provide a supremely unique & entertaining experience when viewed collectively, especially with new intros by their creators which precede each film. Disney and animation fans will be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining batch of shorts on a single disc (yes, it's even better than the Pixar collections). This one a must-own and, so far, the best single-disc Blu-Ray release of the year.


  • @DisneyAnimation: An insightful featurette which looks at various animators' efforts to create modern Disney shorts
  • DVD & Digital Copies


August 7, 2015

The Iconic STAR WARS Movies Celebrated With New Limited Edition Individual Blu-ray Steelbooks

Each Film Presented in Unique, Collectible Character Steelbook Packaging available November 10th. Also Available, the newly repackaged Star Wars: The Complete Saga
will be released on October 13th.

Los Angeles, CA (August 5, 2015) – As the galaxy prepares for the next generation of Star Wars, the six epic films will each release as commemorative Blu-ray steelbooks on November 10th.  These highly collectible films will be available for a limited time only and can be pre-ordered beginning August 7th.   In addition, Star Wars: The Complete Saga will be released in newly repackaged artwork on October 13th.  The announcements were made today by The Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.  

Each film from the Saga is presented with new character packaging allowing fans to choose their favorite or collect all six for a limited time. Characters include: The Phantom Menace – Darth Maul; Attack of the Clones – Yoda; Revenge of the Sith – General Grievous; A New Hope – Darth Vader; The Empire Strikes Back – Imperial Stormtrooper; and Return of the Jedi – Emperor Palpatine. 

In addition to the collectible steelbook packaging, each single disc Blu-ray includes existing audio commentary with George Lucas and the film crew as well as audio commentary from archival interviews with the cast and crew.  

The newly repackaged Saga includes all six feature films on Blu-ray, along with three additional discs containing more than 40 hours of previously released extensive special features.  


Starring Jackie Chan, Lie Ye, Jing Tian, Yin Tao, Zhou Xiaoou, Yu Rongguang. Directed by Ding Sheng. (2013, 107 min).

Maybe it’s because I’d grown accustomed to the ‘funny’ Jackie Chan that Police Story: Lockdown was sort-of jarring. While I admittedly haven’t seen everything he ever made, even his hard-hitting Hong Kong action films always included healthy amounts of humor among the mayhem and jaw-dropping stunts. Though touted as the fifth entry in Chan’s long running Police Story franchise, this is actually a stand-alone film with no relation to any previous chapter. And aside from the blooper reel during the end credits, its tone is 100% serious.

Chan plays Zhong, a battle-weary veteran cop who agrees to meet with his estranged daughter at a local nightclub run by her boyfriend, Wu Jiang (Liu Ye). But Jiang has other intentions, taking Zhong and several others hostage. After locking down the club with fortified doors and windows, Jiang’s only demand is to meet Wei, whose been incarcerated for a bungled robbery attempt. Zhong tries to gain Jiang’s trust by serving as a moderator/negotiator during the stand-off. As the story continues to unfold, we learn Jiang’s true motivations, and these particular hostages were lured to his nightclub for a specific reason...they all have some connection to the aforementioned robbery.

"I got this from beating up Chris Tucker."

Storywise, there’s a lot to like here. Chan is solid as usual, displaying a vulnerability which renders him pretty likable even when engaging in numerous fights and stunts. Ye is an interesting, dynamic villain, mainly because he’s never completely hateful. In fact, once the entire plot is revealed, we sort-of empathize with him.

However, the action only moves in fits and starts. We still get to see Chan engaging in what he does best, but those scenes are few and far between, and never as rousing or jaw-dropping as previous films in the series. Still, for someone getting on in years, Chan shows he still has a lot left in his tank. Additionally, much of the dialogue is truly awful. I’m not sure whether that’s due to the actual script or something getting lost in translation with the subtitles, but many of these folks utter some phenomenally stupid shit throughout the film.

While still pretty fun, Police Story: Lockdown is one of the lesser entries in this long-running franchise. It’s great to see Chan has still got what it takes to be a formidable action hero, but this film is way too serious and pales in comparison to some of the Hong Kong classics of his glory days.


  • Director & Cast Interviews
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
  • Trailer


August 6, 2015

Blu-Ray Review: TRUE STORY

Starring Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, John Sharian, Robert John Burke. Directed by Rupert Goold. (2015, 99 min).

Being from the Pacific Northwest, I remember when Christian Longo was all over the local news. To be honest, I stopped following the story after the initial details were revealed, that Longo murdered his entire family and dumped their bodies in various parts of a coastal waterway (the youngest daughter stuffed into a suitcase) before feeling to Mexico. Being a family man myself, that stuff hits me too hard, so whenever the news offered updates, I usually changed the channel because you don't see that shit on ESPN.

So I didn't get too many details, such as Longo using the alias of Mike Finkel while on-the-run. At the time, the real Finkel was a celebrated journalist for the New York Times, recently fired for fudging the facts on a story. Afterwards, he couldn't find publications interested in working with him until he learned of Longo using Finkel's name and credentials. This led to a meeting between the two after Longo was caught and extradited back to Oregon to stand trail. Since Longo admired Finkel's writing and Finkel was desperate for a story that would put him back on top, they developed a relationship that would last throughout the trial, along with an agreement that Finkel had exclusive rights to Longo's personal account of what happened. This ultimately resulted in True Story, the book on which this film is based.

The film is a character study of two different people clearly using each other for their own personal agendas, though it's ultimately about Finkel (Jonah Hill). He believes the story would be a great subject for a book and sells his idea to a publisher before the trail is even over, resulting in complications after Longo enters a pre-trial plea which threatens to unravel everything Finkel has worked for.

A promo picture for Pineapple Express 2?

Those expecting a thriller akin to The Silence of the Lambs (an obvious inspiration) will be disappointed, though the flashback scenes depicting the murders, while tastefully presented, are truly disturbing. A majority of the film focuses on Finkel's decisions and conflicts while covering the story, as well as how it affects his personal relationship with Jill (Felicity Jones, who's good, but underused). As such, True Story is only partially successful. The basic premise is morbidly fascinating, but the film drags at times and the conversations between Finkel & Longo are only sporadically compelling. Ultimately, we don't learn much about any epiphanies Finkel may have had while writing his book, despite a final scene depicting him as a changed man.

But the performances save the day, especially Hill, once-again demonstrating he’s more than an affable buffoon and arguably the sole reason we can identify with Finkel at all. As Longo, James Franco is also good and suitably low-key, though he’s not given nearly as much to work with. While the script occasionally attempts to make his character somewhat dynamic (like Hannibal Lector), we never assume he’s anything but an irredeemable psychopath.

True Story is good for what it is, an earnest, well-acted drama based on a sensational story. It’s just too bad the script itself tends to be meandering and occasionally one-dimensional, shedding little light on the individuals involved with the actual incident.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Goold
  • FEATURETTES: "The Truth Behind True Story"; "The Making of True Story"; "Mike Finkel"; "Who is Christian Longo?"
  • Digital Copy

August 3, 2015

10 Great Heavy Metal Movies That Are Worth Your Time

Like anything else which reaches the status of cultural relevance, heavy metal found its way onto the big screen through concert films, documentaries, comedies and – with obvious inevitability – horror movies. Once the genre gained a foothold in our public awareness (whether we wanted it to or not), metal became the subject of numerous films, both fictional and non-fictional.
Unlike movies which gratuitously include a popular heavy metal tune for the sake of releasing soundtrack albums, the following list consists of theatrical films where metal is either the subject, part of the plot or, in one case, the score itself plays a major part in its entertainment value. Some preach to the converted, while others seem to share the same contempt of those who profess to hate this music.

A few might even change one’s negative assessment of the genre and those who love it. Whatever the case, these ten films are the best which feature heavy metal as a central component (ironically, Heavy Metal isn’t among them because, unless there’s a bong clutched in your fist, it’s truly terrible)...

August 1, 2015

Disney Pixar's LAVA Available for Limited Time on Disney Movies Anywhere

Disney Pixar’s newest short LAVA, will be available to watch exclusively on digital on the Disney Movies Anywhere app for iPhone®, iPad® or iPod touch® (, for a limited two week window starting July 30th (7/30/15 – 8/12/15).   Currently in theaters with “Inside Out,” Disney Movies Anywhere offers the only place where you can fall in “lava” with LAVA from the comfort of your own home!

LAVA is inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, and is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF HAYAO MIYAZAKI Available on Blu-ray via November 17

Disney presents for the first time  The Collected Works Of Hayao Miyazaki, including all 11 of Miyazaki’s feature-length masterpieces in one spectacular 12-disc collection  available on Blu-ray™ Exclusively via on November 17, 2015. Experience the majestic works of one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animated cinema. Hayao Miyazaki weaves his unique style of artistry and epic adventure into astonishing tales of triumph, bursting with imagination and wonder.

Films:  Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), Porco Rosso (1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008/2009), The Wind Rises (2013)

Bonus Features:             “Yuki no Taiyo” (Yuki’s Sun) - A 1972 TV pilot based on an original manga by Tetsuya Chiba, directed by Hayao Miyazaki who was also in charge of storyboards and key animation.

“Akado Suzunosuke”(Little Samurai) - Three episodes (Episode 26, 27 & 41) of the hit 1972 anime series with storyboarding and more by Hayao Miyazaki.

Director Hayao Miyazaki Retirement Press Conference, Uncut Version

Booklet:                           A collector’s edition book featuring “The Great Dichotomy: Looking at the Works of Hayao Miyazaki” by Tomohiro Machiyama, which explores the themes and techniques of this revered Japanese filmmaker, and selected text from Hayao Miyazaki’s initial notes and creative proposals for the production of each film