July 31, 2017

Blu-Ray News: Acclaimed Thriller, IT COMES AT NIGHT, Arriving 9/12

Fear knows no limits when the suspenseful horror-thriller It Comes at Night creeps its way onto Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD September 12 from Lionsgate. From acclaimed writer/director Trey Edward Shults (Krisha), It Comes at Night tells the story of a man who will do anything to protect his family, no matter who or what the threat might be. Theatrically released by A24 and starring Joel Edgerton (Loving), Chris Abbot (A Most Violent Year), Carmen Ejogo (Alien: Covenant), and Riley Keough (American Honey), the Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh It Comes at Night is an “all-consuming and deeply disturbing chiller” (Collider) that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Heart-pounding suspense and razor-sharp tension highlight this highly-acclaimed thriller. 17-year-old Travis, secure within a desolate home with his protective and heavily armed parents (Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo), watches his world abruptly change with the arrival of a desperate couple (Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough) and their young child. Panic and mistrust grow as the dangers of the outside world creep ever closer… but they may be nothing compared to the dangers within.


Rest in Peace, Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard (1943-2017)

July 30, 2017


By Luke Owen. Forward by Paul W.S. Anderson. (2017, 317pp).

"Basically I felt that there was a fundamental rift between these two art forms."

The quote is taken from a comment made by filmmaker Gil Kenan in one of this book's later chapters. While he may be partially correct, does it encompass everything wrong with video game movies?

Of course, nobody sets out to make a terrible film. Every movie maker - from the Steven Spielbergs to the crowdfunded novice - has high aspirations of creating a Hollywood blockbuster. And just about all of them end up with at least one film that didn't turn out at-all like they hoped...scripts revised to death, epics sabotaged by reduced budgets, adult-oriented films neutered to appeal to kids.

Nowhere is this more true than with films adapted from video games. Nearly every one of them has been a critical failure, if not a box office bust. What is it about video games that, so far, hasn't really translated effectively to the big screen? And why does Hollywood keep plugging away at it?

Luke Owens' Lights, Camera, Game Over! is a detailed look at the young and sometimes dubious history of this subgenre. Beginning with the 1993 debacle, Super Mario Bros, the book discusses the film industry's love/hate relationship with video games and their efforts to adapt several of them, often with unfortunate results.

It isn't too long before the reader notices a pattern. All of the movies covered begin life with an enthusiastic producer, a writer bursting with creative ideas and a studio eyeing the brass ring. But nearly every production gets compromised by massive script revisions, budget problems and way too many producers, writers & directors playing tug-of-war with the creative direction. The end result is usually a homogenized product that feels almost contemptuous of its target audience.

Whether your a fan or not, these troubled productions make fascinating reading, and even though the author makes it clear he's a huge fan of both mediums, he wisely writes objectively and lets history speak for itself. Each film (though not all of them) is extensively covered, with interviews & commentary from game creators, writers, producers and actors taken from various sources. Even a few abandoned ideas are given their own chapters (such as an aborted Pac-Man movie). The films which ended up being the most successful (like the Resident Evil franchise) have the least tumultuous backstories, and aren't quite as interesting to read about as the total trainwrecks in the book (though one has to admire Paul W.S. Anderson's enthusiasm).

Lights, Camera, Lights Out! tells a familiar Hollywood tale over and over, mostly with the same "tragic" results. But what makes it so fascinating is how often each of these films are beset by the exact same production problems. The book concludes with a brief look at future video game adaptations in various stages of production or proposal. After reading this, it might even be possible to predict which ones fail, fly or fall by the wayside, since it appears that Hollywood has yet to learn from the past.


July 29, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: S.W.A.T.: UNDER SIEGE

Starring Sam Jaeger, Adrianne Palicki, Michael Jai White, Kyra Zagorsky, Ty Olsson, Matthew Marsden, Olivia Cheng, Zahf Paroo. Directed by Tony Giglo. (2017, 89 min).

I barely remember 2003's S.W.A.T., which cashed in on viewers' nostalgic fondness for a 1975 TV show that was, save for a nifty theme song, equally unmemorable. And I had no idea an in-name-only sequel (S.W.A.T.: Firefight) was released on video in 2011.

I don't know...maybe I recently slipped into a parallel dimension where S.W.A.T. is a beloved brand name, because not only is it scheduled to return as a TV series, here's a second sequel to the movie. But if you're also new to this dimension, worry not. There's no need to go back and revisit the SWATverse because, like Firefight, S.W.A.T.: Under Siege bares no relation to the original film or TV show (not even the theme song).

"Tag! You're it!"
Though I've always resented the time-honored practice of using misleading titles on movies that wouldn't find an audience otherwise, at least this one's subtitle is accurate (unless you're expecting Steven Seagal to show up). A Seattle S.W.A.T. team led by Travis Hall (Sam Jaeger) are ordered to raid a terrorist group's warehouse, but only find a mysterious man nicknamed "Scorpion" (you'll immediately see why). They take him back to S.W.A.T. headquarters, where Scorpion (Michael Jai White) informs them that, because of information he possesses, the terrorists will stop at nothing to get him, which includes attacking the precinct.

"Tag this!"
Sure enough, dozens of terrorists lay siege on the compound, trapping everyone inside. Gunfights and close-range fighting ensue, along with a few plot twists that reflect a bit more narrative ambition than your average direct-to-video actioner. And even though none of it is particularly memorable, the film is competently acted, its budget-conscious action and gunplay well executed. I wouldn't look for a ton of logic, though.

While it definitely behooves the viewer to check their expectations, S.W.A.T.: Under Siege works pretty well for what it is: a low budget action-fest masquerading as a sequel for those who don't know better. We've all seen them before, but this one is a decent enough time-killer that, title notwithstanding, we don't feel completely duped afterwards.


July 28, 2017

Blu-Ray News: THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Arrives Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD 8/22

Rick and His Group of Survivors Face an All-New Threat When Season 7 Comes to Blu-ray and DVD on August 22

The dead aren’t the only things to fear when “The Walking Dead” The Complete Seventh Season arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD August 22 from Lionsgate and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Rick Grimes and his hardened band of survivors face their greatest challenge yet in Negan, the volatile leader of an opposing group. “The Walking Dead” The Complete Seventh Season stars Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints franchise), Lauren Cohan (The Boy), Danai Gurira (All Eyez On Me), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (TV’s “Magic City”).

Picking up immediately after the thrilling cliff-hanger, Negan forces Rick and the group to fall under his will, brutally convincing them to live by his rules. To prevent further bloodshed, Rick genuinely believes they can make life under Negan, however terrible, work. But he soon learns that Negan can’t be reasoned with, and they must prepare to go to war now. Victory will require more than Alexandria, and Rick will need to convince their new allies from the Kingdom and Hilltop to band together with the common goal of taking down Negan and his army.

The five-disc home entertainment release of “The Walking Dead” The Complete Seventh Season features hours of never-before-seen bonus features including audio commentaries, deleted and alternate scenes, and nine featurettes looking behind the scenes of the show, delving deeper into the characters and checking in with “The Walking Dead” writers.

July 27, 2017


Music by Michael Giacchino. "Spiderman Theme" by Paul Francis Webster & Robert Harris. (2017, 68 min).

This CD starts off with a bang...the classic "Spider-Man Theme" from the 1960's cartoon TV show. Hearing it done with a full orchestra (sans lyrics), a giddy grin spread across my face. The track establishes a playful tone that the listener anticipates will be prevalent throughout the disc.

That 39 second cut is the best thing on the album. That's not a criticism of Michael Giacchino's action-filled score. He's been quite prolific lately, increasingly becoming the go-to guy for many sci-fi/action blockbusters, so he's obviously doing something right.

Not yet having seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, I couldn't tell you how effectively the music serves the film. But taken simply as a listening experience, aside from a few musical references to The Avengers, there isn't a lot to distinguish the remaining 23 tracks (including 2 'hidden' tracks) from similar superhero oriented scores.

While there are no themes as memorable as those heard in some of Giacchino's best work (in my opinion, the Star Trek reboot franchise), the music is certainly enjoyable and probably serves the film just fine, which is ultimately a composer's purpose. The joyous "Spider-Man Theme" is wonderful and it's a shame it isn't worked into the score a bit more.


Blu-Ray Review: THE BOSS BABY

Starring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Conrad Vernon, James McGrath, Tobey Maguire. Directed by Tom McGrath. (2017, 97 min).

The Boss Baby is not quite the movie it was promoted as...thank god.

The ad campaign had me writing it off as the most pandering and creatively bankrupt family film of the year, an assembly line product to be lapped up by undemanding children and their beleaguered parents ("A talking baby in a business suit! Throw in some poop jokes and kids'll eat it up!!!").

And if, for some reason, I'd have been coursed by one of my children to see this in a theater, but happened to arrive ten minutes late, my worst suspicions would have been confirmed as I rage-watched for the remaining 90 minutes, incredulous that anyone over the age of ten couldn't see The Boss Baby for what it was: a creatively bankrupt wallet drainer.

"Do you know how much saturated fat you're eating?"
But exposition is a funny, fickle thing. Too much and it can suck you right out of a movie experience; too little and you miss the point entirely. In The Boss Baby, those first ten minutes of exposition are the difference between a cynical cash grab and a supremely charming, clever and ultimately heartwarming story that's relatable to anyone ever faced with welcoming a new sibling to the family.

Watching it, I was often reminded of Calvin and Hobbes. In my opinion, it's the greatest comic strip of all time, though I didn't think so at first. My wife loved it, but because I was unaware of the context, the few strips I initially bothered to read seemed stupid. Once I understood that Hobbes was Calvin's stuffed tiger and their adventures were products of the boy's imagination, every strip was suddenly  magical...and hilarious.

There's one at every office party.
While The Boss Baby doesn't display as much creative genius as Bill Watterson's classic comic, the same idea is at work here (albeit with more prerequisite bodily function gags). Despite an amusing Alex Baldwin in the titular role, The Boss Baby is actually the story of Tim, a 7-year-old single child with an active imagination who's forced to come to terms with the arrival of his newborn brother. He sees the baby as a threat with a nefarious agenda: to take away the love his parents have always reserved exclusively for him. However, the baby brother - viewed by Tim as a ruthless executive in a business suit - is on a mission. He informs Tim that the company their parents work for, Puppy Co., is about reveal a new dog breed so cute that no love will be left for the babies of the world. The two agree to set aside their animosity in order to put a stop to it.

The actual plot is secondary to how Tim views the world and everybody in it. We've all known kids like this. Hell, a lot of us were kids like this. Because everything that happens is a product of his active imagination, The Boss Baby is often hilarious and occasionally touching. The whimsical nature of the film is charming enough that even the numerous pop culture references (arguably not the products of a 7-year-old mind) are forgivable.

But only if seen from the very beginning. I don't recall the last time a movie's overall creative success depended almost entirely on the first few scenes. However, those scenes are what makes The Boss Baby a memorable & funny family experience, not just another conceptually pandering product. To my complete surprise, this is a film worth owning and revisiting.

"THE BOSS BABY AND TIM'S TREASURE HUNT THROUGH TIME" - Touted as an 'new mini adventure,' this isn't exactly a new cartoon short. It's a newly narrated story mostly consisting footage from the original film.
FEATURETTES (Most of these are amusing promotional shorts presented as infomercials or instructional videos, and not about the film itself):
"The Forever Puppy Infomercial"
"Babies vs. Puppies: Who Do YOU Love?"
"The Boss Baby's Undercover Team"
"BabyCorp and You"
"Cookies Are for Closers: Inside BabyCorp"
"The Great Sibling Competition"

July 25, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: THE CIRCLE

Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Bill Paxton, Glenne Headly. Directed by James Ponsoldt. (2017, 110 min).

The ramifications of social media insinuating itself in every aspect of our lives is an ideal - and chilling - concept for a timely thriller. But while it's certainly entertaining, The Circle only explores them on a superficial level.

The Circle is a social media network that's like Facebook on crack. Charismatic CEO Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) envisions a future with no secrets, and everyone can instantly know everything about anyone else. He plans to accomplish this with SeeChange, a revolutionary data-collecting camera that can literally be placed anywhere. Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is new to the company and initially apprehensive over The Circle's intrusion on her own life. But since they also take complete care of her, as well as her MS-stricken father (Bill Paxton, in his final role), she's soon all-in, eventually agreeing to becoming the poster child for the company and spearheading their efforts to make create a world with absolutely no secrets...or privacy (the argument being that people will all behave if they know they're always being watched).

This concept isn't exactly new to movies, but given the current proliferation of social media (essentially rendering all of us Big Brother), the opportunity for dark satire and social commentary is obvious. The Circle begins brilliantly, depicting the company's thousands of eager young employees as mindless sheep - almost like Stepford Children - whose intrusive behavior isn't too far removed from what you'd see in a cult. Hanks hits all the right notes as Bailey: equal parts salesman, motivational speaker and preacher, with an outward congeniality that masks a more sinister agenda.

People who talk during movies should be beaten.
However, the film becomes less effective once the focus shifts from the dynamics of The Circle and its disciples to an obvious, heavy-handed message that invading one's privacy is morally wrong. We don't really need another film to tell us this, but The Circle treats the idea as though it were a revelation. Additionally, while Watson is decent in the lead role, Mae's motives and personality often change with little provocation, depending on what the story requires. By the final act, she's become more of a plot device than a character we're invested in.

Though ambitious in both scope and message, The Circle doesn't really live up to its potential or give the viewer anything new to think about. Had it maintained the amusingly sinister tone established at the get-go, this could have been something special. Still, The Circle is okay for what it is: a slickly made, enjoyable film, as easy to consume as movie popcorn and just as memorable.

"No More Secrets: Completing The Circle" - Making-of documentary, divided into four chapters;
"The Future Won't Wait: Design and Technology";
"A True Original: Remembering Bill Paxton" - The Circle ended up being Paxton's swan song, and this is a touching tribute from Tom Hanks.

July 24, 2017

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

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


July 22, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEATURETTES: "The Weapons"; Director Interview

Rest in Peace, John Heard

John Heard (1945-2017)

July 21, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: DEVIL'S DOMAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


July 20, 2017


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

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

July 19, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: BLACK BUTTERFLY (2017)

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

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

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

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

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

AUDIO COMMENTARY - With director Brian Goodman & co-writer Marc Frydman

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

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

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

July 18, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEATURETTES - Dozens of short segments related to Lee, comics and/or superheroes (public appearances, more interviews, etc). I'd list them all but I'd be up all night.
EXTENDED INTERVIEWS - Additional footage of over 40 actors, directors, colleagues & peers interviewed in the film.
CHARACTER GALLERY - A lengthy list of over 500 characters Stan Lee was involved with creating.

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

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

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

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

July 17, 2017

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

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

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