January 30, 2019

DOUBLE DRAGON: The Chairman to the Rescue

https://mvdb2b.com/s/DoubleDragonCollectorsEdition/MVD0765BR
Starring Scott Wolf, Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano, Robert Patrick, Julia Nickson, Leon Russom, Kristina Wagner, George Hamilton, Vanna White. Directed by James Yukich. (1994/96 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Tiger the Terrible😸

1994's Double Dragon is tacky, cheesy, badly acted and a strong contender for the most "80s" movie that never came out in that decade. From the cast of B-list actors to the prerequisite synthesizer soundtrack, it is, of course, a perfect film for MVD's ongoing Rewind Collection.

This Blu-ray release is also another instance where the bonus features are far more entertaining than the movie itself. MVD has really outdone themselves on this one. The vintage material is like stepping back in time, but the real jewel is a brand new, feature-length retrospective documentary. Revealing, comprehensive and sometimes very funny, it tells a compelling story in its own right, especially since the finished product wasn't quite what anyone had in-mind.

As for that finished product, Double Dragon was of the first films ever based on a video game, and if you think video game adaptations are bad now, this one might redefine the word for you.

But is it fun? Even at its own expense? Yeah, kind-of. If your childhood weekends were spent stalking the aisles of Blockbuster, you might have plucked this from the shelf on your way to the rental counter. As such, there's some nostalgic value here. It's always enjoyable to have a good chuckle at what used to pass for awesome when you were little.

"Scream 'Allez Cuisine' one more time and I'll snap your neck."
For everyone else, the fun will probably begin to wear off after about 30 minutes. One would think an unholy mash-up of martial arts movies, Escape from New York, The Karate Kid and Willy Wonka's chocolate factory couldn't miss. But while Double Dragon is certainly bad, it's not so ineptly made that it descends into so-bad-it's-good territory. Considering the budget, the movie is technically pretty competent. In a way, that ultimately makes it more of a chore to endure.

Furthermore, something kept gnawing at me while watching. One of the fighting Lee brothers, Mark Dacascos, looked really familiar, but I couldn't place where I'd seen him before. It wasn't until I checked iMDB that I discovered he went on to become "The Chairman" on Iron Chef (my favorite part of the show). I wonder how Mark would have reacted back then if he were told his greatest claim to fame would be screaming "Allez Cuisine!" at the beginning of every episode.

As for the rest of the cast, Robert Patrick and his hair come-off best, while Alyssa Milano demonstrates why Commando was the high-point of her movie career.

Whether or not one shares my assessment of the movie itself, I think anybody with an interest in the filmmaking process (including the business side) still might want to pick this one up. Double Dragon is an archaic and asinine product of its time, but the story behind it - told by those who lived it - is fascinating.

EXTRA KIBBLES
NEW: "THE MAKING OF DOUBLE DRAGON" - An extensive and hugely entertaining retrospective documentary, primarily featuring screenwriters Michael Davis & Peter Gould, but also includes interviews with co-stars Scott Wolf & Mark Dacascos and producer Don Murphy.
NEW: "DON MURPHY: PORTRAIT OF A PRODUCER" - A lengthy interview with one of the producers, who's refreshingly candid about how the film turned out.
VINTAGE FEATURETTES - Making-of and behind-the-scenes.
DOUBLE DRAGON PILOT EPISODE - The first episode from a 1995 animated series that, quite frankly, I didn't even know existed. Even cheesier than the film.
STORYBOARD GALLERY
PROMOTIONAL PHOTO GALLERIES
THEATRICAL, TV AND VHS TRAILERS
MINI POSTER
DVD COPY
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD...FOR THE BONUS FEATURES ALONE.

Rest in Peace, Dick Miller

Blu-ray Giveaway: SGT. WILL GARDNER

VIEW THE TRAILER
FREE KITTENS MOVIE GUIDE is giving away a BLU-RAY COPY of Cinedigm's SGT. WILL GARDNER   to one lucky reader.
 
TO ENTER: Simply drop us a message  freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com. CONTEST ENDS 2/18.

SGT. Will Gardner tells the story of Iraq War veteran Will Gardner (Max Martini) who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) he sustained with his platoon while in combat. His injuries make it difficult for him to reintegrate into society. After a series of setbacks, he embarks on a spirited motorcycle journey across America with the goal of reuniting with his son. Along his journey, he tries to pick up the pieces of the life he's lost since returning from combat. His PTSD causes frequent flashbacks to the Iraq War which he survives by having frequent conversations with Sam (Omari Hardwick), his best friend and war buddy.

Martini, who also wrote and directed the film hopes this movie serves as a reminder and a call to action. In this spirit, his producing moniker, Mona Vista Productions, will donate a portion of the film’s proceeds to three charities that support veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD and veteran homelessness: Higher Ground, Warriors Heart and the Gary Sinise Foundation.


AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL NOW  AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD FEBRUARY 19

THE POOP SCOOP (1/30)

THE FAVOURITE (Nominated for 10 Oscars) Arrives on Digital 2/12 & Physical 3/5
The Favourite has been one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year. It has received numerous awards including The Venice Film Festivals’ Grand Special Jury Prize for Director Yorgos Lanthimos, 10 wins at the British Independent Film Awards, selected as AFI’s 2018 Movie of the Year and a Golden Globe® for Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Anne. The film has also nabbed 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

HORROR EXPRESS on Blu-ray 2/12
Renowned anthropologist Saxton (Christopher Lee) boards the Trans-Siberian Express with a crate containing the frozen remains of a primitive humanoid which, he believes, may prove to be the missing link in human evolution. But all hell breaks loose when the creature thaws out, turning out to be not quite as dead as once thought! New 2K restoration, a new audio commentary and numerous bonus features.

AUDITION on Blu-ray 2/12
One of the most shocking J-horror films ever made, Audition exploded onto the festival circuit at the turn of the century to a chorus of awards and praise. The film would catapult Miike to the international scene and pave the way for such other genre delights as Ichii the Killer and The Happiness of the Katakuris. New 2K restoration, a new audio commentary and numerous bonus features.

PET SEMATARY: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION on 4K Blu-ray 3/26
Dr. Louis Creed, having just moved to Maine with his wife and two children, is heartbroken when he finds that his daughter's beloved cat has been hit by a truck and killed. Thankfully, a strange, elderly neighbor called Jud knows a secret that may spare the young girl's tears. He takes the dead cat to an ancient Indian burial ground that lies hidden in the surrounding hilltops; and when he buries the feline there, it comes back to life a few days later. But Louis can't be trusted with the secret, and, despite strong warnings that something horrible will happen, he uses the power of the burial ground to bring his son back from the dead. Bonus features include 3 featurettes and audio commentary.

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET on Digital 4K Ultra HD 2/12 and 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray 2/26
Ralph Breaks the Internet arrives home with a wide-range of exclusive extras, taking fans behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation Studios to explore how artists created the film’s vibrant version of the internet — from comical cat videos to the intense online game Slaughter Race to shady characters on the Dark Net. Features also reveal some Easter eggs — inside jokes and references to other Disney films and characters hidden throughout the film — and filmmakers introduce some never before revealed deleted scenes.

January 28, 2019

Movie Giveaway: RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

FREE KITTENS MOVIE GUIDE is giving away a DIGITAL COPY of Disney's RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET   to one lucky reader.
 
TO ENTER: Simply drop us a message at freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com. CONTEST ENDS 2/20.

Directed by Rich Moore (Academy Award Ò-winning “Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph”) and Phil Johnston (co-writer “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Zootopia,” writer, “Cedar Rapids”), and produced by Clark Spencer (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Bolt,” “Lilo & Stitch”), “Ralph Breaks the Internet” welcomes back favorite cast and characters introduced six years ago, including John C. Reilly, who provides the voice of Ralph, and Sarah Silverman, who returns as the voice of Vanellope. Lending a virtual hand to Ralph and Vanellope is Shank, voiced by Gal Gadot, a tough-as-nails driver from a gritty online auto-racing game called Slaughter Race, a place Vanellope wholeheartedly embraces — so much so that Ralph worries he may lose the only friend he’s ever had. Yesss, voiced by Taraji P. Henson, the head algorithm and the heart and soul of the trend-making site BuzzzTube, makes Ralph a viral sensation. Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch return as the voices of Fix-It Felix Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun, respectively, and Disney Animation’s good luck charm, actor Alan Tudyk was called on to voice a search engine named KnowsMore — literally a know-it-all — who runs a search bar and helps Ralph and Vanellope on their quest. Lots of exciting cameos are also featured in the film including a scene that reunites all of the original (living) Disney Princess voice cast.

On Digital 4K Ultra HD & Movies Anywhere on Feb. 12 and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on Feb. 26

January 27, 2019

POSSUM: Personal Nightmare Fuel

https://darkskyfilms.com/
Starring Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong. Directed by Matthew Holness. (2018/87 min).

AVAILABLE ON DVD FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

Sometimes the effectiveness of a horror film depends on what the viewer brings to the table. For me, Possum was a gut punch.

What I personally brought to the table were life-threatening heart & lung issues that happened about a decade ago. Without getting into specifics, I was in the hospital for months. When not in an induced coma, I was pumped with plenty o' drugs. Complicating matters was the fact I was an alcoholic at the time and enjoyed a wide variety of withdrawl symptoms. My favorites were the hallucinations, most of which I vividly remember to this day.

What makes Possum such an unnerving experience - for me, anyway - is that it plays a lot like those same hallucinations. It's like writer/director Matthew Holness captured my DTs on film, right down to the giant spider that lurked in the corner of my hospital room to pass judgment on me.

A cinch to win this year's World's Ugliest Dog contest.
In the film, the "spider" is named Possum, a large puppet owned by Philip (Sean Harris), an emotionally unstable puppeteer who returns to the ramshackle house where he grew up (and his parents died in a fire years earlier). With giant hairy legs and humanoid face, Possum is a horrific creation that may or may not be a figment of Philip's imagination. As the story unfolds, we get the increasing impression Possum might be his conscience. Either way, Possum is a heavy burden, but despite Philip's efforts to destroy it, the puppet always returns. Maurice (Alun Armstrong) is Philip's nasty, abusive uncle who also lives in the house (or does he?). Though not remotely welcome, Philip makes no attempt to evict the old man. Meanwhile, a teenage boy goes missing and, based on his past, Philip appears to be a suspect.

Sean Harris channels his inner-Bela Lugosi.
Light on dialogue and exposition, Possum unfolds like one of those nightmares in which we're helplessly swept along by forces beyond our control. Like those dreams - or my hallucinations - we aren't necessarily scared in the traditional sense. Instead, horror is created by instilling unease in the viewer, primarily through haunting imagery, an eerily effective music score and a protagonist we never trust. But again, what constitutes true horror depends on what the viewer brings. Unremittingly bleak, narratively vague and very deliberately paced, I imagine many viewers will find Possum pretentious, boring and frustratingly ambiguous.

Because of my own past experiences, I found Possum to be slow-burning nightmare fuel. Possum itself is one creepy-ass puppet that grows increasingly sinister as the narrative unfolds. The film isn't for everybody, but patient, adventurous viewers will find some of its disturbing imagery unforgettable.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES - Behind-the-scenes footage along with cast & director interviews.
TRAILER
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS 
(though some will totally disagree)

January 26, 2019

SPIRAL (2017): Hatred is Alive and Well

http://cohenmedia.net/
Directed by Laura Fairrie. (2017/79 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Fluffy the Fearless🙀

Anyone with even a smattering of empathy should be pissed off that a film like Spiral even exists. But what's truly disheartening is the fact that - given the culture of intolerance and fear-mongering exacerbated by more-than-a-few current world leaders - none of what the film depicts will come as a real surprise. 

Director Laura Fairrie focuses on the rise of anti-semitism in France, showing several Jewish individuals and families forced to deal with it. Fearing for their  safety, some have chosen to leave the country - where they've lived their entire lives - while others attempt peaceful means of fighting back against those fanning the flames of open racism. An example of the latter is Julian, a young lawyer who attempts to prosecute Diendonne, a hateful, apathetic "comedian" who's been repeatedly convicted of hate speech and supporting terrorism.

Interviews and profiles are interspersed with footage of recent terror attacks (including the Charlie Hebdo massacre), news stories, racist podcasts and anti-semitic speeches by public figures. There's enough here to anger any judicious viewer. However, the film's structure tends to be a little frustrating, continuously shifting from one subject's plight to another without a lot of transition or context, giving the only glimpses of what they're enduring. We learn relatively little about them beyond their shared heritage.

"Lemme tell you what "Like a Virgin" is about..."
And I hate to say this, but Spiral isn't incendiary enough to do more than confirm what, unfortunately, most of us already suspect. A more potent & provocative film could have been made from Julian versus Diendonne alone. Julian has compelling personal reasons for his crusade and Diendonne is such a hateful son-of-a-bitch that it's a shame Fairrie doesn't fully-exploit the story opportunities inherent in their conflict.

Still, Spiral does get its intended message out: Anti-semitism is on the rise and getting worse. Despite the efforts of some of its subjects to counter the hatred, we're not left with much optimism that things will improve anytime soon. We definitely walk away angry, but not as shocked and horrified as we should be, which may say more about the state of the world than the film's narrative shortcomings.

EXTRA KIBBLES
"CONVERSATIONS FROM THE QUAD" - An interview with Director Laura Fairrie.

KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD. LIKE CAT CHOW.

January 25, 2019

THE POOP SCOOP (1/25): Blu-ray News

PET SEMATARY: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION on 4K Blu-ray 3/26
Dr. Louis Creed, having just moved to Maine with his wife and two children, is heartbroken when he finds that his daughter's beloved cat has been hit by a truck and killed. Thankfully, a strange, elderly neighbor called Jud knows a secret that may spare the young girl's tears. He takes the dead cat to an ancient Indian burial ground that lies hidden in the surrounding hilltops; and when he buries the feline there, it comes back to life a few days later. But Louis can't be trusted with the secret, and, despite strong warnings that something horrible will happen, he uses the power of the burial ground to bring his son back from the dead. Bonus features include 3 featurettes and audio commentary. From Paramount.

BURNING on Digital January 29, Blu-ray Combo & DVD March 5
One of the year’s most acclaimed films and South Korea’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2019 Academy Awards, BURNING debuts on digital January 29 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD March 5 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Based on the short story "Barn Burning" by Haruki Murakami, BURNING is a psychological tale of all-consuming jealousy that tells the story of three individuals and a mystery that shows no one is truly as they seem. The film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an impressive score of 95% and an average score of 8.7 from over 100 outlets. A special bonus is the behind-the-scenes featurette “About the Characters” where viewers will take a deep dive into the characters in BURNING and the actors who portray them. The film stars Steven Yeun (Okja, “The Walking Dead”), Ah-in Yoo (“Six Flying Dragons”) and Jong-seo Jun making her big screen debut.
 
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET on Digital 4K Ultra HD 2/12 and 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray 2/26
Ralph Breaks the Internet arrives home with a wide-range of exclusive extras, taking fans behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation Studios to explore how artists created the film’s vibrant version of the internet — from comical cat videos to the intense online game Slaughter Race to shady characters on the Dark Net. Features also reveal some Easter eggs — inside jokes and references to other Disney films and characters hidden throughout the film — and filmmakers introduce some never before revealed deleted scenes.
  
YEAR OF THE DRAGON on Blu-ray 2/19
Corruption. Extortion. Sometimes, even assassination. For the tradition-bound mob bosses of Manhattan's Chinatown, there are age-old ways of running things. And now there s police captain Stanley White s way. Mickey Rourke portrays White, a war veteran who has a Vietnam-sized chip on his shoulder when dealing with an emerging blood feud in Chinatown. John Lone plays the crime lord standing in the line of fire of White's relentless campaign. And Academy Award-winning director Michael Cimino - The Deer Hunter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, working from a screenplay based on the novel by Robert Daley (Prince of the City) and coscripted by Oliver Stone, fills the screen with adrenaline rushes of action and excitement. First time on Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection.

Rest in Peace, James Frawley

January 22, 2019

THE GIANT BEHEMOTH: The Beast So Nice They Named It Twice

https://www.wbshop.com/collections/warner-archive
Isn't a 'behemoth' already a giant?
Starring Gene Evans, Andre Morell, John Turner, Leigh Madison, Jack MacGowran. Directed by Eugene Lourie. (1959/80 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😼

The Giant Behemoth is notable for being one of the last movies to prominently feature special effects by stop-motion pioneer Willis O'Brien, whose skills had been more-or-less surpassed by his former apprentice, Ray Harryhausen. As such, the film holds a certain amount of historical interest.

Though mostly a British production, The Giant Behemoth is typical of the sci-fi-horror that thrived in American drive-ins throughout the 1950s. This time, the titular beast is a radioactive dinosaur that rises from the ocean depths to stomp all over London. Conveniently on-hand is Steve Karnes (Gene Evans, taking a break from all those westerns), an American scientist who happens to be in town to lecture his peers about the effect of nuclear testing on sea animals (talk about your powerful visual aids).

Well, that's one way to catch a cab.
While similar in plot to The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (by the same director, no less), The Giant Behemoth is hampered by an obviously lower budget. The characters and obligatory exposition leading up to the reptile rampage are merely perfunctory. Par for the course, the fun begins once the creature emerges from the Thames to toss around cars, kick over buildings and irradiate the neighbors. The monster is more amusing than malevolent, but he's plenty destructive and his grudge against London, which comprises most of the final act, helps elevate what would otherwise be a routine monster movie.

As post-nuclear nightmares go, The Giant Behemoth is hardly a milestone, nor does it rise above the fray to really stand out among others of its ilk. But despite the familiar story and budget-conscious production values, Willis O'Brien's charming critter creations are always entertaining (though this one is a far cry from his King Kong glory days).

EXTRA KIBBLES
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By FX Artists Dennis Muren & Phil Tippet
TRAILER
KITTY CONSENSUS:
NOT BAD. LIKE CAT CHOW.

January 21, 2019

THE POOP SCOOP (1/21): Notable Upcoming Blu-ray Releases

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bup4lM2qOCA
VIEW THE TRAILER
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET on Digital 4K Ultra HD on Feb. 12 and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on Feb. 26
Ralph Breaks the Internet arrives home with a wide-range of exclusive extras, taking fans behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation Studios to explore how artists created the film’s vibrant version of the internet — from comical cat videos to the intense online game Slaughter Race to shady characters on the Dark Net. Features also reveal some Easter eggs — inside jokes and references to other Disney films and characters hidden throughout the film — and filmmakers introduce some never before revealed deleted scenes.
  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS0ESzaVGwM
GO BEHIND THE SCENES
THE FRONT RUNNER on Blu-ray & DVD February 12, 2019
Along with three deleted scenes, the digital, Blu-ray and DVD releases of THE FRONT RUNNER dive into the many facets of production with engaging feature commentary from director and co-writer Jason Reitman, producer Helen Estabrook, production Designer Steve Saklad, costume designer Danny Glicker, and cinematographer Eric Steelberg. In the featurette “The Unmaking a Candidate,” the filmmakers and cast take on the difficult questions the film presents -- What is news? What do we expect of our politicians? What is relevant? Also, learn more about Gary Hart, the media’s treatment of women, and more in this absorbing deep dive.
 
https://youtu.be/jWhVMlCLqz4
VIEW THE TRAILER
THE LITTLE MERMAID on Digital, 4K Ultra HD on 2/12 and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on 2/26
The Signature Edition of The Little Mermaid showcases its award-winning musical score and iconic songs such as “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World” with a sing-along mode allowing you to accompany this beloved cast of characters on their journey.   Never-before-seen bonus features bring legendary composer Alan Menken and some of Disney’s most recognizable leading ladies together around a piano to reminisce, sing and celebrate The Little Mermaid. The latest installment of “Stories from Walt’s Office” compares Walt and Ariel’s love of collecting treasures. Viewers will also receive an inside look at the The Little Mermaid cast in their original recording sessions, explore hidden treasures and fun facts from the film, and enjoy a special performance of “Part of Your World” by a cappella singing sensation DCapella. Plus, fans will have access to hours of additional classic bonus features!
 

PEPPERMINT SODA on DVD and Blu-ray on February 12th  

Diane Kurys' celebrated film - with cinematography by Oscar winner Philippe Rousselot (Fantastic Beasts)- revels in the comedy and tragedy of the seemingly mundane, weaving a complex tapestry of everyday existence that also touches on the universal. The world cinema classic received a 2K restoration for its 40th anniversary theatrical re-release in 2018, and Cohen Film Collection is proud to present this striking new restoration for home viewing.

January 20, 2019

THE PRIZE (1963) and Some Suspicions Confirmed

https://www.wbshop.com/collections/warner-archive
Starring Paul Newman, Elke Summer, Diane Baker, Edward G. Robinson, Micheline Presle, Gerard Drury, Kevin McCarthy, Sergio Fantoni. Directed by Mark Robson. (1963/135 min). 

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM
WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTION

Review by Mr. Paws😸

Watching 1963's The Prize for the first time, it sort-of confirmed what I've long suspected about Paul Newman...some roles he took seriously, others he was content to simply show up and be Paul Newman. This one is decidedly one of the latter.

Not that Newman sleepwalks through the film. On the contrary, his relatively cavalier approach to the role is ultimately what makes The Prize so enjoyable.

I also suspect the final product wasn't what screenwriter Ernest Lehman - adapting Irving Wallace's novel - originally had in mind. Throughout the entire film, it is obvious this was once intended to be a Hitchcockian thriller similar to North by Northwest (which Lehman also wrote). But while director Mark Robson made some decent films during his long career, he was definitely no Hitchcock, more prone to engage in sloppy melodrama than Hitch ever was.

Paul Newman suffers for his art.
Some of that sloppy melodrama is definitely present, so I suspect maybe Newman took a look at the script, saw who was attached and thought playing a drunk, womanizing novelist who arrives in Stockholm to collect a Nobel Prize he doesn't care about - beyond the cash award - might be fun, not-to-mention a free trip to Sweden. If that's the case, then Newman and his character, Andrew Craig, could be kindred spirits. Even as the story unfolds in earnest - a plot to replace German-American physicist Max Stratman (Edward G. Robinson) with a doppelganger in order to discredit the United States - Newman appears to take everything about as seriously as Craig does his Nobel Prize.

When Edward G. Robinson dreams.
This is a good thing because the plot is actually pretty silly, and until Newman shows up - well-after the other major players are all introduced - The Prize is tough sledding. I suspect Robson may have looked at the dailies, realized Newman was saving the entire film with sheer charisma and decided to go with the flow. Hence, what would have otherwise been a mundane thriller becomes a semi-comedic star vehicle, with Newman/Craig turning the charm on his beleaguered liaison, Inger (Elke Sommer), getting into compromising - almost farcical - predicaments and using his detective novel skills to find the real Dr. Stratman (though no one else believes him because he's always drunk).

While certainly no timeless classic, The Prize is made memorably amusing by its star. With all due respect to Lehman, Robson and everyone else involved, Paul Newman is almost the whole show here. And if they were around to ask, I suspect most of them would concur.

EXTRA KIBBLES
TRAILER
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...FOR A GOOD TIME, DIAL 1-800-N-E-W-M-A-N.

January 18, 2019

January 14, 2019

An Unexpected Friendship in THE DARK (2018)

https://darkskyfilms.com/
Starring Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Markovics, Sarah Murphy-Dyson. Directed by Justin P. Lange. (2018/95 min).

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

Having just suffered through Hell Fest and The Nun, maybe I'm being overly generous in my assessment of The Dark, but compared to those two dumpster fires, this humble little horror flick was a breath of fresh air.

While not exactly groundbreaking - or particularly scary - The Dark may lack flash, cash and panache, but it's suitably grim and full of emotional surprises. Writer-director Justin P. Lange also appears to know that horror isn't always found in jump-scares and buckets of blood. In fact, despite the story's undead main character, The Dark's most disturbing moments are grounded in reality.

Explaining the basic plot is difficult without providing significant spoilers, but I will say that the backstory of the two main characters - both children - involves severe physical and sexual abuse. These moments are handled tastefully, but are devastating nonetheless, and as-it-happens necessary. The strong emotional bond between Mina (Nadia Alexander) and Alex (Toby Nichols) stems from the empathy she develops after saving him from his abductor. In the process, she becomes his de-facto guardian and begins to regain some of the humanity she lost when she died years before.

Emos go camping.
Though not a traditional horror film, The Dark is still plenty horrific. Alex wasn't merely kidnapped; his eyes have been torn out, and judging from the scars and lingering symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, he'd been missing for quite a long time before Mina kills - and eats - his abductor. Mina herself is (sort-of) a zombie, animal-like, violent and willing to kill anyone who ventures into the woods, as demonstrated when they come-across a few unfortunate adults in the cast.

Still, there's a sweetness to these kids' friendship that's engaging, despite the rest of the film's unnerving elements. Because of this,The Dark achieves a poignancy atypical of the genre. It's refreshing to occasionally take in a horror film with characters we actually care about, even if their behavior is often monstrous. A nice change of pace from some of the other mallrat mayhem I've endured lately.

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

January 13, 2019

FIRST MAN: Blu-ray Giveaway!

https://www.firstman.com/
FREE KITTENS MOVIE GUIDE is giving away a Blu-ray copy of Universal's FIRST MAN to one lucky reader.

TO ENTER: Simply drop us a message at freekittensmovieguide@gmail.com. CONTEST ENDS 1/23.

Follow the gripping and captivating true story of the first manned mission to the moon in FIRST MAN, arriving on Digital and via the digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on January 8, 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on January 22, 2019 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Hailed by critics as “the best movie of the year” (Collider) and “exhilarating” (Entertainment Weekly), FIRST MAN comes from acclaimed Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) and stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land, The Big Short) as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy (“The Crown,” Breathe) as Janet Armstrong in the heroic and emotionally driven journey through a pivotal moment in the history of mankind. Receiving two Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Foy) and Best Original Score (Justin Hurwitz), the critically acclaimed film is packed with bonus features including deleted scenes and special featurettes showing behind-the-scenes looks at creating the film.

JONATHAN: Internal Sibling Rivalry

http://www.wellgousa.com/
Starring Ansel Elgort, Patricia Clarkson, Suki Waterhouse, Matt Bomer, Douglas Hodge, Joe Egender. Directed by Bill Oliver. (2018/95 min). 

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM
WELL GO USA

Review by Stinky the Destroyer😾

The quasi-sci-fi premise of Jonathan is intriguing, though personally, this is not the direction I would have gone with it.

Jonathan (Ansel Elgort) is a meek, reticent and responsible young man who diligently follows his daily schedule. On the other hand, his twin brother, Jon (also Elgort), isn't as tightly wound. He has friends, a social life and keeps encouraging Jonathan to lighten up and do the same. Almost immediately, we're made aware that Jonathan and Jon are actually the same guy, two distinct personalities whose lives are kept separated with the help a device implanted by Dr. Nariman (Patricia Clarkson).

Jonathan/Jon isn't your garden variety split personality. They consider themselves brothers and genuinely love each other, living in 12-hour shifts by a stringent routine and set of rules; Jonathan is in control during the day, while Jon takes over at night. They bring each other up-to-speed through daily video messages. Their routine is disrupted when Jon breaks one of the rules and gets himself a girlfriend, Elena (Suki Waterhouse).

The service here sucks.
This increasingly complicated triangle is the crux of the story, the time-honored trope of two characters driven apart over a woman. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, the opportunity for a nifty, slow-burning thriller is squandered in favor of a moody character study. And I'm sure there are many reading this who'll find the story as-presented sufficiently engaging. It's well-written, with suitably solid performances and an interesting main character (or "characters," if you will). As Jonathan/Jon, Elgort does an admirable job giving each brother his own personality.

However, I kept expecting something with more ominous implications to happen, such as one brother being forced to answer for a terrible act committed by the other. But, alas, a majority of the narrative focus is on their developing sibling rivalry. Even Elena's overall importance to the story diminishes after awhile, as does interest in the brothers' predicament once it becomes obvious how everything is going to pan out.

Writer-director Bill Oliver is obviously striving for something other than your usual Jekyll & Hyde story, which is certainly admirable. But while Jonathan is well-made and watchable, it isn't terribly exciting, though I'll concede I was expecting more of a thriller. For some viewers, the emphasis on relationships will be right up their alley.

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

January 11, 2019

THE POOP SCOOP: The Little Mermaid Turns 30

https://youtu.be/jWhVMlCLqz4
VIEW THE ALL-NEW TRAILER
THE LITTLE MERMAID: Walt Disney Signature Collection On Digital 2/12 and 4K & Blu-ray 2/26

In honor of its 30th anniversary, two-time Academy Award-winner The Little Mermaid dives into the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection with all-new bonus features and a sing-along mode. The magical, musical tale of mermaid princess Ariel — along with loveable sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder, and the love-to-hate sea witch Ursula — is shore to make a splash with all generations when it comes home for the first time Digitally in HD, 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere on Feb. 12, and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on Feb. 26.

The Signature Edition of
The Little Mermaid showcases its award-winning musical score and iconic songs such as “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World” with a sing-along mode allowing you to accompany this beloved cast of characters on their journey. Never-before-seen bonus features bring legendary composer Alan Menken and some of Disney’s most recognizable leading ladies together around a piano to reminisce, sing and celebrate The Little Mermaid. The latest installment of “Stories from Walt’s Office” compares Walt and Ariel’s love of collecting treasures. Viewers will also receive an inside look at the The Little Mermaid cast in their original recording sessions, explore hidden treasures and fun facts from the film, and enjoy a special performance of “Part of Your World” by a cappella singing sensation DCapella. Plus, fans will have access to hours of additional classic bonus features.