August 31, 2022


A Treasure Hunt by D.M. ANDERSON💀

In addition to watching and writing about films, I’m something of a memorabilia collector. Cursed with a teacher’s salary, I ain’t out there bidding on Dorothy’s ruby slippers or anything, but certainly enjoy haunting local shops for a variety of movie-related stuff. Or when feeling particularly bold, I’ll occasionally overpay for some retro relic on eBay.

More often than not, I leave stores empty-handed. But every now and then, I’ll find a small treasure that doesn’t completely empty my wallet and give it a new home in the Dave Cave.

This time, however, the treasure came to me.

For 25 years, I’ve been teaching at Parkrose Middle School, where the recent Netflix film, Metal Lords, was shot. It’s a fun little comedy about two metal heads hoping to win their school’s battle of the bands. My place of work doubled as Glenwood Lake High School, the film’s setting.

I walk these actual halls every morning.
Most of the shooting occurred during the height of the COVID pandemic, when the building was largely empty because we all were forced to work from home and teach through Zoom meetings. Unfortunately, those same COVID restrictions kept me from being allowed to visit the set, though I did drive through the parking lot one time to check-out the fleet of production trailers.

Finally seeing Metal Lords a year later was sorta surreal. Every ten minutes or so, I’d nudge my wife to say, “Hey, our cafeteria!,” or “That’s Britt’s room!” Especially cool was a scene in which two main characters are arguing and I could see my own classroom in the background, a silhouetted extra walking among my desks (probably the same bastard who stole my stapler).

As seen in Metal Lords...and the wall of my classroom.
Then today, as we were all preparing for the new school year - back to in-person teaching, I’m happy to say -  I received a wonderful surprise. My principal, Annette, managed to acquire an actual prop from the film: The Glenwood Lake High School emblem sign. And knowing my love of movies, she gave it to me, instructing me to simply throw it away if I didn’t want it. 

Was she crazy? Of all the movie-related knicky-knacks I’ve collected over the years, this is the first thing that was actually used in a movie. This baby ain’t going anywhere but on a wall, where it’ll remain long after everyone has forgotten about Metal Lords itself. Thanks again, Annette! You made my day! 

August 29, 2022


1979-2022 / 136 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😻

This is the best Star Trek: The Motion Picture has ever looked or sounded, including its original theatrical release 40+ years ago. With all the editing tweaks, FX upgrades and restorations applied to it over the years - capped by a gorgeous 4K UHD overhaul done just this year - it almost plays like a different film from the historically maligned version many of us grew up with.

As someone who did see it when it premiered in theaters back in ’79, my overall positive assessment of the movie itself is somewhat tainted by no small amount of sentimentality. My mother took me to see this during Christmas vacation and it was her idea, which sort of surprised me. I was at that age when we weren’t really communicating all that much (no major problems…just me being a teenager) and had no idea she was a closet Trekkie, which was sort of a revelation. Dad’s general contempt for all things sci-fi precluded talking him into going, so seeing Star Trek: The Motion Picture in a theater ended up being one of my last purely Mom & son outings before “outgrowing” such things. Since she's no longer with us, perhaps that’s part of the reason I carry more of a nostalgic torch for this Trek than subsequent ones.

"They're all out to get you, Jim...just like you always suspected."
As hard as it may be to believe today, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a pretty incredible theater experience. Sure, the special effects were sometimes wonky, but more-often jaw-dropping, such as our first look at the Enterprise and the entire V’Ger flyover sequence, both presented in looong, loving detail. And yeah, the film was a little slow, the dialogue clunky - even corny at times - and the performances pretty stale. Yet conceptually, this film arguably adhered closer to the high-minded, cerebral nature of the original series than any other film in the franchise. If not quite the out-of-body experience of Star Wars or Close Encounters, it was still enjoyably immersive, warts and all.

But over the years, a lot of those warts were removed. It’s no secret that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a troubled production and rushed into theaters before it was really complete (a fascinating tale in its own right) and director Robert Wise was allowed to revise the film in 2001, which included fixing many of the pacing and special effects issues. Even further upgrades were made 20 years later for its 4K restoration. Nothing can be done about the dialogue or performances, nor will I refute the long-standing criticism that the iconic cast was simply dropped into a story that could just as easily exist without them. However, unlike the unwelcome and distracting changes George Lucas made to Star Wars, the Director’s Edition seamlessly blends old and new to create a better film…perhaps a new one that just happened to take 40 years to finish.

Regardless of one’s opinion of the movie itself, it looks and sounds stunning in 4K. While the original 1979 version was released in 4K just last year as part of a boxed set, this 2-disc set is still worth picking up. Not only is the 2022 version a considerable improvement, the story behind it is just as entertaining and this release includes a big batch of all-new bonus features to go along with vintage material carried over from previous discs. A must own for fans, this is one of the best home video releases of the year. Mom would've loved it.



2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) A new commentary by David C. Fein, Mike Matessino and Daren Dochterman; 2) Vintage commentary director Robert Wise, FX artists Douglas Trumbull & John Dyhstra, composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins.

TEXT COMMENTARY - By Michael & Denise Okuda.



“THE HUMAN ADVENTURE” - An all-new 50-minute, 9-part documentary, mostly featuring individuals involved with the 2022 4K restoration, who share personal insights & views on the film and its creators, as well as the process of updating the look and sound. Great stuff, with plenty of side-by-side scene comparisons.




COMPUTER DISPLAY GRAPHICS - A closer look at the individually animated images used for the scenes on the bridge.


“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (FEATURETTES) - “Phase II: The Lost Enterprise” (the aborted Star Trek Phase II series); “A Bold New Enterprise”; “Redirecting the Future”; “The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture”; “Special Star Trek Reunion”; “Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 001: V’Ger” (fictionalized historical summary of the Voyager program); “The New Frontier: Resurrecting Star Trek”; “Maiden Voyage: Making Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”


ADDITIONAL SCENES - 1979 Theatrical version

DELETED SCENES - 1983 TV version


August 26, 2022

The Continuing Irony of ROLLERBALL

ROLLERBALL (Blu-ray Review)
1975 / 125 min


Review by Mr. Paws😺

Taking place in the “not too distant future,” Rollerball depicts a world ruled by powerful corporations. War, poverty and disease are a thing of the past, and all that’s expected in return is that people don't question how decisions are made. The most popular entertainment in the world is Rollerball, an ultra violent mash-up of roller derby, football, motorcycle racing and gladiatorial combat. 

Rollerball was created by corporations to demonstrate “the futility of individual effort,” changing the rules more often than the NFL in order to assure no heroes emerge from the game. One does, of course…Jonathan E (James Caan), a beloved Rollerball champion who refuses to retire as instructed by Energy Corporation executive Bartholomew (John Houseman). So they keep altering the game to be even more violent, anticipating that Jonathan will die playing it.

Back in 1975, Rollerball was hugely influential, at least on me and my friends when we decided to try playing the game ourselves that summer. Granted, we didn’t have motorcycles, roller-skates, spiked gloves or a steel ball capable of tearing your head off, but we did have Schwinns, skateboards, gardening gloves, baseball helmets, a duct tape-wrapped softball and two trash cans placed on opposite ends of our cul-de-sac to serve as goals. 

Unlike the climactic match in the film with no time limit, our own little game lasted about five minutes. That’s when my friend Mark collided with another kid on his bike and smacked face-first on the pavement. He broke his nose, two teeth and scraped a good chunk of skin off his cheek. After that, no one seemed too enthused to continue, especially after seeing all that blood squirting from Mark’s nostrils. That might've been my first hard-earned lesson (though a lot harder on Mark) not to imitate what you see in the movies.

We weren’t the only ones inspired, either. Even the cast & crew of Rollerball played the game in their free time between takes. 

"Wanna partner for 'couples skate'?"
The ultimate irony of Rollerball is that director Norman Jewison intended the film to be a dystopian commentary on violent entertainment and expected audiences to be appalled by the sport’s brutality. Instead, he and screenwriter William Harrison (who also wrote the original short story) created such a perfectly conceived and visually stunning spectacle - with a clear set of rules - that we all wished it was a real fucking sport. The movie was even the subject of a Sports Illustrated article and spotlighted on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Hell, I still wish Rollerball was real, though the game’s copious human attrition would make drafting any kind of fantasy team a complete crapshoot. 

Sorry, Mr. Jewison…mission failed.

Furthermore, as cinematic dystopias go, the world depicted in Rollerball doesn’t really seem all that bad. There’s no poverty, no warring nations, no one suffering discernible hardships. People exist in drug-enhanced luxury, dressed in the best designer fashions the 70s had to offer. Even Jonathan lives in a high-tech ranch spread with his own personal helicopter, making it difficult to muster much sympathy for his dilemma. 

Yep…the future in Rollerball looks A-OK. Unless you’re a woman, of course. By 2018, women are essentially property with no personal freedoms. Considering recent real-life government actions which threaten women’s body autonomy, it’s equally ironic that the one aspect of Rollerball that might now be the most timely - maybe prophetic? - is its dubious depiction of women’s roles (especially with the decision-makers consisting mostly of middle-aged white guys).

But I digress…nobody who’s ever watched Rollerball has given two shits about its themes or commentary on society’s ills. It was - and still is - all about the game itself. Nearly five decades later, the game sequences remain jaw-dropping triumphs of superior stuntwork, brutal action and some of the best editing of any sports-themed movie ever made. These scenes alone - which comprise about a quarter of the running time - are worth the price of admission and endlessly rewatchable (with your remote handy to skip the pokier bits).

Rollerball has been released on Blu-ray by various boutique companies over the years (the most comprehensive being Arrow Video’s 2015 UK version). However, this disc features a new 4K scan and the overall picture is a significant improvement (cleaner and more vibrant than any version I’ve seen, anyway). While most of the bonus features are older ones, a wonderful piece with the late, great James Cann (shot for the Arrow release) is also included, as well as a brand new interview with Bob Minor, who was one of the stuntmen and looks back fondly at the experience.


“BLOOD SPORTS” - From 2015, a 10-minute interview with actor James Caan, who recalls preparing for the physical aspects of the role and discusses some of the film’s themes.

NEW INTERVIEW WITH BOB MINOR - Minor was a stuntman on the film.

“FROM ROME TO ROLLERBALL” - Vintage featurette.

AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) by director Norman Jewison; 2) by screenwriter William Harrison.


August 24, 2022

THE POOP SCOOP: A Litter of Classics, Old & New

😺AMERICAN FRONTIER TRILOGY (Sicario, Wind River, Hell or High Water) arrives 10/18 on Blu-ray + Digital from Lionsgate.
Three action-packed films written by Taylor Sheridan (the writer behind TV’s massively successful "Yellowstone”) are now available in one collection when the American Frontier Trilogy arrives on Blu-ray + Digital October 18 from Lionsgate. The three-film collection features Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Avengers: Endgame), Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart), and Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin (Dune, Avengers: Endgame), and will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.99. In these three modern classics, an idealistic FBI agent teams up with a shady consultant to bust a drug lord (Sicario), a rookie FBI agent and a game tracker work to solve a girl’s murder on a remote reservation (Wind River), and a desperate father decides to rob the bank that’s trying to take his family’s land (Hell or High Water).


from Universal.
One of the most critically acclaimed and cherished films to ever grace the silver screen, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, celebrates its 60th anniversary with a first time 4K Ultra HD release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on October 11, 2022. The TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 60TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION set includes a 44-page booklet, four collectable international theatrical poster cards, and a film strip replica. The limited edition packs also include a new introspective featurette with the filmmakers, historians and family members reflecting on the film’s lasting messages of courage and hope that are still relevant 60 years later. Experience one of the most significant milestones in film history like never before with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Gregory Peck stars as courageous Southern lawyer Atticus Finch—the Academy Award-winning performance hailed by the American Film Institute as the Greatest Movie Hero of All Time. Based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel about innocence, strength and conviction and nominated for eight Academy Awards, this beloved classic includes hours of unforgettable bonus features. Watch it and remember why "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


From Universal Pictures, home of the monsters since the era of silent movies, comes a second volume of Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection with collectible packaging, showcasing four more of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history: The Mummy, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, The Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and Claude Rains in the roles they made famous, these iconic films set new standards for horror with groundbreaking makeup, cinematography and special effects that have withstood the test of time. As with Volume 1, this set comes with hours of bonus features for each film, including featurettes, trailers, production stills, galleries, audio commentaries and a 3-D version of Creature from the Black Lagoon on Blu-ray. 


🐕DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS on Digital 8/23, on 4K, Blu-ray & DVD on 10/4 from Warner Bros.
Experience a funny and fun-filled, action-packed adventure featuring the DC canon’s unsung heroes, Krypto and Ace, when “DC League of Super-Pets” arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home on August 23. The film is directed by Jared Stern from a screenplay by Stern and John Whittington, based on characters from DC, and Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, starring the voice of Dwayne Johnson. The film will also be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on October 4. The film also stars the voices of Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz and Keanu Reeves. The film was produced by Patricia Hicks, Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia and Stern, with John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, Nicholas Stoller, Allison Abbate, Chris Leahy, Sharon Taylor and Courtenay Valenti executive producing.

👽E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 40TH ANNIVERSARY on 4K, Blu-ray & Digital 10/18 from Universal.
Journey back to the magic and adventure of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, the beloved masterpiece from Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg, with this all-new release celebrating the 40th anniversary of the film, available to own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, and Digital October 18th, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. There has never been a better time to relive this cinematic classic and four-time Academy Award® winner including Best Music by legendary composer John Williams. The anniversary release showcases over 45 minutes of all-new bonus features including a retrospective of the film and its lasting legacy and a featurette with Steven Spielberg reflecting on his career and the making of E.T. 40 years later. This release also includes all the original bonus features including deleted scenes, cast and filmmaker reunion, a discussion with John Williams about the iconic music from the film, and more.

August 22, 2022

RUNNING OUT OF TIME 1 & 2: A Case of Polar Opposites

1999-2001 / 189 min (2 films)
Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

This one-two punch from Arrow Video is a prime example of polar opposites. One film ranks among the best Hong Kong actioners of the late 90s, while its sequel is a drab, dimwitted dumptster fire. What’s truly surprising is that both came from Johnnie To, widely considered one of Hong Kong’s greatest action directors. 

Running Out of Time builds on a great concept. Cheun Wah (the great Andy Lau) learns he is dying and has only a month to live. With the time he has left, he plans the masterful heist of a precious diamond first stolen by a crime boss named Baldy (Waise Lee). For reasons not made initially clear, Cheun also lures down-and-out detective Ho Sheung-sang (Lau Ching Wan) into an intriguing game of cat-and-mouse, keeping him “in the loop” while remaining elusive and repeatedly putting the cop in harm’s way. 

The film requires some suspension of disbelief and one major character (Ho’s boss, Chief Inspector Wong) is needlessly stupid, but the story is loaded with intriguing twists and excellent action sequences. At its center are two terrific main characters, with an adversarial relationship that evolves into mutual admiration and respect. That makes Cheun more anti-hero than antagonist, played with a perfect balance of pathos, coolness and charm by Lau. 

Andy Lau...the Steve McQueen of channel surfing.
Much of the same cast & crew return for Running Out of Time 2, but what a difference two years makes. While the ol’ Law of Diminishing Returns certainly applies to most sequels, this one is bad enough to draw unfavorable comparisons to Highlander 2: The Quickening. Not even the title makes contextual sense in this lackadaisical “thriller,” which has detective Ho Sheung-sang (Lau Ching Wan again) matching wits with an unnamed thief.

Andy Lau is sorely missed here. In his place is Ekin Cheng as the cocky crook with a perpetual Errol Flynn grin plastered on his face, while Ho is reduced to beleaguered straight-man. Action sequences are infrequent and mostly played for laughs - which it doesn't get - such as an endless, lethargic foot-bike chase which comprises much of the middle act. The film is further dragged down by way too many idiotic, ill-conceived supporting characters, the worst being a cop with a gambling problem.

The biggest difference might be that the screenwriting team of Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud (who created the initial concept, story & characters) are sorely missed in the second film. Perhaps that’s one reason a good portion of the bonus features focus on them. Whatever the case, this set is worth picking up for the first film alone, which is fun, exciting and holds up well to repeated viewings. As for Running Out of Time 2…morbid fascination over its sheer awfulness might make it worth checking out…once.



SUPPLEMENTARY BOOKLET - Essay, “On the Edge: Connection, Isolation and Identity in Running Out of Time 1 & 2, by David West; cast, crew & transfer credits.


“THE DIRECTORS’ OVERVIEW OF CARBON AND COURTIAUD” - An archival featurette about screenwriters Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud.

ARCHIVAL INTERVIEWS - Individual archival interviews with screenwriters Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud, director Johnnie To, actor Lau Ching Wan and composer Raymond Wong.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By screenwriters Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud, moderated by Stefan Hammond.




“THE MAKING OF RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2” - Archival featurette.

“HONG KONG STORIES” - An archival, 50-minute documentary about screenwriters Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud working in Hong Kong.



August 20, 2022



I’m pretty sure the first “grown-up” book I ever bought with my own money was Grizzly, by Will Collins. It was a novelization of the 1976 film that had recently wowed me when I saw it at a theater. The price…a whopping $1.50.

My mom thought it was dumb to blow hard-earned lawn mowing money for a book based on a movie I’d already seen. But not only was it a way to experience the story again, there were just enough differences between the book and the movie to make it interesting…with more descriptive details of the characters and the titular beast. Finishing it in a day - it was pretty short - I think I might have enjoyed it more than the movie itself.

Dave's first "grown-up" book.

These were the days before home video. Other than waiting for a favorite film to finally air on TV (sometimes years later and heavily edited), novelizations were really the only way to revisit them outside of a theater. Though they've been part of many marketing campaigns as far back as the original King Kong, the ‘70s and ‘80s were the “Golden Age” of novelizations and I read a lot of ‘em…Halloween, The Car, The Black Hole, Capricorn One, The Thing, Empire of the Ants, Airport ‘77, Halloween III, Outland and Jaws 2, just to name a few. Sometimes I’d already seen the film, sometimes I wasn’t able to, and sometimes I just bought them for the covers.

Unlike traditional novels, the typical movie novelization is a marketing tool where someone is hired to adapt an existing screenplay into a book to coincide with the film’s release. They are almost always published as paperbacks and generally run 150-300 pages, depending on the complexity of the story. They never got much respect in literary circles and the authors are basically hired guns, some of whom don’t even receive credit, such as the novelization of the original Star Wars, which is credited to George Lucas, but actually written by Alan Dean Foster.

Alan Dean Foster: The Stephen King of movie tie-ins.

Speaking of Foster…he probably wrote more novelizations than anyone. In addition to being a respected sci-fi author in his own right, he adapted The Thing, Krull, The Last Starfighter, Outland, Star Trek and Alien into pretty decent books. Some of them, like The Thing, have unique qualities and story elements that differ from the film…

…which sometimes happens when a novelization is being written before wholesale changes are made to the screenplay during production. A great example is Jaws 2, by Hank Searls. The movie may be middling, but the book is great. Far more plausible and character-driven than the movie - with certain aspects of the plot that are much different - not only is it a thrilling read, it’s even better than the crappy Peter Benchley novel that started the whole Jaws phenomenon. And because I read it before seeing the movie, the latter ended up being a dumbed-down disappointment. It was immediately clear that, at one time, Jaws 2 had the potential to equal its predecessor. 

The best novelization ever written.

With everyone now able to revisit any film pretty much whenever they want, movie novelizations don’t have the appeal that they used to, but are still published here and there. Quentin Tarantino adapted his own film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, into a novel, complete with a throwback cover that recalls the Golden Age. Even Alan Dean Foster has recently pumped out novelizations of Alien: Covenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For the most part, though, novelizations are products of the past. Still, you can still find some of these old relics if you look hard enough. Lately, I’ve begun collecting titles I grew up on, finding them in the nooks and crannies of used book stores. Sometimes they’re only a buck or two and in good condition, a far cry from what some hopelessly optimistic sellers are asking on Amazon or eBay. 

However, one old title has so-far continued to elude me…that novelization of Grizzly on which I blew my hard-earned lawn mowing money all those years ago. Copies are out there, but fetching anywhere from $35-60 from the places I’ve checked. I’m not quite nostalgic enough to risk my marriage on a book that once cost me a buck-and-a-half. For now, it'll have to remain the Holy Grail of my wish list.