December 31, 2023

KITTEN KRUSTIES: The Worst Stuff We Reviewed in 2023

While we enjoyed reviewing a slew of Blu-Rays, DVDs and movies in 2023, they haven’t all been picks of the litter. Time to take a look back at the worst of them. Our list consists strictly of titles which were sent to us for review purposes.

BLEH...THE WORST: As much as we love movies, there are times when reviewing them feels like an actual job. The following titles deserve to be buried in the litter box:

GANGNAM ZOMBIE (Well Go USA) - This Korean horror-comedy is a derivative bore, with the sprinting undead chasing a dull cast around an office building. The death scenes are fairly lame and largely free of the gore that has saved even bad zombie movies from being a complete waste of time. Dust off your old copy of Train to Busan instead.

THE VAGRANT (Arrow) - Though it has some admirers, The Vagrant is a tonal and narrative mess, noisily grinding gears between horror and black comedy, with a screenplay that’s never as clever as everyone involved seem to think it is. The story grows increasingly outlandish and implausible, with only Christopher Young’s evocative score to remind us the whole thing is supposed to be funny. 

THE BLUE JEAN MONSTER (88 Films) - If given the choice between watching The Blue Jean Monster again or sitting in a room for 90 minutes while someone raked their fingernails across a blackboard, I’d have to think long and hard about it.

BLOODTHIRST (Lionsgate) - Another post-apocalyptic film (this time with vampires) set in the barren desert, presumably because such locations require no real expense. Expect drab direction, lethargic action scenes, howlingly bad dialogue and performances that border on amateurish. Costas Mandylor looks like he’s here because he lost a bet.

SLOTHERHOUSE (Gravitas Ventures) - An entertaining B-movie could have been made from the intentionally ridiculous concept. However, Slotherhouse blows the opportunity. The cast tries their best, but they’re stuck in a horror-comedy bereft of both the horror and the comedy, wasting the one decent joke it had in its arsenal.

THE MAN FROM TORONTO (Sony) - I have yet to see a movie that isn’t made worse by the presence of Kevin Hart and this one’s no exception, with gobs of laughless, embarrassing sequences where his manic “character” sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Poor Woody Harrelson is mostly stuck playing straight-man. What a waste.

KILL SHOT (Well Go USA) - This is Cliffhanger minus the budget and talent, with laughably gratuitous T&A tossed in instead, particularly the superfluous (and plentiful) scenes of Cook running around in her underwear. Viewed as an unintentional comedy, Kill Shot might be good for a few shits & giggles.

DEVILREAUX (Lionsgate) - A cheap, ship-shod rip-off of Candyman, without the relevant social commentary. It’s just a lazy slasher film, devoid of atmosphere, dread or an interesting killer…just a guy in face-paint and dreads who repeatedly pops up behind his victims. The death scenes are underwhelming and Tony Todd's role is just a cameo.

THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (MVD Visual) - Of all the inane teen sex comedies we were inundated by in the ‘80s, this was the worst of them…a lame attempt to sugar-coat soft-core sleaze and misogyny with manufactured poignancy. Some relics should remain buried.

CALAMITY OF SNAKES (Unearthed Films) - Throughout its running time, literally hundreds of real snakes are killed on-screen in just about every violent, cruel and agonizing way you can imagine. Fuck that.

December 30, 2023

KITTEN KATNIP: The Best Stuff We Reviewed in 2023

We reviewed a slew of Blu-Rays, DVDs and movies in 2023. Time to take a look back at the best of them. While we have seen more movies than the Surgeon General recommends, our list consists strictly of titles which were sent to us for review purposes.

PURR-R-R...THE BEST: We reviewed some good stuff this year, but the following titles were better than taunting a mouse to death:

10. COCAINE BEAR (Universal) - The three things you need for a great weekend: Bears, cocaine and Ray Liotta (RIP). We’re pretty sure this’ll get snubbed at Oscar time, but hey, the movie is a shitload of fun.

9. THE COVENANT (Warner Bros) - In addition to well-conceived main characters and an engaging story, The Covenant features outstanding, believable action sequences. Even during the quieter moments, not a single minute of screen time is wasted on trivialities. It’s director Guy Ritchie’s best film in years…an exciting thriller that deserves to find a bigger audience.

8. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE (Paramount) - Three hours of total Tomsanity. As for the dreaded “Part One” in the title, this one is still a complete movie experience, ending with a sense of closure while making us feel like May 2025 can’t get here soon enough.

7. JOHN WICK STASH BOOK COLLECTION (Lionsgate) - While you can’t always judge a book by its cover, sometimes you gotta grab it because of its cover, even if you have already read it before. This is a beautifully packaged (and sturdy) boxed set. There’s nothing new in terms of content, but the design and artwork certainly reflect the mythic world of its titular character, making it a must own for collectors.

6. THE MALTESE FALCON 4K (Warner Bros) - The Maltese Falcon has it all…the cynical, unflappable protagonist, snappy dialogue, conniving bad guys, surprising plot twists, an unexpected femme fatale and the greatest MacGuffin in movie history. Now in 4K, the old bird has never looked or sounded better.

5. THE DESPERATE HOURS (Arrow) - The quintessential home invasion film, The Desperate Hours is tension-filled almost from the get-go, masterfully drawing us in with striking direction by William Wyler and a menacing turn by Humphrey Bogart. An irresistible mix of film noir, crime thriller and family drama, wrapped up in a fast-paced package that’s worth revisiting again and again.

4. OPPENHEIMER (Universal) - Whether or not it’s Christopher Nolen’s best is obviously subjective, but along with Dunkirk, it reflects a gifted storyteller’s refusal to be pigeonholed into any particular genre while still pushing the technical boundaries of the filmmaking process. The ongoing hype surrounding this one - as well as all the (premature?) Oscar predictions - is completely justified. 

3. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Capelight/MPI) - This is arguably the best war film since Dunkirk and the most harrowing one since Saving Private Ryan. Vivid and violent, it’s a compelling story punctuated by excellent direction, beautifully bleak production design and uniformly great performances. Not bad for a film with a budget that’s a fraction of a typical Hollywood production.

2. TITANIC 4K COLLECTOR’S EDITION (Paramount) - Though it’s very likely that a copy of Titanic already sits in many of your movie collections, this one is worth upgrading to 4K. Additionally, the set comes with a huge selection of new and vintage bonus features. The movie itself remains epic, old-fashioned entertainment, the kind of which they don’t make anymore (they weren’t really making ‘em in the ‘90s, either).

1. PARAMOUNT SCARES 4K, VOLUME 1 (Paramount) - This 4K boxed set collects five horror films released by Paramount over the years…Rosemary's Baby, Crawl, Pet Sematary, Smile and Sweeney Todd. All were hugely successful and (mostly) critical hits. In addition to great video & audio upgrades (one offered in 4K for the first time), Paramount Scares Volume 1 throws in some of the coolest physical goodies of any release this year.

Honorable Mention: ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (MVD); ON THE EDGE (Kino); CLAYDREAM (Oscilloscope); EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH (Film Movement); INVADERS FROM MARS 4K (Impact); IN THE LINE OF DUTY I-IV (88 Films); TAXI HUNTER (88 Films); JUNK HEAD (Synergetic); PHENOMENA 4K (Synapse Films); BLACK SUNDAY (Arrow Video); THE LAST ISLAND (Cult Epics); BABYLON (Paramount); THE LAST BLOOD (88 Films); THE EXORCIST 4K (Warner Bros); THE WANDERING EARTH II (Well Go USA); THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 4K STEELBOOK (Dark Sky Films).

December 29, 2023

THE BLUE JEAN MONSTER: A Grating Action Comedy

1991 / 96 min
Review by Mr. Bonnie😾

Given the choice between watching The Blue Jean Monster again or sitting in a room for 90 minutes while someone rakes their fingernails across a blackboard, I’d have to think long and hard about it.

Conceptually derivative of 1988’s Dead Heat, I actually had reasonably high expectations for this one. Hong Kong action films of the 80s and 90s often tossed in liberal amounts of comedy…sometimes very broad comedy. When done right, the goofier moments serve as a nice contrast to the mayhem. A film we recently reviewed from the same era, The Last Blood, is an excellent example. 

The Blue Jean Monster is the polar opposite. For the most part, not only is the comedy phenomenally inane, the film is pretty irritating right from the get-go. Shing Fui-On plays Tsu, a dedicated cop whose wife is expecting their first baby. During a gunfight with a vicious gang of bank robbers, he is shot and killed, only to be resurrected by a cat (!) and a bolt of lightning. Technically dead, he’s impervious to pain and bullets, which gives him a distinct advantage when getting revenge on the gang who killed him…so long as he keeps recharging himself.

"I think I'd like rabbit for dinner."
The realization that he’s dead leads to the film’s one amusing (and gross) scene, where something he eats plops right out of his bullet wound…only to be accidentally eaten by another guy. Fui-On himself delivers a decent performance, though it mostly consists of reacting to a cavalcade of the most obnoxious, unlikeable cast of characters I’ve seen in years. This includes his bitchy wife, his idiotic informant and the snotty teenager whose life he saves multiple times.

Despite the additional horror elements, The Blue Jean Monster features little actual horror or action. A majority of the narrative is dedicated to interminable attempts at crude comedy, exacerbated by tremendous overacting and jaw-droppingly stupid dialogue. While I have no problem with lowbrow humor per se, what’s on display is mostly so insultingly juvenile that I considered shutting the damn thing off on a couple of occasions. 

By the time of the bloody climactic shoot-out, not only was I ready for the whole thing to end, I wanted most of these characters to get caught in the crossfire. Blending horror, action and comedy is a lot of fun if done right, even when dumbing things down for the yahoo crowd. Instead, The Blue Jean Monster ends up being the movie equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard.


MAN MADE MONSTER - Interview with assistant director Sam Leong.




INTO THE WEEDS Gets Personal

2023 / 98 min
Review by Pepper the Poopy😺

Most of us already know Monsanto, the maker of Roundup weed killer, is an evil empire of corporate greed, indifferent to the human suffering caused by its product. Since the particulars of that trial were all over the news, Into the Weeds doesn’t really present anything particularly revelatory.

This documentary provides a detailed summary of the trial, the events leading up to it and the aftermath, mostly through interviews with dozens of lawyers involved in the litigation against Monsanto. Like most incendiary docs, we’re suitably outraged, but because this was such a high profile case, never really surprised. Our minds were already made up about Monsanto. Some of us quit using Roundup, others shrugged it off and kept spraying away.

What Into the Weeds does best is personalize the issue. The initial litigation was brought about on behalf of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a groundskeeper whose exposure to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides) resulted in Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The film establishes him as a dedicated husband and father (and budding rap artist) who’s severely stricken by this form of cancer, most of his skin covered in lesions. How the disease affects him - physically & emotionally - is tough to endure, but will definitely spark ire in anyone with an ounce of empathy.

Though other victims are featured and interviewed, it’s Johnson’s story that makes Into the Weeds a compelling human drama. The film is definitely one representing Monsanto is interviewed, but I don't think many people were siding with them anyway. Screw those guys.


FEATURETTES - Into the Weeds Call to Action; Bees, Guts and Glyphosate.

December 28, 2023

GENTLEMAN JIM: More Flynn Than Jim

1942 / 104 min
Available at
Review by Mr. Paws😺

Gentleman Jim is technically a biography, though I suspect it presents a more accurate representation of its star than its actual subject. Still, Errol Flynn is the perfect guy for a role like this, especially considering the overall tone of the film.

Boxer James T. Corbett was arguably the first sports celebrity, rising from a bank teller to world champion through fighting techniques that had never been seen before. As depicted in the film, Corbett is brash, ambitious, cocky and audacious. At the same time, he’s congenial, likable and fiercely loyal to his family, even if they don’t fit in with the upper-class snobs Corbett finds himself consorting with.

Whether or not that’s an accurate picture of the real Gentleman Jim doesn’t really matter, nor does his amusing love-hate relationship with socialite Victoria Ware (Alexis Smith), which for all I know is just a manufactured romantic subplot. What does matter is Flynn’s effortless charm and charisma in the role, which isn’t too far removed from his own cultivated persona, and the undeniable chemistry he shares with Smith.

"From now on, you can call me The Cardigan Kid."
So while we obviously ain’t talking Raging Bull here, Gentleman Jim remains agreeable old-fashioned entertainment. What little conflict there is mostly takes place in the ring, and even then, the outcome of each match is seldom in doubt. Elsewhere, the film features plenty of humor, with Corbett's brawling brothers being an amusing running gag. 

In the end, we probably learn less about the real Gentleman Jim than we’d find on Wikipedia. The film checks-off his career highlights and creates an entertaining foil or two, while Corbett himself is never presented with any depth or complexity. But as another fun Errol Flynn vehicle, it works just fine.


3 LOONEY TUNES SHORTS - The Dover Boys at Pimento University; Foney Fables; Hobby Horse-Kaffs (w/ Porky Pig).



December 27, 2023


1970-1975 / 2925 min (5 seasons, 114 episodes)
Available at
Review by Carl, the Couch Potato😺

We here at Free Kittens do not often review television programs. Exceptions tend to be when the show in question possesses certain cinematic qualities, is based on a previous film, or evokes a lot of fond nostalgia. In the case of The Odd Couple, the last two definitely apply.

Based on Neil Simon's play and subsequent film, The Odd Couple ran for five seasons on ABC from 1970 to 1975, starring Jack Klugman as slovenly sports writer Oscar Madison and Tony Randall as photographer & nebbish neat-freak Felix Unger. Both recently divorced, they live together in a small New York apartment. Much of the humor stems from the distinct differences in their personalities and lifestyles. Depending on the episode, one is either the de facto protagonist or antagonist.

Growing up, the show was a regular Friday night staple at our house. I was just a kid back then, but found it quite funny, even if some of the humor sailed over my head at the time. Oscar was especially entertaining - maybe even a little inspirational - to an impressionable kid. He drank beer, knew sports, ate junk food and played poker…a regular guy doing regular guy stuff with his regular guy buddies (their weekly poker games were always a show highlight). I remember even asking my mom if I could change my name to Oscar.

Damn child-proof beer cans.
This was the Odd Couple I grew up on. For me - and I imagine a lot of other viewers at the time - Klugman & Randall were the true Oscar and Felix, not Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon. Seeing the original film for the first time years later, my attachment to the TV series kept me from enjoying it as much (plus there was no laugh track to remind me when something was funny). 

Not having watched the show since it was canceled in 1975, revisiting it on Blu-ray evoked a ton of fond memories…from the moment I heard the opening bars of the toe-tapping theme song. If not quite as uproarious as I remember, each episode is filled with congenial humor and easily resolved conflict. No drama, no “special” episodes or attempts to place its main characters in situations outside of the basic premise (save for a few which sees them participating on game shows or meeting various celebrities). My personal favorite episode has always been the one where Felix redecorates Oscar’s out-to-date apartment with modern furniture, including a potato chip shaped lounge chair (which I also recall putting on my Christmas list that year…and didn’t get).

It goes without saying that The Odd Couple is a product of its time, though still has had enough impact and influence over the years to inspire similar television shows, including a couple of inferior reboots. This 15-disc Blu-ray collects all five seasons and throws in some interesting bonus material, such as a few talk show appearances the actors made while the show was airing. For those who grew up on these guys, there are a lot of nostalgic warm fuzzies to be had.



AUDIO COMMENTARIES - For some episodes.

MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW APPEARANCES - 1) Tony Randall; 2) Tony Randall & Jack Klugman. Both appearances are from 1970.






December 26, 2023

THE POOP SCOOP: Fresh Kibbles for 2024

THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray April 9 from Celluloid Dreams.
Celluloid Dreams ( today announces the release date for its upcoming debut title “The Case of the Bloody Iris.” Originally known as “Perchè Quelle Strane Gocce Di Sangue Sul Corpo Di Jennifer?,” the 1972 film is Italian director Giuliano Carnimeo’s only giallo, and it has since become a genre favorite. The film will be released on April 9th 2024 as a 2-disc combo containing a Blu-ray and 4K UHD version. From a script by the master architect of giallo, Ernesto Gastaldi (THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS), comes director Giuliano Carnimeo’s sexually-charged giallo debut (credited as Anthony Ascott), presented here, for the first time, in 4K ultra high definition anywhere. The gruesome murders of two young women send a shockwave of fear through the tenants of a high-rise apartment building. For photo models Jennifer and Marylin, it presents a welcome opportunity to move in together in one of the emptied flats. But the aura of terror catches up with everyone and soon, Jennifer feels like prey, stalked and targeted by the gloved killer. As her paranoia grows, Jennifer suspects everyone—her fanatic ex-husband, her spinster neighbor, the lesbian from down the hall, and even her boyfriend. But she is determined to stay one step ahead of the depraved killer!

 from Schiffer Publishing.
Acknowledging the iconic, but with plenty of room for the rare and unfamiliar, The Art of the Classic Western Movie Poster presents poster art created for several hundred classic (and not-so-classic) westerns produced from 1903 to 1978. More than 800 images—many reproduced as full page—make this the most comprehensive book of western movie poster art ever published, and the definitive history of a genre often underestimated for its impact on American audiences. One of the earliest narrative films, 1903’s The Great Train Robbery, was a western, and before commercial cinema was a decade old the form had proliferated to such an extent that practically every nickelodeon in the country used short-length shoot-’em-ups in their daily programs.

FOOTLOOSE Debuts On 4K Ultra HD February 13th In Celebration Of The Film's 40th Anniversary from Paramount.
Originally released on February 17, 1984, FOOTLOOSE thrilled audiences with its spirited dancing, electrifying soundtrack, and inspiring story.  Kevin Bacon gives a star-making performance as a city boy whose rebellious love for music and dancing shakes up a small town. Directed by Herbert Ross and written by composer and writer Dean Pitchford, FOOTLOOSE was a massive success, earning $80 million at the domestic box office.  The film features an exceptional supporting cast, including Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest, John Lithgow, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Chris Penn, along with a sensational soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Shalamar, Deniece Williams, Bonnie Tyler, Quiet Riot, John Mellencamp, Foreigner, and more.  Both “Footloose” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” were nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Music, Original Song. Newly remastered, FOOTLOOSE will be available in a two-disc 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray set or a collectible SteelBook™ with artwork designed to look like an 80s Walkman.  Both sets include access to a digital copy of the film and the Blu-ray includes legacy bonus content. 

VARSITY BLUES Debuts On 4K Ultra HD January 9th In Celebration Of Film's 25th Anniversary from Paramount.
Originally released on January 15, 1999, director Brian Robbins’ exciting and often funny coming-of-age story remains a cult classic 25 years later.  James Van Der Beek won the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Male Performance and Teen Choice Award for Breakout Performance for his star turn as high school backup quarterback Jonathan "Mox" Moxom, who is thrust into the limelight in the football-crazed community of West Canaan, Texas.   The film features an outstanding ensemble cast, including Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Amy Smart, Scott Caan, Ali Larter, and Jesse Plemons. Newly remastered from the original camera negative, VARSITY BLUES will be available in a two-disc 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray set that also includes access to a digital copy of the film.  The Blu-ray includes legacy bonus content.