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That Time of The Week – DVD & Blu-ray Releases 7/12 – 7/26

DVD

And somehow, here we are in August.

It’s amazing how quickly this summer has passed.  Movies that came out just a few months ago at the beginning of the summer are already finding their way to DVD & Blu.  Lots of great stuff in this batch, folks, including the improved upon Ultimate Cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Invitation, Green Room and much more!

So sit back, crank up that AC, fire up that queue and prep that shopping cart, it’s That Time of The Week!

 

Lionsgate / Released 7/12/16

Lionsgate / Released 7/12/16

Green Room

Green Room is a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band. Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon.

What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see.

Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise.

But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown. Intense, emotional, and ingeniously twisted, Green Room is genre filmmaking at its best and most original. Saulnier continues to build his reputation as one of the most exciting and distinctive directors working today, with a movie that’s completely different from his previous, highly acclaimed Blue Ruin, but which is just as risk-taking and even more full of twists. The entire cast deliver first-rate performances, but Patrick Stewart gives a transformative and brilliantly devious turn as Darcy-elegant yet lethal, droll yet terrifying, Stewart makes the film simply unforgettable. Extras include making of and commentary.

Last Word: Jeremy Saulnier follows up his impressive debut film Blue Ruin with a taut and brutal thriller that’s one of the best films of the year so far.

The Ain’t Rights — fronted by Amber (Alia Shawkat) and Pat (the late Anton Yelchin) — are about ready to pack in their dwindling tour, but decide to take on one last decidedly sketchy gig at an out-of-the-way bar in Oregon.

They’re not thrilled it’s a Neo-Nazi hangout, but they figure they can do the gig, get paid and get out. Unfortunately, a quick show turns into all-night fight for survival after they witness a murder.

Now the band is trapped in the green room with a corpse, her best friend (Imogen Poots), and an oversized skinhead with a shotgun. On his way is club owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart), who knows he can’t let these witnesses go, at least not alive.

Although Stewart has played villains before (in Conspiracy Theory and Masterminds), it’s a shock to see him playing such a ruthless character.

At first, he seems almost fatherly to the band. He’s just trying to make sure they’re all right. Everything will be fine. The police are on their way. Of course that’s what they want to hear, but they know better than to trust him.

That’s when the skinheads make a tactical error that, frankly, doesn’t make any sense (the film’s only real flaw), but it evens the playing field, at least momentarily, for the band.

To call what follows “a game of cat and mouse” would be a gross understatement.

While Blue Ruin was a slow burn with quick bursts of violence, Green Room is a rapidly escalating battle with scenes that had the audience gasping and covering their eyes.

For such a limited concept — a band trapped in the green room of a club — the film delivers a surprising amount of well-plotted intensity. As in any good thriller, the ordinary joes prove surprisingly resourceful in this life-or-death game, just as Blair did in Blue Ruin. And there’s a dark sense of humor underlying even the most violent scenes and that’s a tricky thing to pull off.

Part of the humor is due to the underdog punkers Shawkat (who was so good in The Final Girls) and Yelchin, who doesn’t seem much older than the teen he played in Alpha Dog. Starting off their set with The Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” for an all-skinhead audience is obviously not a smart thing for their characters to do, but it is funny.

The star of Blue Ruin, Macon Blair, has a much smaller role here as a skinhead trying to earn his red shoelaces. He’s almost unrecognizable as the shambling hero of Saulnier’s first film, but he proves to be a pivotal player.

Saulnier is carving out a niche somewhere between Martin Scorsese’s brutal mob dramas and the darker side of the Coen Bros,’ where the hero’s survival is never a sure thing. He’s becoming one of my favorite directors and I can’t wait to see what he does next. (– Sharon Knolle)

 

Paramount / Released 7/12/16

Paramount / Released 7/12/16

Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some!! follows freshman pitcher Jake as he arrives at college in the summer of 1980 and meets his new rowdy teammates. Together, they must navigate their way between girls, parties and baseball, all in the last weekend before school begins. The film features an outstanding ensemble cast of up-and-coming actors including Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, J. Quinton Johnson, Ryan Guzman and Zoey Deutch.Extras include featurettes and outtakes/raw footage.

Last Word: Linkletter returns to the spirit of some of his lighter fare, more specifically, Dazed and Confused.  With a young ensemble cast, a soundtrack filled with nostalgic music and a very light touch, Everybody Wants Some!! is more character than plot driven (nothing really happens of any significance).   The film is reminiscent of many teen comedies (though better made and in far better taste) of the 80’s with the benefit of Linkletter’s precise and sharp observations.  Everybody Wants Some!! is entertaining, instantly forgettable and will likely be remembered for a launching pad for several future stars.

 

Paramount / Released 7/12/16

Warner Bros./ Released 7/12/16

iZombie: The Complete Second Season

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

One of television’s most addictive series returns for a second season. From Veronica Mars creators Rob Thomas and Dianne Ruggerio and based on the comic series created by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, iZombie stars Rose McIver as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. But Liv finds her calling — and an endless supply of food — working at the Seattle coroner’s office, helping to solve crimes with her “visions,” while her boss and sole confidante, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, works on a cure for her unthinkable condition.

As season two begins, Liv’s ex-fiancé and love, Major, is reeling from recent events and the knowledge that Liv is a zombie. Meanwhile, Blaine — now human — struggles to maintain his zombie world; Clive searches for Blaine and suspects Major’s involvement in the Meat Cute massacre; and Ravi remains devoted to finding an antidote to the zombie virus. Unlikely alliances will be struck, relationships will be challenged and the line between good and evil will blur for both zombies and the fully living.

Guest stars include Guest stars include Steven Weber, Robert Knepper, Aly Michalka, Raphael Sbarge, Eddie Jemison, Steven Williams, Rick Fox, Enrico Colantoni, Oscar Nuñez, Wallace Langham, Daran Norris, Ken Marino and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas. Extras include 2015 Comic-Con Panel and Deleted Scenes.

Includes the episodes:

  • Grumpy Old Liv: Ravi suspects Major might be experiencing a side effect of the cure, and Liv pays Blaine a surprise visit. Liv consumes the brain of a cantankerous old man.
  • Zombie Bro: Liv and Detective Babineax investigate the shocking murder of a hard-partying frat boy. A mysterious person from Blaine’s past appears.
  • Real Dead Housewives of Seattle: Liv eats the brains of a murdered trophy wife and a wine-sipping, suddenly fashion-obsessed Liv and Detective Babineaux begin questioning suspects. Peyton returns.
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues: Liv eats the brains of a country music-singing waitress. Blaine tries to entice a former associate to return to the dark side. Major continues his downward spiral.
  • Love & Basketball: Currently consumed with the brain of an overzealous youth basketball coach, Liv gives Major a pep talk. Blaine and Ravi are forced to work together to recreate the cure.
  • Max Wager: Detective Babineaux has a super-fan moment when he and Liv question an NBA Hall of Famer while investigating the murder of a degenerate gambler.
  • Abra Cadaver: Liv consumes the brains of a death-obsessed illusionist who was murdered in cold blood during a magicians’ convention. Blaine gives Liv some interesting news.
  • The Hurt Stalker: A murder victim was stalking Detective Babineaux, and he is now the number one suspect in her murder. Major is having a tough time with Liv after she consumes brains of a stalker.
  • Cape Town: Working to solve the murder of a high school teacher/vigilante crime fighter, Liv gets into trouble on super hero brains. Major has an eye-opening conversation with a new friend.
  • Method Head: Liv is crushed to find an actor on her favorite show, Zombie High, has been murdered on set. Vaughn tests Major’s loyalty and Blaine gets an unexpected visitor.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey Matter: Things get interesting for Liv as she and Clive investigate the murder of a young librarian who was a writer of erotic fiction. Major is hit with an unforeseen snag in his plan.
  • Physician, Heal Thy Selfie: A very hungry Liv is forced to consume the brain of an unfortunate social media-hungry soul. Peyton leans on Ravi for support. Blaine’s worlds start to collide.
  • The Whopper: Liv and Detective Babineaux investigate the murder of a well-known pathological liar. Ravi makes an unsettling discovery and Major finds himself in a precarious situation.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind: When an incredibly optimistic coffee-shop owner is murdered, Liv uses her sunny outlook to help Clive solve the murder.
  • He Blinded Me??…With Science: Blaine pays Ravi a visit at the morgue, and Liv discovers something new about Drake. Plus, Vaughn du Clark confronts Major.
  • Pour Some Sugar, Zombie: Liv consumes the brain of a recently murdered stripper. Major and Ravi are helping Peyton move back in with Liv when she receives a surprising phone call.
  • Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be: After consuming the brain of a type-A, ambitious and competitive student near the top of her class, Liv becomes very much like the girl she was before becoming a zombie.
  • Dead Beat: Liv and Ravi find an unlikely ally in Blaine. Meanwhile, when Major finds himself in a world of trouble, sleazebag Brant Stone comes to his rescue.
  • Salivation Army: Working together, Liv, Detective Babineaux and Major crash Vaughn’s Super Max Rager party, where singer Rob Thomas performs.

 

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Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

IMAX: Flight Of The Butterflies

It’s a natural history epic. It’s a compelling detective story. It’s an adventure.  Experience one of the most incredible natural phenomen on Earth – the migration of hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies – and the remarkable story of a determined scientist and his wife who spent decades unraveling the mystery of where the butterflies disappeared to each Fall. Flight of the Butterflies will immerse you in a world of wonder and inspire you with its story of both animal and human perseverance. Includes 4K SDR And 4K HDR for the full UHD Experience. Ultra HD TV with HDR needed to access 4K HDR. Extras include Special Message From Lic. Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, President Of Mexico 2006-2012, featurette, image gallery and 4K trailers.

 

Cinelicious Pics / Released 7/12/16

Cinelicious Pics / Released 7/12/16

Belladonna Of Sadness

One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, newly restored in 4k for this first-ever U.S. release. Belladonna Of Sadness follows the mad and sensual tale of Jeanne, an innocent young woman who makes a pact with the devil (voiced by Tatsuya Nakadai, from Akira Kurosawa’s Ran).

Filled with explicit Egon Schiele-inspired eroticism, the film is a swirling, psychedelic light-show of medieval tarot-card imagery replete with horned demons, haunted forests and La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Extremely transgressive and not for the easily offended, Belladonna is fueled by a mindblowing Japanese psych rock soundtrack by noted avant-garde jazz composer Masahiko Satoh.

Belladonna Of Sadness is the last in the adult-themed Animerama Trilogy produced by the godfather of Japanese anime & manga, Osamu Tezuka, and directed by his long time collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto (Astro Boy, Kimba The White Lion). All but lost since the its 1970s release, the film was restored by Cinelicious Pics using the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements – including over 8 minutes of surreal and explicit footage cut from the negative.

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

IMAX: Rocky Mountain Express

Rocky Mountain Express propels audiences on a steam train journey through the breathtaking vistas of the Canadian Rockies and relates the epic adventure of building the nation’s first transcontinental railway.

Retracing the original route aboard the majestic steam engine 2816, the film transports the audience back to the age of steam to re-live this alpine nation-building odyssey.

The film weaves together spectacular aerial cinematography, breathtaking vistas of the West, archival photographs and maps and the potent energy and rhythms of a live steam locomotive to immerse audiences in an era of remarkable ingenuity and struggle. Ride the rails along deep river canyons and over high mountain passes through a region of stunning natural beauty.

Discover some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes on Earth and the heroic human drama and epic engineering that shaped a continent.

Includes 4K SDR And 4K HDR for the full UHD Experience. Ultra HD TV with HDR needed to access 4K HDR. Extras include animated short The Romance Of Transportation In Canada (1952) and Railroader (1958) documentary. Also includes 4K UHD IMAX Trailer Set.

 

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

Yellow Sky

Screen legends Gregory Peck (On the Beach) and Richard Widmark (Road House) co-star in this brilliantly cast western epic featuring an unusually fine story and magnificent direction by the great William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident) – unleashing dramatic power seldom found in this type of film.

A band of outlaws, led by tough, gruff Stretch (Peck), find themselves knocking at death’s door after becoming lost in the treacherous western Badlands – only to find their salvation in a lonesome town called Yellow Sky, where the only inhabitants are a doddering old man and his mysterious alluring daughter.

But their deliverance from danger is short-lived when the gang discovers a fateful secret hidden within the dusty, rotting walls of this ghost town – one that will turn brother against brother in a desperate battle to the death!

Beautifully shot in glorious black-and-white by Joseph MacDonald (My Darling Clementine) and features a splendid cast that includes Anne Baxter (The Blue Gardenia), John Russell (Fort Massacre) and Harry Morgan (TV’s Dragnet and M*A*S*H). Extras include commentary and trailer.

 

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

Invisible Invaders

Cult director Edward L. Cahn (Curse of the Faceless Man) wonderfully directs this sci-fi shocker about invisible body snatchers invading earth to conquer humanity one corpse at a time.

There’s not just one man or even an army of men can do to stop them, but a scientist, a sergeant and a sexy gal figure out a way to destroy these invading grave robbers and defeat their transparent plot?

The wonderful cast includes John Agar (Journey to the Seventh Planet, Miracle Mile), Jean Byron (The Patty Duke Show), Philip Tonge (Witness for the Prosecution), Robert Hutton (The Steel Helmet), Paul Langton (The Incredible Shrinking Man) and the great John Carradine (House of the Long Shadows). Extras include commentary and trailers

 

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

The Ox-Bow Incident

Gil Carter (Henry Fonda, My Darling Clementine) and Art Croft (Henry Morgan, Dragnet) ride into a town frustrated by the prevalence of cattle rustlers. Suddenly, word comes that a popular rancher has been murdered, which puts the already enraged town over the edge.

When the spiteful mayor forms a posse, Gil and Croft are swept up in their mission – to seek vengeance – even upon those innocent of any wrongdoing.

As it becomes clear that bloodlust may win out over rationality, the tension mounts in this masterpiece with its timeless message about the dangers of mob mentality.

The great William Wellman (Yellow Sky) directed this classic western, which was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award and featured a stellar cast that includes Dana Andrews (Boomerang) and Anthony Quinn (Across 110th Street). Extras include Henry Fonda: Hollywood’s Quiet Hero documentary, restoration comparison and trailer gallery.

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

Slasher: Season 1

When Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath, Jurassic World, TV’s Merlin) returns to her small hometown, she finds herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying copycat murders based on the grisly killings of her parents. As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around her a suspect… or a victim. Brandon Jay McLaren, Steve Byers, Dean McDermott and Wendy Crewson also star in this eight-episode nail-biter, the first slice of a truly terrifying horror anthology series from Chiller and creator Aaron Martin (Killjoys, Being Erica). Extras include featurette.

Includes the episodes:

  • An Eye for an Eye: When Sarah Bennett returns to the small town where she was born and her parents were killed, she is plunged into a new, even bloodier murder mystery as history starts to repeat itself.
  • Digging Your Grave with Your Teeth: After receiving a disturbing package with a gory message, Sarah is determined to stop The Executioner from wreaking vengeance on the people of Waterbury.
  • Like as Fire Eateth Up and Burneth Wood: Sarah’s certainty that the police have arrested the wrong person for the murders is validated when she learns a shocking secret from her past.
  • As Water Is Corrupted Unless It Moves: Sarah’s efforts to help the investigation due to the police chief’s inaction result in more tragedy.
  • Ill-Gotten Gains: Sarah shoulders Cam’s blame after another shocking murder, while Dylan’s TV commentaries on the killings bring out the best and worst in Alison.
  • The One Who Sows His Own Flesh: Sarah learns disturbing information about her past from Tom Winston, leading her to determine the next probable victim on the Executioner’s list.
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  • In the Pride of His Face: Sarah learns that Dylan knew about her past before they met. Tom Winston escapes from prison, convinced that Sarah is going to be The Executioner’s final victim.
  • Soon Your Own Eyes Will See: Hurt and confused by Dylan’s betrayal, Sarah seeks solace with Cam while The Executioner works to exact a final vengeance

 

Anchor Bay/Starz / Released 7/12/16

Anchor Bay/Starz / Released 7/12/16

The Dresser

One fateful night in a small English regional theatre during World War II, a troupe of touring actors stage a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Bombs are falling, sirens are wailing, the curtain is going up in one hour, but the actor/manager Sir (Anthony Hopkins) who is playing Lear is nowhere to be found. His dresser Norman (Ian McKellen) must scramble to keep the production alive.

Meanwhile, Sir reflects on his lifelong accomplishments and seeks to reconcile his turbulent friendships with those in his employ before the final curtain.

Adapted from the classic 1980 West End and Broadway play by Ronald Harwood, the wickedly funny and deeply moving story of friendship and loyalty also stars Academy Award nominee Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything, War Horse) and Vanessa Kirby (Jupiter Ascending, Insomniacs).

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/12/16

Road Games

After a disastrous summer trip, Jack (Andrew Simpson, Rebellion) finds himself hitchhiking through the sun-drenched rural French countryside with nothing but his British passport.

Unaware of dangers that are plaguing the roads, he tries without much success to get home. Along the way, he partners with another hitchhiker, a beautiful French girl, Véronique (Joséphine de La Baume, Kiss of the Damned).

But when they accept a ride from a local oddball (Frédéric Pierrot, The Returned), the pair find themselves thrown in a deadly game of cat and mouse in which nothing is what it seems. Bursting with nonstop twists and turns and an undercurrent of Hitchcockian malice, this riveting psychological thriller is a hell of a ride.

Legendary cult actress Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You’re Next) co-stars. Extras include commentary, outtakes, alternate scene, deleted scenes, Q & A, teaser and trailer.

 

Synapse Films / Released 7/12/16

Synapse Films / Released 7/12/16

Just Desserts: The Making Of “Creepshow”

In 1982, Author Stephen King, and Director George A. Romero collaborated on a feature-film tribute to the controversial EC comics of the 1950s. Told through five jolting tales of terror, Creepshow has become a celebrated horror classic over the past three decades.

With an all-star cast, and featuring groundbreaking special effects by genre legend Tom Savini, Creepshow stands as a horrific and hilarious tribute to the stories that helped influence (and corrupt) a generation of writers and filmmakers. Now the tales behind the creation of this chilling masterpiece can finally be told!

Featuring rare behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, Just Desserts: The Making Of “Creepshow” also contains over a dozen interviews, including George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and many others. Extras include commentaries, interivews, on-set video footage, photo gallery vintage Evening Magazine segment and Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects with optional commentary by Tom Savini.

Last Word: Not the most polished execution, but the enthusiasm with in makes it worth it.  A love letter to Creepshow, Just Desserts is a celebration of the film and features several participants (and several noticeable omissions, especially Stephen King) and a fair amount of anecdotes, but no startling or gossipy revelations.  Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of the film, this is a must see; Just Desserts will make you instantly want to revisit Creepshow (I did) and the plentiful and impressive extras are also essential must-watches.

 

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Kino Lorber / Released 7/5/16

Circle

In a massive, mysterious chamber, fifty strangers awaken to find themselves trapped with no memory of how they got there. Organized in an inward-facing circle and unable to move, they quickly learn that every two minutes, one of them must die… executed by a strange device in the center of the room.

At first, the attacks seem random, but soon the strangers realize that they, as a group, have the power to decide who will be the next to be killed. A vote. A chance to control the machine. But how can they choose who deserves to die? And what happens when there’s only one person left?

Circle is a film about people, how they value one another, and what they do under the worst possible circumstances. A film about what makes us human – who we are, what we believe, and ultimately, the lengths we will go to save ourselves.  Extras include featurette and trailer.

 

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Kino Lorber / Released 7/12/16

13 Cameras

Newlyweds, Ryan (PJ McCabe) and Claire (Brianne Moncrief) move into a new home across the country, having no idea their grim and lascivious landlord, Gerald (Neville Archambault), has installed secret cameras in their rental home.

As Ryan and Claire’s relationship strains from the stress of their pregnancy, Gerald becomes increasingly consumed with their lives, and begins to physically invade their privacy.

Ryan and Claire soon find out that their marital issues are nothing in comparison to the monster that watches their every move.

Extras include featurettes: Finding the Monster: the Search for the Perfect Slumlord, Highlight-Lowlight with the Cast and Crew of 13 Cameras, Horror on a Shoestring: Making a Low Budget Horror Film and trailer.

 

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Kino Lorber / Released 7/19/16

Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages

Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages is an exciting documentary about the worldwide comic book phenomenon told through the thoughts and images of comic book creators, artists, writers, and collectors, but especially the passionate fans who have made the art form the success that it is today.

Comix includes exclusive one-on-one interviews with icons from the comic book industry, like Stan Lee (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four) and Frank Miller (Sin City, 300), while capturing the fans, many dressed in full costume, as they talk about their love for the characters and cosplay, at conventions like Comic-Con, Wizard World, and more.

Extras include extended scenes and outtakes, and full one hour interviews with Lee and Miller.

 

Kino Lorber / Released 7/26/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/26/16

Paul Verhoeven’s Tricked

After his string of subversive Hollywood hits like Basic Instinct, Robocop, and Total Recall, director Paul Verhoeven has returned home to Holland for his most experimental project of all – the first user-generated film, Tricked.

The first five minutes of this comedic-erotic thriller were written by a professional screen-writer and filmed by Verhoeven. After this first scene was posted to the internet, viewers were invited to submit their version of the rest of the story. Verhoeven and his team then pieces together the rest of the plot from their submissions.

This unique feature begins with a documentary of Tricked‘s production, Paul’s Experience, which takes you through nine months of behind-the-scenes adventures, as the whole nation guided Verhoeven in his project. The second part presents Tricked itself, a slickly realized thriller of lies and romantic betrayal.

It follows a real estate tycoon and womanizer (Peter Blok, Black Book) whose entire family is caught up in his web of lies, leading to shady corporate takeovers and pregnancies of unknown origin. A prockling, erotic, and hilarious satire of modern capitalism, it’s a rollicking film only Verhoeven could make. Extras include behind the scenes footage, interviews and trailer.

 

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Kino Lorber / Released 7/26/16

H8RZ

After a mysterious high school tragedy, an attorney questions the only witness, a student, in hopes of protecting the school from any lawsuits.

But as this student weaves his tale, it’s clear that there is much more to this story than meets the eye.

H8RZ has the intrigue of a thriller, while cleverly dealing with issues of bullying, school corruption, and the darker side of teen interactions.

Cast includes Israel Broussard, Eliza Bennett, Sophie Lane Curtis, Jeremy Sisto, Abigail Spencer, Cary Elwes, Malcolm M. Mays, Chris Petrovski and Darren Ewing.

 

 

 

 

Lionsgate / Released 7/12/16

Lionsgate / Released 7/12/16

Naked and Afraid XL: Season 1

It’s the ultimate contest of courage, wits, and endurance when twelve of the world’s best survivalists from the Naked and Afraid TV series return to take on a grueling survival challenge: 40 days and 40 nights in the Colombian badlands, with no food, no water, no clothes—and no help from the camera crews.

Hunting for food and building shelters is only the beginning, as the survivalists confront such dangers as a fierce puma, a giant electric eel, debilitating heat, and the terror of Piranha Lake.

Some contestants will tap out and go home. For any competitor who makes it to the final extraction point, there is no prize—only the pure adrenaline rush of survival.

Includes the episodes:

  • Welcome to the Jungle: A sneak peak at the upcoming season which includes a cast of returning competitors as they attempt to survive in Colombia for 40 days and 40 nights.
  • 40 Days & 40 Nights: Veteran survivalists are dropped into the badlands of Colombia, where they must survive for 40 days and nights with no food, water or clothes.
  • 40 Days No Escape: After a week of being dropped into the dangerous and desolate badlands of Colombia with no food or water, one survivalist has already tapped out, another is on the brink, and hunger, thirst, and distrust are threatening to take down several more.
  • 40 Days Snake in the Grass: After fourteen days, many who remain are struggling to adapt to their environment and each other. Some consider migrating to try and find new resources, while in other camps tension continues to rise and may lead to our second tap out of the season.
  • 40 Days Jungle Rich: After nearly three weeks in the bush, two survivalists have tapped out and most others are making desperate treks across the savannah in search of food. If they can’t find sustenance, they’ll be forced out of the most difficult challenge of their lives.
  • 40 Days Death March: The 10 remaining survivalists cross the 21-Day milestone and enter into unchartered waters. Scarce resources send the survivalists on a collision course. They fight for their lives with a huge electric eel and are visited in the night by a gigantic puma.
  • 40 Days Sacrifice: With 15 days to go in the 40-day challenge, the ten remaining survivalists – dehydrated and protein starved – find themselves converging at dangerous Piranha Lake where they will they compete over scarce food and water.
  • 40 Days Falling Apart: After thirty-one days in the Colombian jungle, the pressure is on to get the nourishment they need to survive extraction, but when one member doesn’t play by the rules, the future of one group is thrown into jeopardy.
  • 40 Days Filth and Fury: The final, and most difficult, part of the 40-day challenge begins. Jeff and EJ decide to attempt their extraction alone, and relationships grow contentious between both teams as they navigate the treacherous landscape to try and finish the challenge.
  • Dirty Dozen Return: The “dirty dozen” survivors from Naked and Afraid XL come together for the first time since their life-changing 40 day challenge. They’ll discuss good times, hard times, and try to heal unresolved issues.

 

Sony / Released 7/12/16

Sony / Released 7/12/16

No Men Beyond This Point

Imagine a world where, since 1953, women have been able to reproduce without men and they are no longer giving birth to male babies.

Now, over 60 years later, this deadpan mockumentary follows the youngest man still alive – 37 year-old Andrew Myers. Working as a housekeeper for a family of women, Andrew finds himself at the center of a battle to prevent men from going extinct.

No Men Beyond This Point is a feature film that asks the question, what would the world be like if women were in charge?

Last Word: Owing a considerable amount of debt to Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y The Last Man, No Men Beyond This Point, is a mockumentary that impresses only with the borrowed premise and bores with the execution.  The concept is never truly explored, or even worse, examined; taking and abandoning it’s rich premise.  The acting is amateurish and the film itself at 80 minutes feels overstuffed and overlong.

 

Kino Lorber / Released 7/19/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/19/16

Where’s Poppa?

Insane and Outrageous! George Segal (California Split) and Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude) give the funniest performances of their careers in this outrageous comedy that stomps gleefully on the idea of devotion to Mom above all.

Featuring some of the boldest gags to ever hit the screen, Where’s Poppa? is a riotously funny film. Segal is a man with a problem – his mother. He promised his late father he’d take care of her, but when he finally meets the girl of his dreams, his batty, eccentric mother is intent on turning his dreams into one huge nightmare. Soon he becomes obsessed with getting rid of her… before she gets rid of his girlfriend!

The great Carl Reiner (The Jerk) directed this hilarious black comedy, featuring a stellar cast that includes Trish Van Devere (Harry in Your Pocket), Ron Leibman (The Super Cops), Bernard Hughes (The Hospital), Vincent Gardenia (Death Wish), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Rob Reiner (All in the Family) and Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Live). Extras include alternate ending, two teasers and trailers.

 

IFC / Released 7/19/16

IFC / Released 7/19/16

A Perfect Day

It’s just another day on the job for a band of badass combat zone rescue workers as they defy death and confront war’s aftermath – all to make innocent victims’ lives bearable. The setting is 1995, somewhere in the Balkans.

Over the course of 24 breathless hours, aid worker Mambrú (Benicio Del Toro, Sicario, Inherent Vice, Traffic, The Usual Suspects) leads his team of humanitarians – including a hard-bitten, wisecracking veteran known as B (Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River) and new recruit Sophie (Mélanie Thierry, Babylon A.D., The Zero Theorem) – as they deal with a range of crises, both large and small.

But their central mission is simply to find a good length of rope. They need it to haul a decaying corpse out a well before the water becomes contaminated, which would be devastating to the local population already reeling from military attack.

But their quest for rope brings them up against layers of bureaucratic red tape, odd and ingrained local practices, dead cows blocking their way and the reappearance of Mambrú’s old flame (Olga Kurylenko, Quantum of Solace, Seven Psychopaths, Magic City). Through it all, the group handles the less-than-glamorous realities of life in a combat zone the only way they know how: with selfless bravery and a healthy dose of irreverent humor.

 

Olive Films / Released 7/19/16

Olive Films / Released 7/19/16

Gang Related

In his final film appearance, rap icon Tupac Shakur (Poetic Justice) is paired with James Belushi (Red Heat) in the gritty crime drama Gang Related.

Corrupt detectives Rodriguez and Divinci (Shakur and Belushi), having framed an innocent man (Dennis Quaid, Undercover Blues) for the murder of an undercover DEA agent, will find their lives unravelling when their activities come under the scrutiny of DEA investigator Richard Simms (Gary Cole, In the Line of Fire).

Written and directed by Jim Kouf (Disorganized Crime), Gang Related features supporting performances by James Earl Jones (Star Wars), Lela Rochon (Waiting to Exhale) and David Paymer (Mr. Saturday Night). Extras include trailer and a featurette.

 

eOne / Released 7/19/16

eOne / Released 7/19/16

Bitten: The Final Season

Based on the “Otherworld” novels by New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, Bitten stars Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf. For three seasons, the show’s rabid followers have tuned in as Elena evolved from a photographer who hides her dark secret after being bitten, to a ferocious leader of the Stonehaven pack.

Bitten: The Final Season picks up several months after the harrowing battle in the season two finale. Bolstering their ranks in the wake of the carnage, the Stonehaven Pack is on the hunt for the Russian Alpha and his brethren, seeking to end a decades-old vendetta. Meanwhile, Elena struggles with Pack Alpha Jeremy Danvers’ new draconian leadership style, and makes a shocking and surprising discovery about herself. Extras include deleted scenes, extended scenes and featurette.

Includes the episodes:

  • Family, of Sorts: In order to solidify his power, a war hardened Jeremy has tasked Elena, Clay and Nick with recruiting all North American Mutts into the Pack. Meanwhile, Elena is accosted by mysterious new characters who challenge her with a surprising claim.
  • Our Own Blood: Elena struggles to deal with shocking news as Clay readies Stonehaven for a possible attack. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Nick find a clue that ultimately leads them back to Stonehaven, where they find the Russian Alpha, Roman Navikev.
  • Right Behind You: More of Roman’s soldiers descend on Bear Valley as Elena struggles to convince Jeremy to protect her blood family. Meanwhile, Nick uses his contacts and detective skills to uncover what Roman and his werewolves are up to.
  • A Quiet Dog: Jeremy attempts to broker a negotiation to end the thirty-year blood feud between Sasha and Roman. Meanwhile, Elena watches over Pack prisoner, Konstantin, who tries to deduce why she is protecting Sasha.
  • Of Sonders Weight: Jeremy must deal with the fallout of the failed negotiations between Roman and Sasha; first and foremost, how much did Karen Morgan see? As Elena tends to a convalescing Sasha, he tells her the truth about why he abandoned her thirty years ago. And Clay and Alexei must track down the victim of the young wolf’s attack.
  • Rule of Anger: Elena and Clay face off against a deadly new foe in order to save the imprisoned Marsten. Meanwhile, Paige and Nick work together to figure out what is causing the magical outbreaks in Rachel’s house. Katia makes a desperate move to save her family.
  • On the Brink: Paige and Rachel use magic to help Nick track Katia. Elena invites Konstantin to Stonehaven to ask for his help in ending the blood feud, as well as calling off the Russian assassin. Clay and Jorge keep an eye on the Albino, but it ends in more bloodshed.
  • Tili Tili Bom: When Elena and Clay confront the Russian assassin, they quickly discover he is always two steps ahead. Nearby, Nick and Katia are captured by Roman’s henchmen and must struggle to escape, or become the Albino’s next victims. Meanwhile, Jeremy gets help from a surprising ally in his lone wolf quest to kill the Russian Alpha, Roman.
  • Shock the System: Elena rallies the troops, but when she tries to bolster a grieving Sasha, they are lured into the woods to an unexpected fate. Jeremy wages a psychological war against his captor, Roman Navikev. And Clay, Nick and Alexei race against time to save their new Alpha from a fate worse than death.
  • Truth, Changes, Everything: Elena comes up with a bold and dangerous plan to take back Stonehaven and save what remains of the Pack. If successful, her idea will do much more than save her family and their home – what she plans to do will change everything, forever.

 

Universal / Released 7/26/16

Universal / Released 7/26/16

The Boss

Melissa McCarthy stars as Michelle Darnell, a titan of industry who is sent to prison for insider trading. After doing her time, Michelle emerges, ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, but not everyone she steamrolled is so quick to forgive and forget. With nowhere to go and no one to scam, Michelle is forced to move in with former assistant Claire (Kristen Bell – Frozen, “House of Lies”) and her young daughter, Rachel. Now at her lowest point, Michelle wastes no time in devising a winner-take-all plan to rebuild her empire. Can she reclaim her status as the No. 1 screwer, or will the love of one family screw her for good?

McCarthy and Bell are joined by an all-star cast including Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), Kathy Bates (“American Horror Story,” Tammy) and Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”). The Boss also features cameos from some of Groundlings’ favorite graduates including Michael McDonald, Steve Mallory, Ben Falcone, Damon Jones and more! Extras include alternate ending, deleted scenes, extended/alternate scenes, gag reel, Groundlings footage, and featurettes.

Last Word: Another vanity project for Melissa McCarthy regurgitates a previously performed sketch character into a feature film with zero success.  What might play well in front of a live audience of a 100 people definitely falls flat on film.  The entire thing reeks of bad decisions and is more akin to Tammy than her solid performances in Bridesmaids and Spy.  The fact that two of the three screenwriters of the film are McCarthy and husband Falcone is evidence that their instincts in developing material is far from good.

 

Lionsgate / Released 7/26/16

Lionsgate / Released 7/26/16

Criminal

Kevin Costner stars in this story of the right man in the wrong body. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate in the hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission. Cast also includes Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Jordi Mollà, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Danny Webb, Colin Salmon and Gal Gadot. Extras include featurettes, deleted scenes and music video.

Last Word: A ridiculously talented A-list cast is wasted in this ridiculous science fiction thriller.  Ryan Reynolds plays a man who finds himself in another person’s body (Self/less); in this case, in the body of arch criminal Jericho Stewart (Costner).  This time, it’s the poor writing that decimates this fairly standard sci-fi premise.  Bonus points to the entire ensemble for playing this so serious that with sharper dialogue it could have be been a modern Airplane!  It’s not a good film, but if you want to see some great actors do good work in a terrible movie, Criminal delivers!

 

Warner Bros. / Released 7/26/16

Warner Bros. / Released 7/26/16

Barbershop: The Next Cut

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, our once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama and gossip to the shop challenging the fellas at every turn. Despite the good times, big laughs and camaraderie within the shop, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and his friends to come together in an effort to not only save the shop, but their neighborhood. Extras include featurette, gag reel and deleted scenes.

Last Word: I don’t know what’s more surprising; the fact that a Barbershop sequel was made almost a dozen years after it’s last installment or, that it’s actually a really solid film?

Most of the cast returns to the latest installment which not only entertains, but also deals with social commentary on race and politics.  The film shines with the palpable and warm chemistry amongst the cast, who pick up their roles right where they left off.  Honest, sentimental and very funny, Barbershop: The Next Cut delivers.  Recommended.

 

Lionsgate / Released 7/26/16

Lionsgate / Released 7/26/16

I am Wrath

Unemployed engineer Stanley Hill (John Travolta) witnesses the brutal murder of his wife Vivian (Rebecca De Mornay) who was attacked by thugs in a parking garage.

When Detective Gibson (Sam Trammell) and other corrupt police officers are unable and unwilling to bring the killers to justice, Stanley turns to his old friend Dennis (Christopher Meloni) and decides to take matters into his own hands.

It is only then that Stanley and Dennis are found to have a mysterious past that, until now, they kept very well hidden.

Extras include commentary.

 

Acorn Media / Released 7/26/16

Acorn Media / Released 7/26/16

Jack Irish: Season 1

Jack’s back in this six-part thriller which takes us from the cultural atoll of Fitzroy to the bustling city of Manila in the Philippines, where Jack’s on-again-off-again lover Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp) has landed a job as a foreign correspondent for an Australian newspaper.

As Jack and Linda say their final goodbye, it is clear that he has learned little about life, love or women. In the wake of Linda’s departure, Jack continues his important business on home soil – collecting debts, sanding cabinets, and seeing a man about a racehorse. But his fear of commitment is about to be well and truly tested by the arrival of Sarah Longmore (Claudia Karvan).

Seemingly out of the blue, Jack is engaged to track down a missing man, Wayne Dilthey (Dan Hamill).

The investigation goes pear-shaped when his quarry is killed before his eyes. The client becomes an enigma and the job is revealed to be an elaborate set-up – one that now has Jack prime suspect for murder. Even his alibi is false – the alluring but unnerving metal sculptor, Sarah Longmore, claims to have been with Jack at the time. If all this isn’t disturbing enough, the only witness to the crime has taken off in his beloved Studebaker.

Meanwhile, in Manila, Linda’s journalistic instincts tell her she is on the trail of something big. But when the beginnings of her expose are quickly quashed, the opportunity of a lifetime begins to look like a dead end job – until a mysterious meeting with a criminal in hiding. But all is not what it seems… Extras include featurettes and gallery

Includes the episodes:

  • Episode #1.1: Jack is back to debt collection and Linda takes a job in Manilla. Still, Jack soon finds himself involved in some witch hunt that has to do with a massacre that happened in the Philippines years ago.
  • Episode #1.2: Jack is still working with sculptor Sarah to find who killed her sister, and bodies start to accumulate. In the meantime, Linda is trying to get her bearings in Manila and is able to help Jack.
  • Episode #1.3: Jack’s investigation leads him to get close to a mega-church pastor, but Linda and her team fall in a trap when they explore an island that seems to be the base for criminals.
  • Episode #1.4: A tense night in the Filipino jungle results in a chance discovery for Linda and Orton. Jack’s concerned for Sarah’s well-being as she becomes consumed by manic determination following news about Tina.
  • Episode #1.5: Jack struggles to recuperate and his mind takes an increasingly turn towards Rob Shand. Back in Manila, Linda is abducted. Longmore refuses to act against the church leaving Jack alone to fight for Sarah.
  • Episode #1.6: Jack is now on the run from both the police and members of Via Crucis. Terrified yet resolved, Linda finally comes face to face with her captor.

 

Acorn Media / Released 7/26/16

Acorn Media / Released 7/26/16

Jack Irish: The Movies

Jack Irish is down on his luck. Reeling from his wife’s murder, the former lawyer has reinvented himself as a private investigator and debt collector, with a penchant for drowning his demons at the local pub. When an old client dies, Jack is thrust back into the criminal underworld that took everything away from him—but might offer his only chance at redemption.

World-weary with a dash of dark humor, Jack takes on cases that dig into the dregs of Australian society and expose conspiracy and corruption among the power elite. Along the way, he becomes involved with smart, ambitious journalist Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp, A Place to Call Home), who realizes there’s an honorable man hiding behind his disheveled exterior.

Emmy winner Guy Pearce (Memento, Iron Man 3)  stars in these three television movies based on the award-winning novels by Peter Temple.

Includes the films:

  • Bad Debts: A former criminal lawyer is getting his life back together and now spends his days as a part-time investigator, debt collector, apprentice cabinet maker, punter and finding those who don’t want to be found – dead or alive. When an ex-client wants his help, he lets it pass away. But then this guy turns up dead which forces him back into the ominous past he thought he left for good.
  • Black Tide: Jack Irish has no shortage of friends, but family members are few and far between. His wife was murdered by an ex-client and his father is a fading photo on the pubs football wall of fame. So when Des Connors, the last link to his dad, calls to ask for help in the matter of a missing son, Jack is more than happy to lend a hand. But sometimes prodigal sons go missing for a reason… As Jack begins to dig, he discovers that Gary Connors was a man with something to hide, and his friends are people with yet darker and even more deadly secrets.
  • Dead Point: When a high profile judge commissions Jack Irish to locate a mysterious red book, Jack is thrown into a world of sexy club owners, drug dealers and unhinged killers.

 

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Well Go USA / Released 7/26/16

River

After refusing to obey a senior surgeon, John Lake, an American volunteer doctor in Laos, is instructed to take a leave of absence.

To regroup, he travels to a remote island in the south of Laos. The solace of the island is shattered when John intervenes in the sexual assault of a young Laotian woman, accidentally killing her assailant.

Horrified by the violence and the prospect of being sent to prison, John panics and flees. He soon discovers that he’s wanted not only for the murder of an Australian Senator’s son, but also for the rape of the very woman he saved. What follows is a harrowing journey through the Laotian interior that will test and transform John in profound ways.

Extras include trailer.

 

Drafthouse Films / Released 7/26/16

Drafthouse Films / Released 7/26/16

The Invitation

In this taut psychological thriller from award-winning director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body), the tension is palpable when Will (Logan Marshall-Green, Prometheus) shows up to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard, Into the Woods) and new husband David (Michiel Huisman, “Game of Thrones”). The estranged divorcees’ tragic past haunts an equally eerie present; amid Eden’s suspicious behavior and her mysterious house guests, Will becomes convinced that his invitation was extended with a hidden agenda. Unfolding over one dark evening in the Hollywood Hills, The Invitation blurs layers of mounting paranoia, mystery, and horror until both Will-and the audience-are unsure what threats are real or imagined.  Extras include commentary, making of, trailer, music videos and booklet featuring an original essay by critic Britt Hayes.

Last Word: One of my favorite films of the year, The Invitation, makes you second guess yourself, then third guess yourself before you realize you might have been right all along.  But you weren’t.

There’s one thing that can seriously affect any story and that’s an unreliable narrator.  When we meet Will (Logan Marshall-Green), he and his girlfriend, Kira are on their way to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband, David.  Still living in their old home, Eden (Tammy Blanchard) has brought Will and their old friends together for the first time in two years; following their divorce after their only child died in a freak accident.  Will soon finds himself questioning Eden and David’s intentions and as the film develops, his erratic behavior makes you question both his actions and his sanity.

To reveal more would potentially spoil and incredibly entertaining and tense film that will quickly have you watching every character trying to determine their actions and their honesty.  Highly recommended.

 

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Cohen Media / Released 7/26/16

The Last Diamond

Simon Carrerra has just been released from prison and is now on parole.

His friend Albert persuades him back to his old ways with the idea of a big-time heist of a celebrated diamond in Antwerp; The “Florentine”. The jewel’s owner, Marie Neuville, suddenly passes away and her daughter, Julia, is left in charge of the sale.

Simon encounters Julia while posing as a friend of Julia’s mother.   Slowly but surely, the two become closer. He manages to use their relationship to get to the diamond and the heist is a success.

However, another member of the heist has a different motive and Simon has to decide if he wants to continue with the crime or help Julia recover the diamond.

 

 

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Warner Bros. / Released 7/9/16

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition features an extended cut of the film which includes 30 more minutes of story and action not seen in theaters. The extended cut is rated R. Extras include 11 featurettes.

Last Word: The theatrical release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left many disappointed with the finished product. In fact, the film was so poorly received that Warner Bros. restructured their entire film division in order to create subdivisions dedicated to specific types of movies. Director Zack Snyder was raked over the coals to such a degree that fans are demanding his resignation from the helm of Justice League, which is currently in production. So it came to the surprise of no one when a three-hour, rated R version, of BvS was released and was met with eye rolls, since the original was panned to the Nth degree.

The Ultimate Edition won’t bring that night and day differential in opinion for most who absolutely hated the theatrical release, however, it does make the film a little more enjoyable for those that liked it to begin with. Storylines are more fleshed out, whether they made sense or not. Criminals branded with the Bat symbol meant a guaranteed death sentence during incarnation. This subplot is further explored here as it’s revealed that Lex Luthor coordinated the deaths of the branded, which tied into, and expanded, his plan to force the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel to lock horns.

Africa…you all remember the Africa scene form the beginning of the movie, right? Well, the ultimate edition provides some much needed clarity by explaining how Superman was framed for the murder of the villagers. While it was refreshing to be given all of the dots so we can connect them, there is still the issue of the special bullets used on the victims, which any autopsy would have discovered thus exonerating Superman in the process.

There was some additional Metropolis and Smallville footage shown during Superman’s funeral. The Metropolis scenes, in particular, conveyed a pronounced sense of grief, loss, and admiration that failed to hit the mark in theaters since so much of the film was devoted to questioning whether he was good, evil, or should even exist. The heroistic investigative journalism of Superman/Clark Kent were highlighted throughout this extended cut and it put the character in a more positive light. I’m surprised these scenes were removed because it would have made a world of difference as to how Superman was portrayed on a number of levels.

World building was clearly near the top of Zack Snyder’s agenda here. While the Knightmare scene and Future Flash cameo were great visual spectacles, they were out of place from a narrative perspective. Steppenwolf’s scene in the Kryptonian genesis chamber, along with Batman telling Lex Luthor that he’s arranged his transfer to Arkham Asylum, perfectly fit the mold and took very little time to make this universe even bigger then it was at the start of the film. Remember several months ago, before the movie was released in this theaters, when reports emerged that Warner Bros. executives absolutely loved Batman v. Superman? This extended cut must be the version they saw because the plot was more cohesive, some plot holes either shrank dramatically or went away completely and it’s easier to understand the character’s motivations, especially in Luthor’s case.

Every single frame of these additional thirty minutes should never have been removed, despite the fact that it doesn’t make up for certain things, such as Superman not trying very hard to tell Batman that Luthor pitted them against each other. If the dark and grim tone of the theatrical version was a big turn off, this new version is a hard R, with some F-bombs and even more blood splattering murder from Batman. Some have stated that the fans owe Zack Snyder an apology for their negative comments of the director’s work after seeing this extended cut but I’m not going to jump on that train just yet. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition proves that Zack Snyder is a good film maker, but is he the right person to helm a big budget tent pole film within the confines of Hollywood?

Snyder should have known that the studio was never going to approve a three hour film that is rated R because everyone makes less money in that endeavor. The rating means less viewers due to the age restriction and the lengthy runtime would have meant theaters can’t show it as often throughout the day. Assuming Snyder had final cut over the theatrical version of the film, there were some poor decisions made that hindered the film in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to the awful editing, which made it feel disjointed while short changing certain characters. That whole deal with Clark up in the mountains with his dead father was completely pointless and could have been cut, among other things.

I’m glad that I saw the ultimate edition and its worth going out of your way to see if you liked the original. It’s an improvement over the theatrical version. It’s not going to turn a B graded paper into an A, but it proves that Warner Bros/DC can do a lot better. (– Atlee Greene)

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/19/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/19/16

The Return Of The Living Dead

Combining humor with horror, The Return Of The Living Dead, has become one of the zombie genres most beloved films of all time.

On his first day on the job at a medical supply warehouse, poor Freddy (Thom Mathews) unwittingly releases toxic gas from a secret U.S. military canister, unleashing an unbelievable terror.

The gas reanimates an army of corpses, who arise from their graves with a ravenous hunger… for human brains!

And luckily for those carnivorous cadavers, there is a group of partying teens nearby, just waiting to be eaten!

Extras include new 2K scan, 4 commentary tracks, featurettes, trailers, tv spots, still galleries, zombie subtitles, workprint with 20 minutes of additional footage (standard definition), feature length documentary, and interviews.

 

Warner Bros. / Released 7/19/16

Warner Bros. / Released 7/19/16

Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

For years, the Person of Interest team, consisting of tech genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), ex-agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel), NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), cyber-hacker Root (Amy Acker) and missing-in-action operative Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi), have been protected by The Machine.

As worlds collided, however, and a rival AI known as Samaritan finally cornered The Machine inside the nation’s power grid, it was the POI team’s turn to protect Finch’s creation.

In season five, the cold war is over. The world might appear to look the same, but something has drastically changed. Samaritan’s lethal “correction” has initiated its control. Finch’s Machine is essentially dead. Shaw is still missing. And the team is once again hiding in plain sight. But with Samaritan’s invisible grip tightening everywhere, will Finch be able to rebuild and resurrect The Machine? And if he does, will it be the same Machine when it comes back online? Extras include featurettes and 2015 Comic-Con Panel.

Includes the episodes:

  • B.S.O.D.: Lionel is investigated in relation to Dominic’s death. Away from Samaritan, Mr. Reese and Harold try to save the Machine. Root is on the run.
  • SNAFU: Root and Finch work on bringing Northern Lights back online. They are successful and thus they start receiving numbers from the irrelevant list. However, the Machine is not as productive as before.
  • Truth Be Told: Reese’s cover could be blown when he realizes the latest POI has ties to his old CIA colleague, Kara Stanton.
  • 6,741: Shaw escapes her captors, but the team is unsure of her mental state when she begins to act paranoid and reckless.
  • ShotSeeker: Reese protects an NYPD analyst whose investigation into a software glitch has drawn the attention of Samaritan. Also, Reese and Fusco are threatened by an ally of Elias’s, who is looking to avenge his friend’s death.
  • A More Perfect Union: The Machine sends Reese and Finch to a wedding to protect a pair of POIs before their nuptials. Also, Fusco becomes angry at being kept in the dark by the team and takes it upon himself to investigate a string of missing person reports.
  • QSO: Root goes undercover at a radio station to protect the host of a conspiracy theory show who stumbles upon information that could get him killed. Also, Samaritan’s agents try to convince a member of the team that their goals are noble.
  • Reassortment: Reese and Finch become trapped in a hospital that becomes ground zero for a deadly viral outbreak. Also, Samaritan’s newest recruit has second thoughts and Shaw continues to struggle with reality.
  • Sotto Voce: The mysterious criminal mastermind known as “The Voice” returns and traps Reese and Fusco in their own precinct with several armed gang members and the latest POI. Also, Root makes a shocking discovery.
  • The Day the World Went Away: Finch’s number comes up when a fatal error blows his cover identity and sets off a deadly series of escalating encounters with Samaritan’s operatives.
  • Synecdoche: Harold goes on a road trip with the Machine, while the rest of the team receive a new number; the president of the United States.
  • .exe: As Reese and Shaw race to catch up with Finch, he infiltrates a maximum-security government facility in a desperate mission which could mean the end for not only Samaritan, but for himself and The Machine as well.
  • Return 0: Finch, Reese, Fusco and Shaw embark on one last mission to prevent Samaritan from destroying The Machine and cementing its hold over mankind.

 

Warner Bros. / Released 7/19/16

Warner Bros. / Released 7/19/16

The 100: The Complete Third Season

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

The best science fiction series on television returns for it’s third season!  For the 100 on Earth, they have learned the hard way that in the fight for survival there are no heroes and there are no villains – there is only the living and the dead.

Reunited with the survivors of the space-station Ark that fell to Earth, Clarke Griffin and her band of juvenile delinquents have faced death at every turn: from a world transformed by radiation to the fierce Grounders who somehow managed to survive it, and the double-dealing Mountain Men from the fortified Mount Weather, whose civilized environment masked a horrible secret.

Though Clarke was alternately challenged, supported and betrayed by her own people and alliances with the Grounders, they could always find common ground in survival. United with the Grounder tribes, Clarke and her friends faced off against the lethal forces of Mount Weather to rescue the remaining “Sky People” from the Ark who were being held captive in Mount Weather. But victory came with a terrible price. The challenges continue in season three as they not only determine what kind of lives they will build, but what it will ultimately cost them. Extras include featurettes, Comic-Con Panel, deleted scenes and gag reel.

Episodes include:

  • Wanheda: Part 1: After leaving Camp Arkadia due to her inability to accept her actions, Clarke sets out on her own, dealing with her emotions while encountering new challenges. Camp Arkadia begins to see political turmoil as the hunger for power mounts.
  • Wanheda: Part 2: Bellamy and Kane put their lives on the line to rescue Clarke; Abby considers opening Mount Weather as a medical facility; Murphy schemes against Jaha.
  • Ye Who Enter Here: Now with Clarke in her possession, Lexa has the power to force Skikru to become one with the grounders. Kane and Abby journey to the Polis Summit, while the Ice Nation prepares to draw first blood against Skikru and the other grounder clans.
  • Watch the Thrones: Clarke discovers the mastermind behind a devious plan, while Kane struggles to keep the peace. Meanwhile, Jasper’s grief drives him to reckless behavior.
  • Hakeldama: Pike’s twisted crusade threatens Clarke’s attempts for peace. Raven becomes a target, while Murphy tries to conspire against Jaha.
  • Bitter Harvest: Clarke struggles with her morality while Abby grows suspicious of Jaha’s motives.
  • Thirteen: Anger and lust for vengeance and justice from the clans threatens Lexa’s position. Murphy unveils new secrets about the identity of Polis. Meanwhile, a dangerous coup brews against Clarke and Lexa and their trust for each other is tested.
  • Terms and Conditions: Kane tries to stop Pike, but he learns that he is onto him. Kane realizes that for him to ensure peace in Arkadia, he’ll have to go through drastic measures.
  • Stealing Fire: Bellamy tries to save Kane from Pike. Clarke and Murphy debate over what to do with Titus and the A.I. Bellamy confronts Octavia.
  • Fallen: Jaha employs a terrifying new method to convince Abby to join his cause, Kane is on a mission, and Bellamy is hit with a hard truth. Meanwhile, Monty finds himself in a precarious situation, and Jasper rushes to save one of his own.
  • Nevermore: Clarke and her friends try to save Raven from Allie’s control. However, they realize that they will have to undergo dangerous procedures that may cost Raven’s life.
  • Demons: Alie forces Raven’s dark side to come out, Jasper’s anger continues to grow. Meanwhile Octavia wrestles with her place in the world and Monty is forced to make a split second decision.
  • Join or Die: Clarke is on a mission that could change everything. Meanwhile Murphy gains insight that might prove useful in ensuring his survival. Lastly Kane reaches a breaking point.
  • Red Sky at Morning: Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia and Jasper hit a tragic roadblock. Meanwhile, Raven and Monty make an important discovery.
  • Perverse Instantiation: Part One: Clarke finds hope in a place she never expected. Alie’s master plan begins to coalesce.
  • Perverse Instantiation: Part Two: In the second half of the two-part season finale, everyone prepares for a final showdown as they begin to face the reality of their tragic situation in the epic and mind-bending conclusion.

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/19/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/19/16

Bad Moon

Full, crescent, quarter… each is a Bad Moon for Ted Harrison. By day, he’s a photojournalist visiting family in the Pacific Northwest. By night, he transfigures into a horrific half-human – a werewolf. Dead men tell no tales, so Ted’s sure he alone knows about his vile double life.

The secret, however, may be out.

The family dog Thor, devoted to defending the household, has his suspicions.

Writer/director Eric Red (Cohen and Tate, Body Parts) delivers a new infusion of thrills with this red blooded shocker. Michael Paré (Streets of Fire) portrays Ted, hiding his accursed condition from his sister (Mariel Hemmingway, Lipstick, Star 80) and nephew (Mason Gamble).

What better way to hide it than to create suspicion that the local killings are the work of another – especially if that other is the family’s all-too-wise German Shepherd!

Extras include theatrical and new director’s cut, documentary, commentary, unrated alternate opening, 3 storyboard sequences and trailer.

 

Well Go USA / Released 7/19/16

Well Go USA / Released 7/19/16

Kill Zone 2

When an undercover cop gets too close to revealing the mastermind of a drug syndicate, his cover is blown. Double-crossed and under a false identity, he’s thrown into a Thai prison, where a guard discovers the inmate – claiming he’s a cop – is a bone marrow match for his dying daughter…and his warden may have an even deadlier operation hidden within the prison walls.

In this giddily frenetic follow-up (though not a sequel) to modern martial arts epic Kill Zone (aka Spl: Sha Po Lang), action icons Tony Jaa (Ong Bak, The Protector), Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior) and Zhang Jin (Ip Man 3) team up with Hong Kong megastars Simon Yam and Louis Koo for a breakneck story of dirty cops, prison riots, and black market organ transplants, all brought together by a non-stop series of inventive, bone-crunching setpieces.   Extras include making of.

 

 Arrow / Released 7/12/16

Arrow / Released 7/12/16

Crimes of Passion

In the early eighties British enfant terrible Ken Russell traveled to America and placed his unorthodox imprint on a pair of US movies. The first was the Altered States, so out-there its screenwriter disowned it. The second was the equally crazy Crimes of Passion, starring Kathleen Turner (Body Heat, Serial Mom) at the height of her powers.

Fashion designer Joanna Crane (Turner) leads a double life. By night she is China Blue, a prostitute who’s attracted the unwanted attention of two men. One is a sexually frustrated private detective hired by her employees. The other is psychopathic priest (played by Norman Bates himself, Anthony Perkins) in possession of a murderous sex toy.

With its outré screenplay by Barry Sandler and over the top score by Rick Wakeman, Crimes of Passion may just be the most outrageous Ken Russell film ever made – and that’s quite some feat! Extras include new restoration, commentary, deleted/extended scenes, interviews, trailer and home movie footage.

 

Olive Films / Released 7/19/16

Olive Films / Released 7/19/16

Hoodlum

In the tradition of The Godfather and The Cotton Club, Hoodlum recounts the uneasy alliance between the Italian and Jewish mafias who banded together to declare war on the black gangsters of New York’s Harlem in the 1920’s.

Focusing on the relationship between the three rival leaders, “Bumpy” Johnson (Laurence Fishburne, Fled), Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth, Vincent & Theo), and Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia, The Untouchables), Hoodlum, directed by Bill Duke (A Rage in Harlem) and co-starring Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), Cicely Tyson (Sounder), Queen Latifah (Chicago), Richard Bradford (The Mean Season) and William Atherton (Bio-Dome), is a compelling tale of gangland violence.

Extras include a trailer.

 

PBS / Released 7/12/16

PBS / Released 7/12/16

The White House: Inside Story

The White House: Inside Story takes viewers on an intimate behind-the-scenes historical tour told through the first-person stories of First Family members, former employees, historians, members of the press and a rare informal interview with President Obama inside the Oval Office.

Through current-day filming combined with stock footage and still photos of past presidents, their families and staff, viewers will experience the precision with which the Executive Mansion operates — as a private home and a workplace where military and economic decisions shape and affect history.

In addition to President Obama and former President Jimmy Carter, the program features new interviews with First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter reminiscing about their families’ place in the 200-year history of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. These personal stories are interwoven with historical facts about the “house that George Washington built.”

First Lady Michelle Obama, for example, reveals that “the White House is a fabulously magical place to live, that’s not difficult to make a home.” Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter admits that thinking about the history of the White House “gives [her] chills.” And former First Lady Barbara Bush recalls, “You can feel history, and hope you can live up to it.”

Perhaps most revealing is a story told by former Chief Usher Gary Walters, who was preparing a luncheon for the entire Congress and their families on the White House lawn the morning of September 11, 2001, when news of the terrorist attacks reached Washington. Despite Secret Service orders to evacuate the White House, Walters recalls how he quickly assessed the severity of the situation and made the decision to remain behind and dismantle the outdoor luncheon space, thus freeing up the lawn to allow the president’s helicopter to land. He then went on to prepare the Oval Office for President Bush to address the nation later that day. “One of the things that I turned to in my own mind on 9/11 was the role that the White House plays in disasters and wars,” said Walters. “People have a tendency to turn to the White House as a symbol of our American Heritage.”

 

Cartoon Network / Released 7/12/16

Cartoon Network / Released 7/12/16

Adventure Time: Card Wars

Finn and Jake play an epic card game, but when Jake becomes overly competitive and insists on playing for a “cool guy cup” and the “dweeb cup”, hilarity ensues. Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD releases with 16 episodes including the original Card Wars episode and the brand new Card Wars episode – Daddy Daughter Card Wars! Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD also comes packaged with an exclusive Card Wars playing card, making this DVD a must have for fans, collectors, and the huge following that Card Wars has accrued since the episode, app, and physical game debuted.

Includes the episodes:

  • Card Wars: Finn and Jake play an epic card game, where Jake becomes overly competitive.
  • Daddy-Daughter Card Wars: To put his embarrassing past behind him, Jake needs his daughter Charlie’s help to win an underground Card Wars tourney.
  • What was Missing: In order to open a magic door filled with stolen items, Finn and all his friends must perform in a band. But everyone’s differing musical tastes and overall tensions make things difficult.
  • Up a Tree: Finn goes on a bizarre adventure up a giant tree to retrieve a throwing disk he and Jake were playing with.
  • A Glitch is a Glitch: Ice King creates a computer virus to delete everything except him and Princess Bubblegum, so Finn and Jake try to remove the virus before it can glitch out the universe.
  • Nemesis: A mage known as the Peace Master attacks the Candy Kingdom in order to remove a horrible evil within its vicinity.
  • Evergreen: The story of Evergreen, and his young assistant Gunther, during the Cretaceous period, long before the Mushroom War, where they try to keep a major catastrophe from destroying Earth.
  • Everything’s Jake: Magic Man causes Jake to transport to a new world, to unlock his feelings deep inside.
  • The Diary: Jake’s son T.V. discovers a lost diary and sets out to solve a decades-old mystery.
    Dentist: When Finn’s toothache gets too much to take, he has no choice but to visit the dentist, where he encounters an old foe.
  • Varmints: Princess Bubblegum turns to Marceline for help when something threatens the citizens of her homestead.
  • Football: BMO and Football decide upon a deal, but one of them cannot keep up their end of the bargain.
  • Crossover: Finn and Jake crossover into Farmworld Finn’s dimension.
  • (The) Hall of Egress: Trapped and alone, Finn must unravel the riddle of the weird cave with no exit.
  • Flute Spell: Finn has been secretly meeting a powerful wizard.
  • The Thin Yellow Line: Finn and Jake discover a conspiracy after infiltrating the Banana Guard ranks.

 

 IFC / Released 7/12/16

IFC / Released 7/12/16

The Preppie Connection

How to win friends: Smuggle $300K of uncut cocaine into your snooty prep school.

Based on the wild story of a teen drug trafficker who rocked headlines in 1984, the true crime caper The Preppie Connection stars Thomas Mann (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Toby, a blue-collar scholarship student at an elite boarding school who finds an in with the cool crowd by supplying them with cocaine. But things spiral out of control when Toby goes from small-time dealer to international drug trafficker, culminating in a trip to Colombia and a daring deal with a cartel.

Capturing the music, style and burgeoning “greed is good” ethos of the 1980s, The Preppie Connection, which also stars Lucy Fry (Vampire Academy) and Logan Huffman (ABC’s V, Final Girl) is a stranger-than-fiction look at the price of popularity.

 

 IFC / Released 7/26/16

IFC / Released 7/26/16

Born To Be Blue

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Before Midnight) lights up the screen as jazz legend Chet Baker, whose tumultuous life is thrillingly reimagined with wit, verve and style to burn in Born To Be Blue.

In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction.

In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the 1960s as the musician attempts a hard-fought comeback, spurred by a passionate romance with a new flame (Carmen Ejogo, Selma, The Purge: Anarchy). Creatively blending fact with fiction and driven by Hawke’s virtuoso performance, Born To Be Blue unfolds with all the stylistic brio and improvisatory genius of great jazz.

 

 Kino Lorber / Released 7/26/16

Kino Lorber / Released 7/26/16

Deadline–U.S.A.

Screen legend Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) stars as a fictional newspaper editor Ed Hutcheson of “The Day”, which will be folding in three days.

Even though he and his staff will be out of work within days, he intends to expose the criminal activities of vicious crime boss Tomas Rienzi (Martin Gabel, The Thief). An abundance of subplots are expertly woven together by legendary screenwriter/director Richard Brooks (Elmer Gantry) in Deadline – U.S.A. This classic film noir features stunning black-and-white cinematography by the great Milton R. Krasner (23 Paces to Baker Street) with an uniformly excellent cast that includes Ethel Barrymore (Portrait of Jennie), Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire), Ed Begley (12 Angry Men), Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet), Paul Stewart (Kiss Me Deadly) and Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island). Extras include commentary and trailer.

 

Shout! Factory / Released 7/26/16

Shout! Factory / Released 7/26/16

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Richie Bridgestone’s parents are getting a divorce, but that’s the least of his problems at the moment. Richie is hoping his parents will reconsider and on a visit to his father ’s secluded cabin, he witnesses his dad being attacked by a werewolf. Much like the tale of the boy who cried wolf, no one in the town will believe Richie’s claims that his father will change into a werewolf at the next full moon.

This was the third and final pairing of actor Kerwin Matthews and cult filmmaker Nathan Juran (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Brain from Planet Arous). The two had also worked together on the classic 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jack the Giant Killer. The film makes its home video debut with a beautiful new high definition transfer. Extras include trailer and still gallery.

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