Category Archives: Movies

What a cast! What a comedy! “The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee” hits stores for Valentine’s Day 

Golden Globe winner Paul Hogan plays himself in the boisterous comedy The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee, available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on February 16 from Lionsgate. (This film is currently available On Demand.)

Retired in Los Angeles and overshadowed by his Crocodile Dundee character, Hogan is offered a knighthood by the Queen of England. But before he can accept it, Hogan gets caught up in a series of comical scandals that dominate gossip shows and social media feeds. Can he keep his reputation clean long enough to hang onto his prize—and his dignity?

Take a “Spacewalk” with a couple of Russians. This is a true story, unlike most “news” exported from the country

Who says all Russians are evil criminals who hack America?

Meet Oleg Pogodin, Irina Pivovarova, Sergey Korotkov, Dmitry Pinchukov and Dmitry Kiselev, the team who wrote (first 4) and directed Spacewalker, a nifty thrilling flick.

In the heat of the Cold War, the USSR and USA compete for supremacy in outer space. Both superpowers race to be the first nation to have a man complete a spacewalk. No price is too high and no risk is too great.

To set off one of man kind’s most ambitious missions, the USSR pair the unlikely duo of a seasoned war veteran, Pavel Belyayev, and a fearless test-pilot, Alexei Leonov. Without proper testing, and inside a tiny spaceship, the two astronauts launch into the unknown to take on what no man has done before . . .
Catch the action when the DVD is released on January 17, courtesy of Capelight Pictures and MPI Media Group.

Transgender titillation: Warhol’s he/she chronicled in “Candy Darling”

Poor Candy. She got more than 15 minutes of fame, but died at age 29 . . . four years before he became as she. Her fame was fleeting. Chronicling the short but influential life of transgender pioneer Candy Darling, a major part of Andy Warhol’s entourage, Beautiful Darling delivers audiences to a bygone era, recapturing the excitement of a long lost New York City to recount the story of Darling, a star in the constellation of Warhol’s Factory.
Candy Darling on her death bed
By the mid-’60s Jimmy Slattery, born in the Long Island suburb of Massapequa in ’44, had become Candy, a gorgeous blond actress and throwback to Hollywood’s golden age. This persona won her starring roles in two Warhol movies, parts in mainstream films and a lead role in Tennessee Williams’ play. Her ethereal beauty attracted such taste-making photographers as Robert Mapplethorpe, Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon and Peter Beard. She was the inspiration behind two of Lou Reed’s best known songs, Candy Says and Walk on the Wild Side, and was one of the most unusual and charismatic fixtures in the explosive downtown, underground scene of late ’60s/early ’70s New York.

Candy’s journey of self-discovery and transformation becomes, for director James Rasin, a tragic allegory for our fame and media obsessed times. But it is also a gripping story with a simple, universal theme: One person’s pursuit of their own American Dream. The film interweaves rare archival footage and both historical and contemporary interviews (Tennessee Williams, Paul Morrissey,  Fran Lebowitz, Holly Woodlawn among many others) with excerpts from Candy’s own diaries and letters, which are voiced, to devastating effect, by Oscar nominee and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Chloë Sevigny.

The film asks us not to tell a soul. How can we brag about “Don’t tell a Soul”?

The film asks us not to tell a soul, but how can we not brag about the nifty thriller Don’t Tell a Soul? While stealing money to help their sick mother (played by Mena Suvari), teen brothers Matt and Joey (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) are surprised by Hamby (Rainn Wilson), a security officer who gives chase and is then trapped in a well.

Over the next few days, Joey and Hamby forge an uneasy relationship. Hamby tells Joey he’ll keep quiet if Joey sets him free. But Hamby holds another secret, one that will threaten Joey and his family, in this twist-filled, cat-and-mouse thriller.
The film, from Lionsgate, is ready on January 15.

“Born a Champion”: A powerful  action film focuses on the love for family and the drive for greatness.

Save the date and save some of the loot Santa stuffed into your stocking, so there won’t be a problem of nabbing a copy of the inspirational mixed martial arts action film, Born a Champion.  The flick fights its way into select theaters, on Digital, and On Demand January 22 from Lionsgate. The film will also be released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 26. Starring Emmy winner Sean Patrick Flanery, Katrina Bowden and Golden Globe nominee Dennis Quaid, Born a Champion was directed by Alex Ranarivelo and written by Sean Patrick Flanery and Ranarivelo.

This powerful  action film focuses on the love for family and the drive for greatness. After a blood-soaked Jujutsu match in Dubai, fighting legend Mickey Kelley (Flanery) falls to superstar Blaine. But years later, an online video proves that Blaine cheated, and the world demands a rematch. Can the aging underdog get back into shape in time to vanquish his foe, get revenge, and claim his prize?                      

Film history made: The long-lost “Mr. Topaze,” the only film Peter Sellers directes, hit DVD

More good news from Film Movement: They have unveiled (and released on DVD) Mr. Topaze, Peter Sellers’ long-lost 1961 directorial debut, newly-restored in 2K from the last surviving 35mm print held in the BFI National Archive.

Albert Topaze (played by Sellers), a poor but proud French schoolmaster, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of his students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses.

Sellers‘ lone directorial effort, Mr. Topaze displays the British comic genius at the peak of his powers alongside his future Pink Panther nemesis Herbert Lom and a stellar supporting cast that includes Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Long considered a “lost” classic, MR. TOPAZE was digitally restored in 2K from the last surviving 35mm prints held in the BFI National Archive.
In his newly-written essay included in the Film Movement Classics release, Roger Lewis, author of The Life and Death of Peter Sellers writes: “In my opinion we are only now beginning to wake up to Sellers‘ unique qualities as a performer, and the rediscovery of Mr. Topaze will aid this reassessment. It is a film of which Jacques Tati might be proud. It is as good as any of the later Chaplin efforts, Limelight or A Countess from Hong Kong. It is a scandal that it was lost for so long.”

BONUS FEATURES
  • Let’s Go Crazy (1951) – a madcap short film starring Peter Sellers and his Goon Show co-star Spike Milligan
  • The Poetry of Realism (2019) – Kat Ellinger video essay on auteur Marcel Pagnol, the playwright of Topaze
  • Abigail McKern Interview (2019) – Leo McKern’s daughter discusses her father’s life and career
  • 24-page booklet with notes on the film’s rediscovery by BFI curator Vic Pratt and a new essay by Roger Lewis

Cohen Film Collection Creates More Blu-Heaven with “The Buster Keaton Collection: Go West & College”

Someday Santa will make one of our Bucket List dreams possible: To meet the brains behind Cohen Film Collection and thank the geniuses for their output of great films on Blu-ray.
The latest gem: The Buster Keaton Collection: Go West & College. Both flicks have been restored to their luster and laughter.
GO WEST
Heeding the expansionist call of Horace Greeley, an idealistic young man (though aptly named “Friendless”) hops a freight train westward to meet his destiny, first in a teeming metropolis—where he is roundly trampled by rush-hour foot traffic—then into the ranch lands of Arizona. His attempts at bronco busting, cattle wrangling, and even dairy farming all end in hilarious failure, but when a trainload of steer are unleashed on the streets of Los Angeles, “Friendless” decides to undertake an unorthodox, single-handed round-up.
COLLEGE
Keaton’s ode to varsity life demonstrates the performer’s trademark brand of visual comedy as well as his remarkable agility. He stars as Ronald, a small-town, academically-inclined freshman who applies his wiry physique to a series of sports, in order to impress a fellow student (played by Anne Cornwall). He seems destined for failure, but when Mary is accosted by an overzealous rival (Harold Goodwin), Ronald discovers within himself an untapped wellspring of athleticism.

Cohen Film Collection Releases “Sudden Fear”, a truly dark film noir classic

The first time I watched Jack Palance torment Joan Crawford, I was hit with a case of Sudden Fear.  I wanted to join Joan in the closet and watch the wind-up toy getting closer . . .

On January 12, Cohen Film Collection released this rediscovered masterpiece of film noir on DVD. Crawford plays a successful playwright who marries a less than stellar actor (Palance) with a troubling secret.

She soon discovers that he not only married her for her money but that he plans to murder her with the help of his lover (played by Gloria Grahame) in a performance The New York Times hailed as “hard, brash and sexy”.  This taut thriller, featuring a score by Elmer Bernstein, that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

For the first time, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in “Iron Mask”

For the first time,  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in the epic fantasy-adventure Iron Mask, premiering everywhere on Digital and On Demand November 20 and on Blu-ray and DVD November 24 from Lionsgate.

In order to save his homeland from certain doom, a kung fu master (Chan) must escape from the maniacal James Hook (Schwarzenegger) in order to send his daughter a secret talisman that will allow her to control a massive and mythical dragon.  This larger-than-life, globe-trotting tale–ranging from the impenetrable Tower of London to the fabled Silk Road and China’s Great Wall–also stars Rutger Hauer in one of the screen icon’s final performances.

And thought this was a holly jolly Christmas. On the naughty list: “Dragon Soldiers”.

And thought this was a holly jolly Christmas. A lethal creature hides in the woods that surround a suburban neighborhood and kills anyone who comes near it in Dragon Soldiers, arriving on DVD, Digital and On Demand December 15 from Lionsgate.

When locals start vanishing from a small Colorado town, the mayor hires a squad of elite mercenaries to fight off the menace—whoever or whatever it may be. Leader Cameron (played by Ruben Pla) and his team suspect a ruthless gang of mercenary survivalists . . . until they come face to face with a massive, airborne, fire-breathing reptile. Now, stopping the creature and surviving the attacks will take weapons, explosives, and gunfire, along with every ounce of courage they have left.
Happy Holidaze!