Category Archives: Movies

Octogenarian Julie Newmar is still the cat’s meow . . . meow!

We have always thought Julie Newmar to be the cat’s meow. Those of a certain age cherish her role as Stupifying Jones in the Broadway musical Lil’ Abner (it was a non-speaking role she would go on to reprise in the 1959 film).  We still cherish her role as Swedish vixen Katrin Sveg in Broadway’s tasty The Marriage-Go-Round (1958).  Three years later, she reprised that role for the big-screen. We could go on and on. Remember her May 1968 spread in Playboy? And then, of course, is the historic era when she donned the feline ears that would forever etch her name in fanboy history.

The 83-year-old Newmar gives voice to Catwoman in the all-new, feature length animated film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. It’s now available via Digital HD, and will be released on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on November 1.

Our pal at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment shared some wonderful inside info from the Catwoman herself . . . purr-fect bites from a purr-fect villian!
julie_newmar_photo_21We’ll give you a purr-fect present if you can name the other two actresses who played the villainess.

Meow!

Starving for a staggering 4K UHD? We dish out this quartet of dynamic “Hunger Games”

Hungry for more Hunger Games? We get the news, we share the news. Coming out November 8 will be this quartet of 4K UHD release. Save the date, savor the inside info . . .

Experience the blockbuster phenomenon franchise like never before when The Hunger Games series arrives on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD) from Lionsgate. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, who took the world by storm with a four-film cumulative worldwide box office of more than three billion bucks.

With four times the resolution of Full HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) that delivers the brightest, most vivid and realistic color and greatest contrast, the titles pack lots o’ punch
The Hunger Games 4K UHD
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 4K UHD
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 4K UHD
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 4K UHDthg_4k42

THE HUNGER GAMES 4K UHD/BD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Editor Stephen Mirrione, Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal, and Supervising Sound Editor Lon Bender (4K only)
  • “Game Maker: Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games Phenomenon” Featurette
  • “The World Is Watching: Making The Hunger Games” Featurette
  • “Letters from the Rose Garden” Featurette

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE 4K UHD/BD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
  • “Surviving the Game: Making The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 4K UHD/BD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
  • “The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” Documentary
  • “Straight from the Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman” Featurette
  • “Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack” Featurette
  • Lorde “Yellow Flicker Beat” Music Video
  • Deleted Scenes

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 4K UHD/BD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • “Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” Documentary
  • The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey
  • Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor
  • Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition
  • Jet to the Set (Blu-ray only)
  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson

 

 

Dolly Parton busts in to wish fans and family happy holidaze, straight to DVD

I remember spending Christmas one year with Dolly Parton, just in time for yet another Redbook cover story about the holidays. I wondered how someone who grew up so dirt-poor could be happy if the Jolly Fat Man never showed to Pigeon Forge? Dolly’s favorite present . . . the “corn cob dolls Mama made.”

DOLLY PARTON'S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS: CIRCLE OF LOVE -- Season: 1--  Pictured: Dolly Parton as Painted Lady -- (Photo by: Quantrell Colbert/NBC)
Dolly Parton as Painted Lady  (Photo by Quantrell Colbert/NBC)

This year, the 40DD-17-36 star “stars” in yet another Christmas special, one that went straight to DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The Big Names include Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder and Gerald McRaney. Dolly introduces Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love film and serves as narrator.  The DVD, and also contains deleted scenes and three brand new featurettes including behind-the-scenes interviews. Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love will premiere this holiday season on NBC.

Holy Heroes of Yesteryear! “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” has a trio of surprises

Everything old is new again.

The spotlight shines on the trio of iconic stars of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Adam West steps behind the microphone to bring Batman to fully animated fruition. Burt Ward joins the fun as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, giving The Boy Wonder his voice in animated form. And Julie Newmar once again dons her feline ears to bring Catwoman to life. They may own top billing, but Steven Weber and Thomas Lennon also lead the way as trustworthy butler Alfred Pennyworth and Chief O’Hara, respectively. The full-length animated feature film also boasts a supporting cast of notable voices from across all entertainment mediums and some of the best-loved animated properties.

We take wing and make the intros.

  • Jeff Bergman as the Joker and the revered Announcer. Bergman is well-known as a voice of Bugs Bunny for more than a quarter of a century on series like Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, The Looney Tunes Show and Tiny Toon Adventures, and has provided a wide variety of impressions of live and animated celebrities (from Fred Flintstone and Homer Simpson to John Goodman and Paul Sorvino) for Family Guy.
  • William Salyers as The Penguin. Salyers is the actor behind the beloved Rigby in the longtime animated hit The Regular Show, and has voiced characters in wildly popular video games like Mass Effect 2 & 3 and Fallout 4.
  • Wally Wingert as The Riddler. Wingert, an avid Batman ’66 fan, has been featured as Cubot for Sonic Boom, a regular in popular anime series like Bleach and Naruto: Shippuden, and has voiced a plethora of characters (from Austin Powers to The Grinch) for the Family Guy animated series. He maintains a strong connection to the Dark Knight as the voice of Edward Nigma/The Riddler for the Batman: Arkham series of video games.
  • Lynne Marie Stewart as Aunt Harriett. Stewart burst on the entertainment scene in the ’70s with roles in American Graffiti, M*A*S*H and Laverne & Shirley. Most recently seen in hit films (Bridesmaids) and TV series (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Stewart holds a particular affection in the hearts of Pee-wee Herman fans for her recurring role in the Paul Reubens character’s films and TV series as Miss Yvonne.
  • Jim Ward as Commissioner Gordon. Ward has provided voices for hundreds of animated films, TV series and video games, including multiple roles for Ben 10, and as Captain Qwark for Ratchet & Clank. He is well known for voicing Chet Ubetcha on The Fairly Oddparents, and Professor Charles Xavier in Wolverine and the X-Men.
  • Sirena Irwin as TV show host Miranda Moore. Irwin is a regular contributor on the ever-popular SpongeBob SquarePants animated series, and has made a pair of notable voice “appearances” in the DC Universe Original Movies Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and Superman: Unbound.

So what’s the fuss? It’s back to the ’60s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes–Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. The four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil … and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray. Holy Multiplication Tables!

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is available to own on Digital HD; it arrives November 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD.

 

 

 

 

 

We not josh: “Joshy,” Jeff Baena’s follow-up to “Life After Beth,” offers laughs and sadness

It’s been called “an intimate, star-studded comedy that functions like an indie blockbuster, but it feels too big to be considered a regular indie, with a massive cast and its appetite for humor more equivalent to a studio project than any Sundance film.”

Did someone say “humor?” Indeed. Joshy, the set-up for writer/director Jeff Baena’s follow-up to  Life After Beth may sound familiar: This is a film about a life-changing reunion at a rented house. But not right away: The space for the Ojai, California bachelor party for Joshy (a marvelous Thomas Middleditch) was rented long before he suffered heartbreak from a cancelled engagement, and now it’s become a guy’s weekend.

After his suddenly ends, Joshy and a few of his friends decide to take advantage of what was supposed to be his bachelor party in .  In their attempt to help Joshy deal with the recent turn of events, the guys turn the getaway info a raucous weekend filled with drugs, booze debauchery and hot tubs. As the film unravels, so do the laughs . . . and the sadness. joshyheader2

 

After earning lots of laughs at its Sundance Film Festival premiere, Joshy has arrived on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD from Lionsgate. Rounding out the hilarious cast is Adam Pally, Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate.

We refuse to say anything more, except Joshy is a must-see.

 

Say hello to the “Little House on the Prairie” with a trio of warm and fuzzy films

It may be a little house on the prairie, but the love inside is bigger than what’s found in those huge, cold mega-mansions. Lionsgate is celebrating the hit series that stole America’s heart now that Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection has arrived on DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD.9e89e3d5-1fcb-45b6-87e4-e4720764a697_1-c10e5b0940d564ec804c38444c575942

We offer you to say hello to the family fave as you prepare to say farewell to this legendary western drama with three movie adventures: Look Back to Yesterday, Bless All the Dear Children and The Last Farewell. These restored and remastered movies will be available individually on Digital HD.

The story of the Ingalls family concludes with this trio of heartwarming movies—newly restored and remastered for optimal sound and picture quality. Rediscover the timeless adventure of Little House on the Prairie as Albert displays courage in the face of a serious illness; Laura and Almanzo race to find their missing baby daughter; and the community of Walnut Grove unites to defend its town in these inspiring and exciting moments that fans will treasure.

Rising to meet a truly Happy Halloween? Meet “Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise”

Forget the candy, bags o’ pretzels and popcorn and those awful waxed lips. When we trick or treat this year, we want Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise, the new Lionsgate DVD on which Saban’s Powers Rangers embark on all-new adventures.3d-power-rangers-dino-charge-rise-dvd-ocard In this spooktacular Halloween edition, the Power Rangers rise and take action-adventure to the next level as Tyler and Ivan put their differences aside to defuse a bomb; Chase races to free his friends from an underground tomb; Prince Phillip learns that he can’t buy his way into the Power Rangers; and Riley and Koda restore the team’s broken bonds of friendship. Now if we can only get them to melt all those waxed lips . . .

 

 

Holy Halloween! Candy factory Films triples the terror

Getting candy (wrapped preferred) on Halloween by the clown who answers the door is a treat . . . or so we hope.

When it comes to Candy Factory Films, they offer treats that are full of tricks. And terror. Make that terror tripled. On October 18, three thrillers, all from first-time filmmakers, escape on  Digital HD and On Demand on All Leading Platforms Including iTunes, Amazon,  Google Play and Vudu.

Let us prepare you:

Honeybee
From first-time filmmaker Nicki Harris comes this genre festival favorite, an award-winner at the 2016 International Horror Hotel Film Festival. Sixteen-year-old Hilary (portrayed by Connie Saltzman) has her head down, working hard to get good grades and just hoping to escape the small town life her family has lived for generations.  Just weeks before school is done for the year, her quiet town is jump-started by the arrival of an enigmatic family.  Hilary’s father is instantly charmed by Louisa, the statuesque mother, while she finds a strong connection to the middle son, Kadin (Garrett Richmond), ignoring her instincts.

And as the town’s inhabitants fall under the hypnotic spell of the two brothers, no one but Hilary sees the peculiar loyalty that holds them together and the lengths they will go to give their mother what she needs until it’s far too late. Dig the co-stars: Go-Go(er) Jane Wiedlin and Lorin Partalis.

Lights
Aliens and a decades-old secret government conspiracy may be at the center of the disappearance of Kurt (Keith Roenke) and his five friends who mysteriously vanished in the California desert one year ago. Lisa (Sara Radle), Kurt’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, has been driven to obsession to learn the truth.

After being contacted by a retired sheriff haunted by similar cases, she heads to the desert with her brother Karl (Caleb Neet), guided by video footage recovered from Kurt’s tent.  And together, they hack through the lies, evasions and threats to unlock the dark mystery of “Majestic 12” in this sci-fi thriller, director Nils Taylor’s feature-length debut.

Burst Theory
After a colleague unexpectedly contracts a bird flu vaccine under suspicious circumstances, a biologist (Joseph Scott Anthony) at a remote research facility seeks answers.  Soon, however, he discovers his worst nightmares are about to become a reality with his life, and perhaps the lives of millions, hanging in the balance.
Hunting desperately for the truth, he spirals into a from conspiracy and is forced to question everything he once took for granted.  Including his own sanity.

Zac pageWritten and directed by Zac Page, who won the Gold Reel Award for First Time Directors at the 2015 Nevada Film Festival, this official selection at the Canada International Film Festival, Virginia Independent Horror Film Festival and The Big House Los Angeles Film Festival also captured the Screenwriting Award at the 2016 Amsterdam Film Festival.

Seventy years later, more proof why, still, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

James Stewart always thought it was a wonderful life. So did Donna Reed. And movie mavens worldwide. But the classic Yuletide film It’s a Wonderful Life almost didn’t make it onto the big screen and into our hearts.

The film is based on The Greatest Gift, a 1939 short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern.  He spent years trying to sell his story to publishers. No success, so in 1943, Stern self-published his work and sent it to 200 friends as a 21-page Christmas card. RKO Pictures wound up getting a hold of the “card” and bought the rights to the story. They had Cary Grant in mind to play suicidal do-gooder George Bailey.9511755_1

Time passed, and in 1945 Frank Capra was came on board and cast James Stewart as the star. Actresses such as Jean Arthur, Ann Dvorak , Olivia de Havilland and Ginger Rogers (who called the character “too bland” ) refused the co-starring role as George’s wife Mary. Donna Reed nabbed the role, and from here to eternity, is noted for her terrific performance.

When It’s a Wonderful Life opened in theaters in December 1946, the film received generally mixed reviews; it did, however, earn five Oscar nominations but won none. Gulp! it was somewhat of a box-office flop, failing to recoup its $3.7 million cost (it made $3.3 million during its initial run).its-a-wonderful-life-foto

No wonder George was suicidal! In the years following its release, It’s a Wonderful Life fell  into obscurity only to re-emerge during the ’70s and ’80s when it began appearing on television during the holiday season. In 1990, the nearly 45-year-old film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

lionel-barrymore-itsawonderfullife-2
Lionel Barrymore in a Sydney Greenstreet mode?

And who ever thought the baileys might think of a red Christ,as? In It’s a Wonderful Life received an official mark of disapproval from the FBI, which pegged the poignant film as Communist propaganda thanks to its populist themes and, more specifically, unflattering portrayal of big-city bankers.

Reads a section of a 1947 FBI memo titled “Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry”:

With regard to the picture “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a “scrooge-type” so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [redacted] related that if he made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiner in connection with making loans. Further, [redacted] stated that the scene wouldn’t have “suffered at all” in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [redacted] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and “I would never have done it that way.”

Why do we present such background? On October 11, Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing the 70th anniversary of one of the most beloved films of all time on Blu-ray and DVD. This 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition includes a beautifully colorized version of the film and the original black-and-white movie, as well as The Making of It’s A Wonderful Life, a documentary featurette hosted by Tom Bosley and the original trailer.  Plus, both the Blu-ray and DVD set include collectible, limited-edition art cards featuring images of original ads and lobby cards.

Travis Gutiérrez Senger’s “Desert Cathedral” is so powerful you can feel the power of the film from beginning to end

Once in a while a film comes along that blows your head off. Witness Desert Cathedral. Ostensibly, the film concerns a dubiously successful realtor who, in searching for something better for his family, runs straight into the kind of midlife crisis that’s unimaginably painful.  And it is less of his financial failure and more of his tragic imagination and sense of responsibility that sends him spinning off to the climax.

Imagine Dostoyevsky’s Notes for the Underground updated to the ’90s. Peter Collins is backed to a wall from which he sees no escape.  He has a loving wife, Anna and a beautiful daughter, but has seemingly made a series of perfectly legal, but possibly financially ruinous, actions. Such is basically the action of the film, illustrated by Peter and Anna, and Duran Palouse, the private investigator she hires to find her husband who mysteriously disappears into the Southwest.desertcathedral_comingsoon2

As the film progresses, the audience learn more and more about each character and our sympathy grows for them.  The incredibly exciting aspect of this film is the narrative structure. Cheating only slightly here and there, the story is told through the found footage of the hero’s VHS camera, sort of a visual suicide note.  However, this footage is interspersed with home movies Peter and his family have taken throughout the years, so the audience is able to see the sort of life, the failure of an American Dream. that the hero is leaving for the romanticism of the West.

The impact is pretty extraordinary. Understanding and sympathy develops for Peter and Anna, while the remaining information is obtained by the observation of Duran, a bit sleazy at first, yet who grows in the audience’s appreciation as the film progresses.

This is the first major release of Travis Gutiérrez Senger, an author, director and artist to watch.  Handling original narrative in a film has got to be difficult, but Senger’s direction has a style and such a unique manner of handling the now near clichéd “found footage” technique is quite wonderful.  The three major performers, Lee Tergesen, Chaske Spencer and Petra Wright are all spot on in their performances, and you can feel the power of the film from beginning to end. Based on true events, Desert Cathedral won the Golden Bee, the festival’s top prize, at the Manchester International Film Festival; the festival awarded the film for its bold and unique storytelling. No surprise. Isn’t it great to have a film to which you have to bring your brain?