Category Archives: Movies

“Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids” solves a 4,500-year-old mystery

The secrets the dead reveal!

Following the publication of Nature‘s article acknowledging the greatest discovery in Egypt’s Khufu pyramid for more than 1,000 years, Secrets of the Dead: Scanning the Pyramids (PBS Distribution) unveils the adventure behind this revelation in this new documentary. The only one of the Seven Wonders of the World still standing, the Great Pyramid of Khufu has fascinated people for centuries. Tracing the origin of the legends of secret chambers hidden in the heart of the pyramid, the program shows what lies within, solving a 4,500-year-old mystery, by following the first scientific mission in 30 years to be authorized by the Egyptian government to examine the pyramids of Egypt.

Passionate about ancient history, the global team of Scan Pyramids consists of particle physicists, experts in innovation and 3D technologies, and engineers in thermal imaging from Egypt, France, Japan and Canada. For more than two years, they explored every corner of the pyramid, using non-invasive technologies including infrared cameras, 3D scanners and cosmological particle detectors located inside and outside the monument. Their search detected unknown cavities in the Great Pyramid of Khufu for the first time since the Middle Ages. Viewers are able to witness Scan Pyramid’s adventures and successes in this extraordinary scientific and historical journey through time and space that led to this historic discovery.

The harrowing journey of Sudan, the last male of his sub-species, the Northern White Rhinoceros, is told in “The Last Rhino”

Meet Sudan, the last male of his sub-species, the Northern White Rhinoceros. NATURE: The Last Rhino (PBS Distribution) tells his harrowing journey through the international cast of characters who have been involved in Sudan’s life, from when he was snatched as a calf from his mother’s side in war-torn Central Africa, to his captivity as a prized exhibit in a cold, concrete zoo behind the Iron Curtain while poaching devastated his kind to extinction back home.

Now at 43 years old and half-blind, Sudan is living out his days under 24-hour armed guard, on a protective sanctuary in Kenya. As his kind nears its last hour, scientists and animal experts turn to technology in a race to save the Northern White Rhino before it dies out forever.

Sid Haig! Pam Grier! Christopher Lee! Bruce Lee! Greats from my childhood . . . in a slew of great flicks from VCI/MVD Entertainment

Sid Haig! Pam Grier! Christopher Lee! Bruce Lee! Greats from my childhood . . . in a slew of great flicks from VCI/MVD Entertainment.

What comes after World War III? A spaceship returns from deep space to find the Earth in The Aftermath of a nuclear and biological war. The streets are filled with mutated survivors feeding off the weak and a Manson-like figure called Cutter (Sid Haig) is reigning terror down on all others. Aftermath, The [Blu-ray + DVD]Cutter and his gang of mercenary thugs are systematically murdering all the male survivors and enslaving women and children. This cult classic 1982 post apocalyptic sci-fi movie makes its Blu-ray debut. The Aftermath was originally banned in the UK and labeled a “Video Nasty” and contributed to its cult status!

Animal desires . . . human lust! Such is the glory and gore of Twilight People. Matt Farrell (John Ashley) is plucked from the sea while skin-diving and taken to the foreboding fortress of Dr. Gordon. He is to become part of the doctor’s diabolical experiment to create a race of super people. This twisted and maniacal doctor’s experiments have so far only created terrifying and hideous creatures.

His human guinea pigs, freed by the doctor’s own daughter, turn the island hideaway into a bloodbath of revenge and terror! Cult Film Queen Pam Grier is featured as “Panther Woman”.

A college student Nan is researching the history of witchcraft in City of the Dead. Taunted by her brother and fiance, who have voiced their concerns, Nan arms herself with resolve and drives to the small New England village of Whitewood. She is glad she was able to count on the support of her professor. A bit anxious but consumed with curiosity, she will soon embark herself on the journey of her life! Legendary Christoper Lee stars; this remastered edition includes a 45-minute interview with him, as well as a feature length commentary by Lee.

 

Bruce’s Deadly Fingers, finally released  for the first time ever in widescreen high definition and produced from a new 2K scan from the 35mm original negative. If you are a fan of the master, Bruce Lee, and other “Bruceploitation films,” then this deluxe Blu-ray + DVD combo is a must for your film collection! After malicious gangsters capture Bruce Lee’s ex-girlfriend, a young martial artist attempts to rescue her and the late master’s book containing lethal techniques for killing with one’s fingers. Plenty of Kung-fu action and mayhem including a particularly gruesome scene involving the torture of a girl with a deadly snake!

“Daughter of the Nile” is a rediscovered gem in the filmography of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien, courtesy of Cohen Film Collection

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Daughter of the Nile is the groundbreaking 1987 drama from one of modern world cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers, and Cohen Media Group celebrates the film’s 30th anniversary with 4K digital restoration.
A rediscovered gem in the filmography of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien, Daughter of the Nile is a neon-lit, contemporary drama inspired by the heroine of a Japanese manga series. With Hou’s gentle but keen observation, the film follows a young woman and her brother as they float along the periphery of the Taipei underworld, intriguingly blending gangster tale with mood-drenched introspective drama. Based on the personal experiences of frequent Hou screenwriter Chu T’ien-wen, the film is a profoundly moving observation of marginalized youth.
The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1987 Turin International Festival of Young Cinema and was entered into the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hou Hsiao-hsien emerged in the ’80s to become one of the leading figures, along with Edward Yang and Chen Kunhou, of the New Taiwanese Cinema, a movement away from the kung fu films and overwrought melodramas of the past to an emphasis on realistic portrayals of everyday life, a style often compared to Italian neorealism. Hou’s Daughter of the Nile sits among a string of masterpieces-A Summer at Grandpa’s, A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster, Flowers of Shanghai-that led him to be voted Director of the Decade for the 1990s in a poll of American and international critics put together by The Village Voice and Film Comment. His most recent film, The Assassin,brought him the Best Director prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In addition to offering digitally restored picture and sound, Cohen Film Collection’s release boast a wealth of extras. Both the Blu-ray and DVD include an audio commentary track by film scholar Richard Suchenski, a new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns and the 2017 rerelease trailer.

Danny Trejo, Lance Henriksen and Tom Berenger headline “Gone Are the Days”, an epic Western saga of a fading gunman’s quest for justice

Gone are the days of classic westerns, right? Nope.

Danny Trejo, Lance Henriksen and Tom Berenger headline Gone Are the Days, an epic Western saga of a fading gunman’s quest for justice. Seeing his days are growing short, Taylon (Henriksen) rises from his deathbed, puts on his spurs, and hits the trail in search of redemption. He crosses the desert to a gold-rush town, where he finds his estranged daughter working in a brothel.

But to earn her freedom, he must confront the town’s vengeful sheriff (Berenger)—who has an old score to settle with Taylon. With his days winding down, the aging gunman sets out on an epic quest to perform one last good deed, hoping to save his soul.

Including a never-before-seen behind-the-scenes featurette along with cast and crew interviews, the Gone Are the Days arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD and On Demand April 10 from Lionsgate.

Eek! Evil aliens lurk here and there in the nifty “Curse of the Mayans”

Proof that some treasures should remain buried: For eons, the Mayans prophesized that on December 21, 2012–the end-date of the 5,126-year cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar–there would be a cataclysmic, earth-shattering event. As it turned out, 2012 wasn’t the end, but the beginning in Curse of the Mayans, a chilling sci-fi thriller set in the dark jungles and unexplored cenotes of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

In present day, American professor Dr. Alan Green (played by Steve Wilcox) discovers a manuscript that may hold the keys to the lost Mayan culture. After traveling to Mexico, he hires an expert team of cave divers, led by Danielle Noble (Carla Ortiz), to explore a submerged labyrinth of ruins left behind by the ancient civilization before their mysterious disappearance. But when the team unwittingly stumbles upon an underwater prison and unintentionally frees the evil alien beings trapped within, they are forced to fight for their survival and prevent the extraterrestrial apocalypse predicted by the Mayans long ago.
Better yet: Curse of the Mayans was filmed on location at the sites of actual Mayan settlements.

Benedict Cumberbatch offers a stunning performance in Ian McEwan’s “The Child in Time”

It’s a mystery Sherlock Holmes could solve.

Or at least Benedict Cumberbatch .

An everyday moment triggers a crisis in the lives of a happy, successful British couple in MASTERPIECE: The Child in Time, Ian McEwan’s haunting tale of a lost child and redeemed love, starring Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald.

PBS Distribution releases the program on DVD April 3.  It will also be available for digital download.

Adapted from McEwan’s 1987 Whitbread Prize-winning novel, which critic Christopher Hitchens called the author’s “masterpiece,” this film earned high praise during its recent UK broadcast. The Guardian found it “a deeply affecting portrait of loss and what that does to love,” and The Times lauded it as “a rarity: nuanced, unmawkish, unsentimental.”

Cumberbatch stars as Stephen Lewis, a noted children’s book author, and Macdonald plays his wife, Julie, a professional musician. They are the doting parents of Kate (played by Beatrice White), an impish four-year-old, their only child.
Then one day Kate mysteriously disappears during a shopping outing with Stephen. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and it upends Stephen and Julie’s lives in extraordinary ways.

The Child in Time also stars Stephen Campbell Moore as Charles, Stephen’s publisher and best friend; and Saskia Reeves as Charles’ wife, Thelma. Charles gets Stephen appointed to a government commission on child care reform in hopes of taking his friend’s mind off Kate, who by this point has been missing for three years. But to Stephen, whose vivid memories of Kate are ever present, the committee’s direction seems maddeningly out of touch with what children actually need.

Kate haunts every aspect of Stephen’s life—as a phantom at his side, a voice in his ear, a fleeting glimpse in a crowd of school children.

Estranged from Julie due to the stress of their mutual loss, Stephen makes an attempt to reconnect, going to the village where she now lives.

There he is overcome with a powerful feeling of déjà vu at a pub called The Bell, where he spots a woman who appears to be from a moment in time, decades ago, and the woman acknowledges him. He is certain he has been there before, but he can’t think when.

Meanwhile, Charles has abruptly left his publishing job and retired to the country with Thelma, where he reverts deeper and deeper into his boyhood in a disquieting reversal of normal aging.

With the gentlest touch of the fantastical, this riveting story takes viewers in and out of the present, past, and future, exploring the twin themes of the title—childhood and time—and leading to a conclusion that is as surprising as it is gratifying.

 

“All the Money in the World” proves why Christopher Plummer really deserved the naked golden man known as Oscar

I still think Christopher Plummer should have won the Oscar for his marvelous performance as billionaire J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World. He got to work a little more than a month  before the film’s theatrical release; Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey after KS made some nasty headlines over his love for young boys. (The recasting tale in told in one of the Blu-ray and DVD’s extras, “Recast, Reshot, Reclaimed”.

All the Money in the World follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (played by Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer) to pay the ransom. When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money. Just to be safe, the film is advertised as being “inspired by historical events. Certain scenes, characters and dialogue have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes.”

This Oscar-nominated thriller makes its eagerly awaited home entertainment debut with must-own bonus features, including eight deleted scenes and three featurettes inspired by the true events of this shocking tale and an inside look at its already-legendary production.

Join director Ridley Scott and the cast and crew as they discuss the fast-paced and exciting way Scott filmed this epic movie–including looks into the wardrobe, locations and score- in “Ridley Scott: Crafting a Historical Thriller.” In “Hostages to Fortune: The Cast,” hear from the award-winning cast as they share the research they did to connect to their real-life characters. Finally, go behind the scenes of this unprecedented film’s production with “Recast, Reshot, Reclaimed,” which offers an inside look at the urgent recasting of the character J. Paul Getty, a little over a month before the movie’s theatrical release.

The Harlem crime saga “Honor Up” comes to Blu-ray and DVD

It’s a violent flick, but not a boring one. Executive produced by Kanye West, Honor Up  is written and directed by Damon Dash and follows the character OG, played by Dash, who is torn between his dedication to his family and honoring his street code.

The film also stars rappers Cam’ron, Murda Mook, Blackface and Smoke DZA, and features an appearance by Nicholas Turturro. Dash stars as OG, a drug lord’s lieutenant struggling to maintain the code of honor—protect the family—within his unruly crew after a Harlem shootout. Also featuring Stacey Dash, this film reveals a deadly underworld where beats pound as bullets fly, and even outlaws must live by the code.

The Harlem crime saga arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital April 17 from Lionsgate. The film is currently available On Demand.

THE SOUNDTRACK TO “CHARLOTTE’S WEB” COMES TO LIFE ON Varèse Sarabande

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” 
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Every time we read the book or watch the animated film (yes, the book is much better;  no wonder it won the Newbery Medal from the American Library Association), we think of White’s genius and the web of life lessons he has woven.
CharlotteWeb.png
Varèse Sarabande has just released the first-ever CD of the film’s soundtrack. The album features original songs and lyrics by the legendary duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with performances by the film’s stars Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorehead and Paul Lynde. GayS relish this trio: Paul was a major queen, and rumors still exist that Debbie and Agnes were long-time lovers.
The film was released in 1973. Young farm pig Wilbur (voiced by Henry Gibson) attempts to avoid a dire fate. Of all the barnyard creatures, Wilbur’s staunchest ally is Charlotte (voiced by Reynolds), a thoughtful spider who devises an intriguing plan to keep the gentle little swine out of the slaughterhouse. Although Charlotte’s efforts, which involve words written in her delicate web, seem far-fetched, they may just work.