Category Archives: Movies

Please heed our advice: Book your vacation before you watch “The Ninth Passenger”

Looking to book a vacation? One suggestion: Do it before you watch The Ninth Passenger, now on DVD, Digital and On Demand from Lionsgate. The intense edge-of-your-seat thriller centers around eight lusty, partying college kids who hijack a billionaire’s yacht for a midnight cruise.

Sensible Jess (portrayed by Alexia Fast) meets hunky Brady (Jesse Metcalfe), a corporate spy posing as a mechanic. Near a mysterious island, an evil “ninth passenger” slips aboard and starts slaughtering the party crowd. Jess and Brady find evidence of the gruesome scheme behind the killings…but are they already in over their heads?

Five hot new books from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, worthy of another round

Applause! Applause!

A marvelous crop of new books published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.

Made in Mexico: Hollywood South of the Border
 ($19.99)
For more than a century, directors from both sides of the border have chosen Mexico as the location to create their cinematic art, leaving an indelible imprint on the imaginations of moviegoers and filmmakers worldwide. Now, for the first time, this tome presents a comprehensive examination of more than one hundred Hollywood theatrical feature films made in Mexico between 1914 and the present day.

Made in Mexico

Lavishly illustrated throughout, Made in Mexico examines how Hollywood films depicted Mexico and how Mexico represented itself in relation to the films shot on location. It pulls back the curtain on how Hollywood filmmakers influenced Mexican films and Mexican filmmakers influenced Hollywood.


Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked ($29.99)
From his writing of Godspell‘s score at age 23 through the making of the megahit musical Wicked and beyond, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked takes readers into the world of the legendary Broadway and film composer-lyricist. In this authorized biography, drawing from her interviews with Schwartz and his collaborators, author Carol de Giere focuses on the behind-the-scenes stories for Schwartz’s hits and disappointing flops.

Defying Gravity

Readers will find colorful anecdotes and insights for his licensed musicals Children of EdenPippin, Working, and others. Defying Gravity also includes Hollywood stories, beginning with a new foreword by composer Alan Menken.


Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon ($24.99)
Warren Zevon songs are like chapters in a great American novel. Its story lies in the heart of his–and our–psyche. The lines are blurred. We never seem to know if we are looking in a mirror or peering through a window; we only know that when we listen we see something.

Accidentally Like a Martyr

The music sets the scene – his voice a striking baritone, its narrator our guide through a labyrinth of harrowing narratives. The plot unfolds without subtlety; each musical and lyrical arc awakens imagination.


Stowaway Ukulele Revealed: Richard Konter & the Byrd Polar Expeditions is the unlikely and compelling story of a globe-trotting, ukulele-strumming, Brooklyn sailor named Richard Konter and his famous autographed instrument. At the height of the ukulele craze, Konter was a go-to arranger for Tin Pan Alley composers and publishers.
In 1926, Konter shipped out as a member of the crew of the Byrd Arctic Expedition. As a riveted world followed their progress (and that of their arch-rival, Roald Amundsen, the world’s greatest polar explorer), Konter managed to get his ukulele aboard Byrd’s plane for the first successful polar flight.

A Stowaway Ukulele RevealedA keen contributor to history in the making, Konter managed to obtain the autographs of more than 150 individuals, both famous and unknown, all of whom respected the importance of Konter’s North Pole ukulele. Later, Konter accompanied Byrd to Antarctica and later married, for the first time at age 80, the love of his life.
For the first time,  details the marvelously diverse cast of characters who autographed this little instrument, presenting mini-biographies and photographs to illustrate the interconnected web of lives brought together by Konter.


“Other people locked themselves away and hid from their demons. Townes flung open his door and said, ‘Come on in.’” So writes Harold Eggers, Townes Van Zandt’s longtime road manager and producer, in My Years with Townes Van Zandt: Music, Genius, and Rage ($29.99)– a gripping memoir revealing the inner core of an enigmatic troubadour, whose deeply poetic music was a source of inspiration and healing for millions but was for himself a torment struggling for dominance among myriad personal demons.

My Years with Townes Van ZandtTownes Van Zandt often stated that his main musical mission was to “write the perfect song that would save someone’s life.” However, his life was a work in progress he was constantly struggling to shape and comprehend. Eggers says of his close friend and business partner that “like the master song craftsman he was, he was never truly satisfied with the final product but always kept giving it one more shot, one extra tweak, one last effort.”

A vivid, firsthand account exploring the source of the singer’s prodigious talent, widespread influence, and relentless path toward self-destruction, My Years with Townes Van Zandt presents the truth of that all-consuming artistic journey told by a close friend watching it unfold.

The best news of of the year:  “Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection” is a stupendous must-have

It was an era of monsters, madness and great movie-making. Dare you say the flicks have universal appeal?


Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the ’30s to late-’50s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The collection showcases all the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

Image result for youtube she-Wolf of London

The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1942),Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

Rake in lots o’ screams in the thrilling flick, “The Rake”

Wanna rake in the terror? Look no further than The Rake, in which a  terrifying urban legend becomes real in the horror-thriller.  The flick spreads fear on DVD and Digital, courtesy of Unified Pictures via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Shenae Grimes-Beech, Rachel Melvin and Izabella Miko star in this chilling tale of siblings who return home 20 years after the shocking murder of their parents and discover that the horrible crime may have a startling connection to a local urban legend. Directed by award-winning horror filmmaker Tony Wash and co-starring Joey Bicicchi, Stephen Brodie and Joe Nuñez, this scarily entertaining movie features a perfect mix of action, suspense, and scream-worthy moments horror fans won’t want to miss.

Ashley and Ben witnessed the brutal murder of their parents.  Years later, Ashley is still convinced it wasn’t someone, but something that killed her parents and now she’s tormented by the thought of The Rake returning for her and her family.  Is Ashley traumatized . . . or is the creature inside her real?

Action legend Bruce Willis returns to the screen in the high-octane film “Reprisal”

He’s back!

Action legend Bruce Willis returns to the screen in the high-octane film Reprisal, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD, and Digital October 16 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.

Jacob (Frank Grillo), a bank manager haunted by a violent heist that took the life of a coworker, teams up with his ex-cop neighbor, James (Bruce Willis), to bring down the assailant. While the two men work together to figure out the thief’s next move, Gabriel (Johnathon Schaech), the highly trained criminal, is one step ahead.

When Gabriel kidnaps Jacob’s wife (Olivia Culpo) and daughter, Jacob barrels down a path of bloodshed that initiates an explosive counterattack, bringing all three men to the breaking point.

Packed with nonstop action from director Brian A. Miller, the Reprisal Blu-ray, DVD and Digital release includes a making-of featurette and insightful cast and crew interviews giving an inside look at what it took to make this thrilling film.

MVD Rewind Collection continues to release camp classics with relish

Since launching in December of 2017 with the Blu-ray release of D.O.A., MVD Rewind Collection has quickly established itself as one of the premiere labels in the home video market.
Already in release are Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God…Be Back by Five. This story about a pair of friends looking for a third childhood friend that they fear may be homeless and mentally ill was co-written, produced and stars ’80s icon Jon Cryer. The plot is loosely based off on a true story involving Cryer and a former classmate he heard was homeless.

Swamp Thing sprouted from the pen of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson and took root in the pages of his award winning DC Comics’ series. Dr. Alec Holland, noble scientist out to cure the ills of our ravaged planet Earth, is caught in a powerful explosion that coated him with his bio-restorative formula and set him ablaze. Jumping into a nearby swamp for relief from the flames, Alec Holland was transformed into everyone’s favorite muck-encrusted half-human/half plant Swamp Thing. Dick Durock starred as Swamp Thing in both the original movie and The Return of Swamp Thing. Trapped in his monstrous physical form, Alec Holland retained his intellect, emotions, and capacity to love. That love appears in the form of Abigail Arcane (Heather Locklear), step-daughter to the world’s maddest scientist, Dr. Anton Arcane.
The Return Of Swamp Thing
Abby owns a plant store, and is more comfortable talking to her plants than to men in the local singles bar. When she meets Swampy she sees beyond the horror of his physical form and falls in love with Alec Holland. Swamp Thing has to single-handedly battle the evil Dr. Arcane, his security forces, and his army of mutant creatures in order to rescue Abby.  Both BR and DVD were created from a brand-new HD transfer made from the original internegative, released now for the first time ever. Directed by Jim Wynorski.
Pierre De Moro’s Savannah Smiles. In this charming family comedy the young daughter of a politician runs away in an effort to get some attention from her parents. She ends up hiding in a car that belongs to a pair of two-bit criminals and what could turn into an awful nightmares becomes an unlikely bonding experience between the three.
Released in 2006, Abominable is easily the newest film to see entry into the MVD Rewind Collection but don’t let that fool you – all the old-school, retro appeal that you’ve come to expect and love with this collection is very much present in this one.
Abominable (Special Edition)
A paraplegic convinced he was attached by the legendary Bigfoot returns to his cabin in the woods hell-bent on proving all those that called him crazy wrong. This fun monster movie features horror icons Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen and Dee Wallace.
Claude Van Damme appears in the MVD Rewind Collection with the release of 1990’s Lionheart. Van Damme stars as a paratrooper legionnaire that is forced to return home to Los Angeles after his brother is seriously injured. With his brother’s family desperately needed money, Van Damme decides to earn it the only way he knows how – entering an underground fighting circuit.
Lionheart (2-Disc Special Edition)
Often overlooked in the Van Damme catalogue, Lionheart is every bit the action classic as the more popular Bloodsport and Kickboxer films. Lionheart is also notable for being the first time Van Damme showed his signature buns onscreen.
By the mid-80’s Nicole Kidman was well on her way to becoming a star but she was still considered to be a child actor. In 1986, at the age of 19, she started to shed that image as she starred in first film aimed at adults with the romantic comedy Windrider. The film co-stars Tom Burlinson as an enthusiastic surfer attempting to develop a new, high tech surfboard. Along the way he meets and begins to fall in love with a rockstar played by Kidman. MVD Rewind Collection is proud to present Windrider on special edition Blu-ray this July, given the film its debut home video release in North America.

Undercrank Productions goes back in history with “The Kinetophone: A Fact! A Reality!”

Thomas Edison’s “Kinetophone” brought talkie to the theaters in 1913–and now, the Library of Congress has taken surviving films, restored them, and Undercrank Productions (undercrankproductions.com) has just released them on DVD.

That sound you hear? A standing ovation!

The Kinetophone: A Fact! A Reality! is an amazing disc that features eight sound films made by the Thomas A. Edison Company in 1913 that have been newly restored by the Library of Congress. Collectors will want to know the films: The Edison Kinetophone, Musical Blacksmiths, Nursery Favorites, The Deaf Mute, The Edison Minstrels, The Five Bachelors, The Old Guard and Jack’s Joke.

The disc also includes a nifty bonus, a mini-documentary on the Kinetophone. So Amazingly Perfect They Are Really Weird (2018) not only details the Kinetophone films’ history, technology and their restoration, but there’s alsoThe Politician (1913), a Kinetophone film whose sound cylinder is still lost and is presented here with a musical score by Ben Model.

Arthur Housman (left) and Edward Boulden (right) in “Jack’s Joke”

More than a dozen years before Al Jolson proclaimed “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” in the The Jazz Singer (1927), American movie audiences had already experienced synchronized sound in movies. In 1913, the Thomas Edison Company debuted talking pictures whose exhibition lasted for about a year. Showing the films in theaters involved a complex system involving a hand-cranked projector connected by a system of pulleys to a modified Edison cylinder player at the front of the theatre, operated at both ends by technicians connected by head-sets.

The Kinetophone films, like the early Vitaphone shorts, were of theatrical or vaudeville acts, dramatic scenes and musical performances. Of the 200 films made, only eight currently survive with both film and cylinder elements intact, and they have now been painstakingly restored by the Library of Congress.

The Kinetophone films are a unique record of performance techniques of the time, and are each six minutes long, a duration dictated by the maximum recording time of the cylinders used. Made in a pre-microphone era, the performers of the dramatic and comedic sketches or musical numbers speak and project as if they were in a theater. This technique was necessary for the actors’ voices to be picked up by the cylinder recording horn, placed a safe distance to be out of camera range. These techniques are covered in a mini-documentary on the history of the Kinetophone films, technology and restoration process as a bonus on the DVD.

Each of the eight Kinetophone films has been digitized from rare, unique cylinder sound elements preserved by the Thomas Edison National Historical Park and from original 35mm prints or camera negatives preserved by the Library of Congress. Utilizing state-of-the-art digital technology, the films have been restored and synchronized by the Library of Congress to a state that both surpasses their original 1913 presentations and also realizes the effect originally intended by Edison and his technicians. With the exception of Nursery Rhymes, previously available in a decades-old restoration of lesser quality, these Kinetophone films have not available to the public since their original exhibition in vaudeville houses more than 100 years ago.

Undercrank Productions, an amazing new company, that “discovers” rare films

We are bit embarrassed to admit that we only recently learned about Undercrank Productions (undercrankproductions.com). We learned that this marvelous company, the brainstorm of the marvelous historian and Undercrank founder Ben Model, releases must-see, must-have DVDs that we assumed have been long lost.

The Marcel Perez Collection: Volume 2 features eight slapstick shorts that star the largely forgotten silent-era comedian Marcel Perez. The award-winning first volume, released by Undercrank in 2015, has earned Perez a new fan base among classic film buffs and silent comedy aficionados.

Marion DaviesFollowing a 15-year career in movies in Europe,  Perez came to the U.S. in 1915 where he made another 60 comedy shorts as the character Tweedledum or “Tweedy” or “Twede-Dan” for a number of independent studios in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Perez is the only silent screen comedian besides Max Linder to have had this kind of long-reaching career on both continents. Perez’s charming and acrobatic screen persona, as well as his inventive directorial flair, make his short comedies stand out from those made by most of the better-known “second-tier” slapstick comics.  Sadly, only a fraction of Perez’ output, which spanned 1900-1928, survives. In the three years since the release of the first DVD, however, eight more films have either surfaced or become available for this home video release.

“What continues to impress me in seeing more of Marcel Perez and his films,” says Model, “is how inventive the humor, storytelling and filmmaking is considering they’re from 1916-1922. He’s doing stunt work and surreal gags before Keaton or Larry Semon did, and one of the shorts–A Scrambled Honeymoon (1916)–opens with a gag sequence that is nearly directly copied in a Chaplin short made the following year. It’s been a thrill working with the Library of Congress and MoMA on the disc, as well as being supported by fan crowdfunding, to be able to restore Perez’ reputation and renown. Hopefully it won’t take another three years for more of his films to turn up, and I’ll bet there’s more of them out there.”

Marcel Perez and Nilde Barrachi in “Oh! What a Day” (1918)

The films on the The Marcel Perez Collection: Volume 2 were preserved by or were sourced from the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art. The rare archival 35mm copies are presented in new 2K digital scans, with new musical scores by noted silent film accompanist Ben Model.

“An Elephant’s Journey” is a remarkable lessons-to-learn family adventure

We continue to celebrate elephants. The truth is: We believe poachers should have their dicks cut off . . . and left to die.
We love the new film An Elephant’s Journey. It has been released on DVD and Digital by Lionsgate; it arrives On Demand October 23 .

This adventure is family fun. When Phoenix Wilder (portrayed by Sam Ashe Arnold), a 13-year-old orphan, moves in with his Aunt Sarah (Elizabeth Hurley) – his only surviving relative, living in Africa with her husband, Uncle Jack–Phoenix quickly falls in love with his surroundings. However, while on safari with his uncle, Phoenix gets separated from the rest of the group. As the search for Phoenix continues, the boy becomes fast friends with a giant bull elephant he was able to free from a trap. Phoenix names the elephant Indlovu, and, as they begin to bond, he decides to try to stop a band of poachers who prey on African elephants

“Affairs of State” combines love, lust and political scandal and make for sizzling flick

The affairs of the state suck.

But the gripping thriller Affairs of State combines love, lust and political scandal and is hot.

In his quest for power, D.C. aide Michael Lawson (played by David Corenswet) will do anything to take part in Senator Baines’s (David James Elliott) White House campaign, including blackmailing Baines’s shady advisor (Adrian Grenier) and sleeping with the candidate’s wife (Mimi Rogers)

But when he gets involved with the senator’s alluring daughter, Lawson (Grace Victoria Cox) learns his dangerous game could have a deadly payoff. Also starring Thora Birch, this pulse-pounding thriller is a perfect match for today’s turbulent political climate.