Dead body found in The Chunnel. We guarantee an addiction to “The Tunnel”.

From the makers of Broadchurch comes a new thriller that has to have mass appeal.  The Tunnel is set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis . . . and what a crisis it is. When a prominent French politician is found dead in the middle of the Channel Tunnel, straddling the border between the UK and France, detectives Karl Roebuck (superbly played by Stephen Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (an excellent  Clémence Poésy) are sent to investigate on behalf of their respective countries. The case takes a surreal turn when a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, forcing the French and British police into an uneasy partnership. As the serial killer uses ever more elaborate and ingenious methods to highlight the moral bankruptcy of modern society, Karl and Elise are drawn deeper into his increasingly personal agenda.

The Tunnel has already addicted PBS viewers (the series airs Sunday through August 21); the Blu-ray and DVD will be released on August 9 by PBS Distribution. The DVD and Blu-ray editions also include 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, and more. The program will also be available for digital download.

We won’t reveal anything else, except to remind you that faces may look quite familiar: In addition to Dillane and Poésy, The Tunnel also features Angel Coulby as Laura Roebuck, James Frain as John Sumner, Joseph Mawle as Stephen Beaumont, Keeley Hawes as Suze Beaumont, Tom Bateman as Danny Hillier, Jeanne Balibar as Charlotte Jubin, Thibaut de Montalembert as Olivier Pujol, Jack Lowden as Adam Roebuck, Cedric Vieira as Philippe Viot and Sigrid Bouaziz as Cecille Cabrillac.

Sean Combs combs through Bad Boy’s inventory to release a cursed box set

Someone’s got to take the rap, so we figure Sean “Diddy” Combs, known to too many people as Puff Daddy. Combs will be puffing his pride as he celebrates his 20+ year legacy as the ruling authority on hip hop and R&B with the release of the Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition, escaping on August 12.  Bad Boy Entertainment, whose founder and chairman  is Combs, is also puffing the fact that they relish explicit lyrics. How can they accept a song (let’s take the ditty “Blessings”; how can we mix God with the lyric Man, the clique is the tightest, the pussy’s the tightest pussy?

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Disturbed music fans will find the CD constipated with tunes such as “I Need a Girl,” “Juicy,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Hypnotize,” “Money, Power, Respect,” “Peaches & Cream,” “Can’t You See,” “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” “Love Like This,” “Feel So Good,” “Pop That,” “Damaged” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” from a lineup of “artists” including Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans, Total, Carl Thomas, Mase, 112, The Lox, Cassie, Janelle Monáe, Danity Kane, Machine Gun Kelly and French Montana.  The Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition is available for preorder now digitally and physically at iTunes and Amazon.

Accompanied by a 64-page historiography and foreword by hip hop journalist Michael A. Gonzales, the collection will take readers on a journey through the history of Bad Boy Entertainment, reminding fans of the label’s reputation as hip hop’s most notorious vanguards.  With contributions from music industry veterans, readers and listeners alike will gain a 360 view of the rise of the label and their revolutionary sound.

Following a painstakingly thorough selection process, which was curated by Bad Boy President Harve Pierre, the collection arrives at the perfect time, the announcement of Puff Daddy & the Family’s highly-anticipated Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, set to kick off August 25.  Tickets for the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour are available at Livenation.com. For additional information about the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, click here.

Coos Combs: “Bad Boy helped make hip hop what it is today and this collection highlights all the music, history and vision that made Bad Boy number one. We want to thank our fans, celebrate the music, the people and the Bad Boy lifestyle that have defined the past two decades.  We’ve always made music that makes the people dance; this collection does all that and more, and it is a celebration of all things Bad Boy.”

Earplugs not included.

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Setting such a good example

 

Proof that men have balls . . . on and off screen

No one has more balls than Richard Linklater, who wrote and directed the the critically-acclaimed sports comedy Everybody Wants Some!!, unless you count  the film’s star Tyler Hoechlin who recently played in the MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Petco Park in San Diego. His co-stars, Glen Powell, J. Quinton Johnson and Juston Street also have balls: They, were on hand to cheer him on in support of the Blu-ray/DVD release of the fratboy frenzy film.

The film, now available on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand, 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.

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Jake (Blake Jenner) puts the moves on Beverly (Zoey Deutch). Think his balls will take over?

Maybe the film is so good because two cast members have balls in their blood: Tyler Hoechlin began playing baseball at the age of seven; Juston Street is a  former professional baseball pitcher.

Got the balls to watch a preview?

Pulling strings to reveal a marvel interactive book for kids of all ages

What a marvel! Wolf Tales: Read & Play Puppet Theater (Walter Foster Jr., $14.95)  allows you to not only read your favorite fairy tales, but also act them out on stage. The box for the Wolf Tales can be used as a stage and contains puppets, set pieces and a book of three fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and the Young Kids and The Three Little Pigs.
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Each tale includes a shortened script and will capture the attention of event the youngest children. Just set up the pieces, get the puppets ready, and let the performance begin. The boxed set contains: a fold-out puppet theater, a book of three fairy tales with shortened scripts and prompts, 5 colorful set backdrops and 9 double-sided paper puppets. A four-star delight!

MVD Entertainment Group unleashes two classic, sick Arrow Video flicks on Blu-ray/DVD

examiner.com never allowed us to say what we really wanted to say . . . so now we say it: MVD Entertainment Group is one fucking great company and they distribute Arrow Video macabre masterpieces that are so sick and (often) so bloody they are fucking mandatory movies to see and own.

We start off with Microwave Massacre, escaping onto Blu-ray + DVD on  August 16. The flick stars legendary stand-up comedian Jackie Vernon as Donald, a disgruntled construction worker whose wife’s predilection for haute cuisine drives him to cannibalism.
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Donald unwittingly stumbles upon a solution to his two major problems in his life: his nagging wife and his lack of decent meals; one night, he bludgeons his better half to death with a pepper grinder in a drunken rage. Thinking on his feet, Donald dismembers the body and sets about microwaving the remains, which turn out to be rather delicious. Trouble is, now he has a taste for human flesh that needs satisfying . . .

Eschewing all notions of good taste, Wayne Berwick’s Microwave Massacre is a deliciously depraved exercise in political incorrectness that has gone on to gain a cult following thanks to a characteristically deadpan performance from Vernon, who delivers such choice lines as “I’m so hungry I could eat a whore.” Vegetarians need not apply!

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
– Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano
– Brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
– Original treatment and 8-page synopsis (BD/DVD-ROM content)
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter

Hungry for more? The Bloodstained Butterfly flies onto Blu-ray + DVD on August 23. Directed by Duccio Tessari, The Bloodstained Butterfly melds the lurid giallo traditions popularized by Dario Argento and Mario Bava with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly murders and audacious set-pieces.
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When a young female student is savagely killed in a park during a thunderstorm, the culprit seems obvious: her lover, TV sports personality Alessandro Marchi (played by Giancarlo Sbragia), seen fleeing the scene of the crime by numerous eyewitnesses. The evidence against him is damning . . .  but is it all too convenient? And when the killer strikes again while Marchi is in custody, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s more to the case than meets the eye.
Starring openly bisexual heartthrob Helmut Berger alongside genre mainstays Evelyn Stewart and Carole André and featuring a score by Gianni Ferrio, The Bloodstained Butterfly is presented uncut and in a sumptuous new 4K restoration that allows this unique and haunting thriller to shine like never before!
BONUS MATERIALS
– Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original Italian and English soundtracks in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0
– Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
– New audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Murder in B-Flat Minor, a new visual essay on the film, its cast and crew by author Troy Howarth.
Mad Dog Helmut, a new interview with actor Helmut Berger
– Exclusive introduction by Helmut Berger
– New interview with actress Evelyn Stewart/Ida Galli
– Interview with Lorella De Luca, actress and wife of director Duccio Tessari
– Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
– Gallery of original promotional images
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
– Limited edition 36-page booklet (first pressing only) illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, containing writing by James Blackford, Howard Hughes and Leonard Jacobs

Roald Dahl, a true bastard to former wife Pat Neal, may very well be a “BFG”

Our dear friend Patricia Neal once told us how mean her husband Roald Dahl could be . . . regaling us with tales of terror. That was then, and we know Dahl was so beloved for his children’s classic books. Public Media Distribution, LLC has re-released Roald Dahl’s The BFG” on DVD.  This film is also available for digital download. Neal would say the title stands for “Big Fucking Goon.”

It actually stands for The Big Friendly Giant; Dahl’s beloved children’s book comes to life in this classic animated feature, which debuted in 1989, about the amazing power of friendship between a little girl and a big-hearted giant.
One moonlit night, little orphan Sophie is snatched from her bed by an awesome giant who whisks her away on a magical, thrilling, and funny adventure. Unlike scary giants such as the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, and the Bonecruncher, the BFG is a good giant who blows sweet dreams into the bedroom windows of children as they slumber.

When Sophie learns that a monstrous crew of meanies is off to England to gobble up innocent boys and girls, she sets out to stop them once and for all, with the help of her new, rather large, friend.

This DVD includes the digitally restored version of the animated film along with two special features, a never-before-seen bfg

Dahl documentary and before/after Restoration Video. The documentary features an interview with Dahl in which he talks about several of the well-known books he has written including The BFG, The Witches and Matilda. In this video viewers gain insight into how some of these classics came to life.

 

 

 

The Dove-approved “Martial Arts Kid” is crammed with Karate masters and grandmasters from across the country

Don’t expect severed heads, blood spurting from ever orifice and dazzling dismemberment. The Dove Foundation  frowns on such cinematic magic. But that doesn’t mean films they approve are to be poo-pooed. Hardly. Witness The Martial Arts Kid,  a flick awarded five Doves, the Foundation’s highest possible score. The film is Family Approved for ages 12+; won four awards in film festival competition (including a Platinum Remi Award at the 2015 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival); and was released theatrically in 20 cities in fall 2015.

PrintSo what are chatting about? The Martial Arts Kid tells the tale of troubled teen Robbie. When he runs into trouble once again in his Ohio hometown, his beleaguered grandmother sends him to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle, who owns a martial arts school in a sleepy, Florida beach community. The defiant teen is less than pleased with the “tough love” arrangement … until he encounters a local girl named Rina.  However, her boyfriend, Bo, is the town bully and, backed by a posse of tough pals, seems to run things. With things spiraling out of control and desperately wanting to prove himself to his family and Rina, Robbie reluctantly turns to his uncle for help …

The film comes to Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on July 19 from Traditionz Entertainment. Stars include Jansen Panettiere; Kathryn Newton; Don “The Dragon” Wilson (an 11-time world champion kickboxer who has scored 47 knockouts, is a European Martial Arts Hall of Famer and a veteran star of more than 30 action films); Cynthia Rothrock (who holds six black belts and is one of the first female martial arts action stars); Mathew Ziff; and T.J. Storm (a world-class martial artist).  Karate masters and grandmasters from across the country also populate the flick, including Gerry Blanck, Pete “Sugarfoot” Cunningham, Jeff Smith, Olando Rivera, Christine Bannon-Rodrigues, Dewey “Black Kobra” Cooper, Glenn Wilson, Barry Broughton, Sergio Barriga, Sayed Qubadi, Jody Nolan, Ewart Chin, Dr. Richard Hill and Kevin Bergquist.

There’s also a stellar soundtrack, with music from such artists as Martin Blasick; YouTube star Megan Nicole; Jamie Slocum; The Gills; Malik Williams;and  Kayley Stallings (who also plays “Katie” in the film).

Diana Ross self-titled album returns on vinyl. Shall we and she have a drink?

Remembering Lenny Bruce, a fucking genius

Joan Rivers worshipped him. Many people hated him. Fighting for freedom of speech was nothing new to foul-mouthed Lenny Bruce, whose raw language often got him in trouble. Or fired. Or arrested. During a 1964 obscenity charge for using foul language in a Greenwich Village nightclub act, Bruce fired his lawyers and botched the appeal. The conviction on the misdemeanor obscenity charge made it almost impossible for him to get work; he declared bankruptcy and was found dead on August 3, sitting on the toilet with his pants around his waist, a needle in his arm, and his lifeless body surrounded by drug paraphernalia. He was 40 years old.

Collection of Alan Petrucelli
Wife Honey, Bruce and their daughter Kitty

But in 2003, nearly four decades after the comic died, he got the last laugh when on December 23, he was posthumously pardoned by New York Governor. George E. Pataki, 39 years after being convicted of obscenity.. The governor said the posthumous pardon—the first in the state’s history—was “‘a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.”

No comment from the dead Bruce, but his daughter Kitty Bruce gushed, “Isn’t this wonderful? Isn’t this a great day in America? Boy, has this been nuts or what? This is what America is all about.”

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Lenny at rest

Visit Bruce at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

Want more Lenny Land? Da Capo Press is reissuing How to Talk Dirty and Influence People ($16.99), Bruce’s classic autobiography to mark the 50th anniversary of the comedian and counterculture icon’s death, with a new preface by Lewis Black and a new foreword by Howard Reich.

unnamedThe book remains a brilliant account of his life and the forces that made him at once one of the most important and controversial entertainers. “His scathing attacks on organized religion, politics, the death penalty, race and the ways in which we have chosen to live, made me laugh and made me think,” writes Lewis Black in a new preface. “This book gives us a solid context of what Lenny lived through and had to face. (We complain about the politically correct environment that makes comedy difficult? Are you kidding me?) We are talking about not even being able to tell your jokes without the threat of imprisonment.”

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Lenny’s death scene

In 1964, after being arrested on multiple occasions, Lenny Bruce was prosecuted because of his words and convicted of obscenity. In this book, “Bruce in effect is still arguing his case, unflinchingly pointing out what his accusers have done to him, even while they held great legal power over him. The bravery of that act should inspire us all,” Howard Reich writes in a new foreword. “If there’s a central lesson running through all of this, perhaps it’s Bruce’s apparently boundless respect for everyone else’s rights, even as his own were being so grievously violated.”

Assembling his musings in essayistic chapters, Bruce writes candidly of the drama of his childhood; his Navy service and the postwar boredom that led him to seek a discharge; his emergence as a comic and how he virtually invented stand-up comedy as we know it today; and the substance abuse that tragically claimed his life. “Equally important, though, is the heady range of ideas Bruce dares to take on in this volume,” adds Reich. “The man was hell-bent on proclaiming the absurdities he saw but others didn’t or wouldn’t.”

Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some