Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Don is Dead (1973) Kino Studio Classics Blu Ray Review

The Don is Dead (1973) Kino Studio Classics 3/9/2021

Directed By: Richard Fleischer 

Starring: Anthony Quinn, Frederic Forrest, Robert Forster, Al Lettieri 


Disclaimer: Kino Studio Classics has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 


    Don Angelo DiMorra (Anthony Quinn) puts out a hit on another Mafia leader Frank (Robert Forster) after he brutally beats DiMorra's mistress. DiMorra is talked out of the hit but it's too late and the attempt is made (and failed). Now, it's all out war with DiMorra and Frank's men in this gritty '70's crime thriller. 

   Oscar winning director Richard Fleischer without a doubt had such an amazingly diverse resume which ranged from '50's noir like The Narrow Margin (1952), Sci-fi films like Soylent Green (1973) and even mob thrillers like The Don is Dead (1973). Coming out just a year after the smash-hit 1972's The Godfather it was official that mob movies were back in style. Don is a movie that isnt what you`d call deep as far as story goes. Unlike Godfather the movie lacks characters with depth and story that feels richly layered and lived in. But, what makes this movie great is that what it lacks in polish it more than makes up for in just being a damn entertaining film. 

   Fleischer who had been directing movies since the '40's had a good sense of what audiences wanted to see and he delivers. The film is well directed with the director never seeming to half-ass or look down on the material. Sure, its a Godfather knock-off but he aims for it to be at least a damn enjoyable one. The writing is decent enough with a solid story that doesn't have to do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of motivation and is fairly lean with very little in filler material. Every scene is either moving the brisk paced movie forward or developing characters or both. This is what you get when you have a veteran like Fleischer at the helm. The movie is kind of shallow character wise but it does aim for some heart and depth which feels earnest. 

   This movie is certainly a perfect Grindhouse '70s flick that features exhaust fueled car chases and on-set stunts like men being set ablaze/explosions (that had to be done live).  Don is Dead also has enough fire power to make even John Woo nod his head in approval. Veteran actor Anthony Quinn gives what I feel is a latter career high playing DiMorra and, the two time Oscar winner is not phoning it in and gives the film it's pathos. Cult icon Robert Forrester with his perfectly quaffed '70s hair is pretty amazing as the hot-headed Frank. Again Robert is having fun with the role but also not half-assing it either. The movie is also filled with excellent supporting actors such as Al ALettieri (also in The Godfather), Louis Zorich, Barry Russo and Fredric Forrest to name a few. 

   This movie is pure fun, turn the brain off popcorn flick that just happens to be directed by an Oscar winning director and featuring outstanding photography by two-time Oscar nominated Richard Kline (King Kong, Soylent Green) and a pulse pounding score by Jerry Goldsmith. The Don is Dead has all the kicks off a '70s 42nd street movie with the added polish of a studio outing. A must watch. 


Picture: The Don is Dead is presented in 1:85:1 aspect ratio. I couldn't find any info on the restoration but I would wager to bet it's a 2k scan. The overall film has a nice pop in colors, specifically outdoor and well lit scenes really look stunning. There are some artifacts throughout the transfer with some slight blur and definition lose. This isn't enough to distract though and in my opinion the film still looks really good. Low lit scenes like the one at a restaurant has a nice warm look to it. 

Sound: The Don is Dead has a DTS 2.0 track. Dialogue and sound design comes through nicely with no drop-out issues or unwanted background noise. 

Extras: The Don is Dead features a commentary by critic Sergio Mims. A overall enjoyable and informative track that is well researched and engaging. Rounding other the extras are trailers for Don and a few other films. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

My Fair Lady (1964) Arrives on UHD from Paramount!

 BELOVED WINNER OF EIGHT ACADEMY AWARDS® INCLUDING BEST PICTURE ARRIVES ON 4K ULTRA HD FOR THE FIRST TIME



Debuting May 25, 2021, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Includes Over Two Hours of Bonus Content

 

Relive the romance, music, and comedic charms of the indelible classic MY FAIR LADY, debuting on 4K Ultra HD May 25, 2021 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

 

Winner of eight Academy Awards*, including Best Picture, MY FAIR LADY also won the Best Picture Golden Globe® and was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.  Adapted from the Broadway stage hit, the film stars Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins, a role that earned him the Oscar® for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Audrey Hepburn as the unforgettable Eliza Doolittle.

 

The 4K Ultra HD release features stunning picture quality courtesy of a recent 8K film transfer, as well as English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD sound for the finest home presentation.  The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo also includes access to a digital copy of the film and more than two hours of previously released bonus content as detailed below:

 

4K Ultra HD Disc

·       Feature film in 4K Ultra HD

 

Blu-ray Disc

·       More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then & Now

·       1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner

·       Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964

·       British Premiere

·       George Cukor Directs Baroness Bina Rothschild

·       Rex Harrison Radio Interview

·       Production Tests

o   Lighting

o   Wilfred Hyde White make-up

o   Rain/set

o   Covent Garden lighting test

o   Alt. Higgins/Pickering screen test

·       Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals

o   Show Me

o   Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?

·       Galleries

·       Comments on a Lady

o   Andrew Lloyd Webber

o   Martin Scorsese

·       Theatrical Featurettes

·       Story of a Lady

·       Design for a Lady

·       The Fairest Fair Lady

·       Trailers

·       Theatrical Reissue: Poster Illustration

·       Theatrical Reissue: Poster Illustration Reserved Seats Trailer

·       Theatrical Reissue: Poster Illustration Awards

·       Theatrical Reissue

·       Awards

o   Rex Harrison BFI Honor

o   Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance Speech

o   Academy Awards Ceremony Highlights 4/5/65

 

Synopsis

This beloved adaptation of the Broadway stage hit stars Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a sassy, working-class London street vendor, and Rex Harrison as the elitist Professor Higgins, who attempts to turn Eliza into a sophisticated lady through proper tutoring. But, when the humble flower girl blossoms into the toast of London society, her teacher may have a lesson or two to learn himself.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Interview with Josh Ruben He Talks Scare Me and His New Film Werewolves Within!

Video Attic Exclusive: Interview with Josh Ruben from Scare Me and Werewolves Within!  

Writer, actor and director of Scare Me Josh Ruben dropped by the Video Attic to talk about 2020's Scare Me, its home video release March 2nd and his upcoming film Werewolves Within. Scare Me is currently streaming on the horror platform Shudder link HERE Link Opens in a new browser 




VA:  Working on CollegeHumor videos, did that quick format help you keep pace with Scare Me's fourteen day shooting schedule?

JR: Oh yeah. I didn't go to film school but I did learn the facts of backdoor routes to filmmaking basically by making my own stuff with a bunch of my friends one of which is Sam Reich who now actually owns  CollegeHumor. But, we would make sometimes three even four sketches a week and even by the time I left and I was there from 08-013 I had basically had seven years of shooting sketches that I was in, writing sketches Monday that would shoot Friday. In directing sketches we wouldn't even scout locations, often times we would be seeing the location for the first time on the day of filming. 
It was a hell of a film school.  I had directed at a slightly quicker pace at a professional level in the commercial world. So, by the time that Scare Me rolled around, as much as I wanted to get famous and make my first movie (laughs) by the time I was a teenager or my early twenties but I was no better prepared then I was at thirty-five.

VA: I'm sure the feature is worlds apart from the short format you were use to.

JR: Yeah. It was still tight. We shot that movie in thirteen days, we had Aya for nine days, we shot Chris for about forty-eight hours. We had Becky Drysdale for about a day and a half as well. We were fighting snow and all kinds of weather issues but we still technically wrapped with what I would say was a few hours ahead of schedule which is pretty crazy. 

VA: Wow. Thats impressive. What was it like pitching a movie like Scare Me which is very minimal in nature. That must have been difficult? 

JR: I wouldn't say it was difficult. I think the hardest part was that none of us other than Chris and Aya weren't very well known. The criminal thing about You're The Worst is that it's something you`ve either heard of and love it or have never heard of it. It has this almost cult-like hit in a way but, now The Boys has made her a household name. So, I think the hardest part of pitching was there weren't any big names catapulting this film or anchoring this film with a built in following. So, I was really pitching myself and the best that I could do and point out everything I've done from commercials and short films to a pilot a made for Netflix that Matt Damon and Peter Berg produced that will never see the light of day.  (Laughs) All you can do it say, "Trust me, I can do this". I think the most appealing thing to the investors and the my sort of pitch in the beginning is this is almost quite literally two people in a house acting out scary stories so you`d even be saving money on props. It's all sound design and all performances. So, it became this appealing thing or this intriguing thing for the investors and anybody coming on board. Its like, A I haven't heard of this before and B your saying something about the current state of the world and the state of the culture which is a commentary on toxic dangerous emasculated men. 

VA: And, thats the thing, Scare Me is a movie that has a message but never becomes preachy, it really walks that fine line which is a credit to the sharp writing. 

JR: Thanks. There was an urgency to Scare Me that I did not take for granted and I now going to sort of put myself to the ringer on that any project I do has to have a kind of urgency to it you know. You gotta be saying something even if it's, don't judge a book by it's cover. That messaging is why a big part of Scare Me exists and how it happened so fast. 


VA: So, I know that had contacted Aya Cash first to play Fanny but did you have any back-up actors in mind for the role?



JR: This is the thing. I only reached out or listed people that I knew. Aya was not only the most talented person that I was closet and probably the most famous person I was closet to but also she lived near where we wanted to shoot in the Hudson Valley. So, my pitch to her was, "Hey, do you wanna do this weird, different movie that says something about the state of the world today about gender dynamics?" She had just done an amazing interview in The Cut talking about going out for these just absolutely sexist roles where she would be bikini clad or just the woman would just be in service to the male counterpart protagonist and that would be her sole purpose. She wanted a challenge so I said, "Hey you wanted a challenge to do all these voices and stuff" and she said, "I meant like a period piece not doing a Crypt Keeper voice". She has a great reputation for being a wonderful collaborator. A big conversation with her initially (which was the same conversation I had my cast of Werewolves Within) was asking "How do you like to be directed? How do you like to work?" Establishing that is a important thing to do as the director. It's what made working with her and Chris and Becky a dream. All of them have live-performance background, they all have collaborative DNA. Thats what made it easy despite all of our challenges. 

VA: You can really tell in the film that everybody has such great chemistry. 

JR: I'm really glad that Aya and Chris got along so well and played really well into our kind of dynamitic. It was great I am really happy with how it all worked out, how they were all down-to-clown. 




VA:  Are you open to your actors ad-libbing? 

JR: I didn't really have time on Scare Me to go off-script at the very least to do an extra take here or there on the occasional moment where it felt appropriate. For example, like you`ll see in the DVD extras one or two of the outtakes one of them was scripted and the other was, "Hey since were already rolling on Chris why don't we keep acting out different ways of killing each other on a snowy night."  Some of the more vitriolic criticism of the movie is like, "Well, this is an improve movie and these actors are just improvising, there's no script." I love letting go off-script, I love letting people play around but for the most part these guys really stuck to the script. I encourage them to make all dialogue their own and not to stress the "ums" and "I's". But we just didn't have the time to improves. It was something I was flexible on but didn't encourage just because this was a thirteen day shoot. When you don't see Aya in shot with me, especially in the beginning part of the movie leading up until when Carlo (Chris Redd) arrives Aya wasn't there I was reading with my fiancĂ© who was working on Fosse/Verdon. 

VA: Wow.

JR: Yeah, it was crazy. 

VA: What's your favorite story in the film?


JR: Oh man, hmm. I love them all for different reasons. Like, I love Grandpa and Venus because I could just sit back and watch these actors sort of from a selfish directing perspective and enjoy the show. I have really fond memories of anything I'm not involved in. So, Werewolf would probably be my least favorite because I was the most nervous and also we kept revisiting and sort of cobbled together that sequence in so many different ways. We realized that we had forgotten set-up's or we were or weren't going to have Aya for certain days for reactions. So, it was a very patchy one. I think troll was the most fun because it's not only written as an homage to Stephen King's Cats Eye troll which scared the shit out of me as a kid. It was just quick paced ridiculous Tales from the Crypt like two-hander with Aya. We had such a good time raising and lowering the camera and speeding through it. It's so punchy and wonderful, that was a great one to do and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. 



VA: Scare Me has the amazing writer Rebecca Drysdale who is a legend. How did she come onto the project?

JR: I've always known Becky to be a improve performer and a brilliant writer. I think I admired her most not only for founding the improve theater out here called The Club House here in Los Angeles but also as the constant on Key and Peele as a writer and producer. Dan Powell our producer at Ironing Point is not only a fan of hers but has worked with Becky for years. In fact, his film Becks (2017) that he directed with his co-director Elisabeth (Rohrbaugh) is based on Becky. 

VA: Wow, I did not know that.

JR: Yeah. Thats a wonderful movie by-the-way, really awesome. Anyways, at my biggest swing I wanted Bettina to be a sort of a Annie Wilkes-like-character. So, I was reluctant to cast anyone in their thirties or close to it. We had three thirty-sometimes in this movie already and I didn't want it to look like a movie full of contemporaries who might do improve together when the cameras not rolling. I wanted an older actress, I wanted Katy Bates seeing how this was my Stephen King-type roll. We had gone to a few different actresses and we were getting so close to the shot date and, I think our first shooting day was the car ride. So, these offers were falling through and we wouldn't get responses.  Again, I'm a first time filmmaker so I cant just call up Jamie Lee Curtis who I have worked with before and say, "Hey can you do some scream-queen cameo for me." Dan was like, "Becky would fly here and do it for me. I think she`ll be great, she`ll put on the puffy coat, she's great at improve and well respected in the improve community". And, she's great. I didn't even consider her, I didn't even know she wanted to act. She came in and just knocked it out of the park. When people talk about Scare Me they often say, "You guys are wonderful, the troupe of two-three in the house but my god Bettina." People love that character so yeah, it was a, I don't want to say happy accident but I happy favor that Becky did for us. 

VA: It really is incredible how she makes the most out of a small role.

JR: Yeah, she wins the movie! 

VA: A lot has been discussed about Scare Me having a MeToo so I'm curious what the feedback has been on that, specific from female fans?

JR: The feedback from women fans of has been overwhelmingly positive. The most impactful for me is when my producer Alex Bach saw the film for the first time. She couldn't be on set proper since she was on maturity leave so she had a copy of the script and I was giving her updates and she oversaw all of post when she was back up and running. And I'll never forget the phone call where she said, "I just watched the rough cut and holy shit I knew this was going to be interesting and unique movie but that ending scene is so fucking scary." She became even more of a champion and in turn we became a more powerful operation. She was the one to say as a woman I can attest to the fact that the final act of what many women find themselves in at the end of the night with a strange dude in a kitchen or elsewhere, whether they'd been drinking or they've been kind of horsing around-they don't know. They don't know what the person is going to do to them. They don't know if they are going to lean in for a kiss or take a swing or worse. The most moving and impactful moment of the process was when my producer leaning in all that much more. Alex has gone so far above and beyond on this movie. And, thats a big piece of it because it spoke to her. She was able to get on the phone with investors and ask for more money and convey that there is an urgency here. That meant the world to me. 

VA: Speaking of feedback did you get any praise from anyone you admired in the industry?

JR: As I'm sure you know the horror community is so welcoming and the community is just so palpable and warm. If you are outside of it and I was until Scare Me dropped you might roll your eyes at any interview where someone like Lin Shaye gets emotional talking about horror and the fanbase. But once your actually in it and then you go, "Holy shit people really see it for what it really is." While you have certain people that poo-poo the fact that there's not enough gore or dismemberment, the horror community as a whole digging it has been so insane. I'll never forget the day Barbara Crampton and Kelli Maroney followed me  and sang its praises and posted about it or Josh Malermen who wrote Bird Box or Paul Tremblay. 

VA: Nice!

JR: Yeah. It's a fascinating thing because when you find yourself apart of...I'm not apart of the in-crowd by any means but its just interesting to say you really do become apart of this movie-club where people go, "Okay, yeah you know what your doing." And, I see it and appreciate it. You can do that if you have something to say and you can shoot it for barely any money with your friends. Now you can shoot it on your iPhone and upload it to Vimeo and make an impact. 


VA: If you could make any of the stories in Scare Me it's own feature what would it be?

JR: That's funny I had been writing Venus for ages. It's why if you have this script it's like twelve pages and it was our most problematic stories in the edit because in the movie the rough cut came in at just over two hours and we had to cut that segment down to a minute and a half. I have like a forty page Venus movie that I really love and if I had all the money in the world I would hand off the content to a woman filmmaker for her take it on. Because, it does have to do with this interesting dynamic between boys and their mothers. It's similar to the one I had with my own mother who I thought was this lioness, she was so all powerful she could control the weather you know. I use to blame my mom for when it rained. So, in this Jennifer Kent Babadook kind of way, with the kid controlling the mom and her bending to the kid. If thats the already pre-existing dynamic what would happen if there's some zombie like infection that only infects women and there sort of away from the world waiting for dad. It would be such a deep and unsettling film, like a ticking time bomb movie where these creatures in Night of the Living Dead fashion would start to get to them. Also, this ticking time bomb for whatever this air borne thing this to hit mom and mom suddenly become the monster in the house with this little kid. I hit such a wall with it years ago and it was one of those stories that obviously I pulled out of the draw and dusted the cobwebs off of and puzzled into the second act of this movie. 

VA: Was there any stories that you wanted to include and didn't make the cut?

JR: No. Venus was the only story that had to be cut down for time. There was no extra story to shoe in. In fact, a big conversation we had was the length of the film once we got it down to an hour and forty as opposed to a trimmer hour twenty is do we trim one of these (stories). That's why Venus was cut down from an eight minute sequence to a minute and a half sequence. So, we were all hemming and hawing about what needed to be cut. Now that I have a second feature with several producers and a lot more cooks in the kitchen and it just being a differently paced film I go back and watch Scare Me and think, "Oh my God, there is totally eight minute of fat I could just trim out". But, it's perfect the way it is because its my first feature. 




VA: It's certain a fun film. So, lets shift focus to your upcoming movie Werewolves Within. So, just to be clear this has nothing to do with the werewolf segment in Scare Me?

JR: (Laughs) No, its purely a conscience. The crazy thing is Werewolves Within came about because I invited Matt Miller and Natalie Metzger from Vanishing Angle the production company behind not only Thunder Road (2018) but the Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) to watch Scare Me. And they watched the first cut and gave me awesome feedback and then hit me up about pitching a movie called Werewolves Within. While it has nothing to do with Scare Me its kind of a wonderful conscience in that you also have different characters stranded in the house and there's some evil around. 

VA: So, you aren't acting in Werewolves Within. I'm curious if acting in any of your own movies, at least as a major character is something you`d consider doing again or not?

JR: I'm far more eager about raising up all kinds of talent in any way I can and directing them and just being there as an actors director. I think part of my goal is being a director that fit the qualities that I've admired in directors I've read about or worked with. But yeah, I enjoy directing myself I feel a weird shielded diplomatic munity about it but also I'm so sensitive to others time. Even though we were tight on time with Scare Me my psychological faults will always be wanting to rush through my stuff.  While I'm toying around with a concept where I will be the lead I will probably not be the lead in anything or write myself a lead role in anything (laughs). I'm more excited about putting on the rubber nose with supporting roles. Anyone else would be great to take center stage especially a person of color, a woman, someone with raw talent, someone who I can truly champion, that's something I'm excited about. 

VA: So, recently you got some big news on Werewolves Within right?

JR: So, I just got conformation Entertainment Weekly is doing a synopsis of Werewolves Within with some first-look images. And, the big news is that Werewolves is going to be distributed by IFC. 

VA: Wow, thats great.

JR: Yeah, so IFC is the incredible distribution team behind horror movies like The Babadook and Relic which is mind-blowing but also Oscar winners like Boyhood. They saw this movie and believe in it and they love it and I think a lot of what folks are responding to is the fact that it's not a out-and-out horror but it also gives you a film that we all need right now in a way. Sure there are characters going against seemingly impossible odds in a way but also your going laugh, your gonna see good people emerge the heroes and that I think is what is a message that we all kind of need right now and I'm stoked to share this with the world. 

VA: Can you say what percentage of horror and comedy this movie will be?

JR: I don't want to give anything away. I will say that much like Hot Fuzz I guess you could say which is a big inspiration for me or even a film like Arachnophobia or Jaws. Like, in some ways your community can just as horrific as any sort of monster. That's what I think is so exciting about this one, especially just given the political climate as of late and everything else. I think thats about all I'm allowed to say. It explores that small town dynamic both good and bad and I'm a small town kid. I came from the Hudson Valley and was about to convince these guys to shoot it in the Hudson Valley where I'm from which is actually where we shot Scare Me as well. Just to go back home for both of these movies and bring some commerce and some gigs back to the folks who worked as a favor for the first go-around is really is great. 

VA: It sounds like that classic Twilight Zone episode about the town, I can't think of the name.
*The Monsters are Due on Maple Street (Season 1, Episode 22) 

JR: Yeah! I think that's always going to be kind of relatable right? There's always going to be an urgency and very little shelf life with the gray area of people and whether or not you can ever truly trust your own neighbors. 

VA: Werewolves Within is a bigger budget film?

JR: (Laughs) Yes, several millions and several peers bigger than Scare Me. I had a lot more toys to play with a lot more of a cast. Yeah it's bigger in every way. I probably would have had more money to play with it I wasn't so stubborn about shooting it in Hudson Valley. 

VA: So, I know what you do tends to be more on the humorous side but would you ever do something darker? Like, would you ever do something like an A24 movie?

JR: Oh yeah! I actually talking to one of my favorite horror writers about adapting one of his short stories. I can't say much about it but it would be...The first thing I told him is this should be in the hands of a Adam Wingard or Ari Aster. Truly it should be with a more horror proficient director but I'm really excited about continuing to craft something chilling and make something feel as unsettling film as possible. So, yeah I would be stoked to do anything for A24. I just saw Saint Maude which has such a wonderful tone to it. I wouldn't call it an out-and-out horror but it's defiantly my kind of vibe. There were elements that kind of reminded me of Scare Me, in the way everything is so performance driven and yet so specifically unsettling. But yeah, I would love to bring something different in that regard. 

VA: That's great that you feel like you want to push boundaries for yourself. 

JR: Yeah, I mean I've been obsessed with horror since I was a kind. The dream scenario is to...I think so many filmmakers are on different levels trying to figure out where the next Freddy Kreuger is, whose that next iconic character that people want to see terrorize folks and enjoy doing so (laughs). I think Jordan Peele is in first place to crack something like that. I wouldn't mess with any genre though if I didn't feel an urgency to whatever concept it was I wanted to follow. I think that the next big challenge for me is just sort of go, if I get opportunities thats great but if I'm not saying something then what's the point? It's just going to end up like that horribly reviewed movie that people forget. 

VA: So, the exciting thing is that Scare Me is getting a home video release March 2nd! What can fans of the movie expect as far as extras?

JR: Oh, my god we got great stuff. If you wanna watch the "music video" portions. We separated the devil song which by the way is now on iTunes and Spotify and anywhere you get your music if you wanna support our composers Chris Maxwell and Phil Hernandez and Anni Krueger. It's important for me to get that single out there and see if we can get it at the top of the billboard 100. But, you can just watch the music video, Branden Banks my cinematographer and co-producer do a commentary on the film which was a lot of fun to do. We really go deep on our approach to this. It's not just us going, "Yeah, this scene is cool" we really go deep and it was super fun.  There's also a, I wouldn't call it a sneak peak its a first episode of a podcast series from the guys from MCS Media called Make Cool Shit. It's hosted by my buddy Aaron Kheifets. Scare Me was their sort of guinea pig launch for a first series exploring how we make an independent film. They are gong to do other seasons about making stuff not just films it could be making sneakers, it could be about the launch of an album. So, their first season is going to be about the making of Scare Me. I believe there are going to be eight episodes featuring interviews and really awesome narration from my buddy Aaron. It goes deep deep into the trials of making a first feature. So, anyways the first episode will be on the disc, hopefully that will drive folks to check out the show. Beyond that are outtakes and some behind the scenes stuff. It's pretty chocked full for being a little indie. 

A big thank you to Josh Ruben for taking the time to talk about his amazing work. 
Scare Me is currently steaming on the amazing horror film/television platform Shudder. Link HERE

The home video release of Scare me arrives March 2nd. You can get a copy HERE from Amazon 

Check out Josh Ruben Website HERE and MCS (Make Cool Shit) HERE 

Please Note: Browsers will open in a new window. 

10th Anniversary of Super 8 (2011) on UHD From Paramount

 CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRECTOR J.J. ABRAMS’ THRILLING ADVENTURE AS IT ARRIVES ON 4K ULTRA HD FOR THE FIRST TIME




Newly Remastered Film Debuts May 25, 2021 with Over Two Hours of Bonus Content

 

Writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg join forces for the extraordinary tale of youth, mystery, and adventure SUPER 8, debuting on 4K Ultra HD May 25, 2021 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

 

Originally released on June 10, 2011, SUPER 8 celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.  Newly remastered for this 4K Ultra HD release, the critically acclaimed film stars Joel Courtney (The Kissing Booth), Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”), and Elle Fanning (“The Great”).  Hailed upon its release as “the year’s most thrilling, feeling mainstream movie” (Richard Corliss, Time), SUPER 8 is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

The 4K Ultra HD release includes access to a digital copy of the film and more than two hours of previously released bonus content as detailed below:

 

4K Ultra HD Disc

·       Feature film in 4K Ultra HD

·       Commentary by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Larry Fong

·       The Dream Behind Super 8 (HD)

·       The Search for New Faces (HD)

·       Meet Joel Courtney (HD)

·       Rediscovering Steel Town (HD)

·       The Visitor Lives (HD)

·       Scoring Super 8 (HD)

·       Do You Believe in Magic? (HD)

·       The 8mm Revolution (HD)

·       Easter Eggs (HD)

·       Deconstructing the Train Crash (HD)

·       Deleted Scenes (HD)

 

Synopsis

SUPER 8 tells the story of six friends who witness a train wreck while making a Super 8 movie, only to discover that something unimaginable escaped during the crash.  They soon discover that the only thing more mysterious than what it is, is what it wants.

The Final Countdown Coming to UHD From Blue Underground!

                                   THE FINAL COUNTDOWN


Exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition includes 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Soundtrack CD, Collectible Booklet, and 3D Lenticular Slipcover (First Pressing Only)

Available April 27th

(SAVE $10 at MVDshop.com)

“Captivating, exciting, and wondrous filmmaking that poses one of the ultimate
‘what if’ scenarios of our time!” – Blu-ray.com 




Trapped outside the boundaries of time and space – 102 aircraft... 6,000 men... all missing.
 
The time is now. The place is aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, America’s mightiest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier on maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly, a freak electrical storm engulfs the ship and triggers the impossible: The Nimitz is hurtled back in time to December 6, 1941, mere hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As the enemy fleet speeds towards Hawaii, the warship’s Captain (Kirk Douglas), a Defense Department expert (Martin Sheen), a maverick Air Wing Commander (James Farentino) and a desperate Senator in the Roosevelt administration (Charles Durning) must choose between the unthinkable. Do they allow the Japanese to complete their murderous invasion, or launch a massive counterstrike that will forever change the course of history?
 
Katharine Ross and Ron O’Neal co-star in this spellbinding sci-fi action hit filmed on location aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz with the full participation of the U.S. Navy and the ship’s crew. Now Blue Underground is proud to present THE FINAL COUNTDOWN in a stunning new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from the original 35mm camera negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio, for the ultimate in explosive home theater excitement!



Extras:
  • Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Victor J. Kemper
  • Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood - Interview with Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman
  • Starring The Jolly Rogers - Interviews with The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Poster & Still Galleries
BONUS! THE FINAL COUNTDOWN Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by John Scott
BONUS! Collectible Booklet featuring The Zero Pilot Journal 
BONUS! 3D Lenticular Slipcover (First Pressing Only)


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Scooby-Doo The Sword and the Scoob (2021) DVD Review

Scooby-Doo The Sword and the Scoob (2021) Warner Brothers 2/23/2021

Directed By: Maxwell Atoms, Christina Sotta, Melchior Zwyer 

Starring: Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Nick Frost


Disclaimer: Warner Brothers Entertainment has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

     In the latest animated Scooby Doo adventure the gang find themselves back in time with the likes of King Arthur (Jason Issacs) and an evil sorceress.  So, despite being a big fan of the IP I've been out of the loop in terms of animated straight to home video Scooby Doo. So, what better time then now to dive right in with Sword and the Scoob. This movie is good but not without it's issues. I'll start with what I feel worked for the movie. The animation is in large part really well done with a slick fresh looking style that is bright and pleasing to the eye. 

     It was great to see that Matthew Lillard is still doing the voice-work of Shaggy and the actor brings his own flare to the character without simply copying previous voice actors. Frank Welker, Kate Micucci and Grey Griffin are all top notch and they really do their best to bring these characters to life. The writing is very spotting (more on that in a bit) but I will give a lot of credit to some very smart and witty jokes that will appeal to both adults and children alike. The movie also has a couple of interesting tricks up it's sleeves to keep things interesting. 


   So, even though I thought that the film has some good writing going for it, this is also an element of the film that also is it's biggest enemy. The big baddie here is a evil sorceress and her present in the film feels at time awkward and I wish she was better woven into the narrative. The movie also toys this over arching theme of magic and science but it never feels like it ever picks a lane in this arena. The writers do some clever things with this but I think overall it's never a core-theme that feels like it's been explored or taken as far as it could. And, while I think some of the humor lands some of it falls flat. The repeating joke about Daphne (Grey Griffin) thinking everything is a simulation isn't funny nor does it play into the story. I think my biggest let down outside of some so-so plotting was the fact that the mystery-solving finale didn't have a very satisfying payoff.  Thankfully the film never feels like it out stays it's welcome and comes in at just an hour and sixteen minutes. 

    Sword and the Scoob features a great voice cast, some fun moments despite a plot that just feels a little paint-by-numbers. Honestly, I think this is entertaining enough for kids who will delight in the films big bold colors and silly humor. As for older fans that still enjoy the franchise, I think it's not the worst I've seen but I think that plot could have used more polish. Overall, a good time but maybe not one I would watch over and over. 


Picture: I typically review HD and UHD products but I am perfectly fine with tackling some old fashioned standard-def-goodness. I think with how newer cartoons are rendered they honestly look great even in a lower-fi setting. Such is the case with Sword and the Scoob. The animation still looked very colorful with a smooth slick appearance. Try as I might I couldn't see anything that would de-tract here in terms of visual presentation. Really great job on Warner's part. 

Sound: Sword and Scoob features a really nicely done DTS 5.1 track. The films sound design and effects come through strongly with dialogue coming through crystal clear. 

Extras: Sword and the Scoob features three animated programs with Knights theme. This includes: The Scooby Doo/ Dynomutt Hour "Scared a lot in Camelot, Scooby Doo Where Are You! "What a Night for a Knight, Scooby Doo Where Are You! "Hassle in the Castle"

Rounding out the features are Trailers. 



Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Infinity Train: Book Two: Arriving on DVD May 25th from Warner Brothers Entertainment

 All Aboard for a Mind-Bending Journey

 
INFINITY TRAIN: BOOK TWO
 
The DVD Arrives at Your Destination on May 25th  
From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment




BURBANK, CA (February 24, 2021) – Every train car is an adventure, and nothing is what you expect! Created by Owen Dennis (former writer and storyboard artist from Cartoon Network’s Emmy-nominated series, “Regular Show”), the critically acclaimed, Infinity Train: Book Two will be released on DVD on May 25, 2021 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Developed through Cartoon Network’s award-winning Global Artists program, Infinity Train’s original short provoked immediate attention, garnering more than 5 million views on its YouTube page to date!

Infinity Train: Book Two follows Mirror Tulip, an escaped reflection from the mirror world, and Jesse Cosay, a 14-year-old jock from Arizona. As the pair finds themselves on the run from the mirror police, themes of identity, friendship and peer pressure arise.

Go on an epic journey with all 10 episodes from the second season and bring home over an hour of bonus features including commentaries, animatics, and an image gallery! Infinity Train: Book Two DVD is priced to own at $14.97 SRP ($18.94 in Canada).

SPECIAL FEATURES
  • Commentaries
  • Animatics
  • Image Gallery

10 EPISODES
  1. The Black Market Car
  2. The Family Tree Car
  3. The Map Car
  4. The Toad Car
  5. The Parasite Car
  6. The Lucky Cat Car
  7. The Mall Car
  8. The Wasteland
  9. The Tape Car
  10. The Number Car
DIGITAL
Infinity Train: Book Two is available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and others.
 
STREAMING
Produced by Cartoon Network Studios, all seasons of Infinity Train are now available exclusively on HBO Max  with Infinity Train: Book Four coming soon.


BASICS
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Presented in 16x9 widescreen format
Price: $14.97 SRP ($18.94 in Canada)
Running Time: Feature: Approx. 114 min
Enhanced Content: Approx. 162 min
1 DVD-9s
Audio – English (2.0), Latin Spanish
Subtitles – English

Rick and Morty The Complete Seasons 1-4 Blu Ray Review

Rick and Morty (2013-2020) Seasons 1-4  Warner Brothers 3/2/2021

Created By: Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland 

Starring: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke



Disclaimer: Warner Brothers Entertainment has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 


    Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm assuming everybody is very familiar with the huge hit Rick and Morty which started in 2013 and is still going strong when it was announced in 2018 the show had been picked up for seventy more episodes. So, its safe to say that Rick and Morty will be having adventures for a very long time to come. While fans eagerly wait for the fifth season Warner Brothers has released the first four seasons in one fantastic set. Please note that it looks like this is the exact same releases as the individual sets packaged together. This means all extras are the same and have been ported over. If you have not owned the previous four seasons and are getting this to get caught up with the series I will be breaking down the features and I will be doing a breakdown overall in terms of quality pic/sound/extras wise for the entire four-seasons. 

Its worth noting that this release comes with a special poster. 






Thoughts on the Series: I came to the show a little later and started binge watching it right before its third season premier. With its high concepts married perfectly with low brow antics I instantly knew this was something incredibly special and, the hype was well and truly earned. Sadly, like any fanbase you have people that gatekeep and bring really toxic ideology to the franchises they profess to love. Rick and Morty has gotten a bad rap from such people. It got so bad that season four seemed to address this in a few of its episodes. This sucks because a lot of people, myself included just love the story for its smart writing, clever wit and engaging world building. For the most part I think the series has been consistently great in its writing with the finale of Season 2 being a truly stunning piece of television. Seasons 3 also gave us the now iconic Pickle Rick in an episode that is among my favorites of the entire series. While it had its strong points for me personally Season 4 is something off a mixed bag. It had some fun episodes but only a few that really stand out. But, certainly nothing bad enough to warrant not being beyond-excited for upcoming episodes. The series is notorious for taking a long time to produce and with COVID this must likely delayed things further. If you've never seen Rick and Morty and have been turned off by its "fans" I implore you to watch anyways and remember that these few don't in my opinion reflect the show or the brand. 

Season 1: Disc One: 11 Episodes

Extras: Commentaries (featuring guest tracks: Matt Groening, Robert Kirkman etc), Behind the Scenes Featurette, Animatics for each episode. Deleted Scenes. 

Season 2: Disc Two 10 Episodes 

Extras: Animatics for each episode, Deleted animatic sketches, Featurette, Episode Commentaries 


Season 3: Disc Three 10 Episodes

Extras: Commentaries on every episode, Animatics for every episode, Inside the Recording Booth, Origins of Rick and Morty 

Season 4: Disc Four 10 Episodes

Extras: A Day at Rick and Morty: Side Season Four Creating Snake Jazz, Directing Rick and Morty Inside the Episode, Samurai and Shogun, Prop Process, Character Creations, Animation Challenges. 

Picture: Seeing how such disc contains the entire season plus extras I was skeptical on the quality but, Warner Brothers as always delivers the goods. A crossed all four seasons the 1080p has a nice crisp clean look and it really showcases the incredible animation. Colors are vivid with a sharpness that retains a lot of fine detail. 

Sound: Equally good is the Rick and Morty sound design and WB provides a robust big sounding Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. This is a series that has a lot of action and sound design so you really do want the powerful sound experience of a 5.1. On a sound system the sound effects really offers a nice complex 3D like experience. 

Final Thoughts: Obviously, this set is for anybody that hasn't collected the prior seasons. The only additional product is the poster. The value is good overall if you have not bought any of the seasons before hand. Sure, you can watch the series on HBO Max but WB has provided a nice array of bonus content for fans to pour over. The quality in terms of picture and sound is really stellar as well and I think you really get the biggest bang for your buck. And, with that extra money you can play some games at Blips and Chipz!