Archive for June 2012



SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE available on DVD from Anchor Bay

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/30/12 ***

Hey Doc, welcome back.  I was just thinking: You know the thing I love about low-budget films?  The creativity that often compensates for a lack of funds.  They’re also fun to watch if you love the production process, as you can catch little flaws that are harder to spot in big “hollywood” pictures.  These movies also provide great examples of clever marketing. Look no further than Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman (the modern day P.T. Barnum) if you want to learn promoting at a doctorate level.  So you can just imagine how happy I was when I received Some Guy Who Kills People from Anchor Bay… and it came with a promotional ice cream scooper!   Right from the start, I knew I was in for a treat – be it the movie itself or the bowl of Rocky Road I scooped before pressing play.  The film, about a random fellow who murders others, hits DVD on July 3rd, but is it worth an hour and a half of the freedom you’ll be celebrating at the next day’s barbeque? Read more

Finally, Some Cops With Class : 21 JUMP STREET (DVD Review)

21 Jump St. DVD

21 JUMP STREET available now on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/23/12 ***

Hollywood’s not out of ideas.  You’d never know it by the constant barrage of sequels, remakes, adaptations and reboots theaters are hit with year after year.  Sure original stuff peeks out now and again, but studios play it safe with tried and true brands – because they make money.  Sometimes they’re lousy (Battleship) sometimes they just nail it (Star Trek).  Either way, the trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon.  On June 26, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases their latest big screen adaptation of a small screen favorite: 21 Jump Street.  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as two undercover cops sent back to high school to break up a drug ring.  And if you, too, can pretend to be a teenager again, you’re in for some pretty big laughs. Read more

People Like You Will Like PEOPLE LIKE US (Film Review)


PEOPLE LIKE US in theaters now!

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/22/12 ***

I watch a lot of “bad” movies.  This is mostly my choice, as I enjoy kitsch, sleaze, schlock, shock and many other forms of “garbage” that folks usually thumb their noses at.   It’s a guilty pleasure that’s healthier than, say, binging on junk food – though that’s easily my second vice.  But if you’ve eaten nothing but Doritos and ice cream for the last two days, your body craves a nice clean salad.  Well, on June 29th, Dreamworks serves up People Like Us, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s nutrient dense offering that had me leaving the theater feeling nourished and satisfied.  And to be perfectly honest, I’m kind of surprised.
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ROCK OF AGES Will Rock You Like A Hurricane (Film Review)


ROCK OF AGES in theaters now!

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/16/12 ***

Looking back at decades past, we often feel a blend of nostalgia and embarrassment.  Usually music brings the nostalgia, fashion brings the embarrassment.  Sometimes it’s the reverse: some clothing styles make a comeback and sometimes you just can’t believe you wore out that NKOTB cassette.  On June 15th, Warner Bros.  releases the film version of the Broadway hit Rock of Ages.  Starring Latin American sensation Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand… and of course Tom Cruise, the cast members perform their own musical numbers.  This is certainly going to draw fire from music snobs and folks who just woke up from 30 year comas – but those who can sit back and enjoy it are in for “nothin’ but a good time.” Read more

HONDO (Blu-Ray Review)

Hondo Blu-Ray

HONDO available now from Paramount Home Video

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/09/12 ***

Hollywood loves pretty boys, but every once in a while a real man’s man comes around.  Burt Reynolds. Charles Bronson.  Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood.  These guys certainly weren’t your modern Ben Affleck types, Doc.  But when I think of a “man” there’s one who stood head and shoulders over his contemporaries as the very definition for his time.  Al Bundy.  There was a sense of honesty in his suburban defeat.  His lack of integrity and tired demeanor seemed to ring a bell with thousands of American men who were slowly losing their masculinity.  A society witnessing a collective decline in testosterone that would eventually pave the way for the Keanus and the Biebers and the Ashton Kutchers of the world. The same society that would soon freely use the word “metrosexual.”  Perhaps the last bit of manhood Al Bundy could hang on to was The Duke and even that proved to be elusive.  Once a year, Hondo would show on television and Al would do whatever he could to watch it. For whatever reason, his plans would always be thwarted.  Fortunately for Al Bundys everywhere, Paramount Home Video has released Hondo on Blu-Ray. Now you can watch it whenever you need to feel like a man. Read more

SIFF World Premiere: 419 (Independent Film Review)

419 One -Sheet

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/06/12 ***

As many BTM readers are aware, the Seattle International Film Festival is in full swing and this year’s slate has been full of promising indies.  Sadly, I missed Wednesday night’s documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, following the singer over the months leading up to his debut release.  (If you haven’t heard the 60-something year old’s cover of Nirvana’s Stay Away, you’re robbing yourself of pure joy.)  But my disappointment was swiftly quelled as Thursday night saw the world premiere of 419 a found footage/documentary-style thriller… and I DID get to see this one.

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AUDITIONS available on DVD from Full Moon Features

*** Originally published on Ellenwood EP, 06/04/12 ***

If I have one pet peeve, it’s trendy words or expressions. The term “grindhouse” became very much in vogue (read: overused) after Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated on their Planet Terror / Death Proof double-bill in ’07. Up to that point, the average person might’ve thought it was referring to a meat packing plant or some sort of grain mill. While the label has been largely bastardized to represent anything cult-y or Tarantino-esque, true grindhouse cinema sits in this strange little dimension where blood, guts, sex and cheap laughs all sort-of intersect. With practically no budget, the movies have to exploit any little gimmick they can to grab an audience, be it a pair of naked breasts or smashing a melon made up to look like a human head. In many ways, you could say these films were the predecessors to YouTube… or at least America’s Funniest Home Videos, which is probably the most exploitative piece of mainstream pop-culture trash since Kids Say the Darndest Things. Read more


42nd St forever Blu cover

42ND STREET FOREVER available on Blu-Ray from Synapse Films!

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/02/12 ***

Hey Doc, this morning I was doing my pilates, listening to Prince and just fixating on life.  As a matter of fact, “Let’s Go Crazy” came on and the Purple One gave me some insight to it all: “Electric word, ‘life’. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time.  But I’m here 2 tell U there’s something else: The afterworld.”  Pretty deep.  Then I turned on my Blu Ray player and it all just clicked.  Synapse Films has given an afterworld to some of the greatest grindhouse trailers released in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s through their new 42nd Street Forever: The Blu Ray Edition (available now).  Forever IS a mighty long time clocking in at nearly 4 hours, but every single minute of it is, as the man said, electric.

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THE WOMAN IN BLACK available now from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

THE WOMAN IN BLACK available now from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 06/01/12 ***

There’s just something about ghost stories, Doc.  A good one will dole out endless chills and sleepless nights, thrilling you all the while.  Everyone’s heard them (or told them) around the campfire as a kid, the anticipation of the scare being heightened by the lighting and the mood.  It’s not just the tale, it’s the environment that flings you into the story.  As a result, there’s a connection made – something primal and full of feeling.  That’s the very magic of storytelling.  Sadly nowadays, most “scary” movies rely on “torture-porn” tactics to elicit cringes. Story often takes a backseat to gory.  Thankfully, for every seven Saw movies dumped on us, we get one The Woman in Black (available now from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment).  Hammer’s latest horror is a refreshing change of pace for a genre that seems to be limiting itself to sparkly vampires, hallucinating or mentally ill protagonists and gross-out mutilations.  Not only are we treated to a good story, we’re given the privilege of that magical connection that’ll creep the hell out of you. Read more