Archive for July 2012

SPAWN [1997] (Blu-Ray Review)


SPAWN: DIRECTOR’S CUT available now on Blu-Ray from Warner Home Video

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/31/12 ***

Popular culture is a funny thing.  Certain trends hit wildly popular and often come back to haunt us years later.  The 90′s was all about pop-rap, flannel shirts, depression and ultimately a corporate sponsored faux 1960′s “raging against the machine”.  A bohemian lifestyle reminiscent of Paris in the late 1800′s flourished – not in saloons or parlors, but in Starbuck’s coffee shops peddling overpriced java on every other block.  A General in the fight against corporate culture on an artistic front was Todd McFarlane, famed Canadian comic book artist.  Working with major publishers on books like Batman and Spider-Man, McFarlane broke away and co-founded Image Comics.  Self-publishing what would become his signature title, McFarlane was able to retain all rights to Spawn - allowing him to be choosy in selecting a studio to bring his creation to the big screen.  In 1997, New Line Cinema released the PG-13 adaptation and now, 15 years later, it debuts on Blu-Ray in the form of an R rated Director’s Cut courtesy of Warner Bros. Now in the comfort of your home theater you can revisit another 90′s cultural phenomenon: the sell out. Read more

NEXT OF KIN (Blu-Ray Review)


NEXT OF KIN available on Blu-Ray from Warner Home Video

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/28/12 ***

What’s up, Doc?  This afternoon, I decided to have some good ol’ fashioned fried chicken for lunch.  I don’t eat it that often… maybe once a year and it wasn’t anything special; from the grocery store, not KFC or Popeye’s.  Hell, I don’t even know what’s special about KFC or Popeye’s.  Do people in Kentucky or Louisiana make better chicken or eat it more often than the folks in, say, Missouri?  I don’t even really care about the state-specifics, but I do know that I turn into a big, greasy, sticky, finger-lickin’ Southern gentleman when I’m eating the stuff.  It’s like sense memory from another life or maybe I just watch too many commercials.  Either way, it’s comfort food that makes you feel good as it knocks some years off of your life.  So it just felt right to pop in the *new* Blu-Ray release of 1989′s Next of Kin (now available from Warner Home Video).  With a gallon of oil dripping from my chin, I was ready to watch Patrick Swayze and his Good ‘Ol Boys do some harm on the Chicago underworld. Read more

They’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1999: AMERICAN REUNION (Blu-Ray Review)

American Reunion Blu-Ray

AMERICAN REUNION available now on Blu-Ray from Universal Home Entertainment

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/27/12 ***

The older I get, the more my immaturity seems to stand out.  I still make prank phone calls, possess a knack for turning anything into sexual innuendo, and even have a friend who goes by the nickname “Mr. Belch”.  But in all of my stunted psychology, I just couldn’t find a way to enjoy the fart fest that is American Reunion, available now from Universal Home Entertainment.  It’s 1 hr and 53 mins (1 hr 54 mins for the “UNRATED version you couldn’t see in theaters!”) of a franchise trying way too hard to live up to its irrelevant and painful predecessors.  Granted, the first American Pie was a nice return to the teen comedies of the 1980′s and managed to launch the careers of John Cho (Star TrekHarold and Kumar) and Seann William Scott (Role ModelsIce Age).  However, any series that struggles to get out from beneath the shadow of a kid screwing a pie is destined to suck no matter how many ways you try to up the ante. Read more

Incredible Last “Knight” – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Lives Up To Its Hype

TDKR poster


*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/17/12 ***

I hate the word “epic.”  It’s been robbed of its meaning by teens that loiter around hot topic saying stupid stuff like, “Bro, that burrito at lunch was effin’ EPIC!!!”  or “Last night was EPIC… I straight puked all over the sidewalk!!!!”  Well, here are two real definitions of the word according to 1) heroic; majestic; impressively great. 2) of unusually great size or extent.  Well now that Comic-Con is finished and the press embargo has been lifted, I can tell you that Christopher Nolan’s new film The Dark Knight Rises is truly epic.  To call it anything else, would actually be a slight on the adjective. Read more

JASON X (DVD Review)

Jason X DVD

JASON X available on DVD from New Line

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/13/12 ***

Happy Friday the 13th, Doc!  After watching that zombie/stripper film, I found myself in the mood for more of the risque.  Well, as luck would have it,  Jason X isn’t one of those “adult” parodies I enjoy so much… but it fits with the day, so what the hell.  Widely regarded as the worst (and certainly the lowest grossing) in the series, the tenth “stab” at a Friday the 13th flick is so painfully putrid that even the Downtown Cinema’s audience couldn’t resist throwing their rum ‘n cokes at the screen (a.k.a. my TV set – more on that later).  But is it really that bad?  Aren’t these films kind of an easy target because there are so many unnecessary sequels?  Am I just kicking a dead horse by reviewing a decade-old stinker?

You bet I am!! Read more


Zombies vs. Strippers DVD

ZOMBIES VS. STRIPPERS available now from Full Moon

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/10/12 ***

Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet;”  Well, there’s a lot in a name, or more specifically a title.  Snakes on a Plane famously became a cult phenomenon before it was even released thanks to its no-nonsense (or all-nonsense) title.  Don’t forget Hot Tub Time Machine which enticed viewers with the promise of a time travelling jacuzzi… and bubbled up a profit, grossing over $50 million domestically.  Or what about 2009′s The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard?  Bad title + Jeremy Piven = no business. So when old Billy Shakes asks what’s in a name, the answer is simple: ticket sales.  This Tuesday, Charles Band and Full Moon Horror release a DVD with quite possibly the best title of 2012: Zombies Vs. Strippers.

At least you know what you’re gonna get. Read more



FREAK DANCE available now on DVD from Image Entertainment

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/06/12 ***

You know Doc, it’s easy to shred a bad movie… especially online.  Plenty of cyber critics tear into pictures they deem lousy with the ferocity of a lynch mob and it’s really unfair.  Movies are difficult to make and they (typically) require the passions of a collective group willing to dedicate weeks, months and even years of their lives.  The Departed is currently the king of the hill on my favorite movies list and I’m sure I’m not alone in my choice.  My least favorite is Black Knight, a film I find so awful, I deliberately watch bad movies in search of something worse.  But as much as I despise it, I can guarantee Black Knight is somebody’s favorite flick.  So while I’ll vocalize my disdain for such drivel, I won’t go overboard in pissing all over someone’s favorite movie.  Now, take Freak Dance, the “new” feature film from Upright Citizens Brigade.  It’s coming to DVD on 7/10 from Image Entertainment and while it doesn’t quite dethrone the Knight, it’s not worth a minute of your time. Read more



THE GRUESOME DEATH OF TOMMY PISTOL available now from Breaking Glass

*** Originally published on Ellenwood EP, 07/01/12 ***

Every now and then I’ll stumble on a movie that’s so unique, it’s like breath of fresh air from the stifling confines of mainstream cinema. It’s usually something bold, unapologetic and utterly fearless; a film that doesn’t need a big name or CG spaceships to keep my attention. One such recent discovery is The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol, a hilarious 3 vignette “meditation” on fame and the price people are willing to pay for stardom. The film won the award for Best Dark Comedy (2011) at the Polygrind Film Festival and has now been unleashed to the world courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures. Read more

RED SCORPION (Blu-Ray Review)


RED SCORPION available on Blu-Ray from Synapse Films

*** Originally published on Beyond the Marquee, 07/01/12 ***

I never liked math as a kid (or as an adult for that matter), but here’s a little equation I threw together:  Dances With Wolves – wolves and Natives + Soviets and Africans – any dancing whatsoever + Little Richard music seemingly on repeat x Dolph Lundgren = 42.  Hold on Doc, I messed that up. Carry the one… well, whatever… the answer is Red Scorpion.  Now on dazzling Blu-Ray from Synapse Films, Lundgren’s follow up to that boxing picture comes home guns a-blazing and reeking of Cold War nostalgia.  So get off your Pogo Ball and put away those Garbage Pail Kids… it’s time to kick some Commie sack! Read more