Saturday, December 30, 2017

MAYHEM (2017)

Directed By: Joe Lynch
Written By: Matias Caruso
Starring: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: December 26, 2017

Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) has been busting his ass for a law firm rising through the ranks to find himself in a nice corner office with a good position as a law analyst only to find himself being set up to take the fall on a major account by his own firm's dirty tactics. Unfortunately for the executives, a deadly virus that spread wildly in recent months and causes the victim to lose any sense of inhibition and act out on their wildest ideas whether they be silly, sexual or just plain violent, has made it's way in to the building and an 8 hour quarantine has everyone locked inside until an antidote can be filtered in through the vents. Derek and a client (Samara Weaving) whose home is being foreclosed on because of the law firm simply not giving a shit decide to get some revenge on the soulless bloodsuckers at the top of the office building while the virus gives them legal impunity.

MAYHEM is a movie that anybody who has ever been mistreated, talked down to, used and abused, overlooked or under appreciated by their boss can appreciate. I think I've included a good 90% of the population. How many times have we dreams about getting one clean punch in, free of consequences, at our bosses. Or better yet, being able to overtake their position and give them a dose of their own medicine on their free fall down the ladder. Steven Yeun who any genre fan probably knows best as Glenn from The Walking Dead TV series, is fantastic as Derek, an average guy who has sacrificed and bested his ass for a company and to get some level of success and for what? Just to get spit on. Literally and figuratively. He's a perfect Joe Everyman and turns in a great performance that the audience can rally behind. His counterpart is Samara Weaving who plays a sassy, sexy and as we come to find out, tough and badass woman who is in a tough spot as the law firm won't help her with a two month extension on her loan and is planning to foreclose and take her home. After a brief spat with Derek they end up locked up together during the quarantine and reach a mutual breaking point and arm themselves with everything from a nail gun to an electric saw and hand tools.

The film plays out like The Raid meets The Belko Experiment (in the world of Office Space) as they fight their way up each floor of the office building and lands somewhere firmly between the two. It's not the action classic that The Raid is but I think it's a better gory office horror film that is far more relatable and engaging than The Belko Experiment. Yeun and Weaving play off each other brilliantly and Joe Lynch has never been more sure footed behind the camera. His direction is solid and slick in spots to add some flair to MAYHEM that raises it up a notch. The unsung hero of the film is Steve Moore who provides the score and it's a moody, at times catchy, and overall pulsing synth driven piece of music that lurks in the background until the film needs the punch that Moore's score adds to really get the audience's adrenalin pumping. While watching the film I was thinking to myself how much I liked the score and then I saw Steve Moore's name pop up in the credits and it all made sense. Moore is a member of the band Zombi who writes synth driven rock not unlike Goblin and it's always a treat to get a soundtrack from him.

I like MAYHEM a lot. It's straight forward, well written and executed, highly entertaining and something you can easily place yourself in. It's not perfect and there's plenty of things that require a suspension of disbelief but I had so much fun with it and think this is one of the hidden gems of genre film of 2017.

MAYHEM is available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD HERE.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

DEATHDREAM - Blue Underground Blu-ray Review

Directed By: Bob Clark
Written By: Alan Ormsby
Starring: John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus
Color/88 Minutes/R
Region FREE
Release Date: November 28, 2017

The Film
There's no perfect time to write a review on this film. It is a horror film centered firmly on the horrors of war and what the surviving participants bring back with them. Nobody, on any side, has ever returned from war the same as they departed. Bob Clark very clearly and eloquently describes that in DEATHDREAM.  Earlier titles included The Veteran which is a bit too on the nose for the film's own good but it would certainly work in this story of a soldier returned from the horrors of the Vietnam War, which is something nobody had ever been exposed to before.

Shortly after receiving news of Andy's death in Vietnam, Andy's family is startled by his surprised return home. Thrilled by their son's return and the military's mistake the family writes off his change in demeanor to the casualties of war. Andy who was a bright, energetic and engaging youth has returned as a quiet, reserved and very irritable verteran of war, still coddled, and rightfully so, by his mother. His reintegration into society is very slow and his father is his biggest critic, citing his own time spent in the service as a weakness in Andy, but reacting mostly to his aversion to the family pets that seem to not approve of his new attitude. Andy's sister has set up a date with his old flame to hopefully bring back the old Andy but things go further south as the damaged Andy can no longer pretend to be his old self.

DEATHDREAM is a minimalistic yet totally engulfing horror film. And it is heart wrenching. There is a layer of social commentary within this film that rings as startingly and profoundly true now as it did in 1974 but it never becomes overly intrusive to the enjoyment of the film. It's obvious that Bob Clark understood how to get a message across within a package that mass audiences would appreciate and enjoy on a commercial level. Richard Backus didn't need to turn in an Oscar winning performance to turn this film into an absolute winner but he did manage a great performance and made DEATHDREAM a time tested classic that far outlives the confines of the Vietnam War. Lynn Carlin perfectly exemplifies the grief of a somber and sorrowful mother that will do anything to protect her son and finally his legacy. Andy isn't a bad person and you can't really blame him for his actions as the movie rolls on and his mother loves him and will put herself in the crosshairs for him. He's not well, and his actions are awful but Andy did not return home as the same Andy that left. It's an obvious commentary that sadly couldn't and wouldn't change the world and many war torn vets were left in positions that were at best unsavory.

War is hell and it's unfair to expect a soldier of war to return the same as he left. If anything is clear in DEATHDREAM it is that. DEATHDREAM is filled with enough horror movie moments to make it a classic and a classic it is, through and through. Alan Ormsby's (With a young Tom Savini serving as his assistant) simple special effects are well done and totally believable and add to the horrific nature of this film. There's a level of visual satisfaction along with the emotional impact of this film that has been underrated and overlooked for too long. It's a damn fine horror film that I can't speak of highly enough.

The Audio & Video
Blue Underground has been quietly releasing top notch Blu-ray after top notch Blu-ray and this release of DEATHDREAM is another example of greatness. The disc features a gorgeous 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer with a healthy and natural grain structure that reminds you that you're watching a movie shot on film. Without being overly grainy, the film retains that look that digital photography simply cannot reproduce. Colors are warm and natural while skin tones remain healthy and fleshy. Black levels are deep with no compression or blocking issues. Detail level is strong especially in close up shots on faces and textures. The audio features a DTS-HDMA 1.0 Mono mix which keeps the film's original audio mix but presents it in the finest available quality. It's simple but beautifully crisp and clear with no background noise or distorted damage. The score and dialogue mix perfectly and never jocky for position over the other.

Please note: The screen grabs shown in this review are from the DVD copy of the film and in no way reflect the new HD transfer.

The Extras
This release is absolutely stacked with special features which include:

-Audio commentary with Director/Co-Producer Bob Clark
-Audio commentary with Writer/Make-up Artist Alan Ormsby
-A recollection with star Anya Liffey and Writer/Make-up Artist Alan Ormsby
-"Notes For A Homecoming" - Interview with Composer Carl Zittrer
-"Flying Down To Brooksville" - An interview with Production Manager John "Bud" Cardos
-Tom Savini: The Early Years - An interview with legendary make-up artist Tom Savini who served as an assistant to Alan Ormsby on the film
-"Deathdreaming:" - An interview with star Richard Backus
-Alternate Opening Titles
-Theatrical Trailer
-Still Gallery
-Alan Ormsby student film
-Collectable Booklet featuring writings on the film by critic Travis Crawford

The Bottom Line
Even if this release was barebones and didn't feature any special features I would still say this is one of the must own releases of the year because the film is that damn good but since it is packed with special features and sports a fantastic A/V presentation this release of DEATHDREAM is essential viewing.

DEATHDREAM is available HERE

Monday, December 18, 2017

Comet TV December Holiday Lineup and Giveaway

It’s December, the time when you think of a rolling fire, having dinners with friends, and… Tank Girl! I mean, come on we’re not getting sentimental now are we? This month COMET TV has some of the cult-iest movies of all time. Earth Girls Are Easy, Tank Girl, Leviathan… and that’s just what I could remember off the top of my head! Think of what I could talk about if I looked it up!

There are also Cult Classic Theater films like Attack of the Puppet People, Dolls and more, plus we have the Martian Holiday Movie Marathon! This holiday season, prepare to head to another world. If you say that in an ominous inner voice, it sounds awesome!

The Comet TV December Pack has:
1 - Limited Edition Tank Girl x COMET TV T-shirt: "Look, if you want to torture me, spank me, lick me, do it." .... Lock and load with this exclusive Tank Girl goggle-eye tee and get ready to break necks next time you're stocking up on ammo.
1 - Tank Girl 4"x9" UV Print: SPLOSH, BAM! If you're a true Tank Girl fan like we are, you couldn't get enough of the film's animated sequences. We're paying homage with two variant UV prints pulled right from the film and custom made for this kit.
1- Stargate Atlantis x COMET TV SnowGlobe: Tis the season to be Stargate! Bring home the bubble city trapped in this limited edition SnowGlobe... where else are you gonna snag this?
1 - COMET TV Collectable Card: You’ll get one of two collectable COMET TV cards featuring Earth Girls Are Easy & Tank Girl.

To Enter: 
Email and include your full name and address and tell me your favorite Christmas themed horror or cult movies and what movie from Comet TV's December lineup you want to see the most. US residents only.

Tank Girl (1995) 
Want to warm up this holiday season? Take a trip to the year 2033, where cold isn't an issue but an apocalyptic lack of water is. Starring Lori Petty as the titular hero, and Malcolm McDowell as the villainous Kesslee, Tank Girl is an action-packed adventure that's so explosive you might just end up putting jetpacks at the top of your holiday gift list.
Friday, December 29 at 8P/7C 
Saturday, December 30 at 8P/7C
Earth Girls Are Easy (1989) 
If you thought Jeff Goldblum was charming in human form, just wait until you see him when he's an alien. Also starring Geena Davis, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans, 'Earth Girls are Easy' sees a trio of aliens crash land on Earth and take the California dating scene by storm. Even the hardest to please Valley girl is no match for the charms of these furry Cassanovas.
Friday, December 15 at 8P/7C 
Saturday, December 16 at 8P/7C 
Saturday, December 30 at 6P/5C
Martian Holiday Movie Marathon 
Sunday, December 25 starting at NOON/11C
Mars Needs Women (1968) 
Starting at NOON/11C
The Angry Red Planet (1960) 
Starting at 2P/1C
Queen of Blood (1966) 
Starting at 4P/3C
Red Planet Mars (1952) 
Starting at 6P/5C
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) 
Starting at 8P/7C
Friday Primetime Movie 8P/7C 
Saturday Encore Presentation 8P/7C
Leviathan (1989) 
Friday, December 8 at 8P/7C
Earth Girls Are Easy (1989) 
Friday, December 15 at 8P/7C
Supernova (2000) 
Friday, December 22 at 8P/7C
Tank Girl (1995) 
Friday, December 29 at 8P/7C
December Weekly Themes 
Airing weekdays at 4P/3C throughout December, check schedule at
Haunted House Movies (12/4 – 12/8) 
Vincent Price Movies (12/11 – 12/15) 
Creature Features (12/18 – 12/22) 
Cult Sci-fi Movies (12/26 – 12/29)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

RLJE Films Acquires I KILL GIANTS for 2018 Release

Acclaimed Graphic Novel Adaptation Starring Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots and Breakout Madison Wolfe to be Released Theatrically in 2018 

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5, 2017 – RLJE Films, a brand of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE), Umedia and XYZ Films announced today that RLJE has acquired the U.S. rights to the highly anticipated I Kill Giants, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival to critical praise.  Based on the acclaimed Man of Action graphic novel by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura with a screenplay by Joe Kelly, the film was directed by Anders Walter, the Academy Award winning writer/director for the short Helium, and stars Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), Imogen Poots (Need for Speed, That Awkward Moment), and Madison Wolfe (The Conjuring 2).  XYZ Films is handling worldwide rights on the film, which was backed by Ingenious and financed by Umedia with the participation of Having Me Films.

I Kill Giants was produced by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), Michael Barnathan (The Help), Kyle Franke (Holidays), Joe Kelly (Big Hero 6), Kim Magnusson (Adam’s Apples), Martin Metz (Submergence), Adrian Politowski (Deep), and Nick Spicer (The Invitation).  Peter Bevan (Erased), Johanna Hogan (Maudie), Michelle Miller (“Scary Larry”), Susan Mullan (Brooklyn), Justin Nappi (All Is Lost), Mark Radcliffe (Home Alone) Xinyue Sun and Wei Zou executive produced the fantasy drama, which RLJE Films will release in theaters in 2018.

“We’re thrilled to acquire an amazing film that was so well received at the Toronto International Film Festival,” said RLJ Entertainment’s Chief Acquisitions Officer, Mark Ward.  “With the film’s talented, veteran filmmakers and an amazing cast led by Madison Wolfe and Zoe Saldana, we couldn’t be happier to share this beautiful film with audiences at large.”

I Kill Giants tells the story of Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe), a teenage girl who chooses to escape the realities of school and a drab family life by retreating into her magical world of Titans and Giants. With the help of her new friend Sophia (Sydney Wade) and her school therapist (Zoe Saldana), Barbara will learn to battle her Giants and face her fears – tackling the mean bullies at school, her sister (Imogen Poots) and her difficult home life and eventually her biggest dread of the unknown.

Day Of The Dead: Bloodline Coming In Early January

Released in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on January 5th, 2018.