Thursday, March 28, 2019
Directed By: Robert D. Krykowski
Written By: Robert D. Krykowski
Starring: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Caitlin Fitzgerald
Color/97 Minutes/Not Rated
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Sam Elliott stars as Calvin Barr, a retired solider who was tasked with the top secret mission of assassinating Adolf Hitler. Though his mission was successful the war carried on with imposters in place of Hitler and Barr would live with the baggage of murdering a man. Now decades later the government has tracked him down again to kill the mythological Bigfoot who is responsible for spreading a deadly contagion.
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT has a title that immediately caught my attention. My imagination ran wild with the potential madness and excitement that such a movie with such a title could contain. Admittedly I didn't think the trailer was anything special and it didn't really get me excited to see the full film but the title and Sam Elliott in the starring role still had me curious about the whole thing.
I'll start with what I liked about the film and first and foremost that is Sam Elliott who totally owns the screen with his strong yet vulnerable performance. A big part of Elliott's character makeup in this film is loneliness as he apparently had found the love of his life early on but the war kept them apart and he never really was the same or loved again. Even his relationship with his brother who is his barber was distant. This would come in to play years later after his encounter with the Bigfoot (who is apparently misnamed) and realizing it is also a lonesome creature, but his mission is his mission. The writing for Elliott's character is somewhat messy in that regard because it really doesn't make much of a difference but Elliott gives it all he's got and he really is fantastic delivering all aspects of his character. I also liked the direction and thought many of the scenes were well executed and put together nicely, especially the Hitler assassination sequence. The cinematography was also nice at times but then there were moments where it was so dark that I couldn't see what was going on at all.
Then there's the things I didn't care for, a couple of which I briefly touched on already such as poor lighting during certain scenes and the character of Calvin Barr's having blurry motivations which I could deal with but the main thing about this movie I couldn't get over is that it's an utter bore. The most exciting scenes are here and gone in a flash after feeling like it taking forever to get to amid the filler. Even during what should have been the highlight scene of the movie, the Bigfoot encounter, the scene that I feel the title of the movie builds up to, goes over like a wet fart when the Bigfoot ends up being about five feet tall and resembling a young Wookiee from the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Upon finishing the movie I sat wondering exactly what I was going to say in this review because I had such a little reaction to the whole thing other than boredom and wondering exactly what the point was. I still wonder what the point was because it doesn't work as a character piece that it seems like they were going for and it definitely fails as anything more exciting than that. Somehow I still didn't hate the movie, Sam Elliott saves it from being a miserable experience as I was happy to follow him on his journey but I wish the journey was a more riveting one. Ultimately I'd be happy to sit through a celebration of Life Day on Kashyyyk than I would to revisit this one.
The Audio & Video
RLJE Films releases THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT on Blu-ray with a very nice looking anamorphic widescreen 2.40:1 transfer. The picture is sharp and has great detail depth. Black levels are deep while colors have a bit of a overcast muted look to them, which is an artistic choice as the whole film looks this way. A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix handles the audio giving body and power to the sound. The mix job is excellent, and dialogue and music are crisp and free of any distortions or imperfections.
-The Making Of THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT
-Audio Commentary With Director Robert D. Krykowski
-Interview With Composer Joe Kraemer
-"Elsie Hooper" Short Film
-Concept Art Gallery
The Bottom Line
I don't know what to say about this film. I really don't. It's well made but seemed to be lost and satisfied with wandering around it its own meandering path to a conclusion of "what was the point?". If you're curious about the film I would suggest giving it a look because it's very possible you'll get something more out of it than I did but if the trailers didn't do much for you I'd say you're probably not going to get anything out of the actual film.
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is available HERE
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Directed By: Charles Band, Albert Band
Written By: Michael Davis
Starring: Austin O'Brien, Brett Cullen, Colleen Morris
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Rico Sarno is a crooked collector and dealer of antiques and finds a stash of unhatched dinosaur eggs in a South American temple. He brings them back but mixes up the cooler he's keeping them in with that of frequent customer Frank Taylor (Brett Cullen). Frank's kids discover the mix up and take care of the hatchlings after the family dog incubates the eggs and try to keep their discovery a secret but Rico and his henchman turn the Taylor's life upside down and put their lives in jeopardy to get his dinosaurs back.
PREHYSTERIA! is a video store era family classic that cashed in on the building buzz surrounding the release of Jurassic Park very similarly to how production companies like The Asylum operate today. Instead of trying for a mock blockbuster Charles Band, ever the businessman, went in the direction of a children's adventure movie keeping costs low. Austin O'Brien stars as Jerry Taylor, and he's a face that you certainly recognize as he was a go-to child lead in that era having also starred in Last Action Hero and My Girl 2. He's a good lead that any kid can connect with as he rips on his older, cooler sister played by Samantha Mills in what seems to be her final screen acting credit. The siblings end up bonding over their little baby dinos including T-Rex, Triceratops, and "the flying one" among others.
I remember PREHYSTERIA! fondly, it's one of the earliest introductions to Full Moon and their children's imprint Moonbeam Films that I have and it was definitely a favorite that you'll find people in their late 20s to mid 30s remembering renting at the video store even if they grew up to have no interest in Charles Band or cult film at all. That's the type of power and pull a lot of the Moonbeam titles had over kids looking up at the seemingly endless rows of tapes for rent. My excitement dwindled and dwindled as I rewatched the movie however. It became pretty clear that PREHYSTERIA! might not be the rip-roaring prehistoric adventure I remember and by the end I was honestly surprised by just how little there is going on in the movie. There's a couple wacky scenes of dino shenanigans and one scene of the family really being attacked by Rico but this plays more like a two-part TV episode than a feature film and even at that I'm not sure I would have tuned back in after the "to be continued" screen flashed at the end of part one. Some dinosaur eggs are better left buried in the past and it pains me to say that PREHYSTERIA! is one of them.
The Audio & Video
Full Moon finally brings their children's label Moonbeam Films fan favorite to Blu-ray with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks solid overall with good colors and clean, warm transfer. The high definition transfer has been remastered from the original 35mm negative but at times lack truly excellent detail depth. The audio is presented with two options, a 5.1 surround track and a 2.0 digital stereo track. There's not much going on in the movie in terms of exciting or flashy sound design or effects so either track really does the movie justice. The quality is solid, free of any distracting distortions or background noise.
Special features include a commentary track by star Austin O'Brien and director Charles Band and the original Videozone featurette.
The Bottom Line
PREHYSTERIA! has received a suitable Blu-ray release to give all of us that remember the film from its video store days a trip down memory lane but unfortunately once the nostalgia wears off you'll find out that there's really not much going on in PREHYSTERIA! and it's better left as a childhood memory.
PREHYSTERIA! is available HERE
Friday, March 8, 2019
Directed By: William Webb
Written By: Richard Brandes, Tom Byrnes
Starring: Richard Hatch, Richard Roundtree, Leif Garrett
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Seth and Angelina are brother and sister who have a bad habit of sitting around their dad's mansion and using the telephone "party line" to lure horny strangers into a sex party that ends with Seth using a razor blade to kill them. As the bodies pile up Detective Dan breaks from "by the book" way of doing things to try and find the killers before anymore party line callers fall victim to their sick games!
PARTY LINE is a mash up of slasher film, crime thriller and late 80s Skinemax erotic feature but doesn't really excel at any one of those genres let alone cramming them together. It's middles around sort of blending the different styles but ends up just feeling messy throughout. There's misplaced humor involving a subplot with underage girls that never works for me but ends up playing fairly large role in the film. The acting including Leif Garrett as Seth, Richard Hatch as the detective and a supporting role from Richard Roundtree is pretty decent and the movie looks good, using a handful of memorable and very eye catching locations. PARTY LINE undoubtedly had more production value than similar erotic films that would make the late night subscription cable channels famous.
I can't say I wasn't entertained by PARTY LINE because I was but I think it was a missed opportunity at being something better. And it could have been anything better. Had it picked one of the many directions it splintered off in and focused on it then we could have had a winner with PARTY LINE.
The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome delivers PARTY LINE on Blu-ray with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from a brand new 4K scan and restoration from the original 35mm camera negative and looks excellent. The picture quality is quite nice with beautifully rendered skin tones that show no sign of waxiness and great detail level in all of the wonderful 80s clothing and textures. Colors are vibrant and lively without being artificially pumped up. The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio mono mix that sounds decent. The track is clear with a nice mix between dialogue and score and the sound effects give enough punch despite lacking true power. There's a very small amount of noticeable pops but otherwise not much in the way of distortions.
Aside from the original theatrical trailer the lone special feature is an interview with the screenwriter Richard Brandes entitled "Party Line Fever" and runs around 16 minutes.
The Bottom Line
I'm lukewarm on PARTY LINE but I think the transfer is nice and there's enough in the movie to warrant a mild recommendation.
PARTY LINE is available HERE
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Directed By: Greydon Clark
Written By: Dana Olsen, Michael Spound, Jim Kouf, David Greenwalt
Starring: George Kennedy, Joe Don Baker, Andrew Dice Clay
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Thirteen years ago at the Halloween dance several students were murdered by the Lawnmower Killer, leaving survivors scarred and the local sheriff obssessed with solving the crime. With an escaped mental patient on the loose the townsfolk are on edge, or at least they should be, as they fear he may be the killer returning for an anniversary killing.
Greydon Clark puts his tongue so far into his cheek that it bursts through, wraps around his head a few times and then comes back and pops his head off in a bloody mess. Then Joe Don Baker's Dick Harbinger comes in and runs his finger through mess on the floor and tastes it to confirm that "It's blood." That's the type of silly shit we're working with in WACKO. George Kennedy plays an incestuous doctor who actually has no medical knowledge at all, the pumpkin killer is literally wearing a big pumpkin on their head with a big nose and the entire cast is so over the top that I'm almost absolutely positive Greydon Clark let them all have free reign on their performances as long as they were wacky enough.
You need to have a sense of humor that allows you to enjoy stupid jokes to really love WACKO. It plays up genre tropes to their most cliche and then run those jokes into the ground to the point where I found myself chuckling along but it seemed to be more out of habit than genuine laughter by the end. That being said, I did enjoy the silliness and had a fun time with this parody and will certainly find myself enjoying it again in the future.
The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome gives new life to WACKO with a new 4K scan and restoration from the original 35mm camera negative for this Blu-ray release. Colors are vibrant and natural with a good depth to them. Detail levels are excellent giving life to the various Halloween costumes and props, not to mention the pumpkin head. and black levels are deep and inky. There's no damage to the source material to speak of. The 1.0 DTS-HDMA mix presents the audio in a HD mix of its original format. The track is a pleasant listening experience with only intermittent hiss or buzz popping up in the background. Otherwise the mix is crisp full bodied enough to offer up some punch when needed.
-New Audio Commentary Track With Director Greydon Clark
-"Die Laughing"- An Interview With Cinematographer Nicolas Von Sternberg
-Never Before Seen Outtakes
The Bottom Line
Vinegar Syndrome dredges up another video store era obscurity and gives it the royal treatment. If you like your horror filled with yuck yuck yucks you'll find some good laughs in WACKO
WACKO is available HERE
Friday, March 1, 2019
Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa
In Theaters and Available on VOD / Digital HD: February 1, 2019
Genre: Horror, Mystery Suspense
Running Time: 81 minutes
Rating: Not Rated