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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - @TimeLapse_Movie

By Adam Ruhl


Normally I post a couple of reviews together but after seeing this film tonight I knew I couldn't sit on this one. Submitted for your approval, I give you Time Lapse!



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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

@fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - The Man in the Orange Jacket, @cybernaturalmov!

By Adam Ruhl

The Man in the Orange Jacket



I was pretty excited for this one, not just because of its intriguing trailer but also because it’s the first movie I’ve ever seen from Latvia. For my fellow Americans, start at Russia and go west, if you hit the Baltic Sea you’ve gone too far. Was it any good? It is both beautiful and terrifying and grotesque. I have never before seen a film that so seamlessly blends great cinematography, suspense, and torture porn before.


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#SDCC14 – The Great Alien Egg Hunt @super7store

By Adam Ruhl


I’ve written a couple times now about the Reaction Figures Alien line, so yes, I am a fan. Quick recap for the uninitiated: In 1979, Kenner was going to release five action figures to tie in with the movie Alien but cancelled the plans. Fast forward to 2013 and Reaction Figures buys the rights to the designs and releases the figures on awesome retro cards. Everybody caught up?



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Exclusive Clip: Biker Battleground Phoenix



Tonight on the History Channel's Biker Battleground Phoenix, Yaffe, Kody and Jenkins put their reputations at risk as chaos descends at Arizona Bike Week, one of the largest builder/biker showcases in the country.

Check out the exclusive clip of tonight's episode "Respect" below:


Yaffe questions whether his SRT will succeed or fail.  In a never before done stunt, Kody and his fabricator Ricardo assemble a bike in front of an audience of his peers.  Can Kody prove he knows how to build and that he’s not a “fraud” or “poser” in the bike building world? Kody later surprises Ricardo by giving him the bike. When Ricardo finds out, he falls to his knees in front an audience of 5,000 as the crowd literally goes wild.

An anxious Yaffe finally reveals his top secret SRT on stage to thousands of onlookers. While the others builders give Yaffe props, Kody is unimpressed and shows it riding off while Yaffe is in the middle of his presentation.  Yaffe is outraged at Kody’s lack of respect and vows to retaliate.  Jenkins attempts to win the Baddest Bagger Competition for the second year in a row with his Custom Bagger. His crew works night and day but misses a major opportunity to show up on the main stage.


Watch all of the excitement and drama on Biker Battleground Phoenix tonight (July 29th) from 11:03-12:01AM ET only on the History Channel!


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Movie Trailer: TUSK #WalrusYes


Kevin Smith returns to horror with his insane looking Tusk.

The official synopsis reads: From the singular mind of writer/director and podcaster Kevin Smith, and conceived from one of Smith’s own Smodcast’s, TUSK is a story unlike anything that has ever been committed to screen before. A tale that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying, TUSK will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Word is this is part of a Canada set trilogy which is pretty intriguing. I don't know about you but I am definitely interested in this one.

Check out the trailer below.



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Monday, July 28, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Curtains


It's been over 30 years since Curtains was first released and relatively forgotten. As the years went on, the film grew a cult like status and its fans have been clamoring for a proper home video release (a DVD released in 2010, was not acceptable due to its poor transfer). Well, thanks to the folks at Synapse Films, that day has finally come as Curtains has finally gotten the loving respect it deserves.

The film is about a director casting a coveted role of Audra so he invites several actresses to his remote mansion to work towards finding his perfect cast. Of course his first choice is a method actress so she locks herself away in a mental institution to learn what it means to be crazy. She breaks out once she hears of Stryker's (the directors) plans to choose another Audra.

Of course murder and strangeness occurs as the women do whatever they can to earn the part in this film.

The interesting thing about Curtains is the lack of a main character. There is no Laurie Strode, no Nancy Thompson. This is interesting because that means that no one is NOT the killer. There is no one safe to identify with because anyone could be hiding underneath that creepy old hag mask. You never really know who the killer is until the ultimate revelation.

The film is acted well and is among the better examples of 80s slasher films. This one is a bit calmer than most. It's not kill after kill and it gives the viewer room to breathe and to suspect who might be behind the killings.

The real star here now is the absolutely wonderful transfer Synapse has delivered. They did a masterful job, the likes of which only someone with a love of the film could be capable of. Fans should be ecstatic over the picture and sound. They've got some good features to dig through as well, including a trailer, commentary, and more. Synapse has really gone above and beyond with this title and it should serve as an example to other horror labels. Treat your films right and your fans will love you all the  more for it. I can't wait to see what Synapse does with Prom Night.

Fans of early slashers will eat up Curtains, and the beautiful transfer makes it a definite must watch for fans of the genre.

Well done, Synapse Films. You've raised the bar on what a label can do for a much loved film and a genre sorely in need of more respect in the home video market.

Curtains is available now.

8/10 Hag Faces!


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Movie Trailer/Poster: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies



Warner Brothers has unleashed a brand new poster and a gorgeous trailer for the final chapter of The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies. It's a stunning and exciting clip sure to have fans frothing at the mouth.

This chapter looks to deliver the goods and it is a great link to the original trilogy.

Check it out below!



BTW, TODAY ONLY get the Extended Cut Lord of the Rings Trilogy on Blu-ray for $38!






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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Movie Poster/Trailer: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One


Lionsgate dropped some Hunger Games goodies at comic con this year including the above poster. But, I suspect now everyone will be talking about this nifty little teaser trailer for Mockingjay Part One, which I enjoyed. It's an attention grabber without being too revealing. Really a good tease all in all.

Ok I guess you just want to see it now right?

Fine!


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Concert Review - Foreigner, Styx & Don Felder LIVE at The Greek Theatre 7/26/2014


Last night under the stars at the historic Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA 2 classic rocks bands and 1 ex-Eagle gave the sold out crowd exactly what they were looking  for... hit songs!

Foreigner, Styx and Don Felder have been touring the country with their "Soundtrack Of The Summer" tour offering audiences the chance to hear all the hit songs they remember blasting out of their car radios for the past 40 years!

Guitarist and former Eagle's guitarist Don Felder took the stage 1st and blazed through a 10 song setlist that included "Already Gone," "Heartache Tonight" and "Hotel California."  Felder may not have had a hand in writing every song he played last night but as a member of the Eagles for over 20 years he certainly had the right to play them and he did not disappoint.  As a matter of fact I have never seen an artist happier to be playing live than Mr. Felder.  His youthful grin was plastered across his face for the entire set and when he pulled out his double neck guitar to close the set with Hotel California the crowd went wild.  Joining him for the classic 2 guitar solo duel was Styx's very own Tommy Shaw. Felder is not the best singer in the world but he made up for that with top notch fret work, youthful appearance and overall positive attitude which is certainly a far cry from that of his always cranky former band mates Henley and Frey.

Styx took the stage next with band line-up which has been in tact since Dennis DeYonug left the band in the late 90's.  The version only contains 2 members from the classic line-up with Tommy Shaw and  James JY Young on guitars.  Fear not thought because longtime vocalist and keyboard player Lawrence Gowan just might be the best replacement player of all-time.  Gowan's voice is powerful and he easily handles the theatrical Styx catalogue of songs such as "Grand Illusion," "Come Sail Away" and "Lady."  When not the center of attention Gowan is happy to lay down some lush keyboard arrangements or simply dance around the stage like a frenetic minstrel.  Gowan is and always has been a showman and you can tell that the current members of Styx genuinely like each other.  Shaw and Young played loud and heavy while bringing the audience to it's feet for "Blue Collar Man," "Too Much Time On My Hands," "Superstars" and the set closer "Renegade."  Tommy Shaw is so youthful it is hard to believe that he will turn 61 years old this year!

After Styx left the stage, with no prisoners left to be taken, it was Foreigner's turn to prove that they deserved the closing slot.  Armed with a canon of top 40 hits the band opened with "Double Vision" the titled track from the group's second album.  They then launched into "Head Games," "Cold As Ice" and "Waiting For A Girl Like You." The problem with Foreigner was that for those first 4 numbers there was not even 1 original member of the band to be found.  Original vocalist Lou Gramm has been gone for over 10 years and his replacement Kelly Hanson has been doing an amazing job keeping Foreigner going strong but without any original members this version of the band is no more than a Foreigner tribute band that is until founder Mick Jones finally took the stage for song #5... "Feels Like The First Time."  From this point on the energy of the entire band was elevated to a new level as Jones and company rocked the house with 6 more classics.  Foreigner were joined by Felder, Shaw and Young to close out the night with an all-star jam of "Hot Blooded."

The award for best band of the night definitely goes to Styx but the real winners were the audience who went home fully satisfied as their ears were full to the brim with a classic show that truly was the "Soundtrack Of The Summer."


Drumroll please... 8 out of 10 drumsticks!!!


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Saturday, July 26, 2014

#fantasiafest Fantasia International Film Festival Reviewed! - The House at the End of Time!, @TheInfiniteMan!

By Adam Ruhl


Fantasia International Film Festival is really heating up. I've got reviews for two great films that are playing today. Check them out!



The House at the End of Time
dir: Alejandro Hidalgo
Venezuela 
runtime: 100min

I loved this haunted house movie from Venezuela. It’s scary as hell at times but also has a family centered heart that reminds me of films like Poltergeist. It’s rare to see a director so perfectly balance warmth and creeping dread (and on his first feature if IMDB is correct) as Alejandro Hidalgo does with this film. He also wrote the amazing screenplay that I will not go too deeply in to for fear of spilling the film’s wonderful secrets.

Thirty years ago Dulce was a mother of two boys who was trapped in an unhappy marriage and a giant but rotting home. One night someone or something killed her husband and took her son Leopoldo. Dulce was blamed and put in prison for thirty years. Finally she is given a senior citizens release and returned to serve house arrest in the place where her husband was killed. Now she is back to revisit what happened and try to find her son, but she is not alone.


This is one of the best parts of genre film festivals, finding a gem like this that was nowhere on my radar. There is so much more than meets the eye, both hopeful and heartbreaking. We see young boys at play and a mother’s grief and it comes together seamlessly. I was completely entranced with the mystery of what happened to Leopoldo, but did not dare jump ahead and miss a single beat of the film. With shades of The Shining, Poltergeist, and Amityville Horror, I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who loves a great haunting tale. Do not see it alone! 




The Infinite Man
dir: Hugh Sullivan
Australia
runtime: 81min

Dean’s anniversary plans aren’t going very well. A meticulous planner, dean has laid out an exact recreation of his last anniversary with Lana; from the meals and music, all the way down to what type of sex they’ll have and when. However, he failed to discover that their anniversary motel has gone out of business, and to make matters worse Lana’s ex-boyfriend Terry shows up to steal her away. Dean is undefeated though; he is a scientist who has managed to preserve a moment in time before the anniversary went to hell. One year later he plans to return to that moment in time and set things right. Sounds simple enough, but really it’s just the beginning of his complications.

The Infinite Man is a time traveling masterpiece from first time Australian writer-director Hugh Sullivan. The film itself is simple enough; more or less a single setting and just three actors, but the story is wonderfully complex. The director masterfully weaves the characters in and out of a single moment; laying their actions so you quickly learn not to take what you’re seeing at face value. The three stars, Josh McConville, Hannah Marshall, and Alex Dimitriades do a fantastic job of portraying the bizarre love story.

At its core the film really is a romance; it’s boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, over and over. There are shades of many other time travel films and romantic comedies, but The Infinite Man is really something special. I really enjoyed its thoughtfulness and the intelligence of its story. I need a couple more viewings just to trace all the paths the film takes. It’s a truly beautiful movie that I predict will be massively successful and a stunning debut for its director. Do not miss The Infinite Man if you have the opportunity to see it.




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#SDCC - San Diego Comic Con - We've played Alien Isolation!

By David Massey & Adam Ruhl



Adam: (spoilers)
Sega has set up two booths at comic con, one in the exhibit hall where a player plays in a giant egg:


And a 14 seat booth in the Padres stadium where we played:


Alien Isolation is set to come out on multiple platforms on October 7th and it is a masterpiece. They have been trying to put out a good Alien game for 15 years and have finally scored!


Also finally we get a game that follows Alien and not Aliens. The very first thing that struck me was how clear the image is. I played it on ps4 and it was like really being there; probably the first example I've seen where in-game footage lives up to the cut scenes and commercials. 


The plot that I could see was that a flight recorder from the nostromo was discovered and taken to a space station. You're Amanda Ripley, Ellen Ripley's daughter, sent to retrieve it. When you get there everyone's dead and there's and alien loose.


The game is scary as hell, you're creeping through the these great sets and play cat and mouse with an alien you can't kill. It was a terrifying experience. We got to play one demo level and if you survived it you got a t-shirt.


David:
Got a chance to test drive Sega's new Alien Isolation game (due out in October) and from what little I saw, I gotta say that I am impressed and terrified. Instead of leaning on James Cameron's para-military alien-verse, I don't expect guns ever come into play in this first-person "shooter". In fact, we're told from screen-1 that you cannot kill the Alien.  


This is Ridley Scott's Alien and the atmosphere is pulled straight from the last 20 minutes of his 1979 film with your character sneaking through an abandoned space station with little more than a motion tracker and welding torch. I'm no great fan of the sneaking-genre of gaming - I want to jump on mushrooms and punch bricks - but the 10 min or so that I played just made me want more. This is a game of creeping shadows, taunting sounds, and being ripped from the cubby hole you're hiding in and gloriously mauled!








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Friday, July 25, 2014

DVD Review: The Last Match



The Last Match is an excellent film about two young, poor men in Havana who are friends and become closer. It opens with two men in a car. One is talking, but the camera remains on the other, who is looking out the window, clearly not listening, and not even responding when the first asks if he’s listening. This is our introduction to Yosvani (Milton Garcia). He shows his first bit of genuine interest when upon arriving home his girlfriend Gema gives him a pair of sneakers, telling him, "Happy birthday." Soon he joins some friends for a neighborhood soccer game. They immediately notice his new shoes. That night he’s jumped, and his shoes are stolen. It shows how tenuous is his hold on anything good or valuable in this world of heat and poverty.

Yosvani’s closest friend and teammate is Reinier (Reinier Diaz), whose poverty is immediately apparent as he looks for food in his apartment, and a woman’s demands of “Where is my radio” go unanswered. It’s clear he’s had to sell it. (Later we see him purchase the radio back, getting it out of hock, showing he had to sell it out of necessity and not out of any sort of selfishness or unkindness.) He has a wife and child to support, and does so by meeting men at a pick-up spot.

Interestingly, the first time we see him at that spot, he meets a man from Barcelona and they talk a bit about soccer, which immediately has Reinier opening up to him. It’s not the typical pick-up scene. But later when Juan, the man from Barcelona, attempts to take things to their logical conclusion, Reinier stops him, saying, “I’m not a fag.” What is also interesting is that his wife and Teresa (his wife’s grandmother) are well aware of how Reinier makes money, and Teresa is even encouraging.


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#SDCC San Diego Comic Con - Scream Factory Panel

By Adam Ruhl



Shout Factory announced it's slate of Scream Factory titles for the next year at it's SDCC panel on Friday. Director of marketing Jeff Nelson was on hand to reveal ten new titles. 


Starting in November the following titles will come from Scream Factory:

The Dark Half 
Monkey Shines
Candyman 2 farewell to the flesh
Scarecrows
Phantom of the opera starring Robert Englund
New Years evil
Invaders from Mars 1986
Dolls
Mad max
Escape from New York

More titles for 2015 will be announced in the fall.

Also Shout Factory will be putting out UHF!





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#SDCC - San Diego Comic Con - more exhibit hall photos!

By Adam Ruhl

It's Friday at comic con and the place is now an over crowded mess. Here's some of the best stuff from the floor!


American Werewolf in London prop

Close Encounters of the Third Kind prop


Scream Factory booth


Neca booth


They have an Alien Isolation game playing station inside a giant egg.


Convention goers!


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DVD Review: Dream Deceivers



Dream Deceivers is a truly interesting and at times unsettling documentary about the two young men who entered a suicide pact, and the resulting lawsuit against the rock band Judas Priest. It was released in 1992, but is now finally getting a DVD release, thanks to First Run Features.

The film opens with the 9-1-1 call about the shooting and footage of the scene. A title card gives us a bit of information on the images: “Just before Christmas 1985 James Vance and Ray Belknap shot themselves with a 12-gauge shotgun. Their families blamed heavy-metal band Judas Priest, claiming a recorded subliminal command – “Do it” – had mesmerized their sons.” The documentary focuses on the trial which took place in 1990, and on the families of the two men (Ray Belknap died, while James Vance survived the suicide attempt). There are interviews with members of both families, as well as interviews with members of Judas Priest. And what comes across is a really sad story, a depressing environment and quite a lot of denial.

Through this film, we especially get to know the Vance family. We’re introduced to Phyllis Vance in church, with the congregation singing a lively Jesus song. It’s an interesting introduction, because right away we get a sense of the religious perspective from which she is coming to this case. But it's also interesting because of the music, the fact that she clearly enjoys music as well as her, though a different type of music. Phyllis says of her son James, “I don’t know when I lost him.” And that’s when we’re introduced to James himself, whose face was left seriously disfigured by the attempted suicide. The footage of him is unsettling. Perhaps even more unsettling is the footage of him at home, where his mother talks about how there are lots of things he can no longer eat because he doesn’t have enough teeth.


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