Welcome movie cult movie fanatics to yet another edition of Rogue Cinema’s Genre Watch. By now you already know the rules (release dates are subject to change; these are just my personal picks for the month; etc, what have you, yada yada blah) so let’s just skip right to the chase shall we? Last month was a bit of a disappointment in regards to cult movie releases on DVD and in the cinemas, but February is looking good and I foresee a huge surge in awesome flicks in the coming months. (Disclaimer: If said surge of awesome flicks does not occur, I am not to blame.) So without further ado, here are my picks for the month of love… and black history!
Now available on DVD:
Crank – In this latest Jason Statham no brainer, hitman Chev Chelios is poisoned with the "Beijing Cocktail" (probably for having a goofy name) and must keep his adrenaline level up in order to survive long enough to get revenge. If you’re looking for another Transporter film, then you may be disappointed, but if you’re looking for an ultraviolent film that’s lacking moral fiber, then Crank is perfect for you! Lionsgate has released this crazy flick in Widescreen and Full Screen editions; each have Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (as well as 2.0 surround sound) and come with the following extras: A "Cranked-Out" mode that allows you to access interviews, audio commentaries, and behind-the-scenes insights without ever leaving the movie, and a family-friendly audio option that blocks out all the expletives (note that the violence and brief nudity is still intact)!
Evil (2006) – Amazing! Besides giving the world wonderful things like ancient mythology and gyros, the people of Greece have now graced the world with their first(?) zombie film! In Evil, and evil force beneath Athens is unleashed and soon hordes of Greek flesheaters begin pouring into the streets. I’ve read a lot of positive things about this gorefest/dark comedy and I hope to add it to my personal DVD collection someday. The film is featured in widescreen format with Dolby Surround Sound and is presented in its original Greek language soundtrack (with English subtitles). I’m not sure if there are any extras (curse you Amazon.com!) and I’ve never heard of the company that released the disc (namely Danger After Dark), so maybe you should give this one a rental before you consider buying it.
The Hannibal Lecter Collection – With the release of Hannibal Rising this month, it’s no big surprise to see that MGM (now owned by the despicable Sony Corporation, a.k.a. The Rulers of the Electronic World – All Resistance is Futile Inc.) is re-releasing the "Hannibal" series on DVD. What is surprising is that 1986’s Manhunter is included in the set. (Where the hell is Red Dragon you may be wondering? Apparently Universal owns the rights! A similar snafu has occurred with the Child’s Play series for those that are interested in listening to me ramble. MGM owns the rights to the original while Universal owns the rest of the popular "killer doll" franchise. That’s why, for the time being, you will never see the first Child’s Play in a boxed set with its sequels.) The rest of the "Hannibal" set includes Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs (which has gotten the "Collector’s Edition" treatment).
The Invincible Iron Man – Marvel really hit it out of the park with its two animated Ultimate Avengers movies. (Yes I own them, no I’m not embarrassed to admit it, and yes I do live in my parents basement so back off!) This new animated adventure that follows Iron Man’s origins from Marvel’s "Ultimates" universe is looking pretty good and I may just have to buy it. In Invincible Iron Man billionaire Tony Stark accidentally causes the resurrection of "The Mandarin" and his four elemental henchmen, so the super rich (future) alcoholic builds a high-tech suit of battle armor to clean up his own mess. The disc features a nice 1.78:1 widescreen transfer with 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound and these marvel-ous special features: Alternate opening sequence, the "Origins of Iron Man" featurette, "The Hall of Iron Man Armor," Iron Man concept art, a look at Doctor Strange, and finally a trailer gallery! (Hmm… could Doctor Strange be the next Marvel superhero to get an animated film?! My instincts tell me yes, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see for sure.)
Maniac – Frank Zito comes home now that director William Lustig (Prez of Blue Underground DVD) has snagged the distribution rights to Maniac, Bill’s directorial debut (that’s if you don’t count The Violation of Claudia or Hot Honey)! In this film, lonely momma’s boy Frank Zito stalks the streets of New York at night and kills (and scalps) young girls due to his abusive childhood. Even after he begins dating a photographer (the beautiful Caroline Munro), Frank still gives into his murderous urges! Can this "maniac" be stopped?! Blue Underground’s release of this horror classic boasts a gorgeous 1.85:1 widescreen transfer with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (as well as Dolby 6.1 and 2.0 surround sound!) and comes with this maniacal extras: Audio commentary with director Bill Lustig, special effects artist Tom Savini, editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and actor Joe Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter, theatrical trailers, TV spots, radio spots, poster & stills gallery, Gallery of Outrage, talent bios, radio interview with Bill Lustig and stars Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro, and the "Joe Spinell Story" featurette. And as always, this Blue Underground title is a Region Free DVD so everyone on planet Earth can enjoy this gritty slasher film!
The Protector (a.k.a. Tom Yum Goong) : 2-Disc Ultimate Edition – The greedy Weinsteins bring Tony Jaa’s latest to the DVD market in an impressive two disc set. In this flick, bad guys capture Jaa’s pet elephants and take them to Australia to become expensive entrees at an illegal restaurant. Tony heads to the land down under and begins breaking body parts with his crazy (and often gravity-defying) martial arts skills in order to find his missing pachyderm brethren. If you loved Jaa’s previous film Ong Bak, then this one will definitely satisfy your craving for more Jaa. This awesome Thai film comes with two versions of the film, but you should just bypass the horrid American cut and watch the original Thai version which is nearly a half hour longer! (Oh and for those that weren’t paying attention, Quentin Tarantino and his massive butt-chin did not have anything to do with this movie. Quentin’s name was slapped on the cover just so more copies of the film would sell. Curse you evil Weinsteins!) Both versions are featured in widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and come with a jaw-breaking assortment of extras, including: A Tony Jaa martial arts demonstration, a deleted fight scene, "Making Tony Jaa" featurette, The Director’s guided tour, "8 Limbs" Mobisode, "No Wires Attached: Making The Protector" featurette, The Protector Soundtrack Promo, Feature Commentary with Asian Film Expert Bey Logan, theatrical trailer, "Making Tom Yum Goong" featurette, and finally short films from the "Take on Tony Jaa Contest!" Phew! These extras and the inclusion of the uncut Thai version definitely make up for crappy American cut.
Snakes on a Plane – The online sensation that flopped in theaters is now on DVD! Truthfully I enjoyed this movie, it was stupid and utterly ridiculous, but I couldn’t help but have fun with it. This is a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, so why should you? The story involves a witness in protective custody that is trapped on a plane "full of dead-ly, Snakes, on a plane! The captain can’t explain, why there’s snakes, on a plane… oh yeeeeah…. with Samuel L. Jackson!" (For those of you scratching your heads, this paraphrased quote is from a goofy little tune written by Neil Cicierega, lead singer and songwriter for a band called "Lemon Demon.") So yes, deadly snakes of all kinds are set loose on a plane and Sam Jackson’s gotta save the day! The film is available in widescreen and full screen versions (designated by different-colored box art) and both contain Dolby 6.1, 5.1, and 2.0 Surround Sound options as well as these special features: Audio Commentary by director David Ellis, star Samuel L. Jackson, and various crew members, ten deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary, "Pure Venom: The Making of Snakes on a Plane" featurette, "Snakes on a Blog" fan reel, "Meet the Reptiles" featurette, "Snakes on a Plane VFX" featurette, blooper reel, various music videos, trailers, and finally, five TV spots.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – You know, I’m not a huge fan of the TCM films (though I do own all but this entry) and I don’t know why the movies have gained such a huge audience and cult following. Leatherface has to be one of the most unappealing horror movie villains of all time. He runs around, screams like a girl, and waves a chainsaw around. (Nothing says terror like a girly mongoloid man-monster with a chainsaw!) Sorry folks, but Freddy, Michael, and Jason rank higher than Leatherface on my list of favorite horror movie baddies. Anyway, this film sets up the mythos for the cannibalistic Sawyer clan from the TCM remake. As always, a small group of "kids" get lost in Texas and take a wrong turn which lands them on the Sawyer’s dinner table, except this time out, the flesh-eating freaks are just starting out. The film has been released in R-Rated and Unrated editions, but it seems like everyone prefers the unrated cut which is a "whopping" five minutes longer! ("WOW!" <== sarcasm) The unrated disc comes with these extras: Audio commentary by the director and producers, deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary, and the "Down to the Bone" making-of featurette.
Now Playing in Theaters:
Arthur and the Invisibles – Luc Besson creates one of the most critically bashed childrens’ films of all time. I guess he should just stick with making ridiculous action films instead of ridiculous kids films.
Blood and Chocolate – Sigh… I had such high hopes for this. Word on the street is that this movie bites, and not in a good way either. The werewolf transformations look awful (apparently the film makers were going for a more "spiritual approach" for the transformation scenes) and the love story overshadows any possible were-creature action. F*ck this movie and the people that made it! They should change the title to "Blood and Butt Chocolate."
Children of Men – This one may be leaving theaters soon (odd since it’s one of the best films to come out in recent months) so get out there and see it! In this film, a virtually sterile human race is shocked to find a pregnant woman! Will she and her offspring be the key to reviving the slowly dying human race?!
Epic Movie – Egads! What can I say about this flick? It’s better than Date Movie, but that’s not really saying much. Yes I saw this film, and I’m sort of ashamed. I did enjoy certain aspects of it (such as Darrel Hammond as "Captain Jack Swallows," "Stifler’s Mom" as the "White Bitch," Fred Willard as a part man/part lion, and references to Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) but it ends up being a big disappointment. Just wait until this one hits DVD and give it a rental, it’ll be cheaper in the long run, plus you can skip past the really stupid parts of the movie, like the ending.
The Hitcher – I guess the world just didn’t want another horror-film remake because this one tanked at the box office. Sean Bean plays the titular character but I doubt he could even hold a candle to the terrifyingly vicious and mysterious hitchhiker made famous back in 1986 by Rutger Hauer. This one should be out of theaters very soon folks, so if you’re interested, go see it now… or wait a few months for the DVD.
Night at the Museum – This film is a cute family-oriented fantasy that I really enjoyed. Though it’s geared more toward children, it’s still some fun for adults. And amazingly, this movie is still keeping a strong presence in the top ten films at the box office. (It’s currently number three as of my writing this.) At this rate, I’m not sure it will come out on DVD in late March as long as it’s bringing in cash at the theaters, but we’ll find out for sure in a few more weeks.
Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo del Toro is making waves with this critically acclaimed film in which a young girl lives in a (creepy-looking) fantasy world that is sort of a symbolical version of the war-torn country she lives in. (i.e. Spain under General Francisco Franco’s rule back in 1944.) It looks very interesting and I can’t overlook a film that’s gotten so much praise. A pity that the American public has bypassed this film in order to see such spell-binding classics as Epic Movie. (Myself included! DOH!)
Primeval – After a disastrous advertising campaign and an even more disastrous release date change, Primeval has come (and gone?) with little or no fanfare. The movie has truly tanked but has garnered my curiosity. Sadly I don’t think I shall end up seeing this one in theaters, but hopefully a DVD release is not too far off.
Smokin’ Aces – Now this looks like fun. A group of hitmen are all after a snitch for a million dollar bounty. Mass gunplay and property damage ensues. This is definitely one of the better flicks that theaters have to offer right now. Give it a shot!
DVDs to look for in February:
February 6th: "Eddie Murphy: Delirious," "Have Sword Will Travel," "Hellboy: Sword of Storms," "Masters of Horror: Family," "Masters of Horror: Pelts," and Ultimate Editions of "For Your Eyes Only," "Goldeneye," "Goldfinger," "License to Kill," "The Spy Who Love Me," and "Thunderball."
February 13th: "Android Apocalypse," "Black Mask & New Police Story" (Double Feature), "Deadly Weapons & Double Agent 73" (Double Feature), "Evil Animals Triple Feature" (3-DVD set includes "Day of the Animals," "Devil Dog," and "Grizzly."), "Infernal Affairs 2," "Infernal Affairs 3," and "Whispers from a Shallow Grave."
February 20th: "Apartment Zero," "Barricade" (Uncut Limited Edition), "Kadakowa Horror Collection" (4-DVD set), "Lethal Chiba" (3-DVD Set), "The Mailman," and "The Wandering Swordsman."
February 27th: "42nd Street Forever" (XXXTreme Edition), "Asylum of the Damned," "Autopsy" (1975), "Chainsaw Sally," "City of the Living Dead," "Deep Red," "Don’t Torture a Duckling," "Hundra" (2-DVD Set), "Inferno" (1980), "Master Ninja Collection" (3-DVD Set), "One Missed Call Pack" (4-DVD Set), "Shock" (1977), and "Zen of Sword.
Theatrical Films to Look for in February:
The Messengers – Is this a remake of a Japanese horror film? At this point I can’t tell anymore! Though it does appear to have a few creepy scenes (and is made by the Pang brothers who are responsible for such creepy gems as The Eye, The Eye 2, The Eye 10… wait huh?! Did they decide to throw out all the sequels in between or something?) this PG-13 horror film is something I’ll be avoiding this month.
Hannibal Rising – The reason for Hannibal Lecter’s cannibalistic urges is to be revealed in this all new prequel. Only one question now remains…. did you ask for this to be made? Because I sure as hell didn’t!
Norbit – Eddie Murphy dons a fatsuit once again, but this time he’s a woman! (Wow, what a twist!) This looks like it could have been a step in the right direction for Eddie, but sadly this once R-rated film has been cut down to a PG-13. How annoying. I still may see this though because it may be the chance to see a good Eddie Murphy flick! (A rarity these days.)
Ghost Rider – The one film I’m truly looking forward to this month. Nicholas Cage is Johnny Blaze, daredevil extraordinaire by day, flaming-skulled minion of Satan by night. This looks too freakin’ cool for its own good and I have high hopes for it. This is the one movie I’m going out of my way to see this month!
Bridge to Terabithia – A new family film in which two kids discover a kingdom in a forest and become the queen and king. So uh… yeah, this should bore the kids (and adults) to tears.
The Abandoned – A creepy-sounding ghost film from a dude named Nacho (not Libre)! This is getting a limited release, but keep your eye out for it. Find out more about this flick at IMDB.com.
Captivity – Yet another film getting limited release. This one sounds like a cross between House Arrest and Saw and features the lovely Elisha Cuthbert with a screenplay by Larry Cohen. Hmmm… this could be something worth watching….
The Number 23 – Jim Carrey tries his hand at acting normal… before the number twenty-three drives him insane that is! This movie looks terrible, mainly because (former) funny man Jim Carrey is in the lead role. But I could be wrong… I usually am…..
Reno 911!: Miami – You know I lied earlier because Ghost Rider is not the only movie I’m really looking forward to this month. Reno 911: Miami is also a must see for yours truly because I love the show on Comedy Central. In this film, the Reno 911 gang heads to a police convention in Miami (well duh!) and ends up taking over policing duty after all the other officers come down with a strange, contagious disease, resulting in some explosions and much hilarity. (I wonder if they had a script for the film, or if they did it all ad-lib like they do for the TV show?)
Well that’s all I have for you cult movie fans! February is an excellent month for us, and if you think all that stuff above is cool, wait until you see what’s coming out in March! Oh yes, the future is looking bright for us movie freaks, very bright indeed! (Mwahahahaha!) But before I sign off for the month and start making notes for the next edition of Genre Watch, here’s a little taste of what March has to offer:
Coming to DVD in March:
March 6th: "Borat," "The Manitou," "Night of the Comet," "Revenge of the Nerds" (Special Edition), "Revenge of the Nerds Boxed Set" (4-DVD Set), and "Solarbabies!" (Note: I am buying all of these if I can! Woohoo!)
March 13th: "Casino Royale" (2-Disc Set), "Ed Wood: A Salute to Incompetence," and "Shortbus" (Unrated Edition).
March 20th: "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film," "Masters of Horror: Pro-Life," "Re-Animator" (New Anchor Bay Collection Release w/ collectible pen!), and "Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave from the Grave."
March 27th: "Dust Devil" (Final Cut), "I Spit on Your Corpse, I Piss on Your Grave," and "Ultimate Versus" (3-Disc Set).
Coming to Theaters in March:
March 2nd: "Wild Hogs" and "Zodiac."
March 9th: "300," "Nomad," and "The Host."
March 16th: "Sunshine."
March 23rd: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "The Hills Have Eyes II," "Dead Silence," "The Last Mimzy," "Superhero!," and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres."
March 30th: "Meet the Robinsons" and "The Reaping."
Well that’s officially it folks! I hope I’ve caused your movie glands to salivate! Check back next month, same Rogue Cinema time, same Rogue Cinema channel, for yet another bloated edition of Rogue Cinema’s Genre Watch!