Thursday, April 21, 2005

Upcoming DVDs...

Bass Fishing Basics With Chuck Woolery, the definitive word on Bass Fish Basics, hits shelves on May 3 and can be found for under $10. Hmm. I notice Pat Sajak isn't making bass fishing DVDs.

The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer is out in June, and just dig this cast list: Aleksandr Letko, Bedrich Glaser, Bohuslav Sramek, Ivan Kraus, Jan Kraus, Jan Zacek, Jaromir Kallista, Jiri Prochazka, Josef Fiala, Juraj Herz, Karel Hamr, Ludvik Svab, Monika Belo-Cabanova, Nad'a Munzarova, Ol'ga Vronska, Pavel Marek, Petr Cepek, Vaclav Borovicka. Wow!

Perhaps a little more up the typical Jabootuites alley is a double bill DVD of Death Dimension and Invaders of the Lost Gold. DD stars Jim Kelly and is directed by the late Al Adamson, so you can't go wrong there. The 'plot' involves a bomb that freezes people to death (!), and co-stars Harold 'Odd Job' Sakata (which is actually how he's credited!) and George Lazenby (!!!!!). Aldo Ray is also in there, because I thing it was a legal requirement. Invaders of the Lost Gold (aka Horror Safari)--a great title, in that it literally makes no sense--stars the inevitable Stuart
Whitman and Laura "Emmanuelle" Gemser, and was, surprise, made in Italy. Harold Sakata is in this one, too, and it involves jungle adventurers going after a treasure lost in the war. Reviews suggest this one is very stupid (good) and very boring (bad). Anyone acquainted with Mr. Whitman's oeuvre will not be shocked to hear this.

July will see the release of Bikini Girls on Dinosaur Island. If you had any fears that the film won't live up to its title, it starts Misty Mundae. I hope she's socking away whatever money she's making while it lasts. The disc will be available for well under $10, and includes a director's commentary (!) by David DeCoteau and a whole other feature, Bikini Goddessess.

Also is July we get The Bushido Blade, starring Laura Gemser (again!), James Earl Jones, Mako, Sonny Chiba, and toplining Richard "The Last Dinosaur" Boone as Commodore Matthew Perry (!) [and no, that's not the guy from Friends) and Toshiro Mifune as The Samurai. This should not be confused with Red Sun, which had a similar plot and also starred Toshiro Mifune as the Samurai sent to retrieve a stoen sword intended as a gift to an American President--although in Red Sun the search occurs in the American Old West, and in Bushido Blade occurs in Japan--and which co-starred Charles Bronson. Still, look at that cast.

June will see the seventh and last season of Homicide: Life on the Street available. This was quite possibly the finest American dramatic series ever, and you could do worse than to put all seven seasons on your Netflix list and work your way through them all. Extraordinary stuff.

June sees the classic Three Stooges Meet Hercules, arguably the greatest of the 3 Stooges time travel movies.

And, our SPOTLIGHT SPECIAL is Submerged, the long awaited Steven Seagal fights monster on a submarine movie. Really. It's directed by the guy that made Waxworks, and is due out on May 31st.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Stop the Presses!!

Headline of the Day, via the IMDB: "'Rush Hour' Star [Chris] Tucker Busted for Speeding "

And if that weren't earth-shaking enough:

Lohan Sees Red Singer and upcoming Herbie: Fully Loaded star Lindsay Lohan has broken her promise to maintain her famous red hair forever - by dying it platinum blonde. The sexy Mean Girls actress pledged never to alter her locks in an interview with People magazine last year, but has stunned fans by dramatically changing color. However, Lohan's spokeswoman insists the teen singer/actress had no choice in the matter. She tells website Pagesix.Com, "She only dyed it temporarily for a movie role. It's easier to do the real thing than wear a wig."

And if you have a heart condition, you may want to stop reading before you learn that actor James Caan has just filed for divorce from his fourth wife.

It Came From Netflix! Frog-g-g!

With video cameras and digital equipment making filmmaking more affordable, we’re seeing a trend towards folk making spoofs of cheapie sci-fi fare (the most famous of which is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, although I think Destination Mars is even better). This is because many people fanatically love those sorts of movies, and because making such a film on a shoestring budget only makes it more authentic.

From the title, you’d expect Frog-g-g! to be much the same, a riff on the environmental monster movies of the ‘70s. Instead, it’s not so much a spoof as an exact recreation of such a film. In fact, for the most part it could be a dead serious movie from that period that was thought lost and just recovered.

Dr. Barbara Michaels is an EPA scientist investigating mutations occurring in a small, insular town. These are the result, no surprise, of toxic chemical shenanigans perpetrated by (three guesses) a dastardly local capitalist. Despite receiving flack from many of the locals, Michaels remains undaunted. However, things are even worse than she thinks, and the mutations rather more severe…

Or so I thought for a good 60% of the movie, during which it plays exactly like a Roger Corman film from that period, such as, say, Piranha. (In fact, the movie is basically a riff on Corman’s oft-remade Humanoids of the Deep.) Then, all of the sudden, the monster is introduced. I was thrown so much by how silly the monster suit was, because, you know, I’ve seen Bog.

However, the scant scenes that feature the monster are played pretty much entirely for laughs, despite being the only scenes in the movie that are done that way. Therefore, I’m really not sure what to make of the film. I enjoyed it, but I was left scratching my head as to what they thought they were up to. I can see a straight out spoof; I can see a dead serious recreation of such a film, and I can even see a mostly straight horror film heavily leavened with comedy (or vice versa). However, a film that is entirely straightforward 95% of the time and pure Borscht Belt comedy the other five perfect---the five percent built around the film’s monster—well, I don’t know what to make of that.

Corman vet Mary Woronov has a highly tauted appearance in the film, but it’s just a quick cameo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pul-leeze...

This caught my eye, from an item on the IMDB:

"Director Ridley Scott has been praised for challenging the post 9/11 demonization of the Muslim religion and warfare in his latest movie Kingdom Of Heaven."

"Demonization"? Where? When? Following 9/11, there are still more many, many more movies and television episodes featuring militia guys/neo-nazis/etc. terrorists than Muslim ones. 24, a show about terrorism, finally features Muslim terrorists in its fourth season, and the producers constantly have to answer questions about how 'controversial' this is.

And even if the American entertainment media were regularly protraying Muslim terrorists, which it isn't by a long shot, that still wouldn't constitute "demonization of the Muslim religion". Despite what some people on the coasts of this nation think, the mass of people in the flyover country aren't a roiling blob of bigotry and hatred, and in fact can actually differentiate between Muslim terrorists and Islamofascists and regular Muslims. In fact, in case anyone hasn't been paying attention, we've been fighting a couple of wars with the ultimate aim being to put political power in the hands of normal Muslims so as to defuse the power bases used by the Muslim terrorists, who have been killing those regular Muslims whenever they can.

Gakk. What a load of crap. In fact, the truth is most likely the exact opposite of what the quoted sentence implies, and be just another revisionist, politically correct anti-Western piece of agitprop. In fact, after writing that sentence, I read the rest of the article and behold: "...and is set to cast aside stereotypical views of Muslims and show the benefits of diplomacy over war in resolving Middle Eastern crises."
Gee, I hope Scott isn't ending his career with this 'bold' metaphorical critique of the Bush administration.

This week on DVD [04/19/05]....

First, a note. I had previously mentioned the release of BLUE DEMON VS. EL PODER SATANICO and SANTO CONTRA LOS HOMBRES INFERNALES, new DVDs put out by Ground Zero Entertainment. To my consternation, these don't include English subtitles, or even an English dub. So be warned. Other such titles include CASTILLO DE LAS MOMIAS DE GUANAJUATO, INCREDIBLE PROFESSOR ZOVEK and TRIUNFO DE LOS CAMPEONES JUSTICIEROS. Given how the lack of subtitles severely limits the discs' commercial appeal, I find the lack of them bewildering.

Hitting shelves today:

CARMEN ELECTRA’S AEROBIC STRIPTEASE GIFT SET (Paramount) Box set includes AEROBIC STRIPTEASE, ADVANCED AEROBIC STRIPTEASE, FIT TO STRIP and LAP DANCE & HIP_HOP.

The ladies (?) will presumably enjoy the release of six telefilm adaptations of romance author Danielle Steel's work. The titles can be found at dvdpricesearch.com by searching under 'Danielle Steel.' If anyone knows if any of these are especially campy, please let me know.

Film buffs will welcome the Errol Flynn: Signature Collection, including Captain Blood, They Died With Their Boots On, The Sea Hawk, Dodge City, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and many extras, including a spare disc with documentaries and such. Six movies for as low as $40. Good deal.

HANZO THE RAZOR Boxed Set (Home Vision) A trilogy of wild early ‘70s samurai thrillers based on manga by Kazuo Koike (LONE WOLF & CUB), starring Shintaro “Zatoichi” Katsu as a righteous detective in old Tokyo who swings a mighty weapon in the name of justice. Includes SWORD OF JUSTICE, THE SNARE and WHO’S GOT THE GOLD?.

The incredibly beautiful martial arts masterpiece House of Flying Daggers hits the market with a reportedly loaded disc.

Killer Creatures: Another cheapie box set including such public domain perennials as Blood Creatures (aka Horror of the Monsters), Werewolf in a Girl's Dormatory (aka Lycanthropus), A Bucket of Blood, The Giant Gila Monster, The Wasp Woman, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Beast from Haunted Cave, The Brain that wouldn't Die, Tormented and Lady Frankenstein. The transfers probably suck, and most of the film are availabe in much better stand alone editions, but the set is available for around $17 on the 'Net, so as long as you know what you're getting...

The 1959 musical (!) verison of the Li'l Abner comic strip arrives, to the delight of curio fans.

Miracles: The Complete Series, collects the short lived Skeech Ulrich series for those who can't get enough of the recent and similar Revelations program.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 Collection Volume 7 (Rhino) KILLER SHREWS, HERCULES UNCHAINED, HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN and PRINCE OF SPACE, plus some shorts.

The low-budget but highly regarded time travel flick Primer seems a likely choice for sci-fi enthusiasts.

Riding the Bullet is the latest Stephen King adaptations, now so numerous you can hardly keep track of them all.

Subhuman is this weeks' DTV schlock.

Nerds Meet the Real World...

Per Cinescape.com:

"In San Antonio, eleven MAD MAX fans were arrested for recreating a scene from the THE ROAD WARRIOR. Nine were charged with "obstruction of a highway and two others with possession of prohibited knives in addition to the obstruction charge."

The group, armed with fake machine guns, had "surrounded a tanker truck while making their way to a movie marathon in a theatrical convoy."

One of the organizers said the arrests were unfair. He said he didn't know why anyone would have confused the costumed crew with a real threat."

Strike while the iron is hot...

Things seem to be progressing apace with Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction, which is due for a 2006 release, a mere fourteen years after the film that kicked off the 'erotic thriller' genre. Sharon Stone returns in her signature role of Catherine Tramell, although Michael Douglas has apparently opted out.

The film finds Tramell in London, matching wits with a Scotland Yard psychiatrist Dr. Glass. According to the IMDB, "like Detective Nick Curran [Douglas] before him, Glass is entranced by Tramell and lured into a seductive game."

Genre vet Charlotte Rampling and David "Island of Dr. Moreau" Thewlis have also been cast.

Who's there...

The BBC has officially announced that actor David Tennant has been signed to play Dr. Who in the next season of the recently revived TV series. Actor Christopher Eccleston has played the good Dr. in the first new batch of shows, but almost immediately announced his retirement thereafter.

Unlike Eccleston's first show, Tennant's first episode will reportedly feature the traditional regeneration scene that allows for different actors to play the Timelord. From this I assume Eccleston is amendable to returning for a portion of that first chapter.

DVD Announcements...

Warners will release the 2004 TV movie Evel Knievel on disc, with a commentary track with star George Eads and director John Badham. Of course, I'd be much more excited if this were a DVD for the 1971 version, with a commentary by George Hamilton (!), who played Evel (!!!) in that version. What I'd really like is a two disc set with Hamilton's movie and the laughriot Viva Knievel!, which starred the man himself. The scene where he hands out toys to a crippled orphan and the kid immediately starts walking (really!) would be worth the price alone.

The Thin Man set will collect all six movies in the series (the first film, a geniune classic, is available already). An extra disc will hold extras. Look for an extremely young Jimmy Stewart as a suspect in the second movie, After the Thin Man.

BCI Eclipse has announced plans to release the entire '80s cartoon run of He-Man over the next two years. (And yet there is still no Herculoids release on the horizon.) Dig this:

"Beginning this fall, BCI Eclipse will begin releasing the complete, 130-episode series in multi-disc “season” box sets, each including an abundance of extras that, altogether, will make up the most comprehensive collection of extras ever produced for a classic animation DVD series. Consulting with BCI on the project and providing extra content is Val Staples, the owner of He-Man.org, the internet's largest portal for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe fan community, the owner of MVCreations graphic design company, and the publisher of the recent Masters of the Universe comic. Producing the special features documentaries and most of the extra content is entertainment writer Andy Mangels, a best-selling novelist, and author of Animation on DVD: The Ultimate Guide."

The second season of Star Trek: Enterprise will hit the shelves in July with the usual gigantic assortment of extras.

In more exciting Jabootu news, Paramount has announced the release of the typically horrific Harold Robbins' adaptation The Adventurers for July.