Archives for March, 2011
Directed by: Neil Burger
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, Ana Friel
Limitless is the little film that could or the big experiment if you prefer. It’s a modestly budgeted film from a smaller studio that hedged its film on Bradley Cooper. Sure Cooper has been great in some ensemble films like The Hangover and A-Team but not as the sole headliner for a film, until now. …continue reading
This week we talk Sucker Punch, Star Trek 2, Showtime versus Netflix, DC Comics TV, sex and heart attacks, and new comics and DVD’s!
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino, Scott Glenn
So Zack Snyder’s between big franchise film project is out for us all to see: Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch has many influences from comic books to videogames and campy exploitation films. Does the film gel into an epic masterpiece or crash and burn as an epic disaster? Well, it’s somewhere in between. …continue reading
I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a proud “mystie” (fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000). So of course a big smile was on my face when the latest collection from them hit my mailbox. …continue reading
This week we start off by mourning a few major losses to the world of film, then mourn the loss of Wonder Woman as a great character, and talk zombies, TV show cancellations, and Star Trek! Seriously though, our major topic of conversation is the new Wonder Woman costume for the upcoming television series. Tell us what you think in the comment section below (on cinegeek.com for those of you viewing this in other locations on the web) and we’ll randomly send out buzz bites to the ones that makes us laugh the most!
Dream Home, the newest film from Hong Kong filmmaker Ho Cheung Pang (You Shoot, I Shoot, Love in a Puff) is going to be a treat for those looking for good old fashioned gore with their horror flix.
Cheng Li-sheung (a fierce Josie Ho) is like many other young women: she is anxious to find her first home to purchase. She wants to set up the perfect nest and go forward with her life. She is sick of apartment life. She is ambitious, smart and has her “eyes on the prize”, if you will. …continue reading
Any Martin Scorsese film on Blu Ray is a reason to jump for joy when it shows up in your mailbox. Being able to put into words in a review my appreciation of this film and the work of director Martin Scorsese will not be an easy task. …continue reading
This week we recorded the show twice just to make sure we got it right! We dig in to the new Netflix original TV series, talk about the bomb that is Mars Needs Moms, a little about Battle: Los Angeles, a Sandman TV series, and we read listener emails and comments!
When I was a kid there was almost nothing I loved more than the corner convenience store. Over the years that particular store has changed hands so many times I couldn’t begin to give all the different names it had. But the one that sticks out in my mind was when it was The Pantry. …continue reading
Directed by: Andrea Arnold
Starring: Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Harry Treadaway, Michael Fassbender
I am a big fan of films from England. In particular, films set in working-class England rather than the trials and tribulations of the rich. So, Fish Tank is right in my wheelhouse. …continue reading
Directed By: Fernando Di Leo
Starring: Gastone Moschin, Barbara Bouchet, Mario Adorf, Woody Strode, Henry Silva, Jack Palance, Harry Baer, Luigi Pistili
Can you take 410 minutes of deception, betrayal, murder, mayhem and loss? Yes, well I’ve got a box set for you. Inside you will find four Italian noir masterpieces by Fernando Di Leo full of pimps, thugs, and small time hustlers all trying to survive in world that wants to just roll right over them.
In order of weakest to strongest:
Rulers of the City (I Padroni della Citta)
The film begins from the dreamy perspective of a young boy awakened from sleep by two men entering his apartment. Sunlight pours through the door backlighting the figures. One of the figures lays a bag on a table and pulls from it a wad of cash and then walks towards the boy. The second figure draws a pistol and shoots the first figure in the back. The injured man manages to fling an ashtray at the shooter, cutting his face before the shooter fires again and finishes him off. The shooter sets the gun on the table and starts to pickup the cash which was spilled during the brief melee. The boy rises from bed and picks up the gun before the shooter can stop him. The boy is staring right down the barrel at the shooter, who we now see is Jack Palance, he just grins. The boy pulls the trigger and nothing happens. The pistol is empty. In the next scene we meet Tony, Harry Baer, a young man with a dune buggy who collects small debts for a two bit time hustler who lords over a third rate protection racket, pool hall and gambling den. Tony ends up befriending another young man in the same position that he is in and together they hatch a plan to hustle Scarface, Jack Palance, leader of a successful and powerful gang in town. Their plan works, but Tony can’t help rubbing it in Scarface’s nose. So now Tony and his newfound friend are just trying to survive and figure out someway to turn the tables on Scarface. Of course it is obvious to the audience that either Tony or his friend is the boy from the opening scene and the whole charade is a way to extract revenge from Scarface. This is the lightest of the four movies and while it’s fun it just doesn’t captivate like the other three films.
The Boss (Il Boss)
The Boss starts with a bang, literally, Henry Silva playing Lanzetta opens the movie by nearly wiping out an entire mafia family in a private theatre with anti tank rounds. In retaliation the remaining members of the attacked family kidnap the daughter of Daniello, Lanzetta’s boss. They don’t want ransom they want Daniello. While Daniello is willing to give himself up to free his daughter that isn’t acceptable to his boss. Do you start to see where the title of the movie comes from? The fear is that if Daniello gives himself over harmful information could be tortured out of him. In an amazing scene it is explained to Daniello that the needs of his family must not come before the needs of “the Family”. Daniello doesn’t buy it though so he starts to make his own plans to get his daughter back. So now you have a war between two mafia families, one almost dead and one divided and scheming against itself. If that isn’t enough throw in the police, some honest, some in thrall to one or the other family. Through all of this intrigue and politics expressed in murder and betrayal there is Lanzetta. In the chaos is opportunity and danger. He could end up boss or he could end up dead.
The Italian Connection (La Mala Ordina)
Luca Carnali, Mario Adorf, a failed gangster turned pimp, has unwittingly upset the one of the New York families. What he has done is monstrous enough for the New York boss to send two hit men, Henry Silva and Woody Strode, to Italy to make an example of him. Luca has no idea what he as done to bring this man hunt down on himself, not that there is any chance of reconciliation at this point, so Luca just tries to survive, until they go too far. With no way out and nothing left to lose Luca turns the tables on his pursuers in a junkyard showdown. Mario is outstanding as the flamboyant and emotional Luca. Henry Silva and Woody Strode play contrasting hitmen with Silva playing the hothead while Strode personifies the cool collected killer.
Caliber 9 (Miano Calibro 9)
Ugo Piazza, Gastone Moschin, has just finished a three year prison sentence. He should be overjoyed but he’s not. The problem is that no body believes Ugo was simply caught by the police three years ago. You see right before Ugo went away three hundred thousand dollars went missing and everyone thinks Ugo has it. The theory is that he let himself get caught in a petty crime just so that he would go to prison until every one had forgot about the three hundred thousand. Of course nobody has and nobody believes Ugo’s protestations of innocence. Not his old boss, his old friends, even his old girlfriend. This is the best of the bunch. Gatstone’s Ugo is unforgettable, cool and restrained but capable of animalistic outbursts of violence. Contrasting Ugo is Rocco, played by Mario Adorf, loud, vulgar and promiscuous with his cruelty but at the same time dogged and loyal. The ending is not exactly a surprise but the way it all comes together is wonderful piece of storytelling.
All four films are presented in widescreen format. The transfers were done from clean crisp prints. The blacks are black and not grayed out. Skin tones and other colors are balanced but there is a slight flatness to the color palate and it’s not uncommon for the sky in external scenes to be blown out. The four films are remarkably consistent in their look which makes it easy to think the four stories all belong in the same world. Each film is burned to its own DVD so there are no issues with the films being over compressed; in fact I never noticed any digital artifacts, no moiré, blooming, or aliasing.
The audio for all four films is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. There are English and Italian tracks with English subtitles. The Italian language tracks are great. The dialog is clear and the mix is good, with the beautiful scores by Luis Enriquez Bacalov, on three of the films, and Armando Trovajoli, on the fourth, and the foley never interfering with one another. The English language tracks are problematic. The dialog is tinny and the levels jump up and down like the track was assembled from several different sources and occasionally it jumps back into Italian for brief bits.. Interestingly for all its flaws the English track is superior to the subtitles. I don’t know which one is more accurate but the subtitles come across as simple and flat.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The four DVDs each come in there own slimline DVD case with a cardboard case to house them all. Included is a bookmark and a booklet with a candid interview with director Fernando Di Leo. The artwork is simple and powerful with a red and black theme that is common to the cardboard slipcase and the individual DVD cases. The menus are all consistent as well. All four manage to feature bikini clad dancing women, but there is no cheating, all of the scenes do come from the movies. Each DVD contains at least one documentary, Caliber 9, has four. There are photo galleries and filmographies sprinkled in as well.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
All four movies are entertaining with The Italian Connection and Caliber 9 being true classics. After watching Caliber 9 its impossible to believe that Jason Statham is not a huge Gastone Moschin fan. The whole collection just looks cool Rarovideo knocked this one out of the park.
The Movie 8/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
Can’t afford a plane ticket and hotel and all those movie tickets when the Sundance Film Festival rolls around each year in January?
Does the thought of standing out in the freezing weather waiting for a ticket for the next big indie film as Lindsey Lohan breezes past you in her stolen jewelry with her entourage to the front of the line make you want to explode?
Never fear, film fans: SundanceNow .com is a new choice for fans of independent cinema.
Sundance Now gives you the opportunity to rent hundreds of titles (not thousands) with just a click of the mouse (all immediately and legally). There are classic titles and new “buzzed about” new releases with every genre represented from Animation, Action, Fantasy to Thrillers and Horror and much more. New films are added constantly.
I perused the sight and found it easy to navigate and the catalog varied, but limited. I saw everything from films by director Tom Six (The Human Centipede: First Sequence) to Harmony Korine, and Gaspar Noe (Enter the Void) to Lars Van Trier (Antichrist) and Christopher Nolan (Inception). However, I don’t know how many indie film fans haven’t already caught many of the titles.
Most movies cost between 3.99-4.99 to rent and 19.99 to download.
You can also follow the website for news and new releases on Twitter and Facebook.
However, let’s compare it to Netflix. For $7.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed over the Internet to PCs, Macs and TVs. Of course, you can always also get DVD’s mailed to your home as well. There are many devices that the average person has in their home that can stream Netflix movies, such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3 consoles; an array of Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, home theater systems, digital video recorders and Internet video players; Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Apple TV and Google TV.
As of 2009, Netflix was offering a collection of 100,000 titles on DVD. Netflix is hard to beat on sheer number and variety of titles.
Now, if you bring Redbox into the ring: Redbox is a DVD only service, but cheap at only 1.00 per title, per night. But, you have a very limited selection and you have to leave the comforts of home to rent and return titles.
So, peruse of www.sundancenow.com and form your own opinion.
This week we have a bevy of True Blood spoilers, movies on Facebook, a Star Wars geek out, casting news for Wonder Woman, box office BS, and Voltron and Tomb Raider movies (yup there’s a little Charlie Sheen in there too)
Story By: Felix Salten
Voices by: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey, Peter Behn, Thelma Boardman
Bambi is one of my favorite Disney films, right behind Lady and the Tramp. As a kid, I was a sucker for any animated film that featured animals: not much has changed all these many years later. Finally, this Disney classic is available on Blu Ray and I gave it a whirl. …continue reading
Directed by: Tony Scott
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosaria Dawson
As Jethro Tull put it many years ago – “The train it won’t stop rolling, no way to slow down.” That’s the plot. There’s a bit of personal baggage thrown in, providing just enough depth to keep the characters from disappearing when they turn to the side, but the movies about the train, and stopping it, and helicopters, and explosions. …continue reading