Archives for May, 2012
This week we talk about a disgusting buffet, the Dark Knight Rises, Blade Runner II, Ultimates, and much more!
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Featuring Voices by Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, and Mark Hamill
One of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s most acclaimed works, how does it hold up on Blu-Ray?
Castle in the Sky is a wholesome tale of two children – Pazu and Sheeta – bonding together while on the run from pirates and the military, all searching for the mythical flying kingdom of Laputa. The adults want treasure or power. Sheeta just wants to go home, and Pazu wants to protect her and prove his father’s stories of Laputa.
This film is a fun and captivating adventure. These kids run, fight, jump on trains, fall out of the sky. It’s an exhilarating chase. Pazu and Sheeta are so earnest and innocent that you can’t help but cheer them on. This isn’t to say the adults are automatically the bad guys. Several help the children along the way, and some who seemed evil turn out to be kind-hearted heroes by the end.
The design of this fantasy world is super, beautifully drawn. The overall locale is inspired by early 20th century Europe, from rolling green hills that go on forever to the cramped mining town that’s refreshingly not overly slathered in soot. The fictional airships – from gigantic war behemoths to single-passenger air carts with dragonfly-like wings – are remarkable yet still aesthetically fit in with a world where cars are still uncommon. The flying castle of Laputa itself is a neat mix of old-school castle fantasy with overgrown shrubbery and sophisticated science.
The English voice-acting cast does a good job with their characters. James Van Der Beek and Anna Paquin voice the two stars Pazu and Sheeta respectively. They play the children a bit older than their Japanese counterparts (sounding maybe early teens instead of younger adolescence). While Paquin occasionally slips in and out of an accent, Van Der Beek does a decent job. Of course though, it’s all about top voice actor and occasional Jedi Mark Hamill, whose villain Muska sounds like a sane yet still villainous Joker. All around though, good work.
Clocking in at two hours and five minutes, the film sounds long, but it grabs you for the ride and keeps you. This is a journey you’ll enjoy all the way through the deepest mining tunnels and the highest heights of the sky.
The film is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1 widescreen. The animation is smooth, and the art is beautiful. I wish the colors popped a bit more, seeming a bit muted at times, but that’s more of the coloring choice than video quality. With its various shots of the lush landscapes and gardens, it’s still a gorgeous work.
The main audio is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, with French and Japanese being in 2.0. The Japanese track, master audio of the original production, seemed louder than the English at times when switching back and forth. Also included are subtitles in English (both standard and for hearing impaired) and French. However, the English subtitles when played over the Japanese audio are obviously transcribed from the adapted dub script as opposed to being a more strict translation of the Japanese one.
The soundtrack though is quite excellent, ranging from fast and whimsical to more somber and serious, all conveying vastness of the world and the adventure the characters partake.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This Blu-Ray has an impressive set of bonus interviews. Three interviews are with writer/director Hayao Miyazaki, detailing his inspiration for using normal children characters, English-like settings, and themes of flight in the story. I especially like the interview with music composer Joe Hisaishi – Miyazaki’s go-to guy for his films – explaining his inspiration behind several of his signature tunes in various Miyazaki’s works. I’m not generally a music guy (obvious by how poorly I describe it, I’m sure), but Hisaishi does some great and memorable work. All told, these are some good interviews for any Ghibli fan.
A DVD is also included in this release, with the film and the same John Lasseter introduction as on the Blu-Ray.
Overall (Not an Average)
This is an enjoyable and fun romp with emotional depth and beautiful art and music to match. The film, released in 1986, is technically Studio Ghibli’s first film (the studio being founded after Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Considering how Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli knocked it out of the park with early hits like this, it’s no wonder they remain a powerhouse in animation today, over 25 years later.
The Film 10/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 10/10
Overall (Not an Average) 10/10
Traditionally toys are meant to be played with and statues are meant to be displayed but some hardcore collector’s just don’t subscribe to tradition. Some collector’s prefer to collect their toys and keep them as pristine as possible in their original packaging. Some do this as an investment, hoping for a great return down the road while others just prefer to have a toy they think is great the way it was originally presented. Diamond Select Toys is one of those companies that truly caters to that level of collector. Not only do they do this by providing highly detailed and pose-able toys but they even take the collector that doesn’t open their packaging into consideration.
Ten years ago the company developed a style of packaging their figures that allowed the action figure to be displayed within the package an still show off its base and any other accessories that came with them. Now they continue that style of packaging meaning that toys you bought back them will look great and uniform with the new releases. The packaging for the new Amazing Spider-Man action figures has been revealed and it looks like the same very familiar blister pack we’re all accustomed to from DST but they’ve also added side art for those collectors that store their toys sideways (like books) on shelves. This art is meant to be attractive and it helps owners quickly access a given toy just by recognizing the figure in the art.
I guess if you’re actually just not going to pull Spidey out of the box at least the box looks cool. Check out these images:
The great Google+ experiment of 2012 just didn’t work out so we went back to Ustream! Check out this week’s episode where we talk fantasy film ball, GI Joe moved, gay comic book heroes, run into a gender mix up with a listener, wonder about BMW motorcycles and 2 year long erections, and tons more! Check the show out on Stitcher Radio and on iTunes, or download and stream live here by scrolling down a little bit more!
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Featuring Voices by Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, and Will Arnett
Is this Japanese anime adaptation of a famed children’s book series larger than life, or will it make as small an impact as its diminutive stars?
From famed Japanese anime film producer Studio Ghibli (2002’s Academy Award-winning Best Animated Feature Spirited Away), Arrietty and her family of borrowers – a species of miniature people surviving on what they “borrow” – have their lives turned upside down when the young normal-sized boy Shaun discovers the little people during his vacation at his aunt’s country home. Now the borrowers must decide if they can trust the kind Shaun or follow their instinctual fear of humans – or “beans” – and leave the home they love.
A lot of Studio Ghibli films are adaptations, but this is probably the most familiar being from Mary Norton’s classic Borrowers children novel series. The borrowers themselves are faithfully adapted in terms of names and likenesses. What intrigues me in most tales of miniature people in our world is the inventive reusing of human trinkets, and Arrietty doesn’t disappoint. Some neat uses for adhesive tape and ear rings spring to mind.
Arrietty is translated and released in the US by Walt Disney Pictures, as are most other Studio Ghibli films. Disney tends to stock its Ghibli dub casts with Hollywood talent, which aren’t always the best suited for voice work. Thankfully, this cast proves up to the task and does an excellent job. Star talent includes Disney Channel’s Bridgit Mendler as the titular Arrietty, Carol Burnett as the cantankerous maid Hara, and real-life couple Amy Poehler and Will Arnett as Arrietty’s parents Homily and Pod respectively. The names of the human characters are changed in the English adaptation (Sho, Sasako, and Haru become Shaun, Jessica and Hara), but it doesn’t hurt the story.
Ultimately though, the film lacks a sense of accomplishment. The “villain” of the story is an old lady who halfway through goes on a vindictive borrower-napping rampage, her obsessiveness almost out of the blue. Her outburst justifies the borrowers’ fears despite the bonding between the young borrower girl Arrietty and the young human boy Shaun, instead of their friendship overcoming all as would be expected in this kind of family flick.
I’m actually surprised the film doesn’t follow up the more dynamic aspects it introduces to add some action and suspense. Instead, it ends anticlimactically, leaving you wondering if anything of note actually happened.
The Blu-Ray is in 1.85:1 widescreen. It’s a pretty film. Studio Ghibli continues to be a high mark in beautifully drawn and colored animation. Since it’s not a really active film though, some of the superb scenery shots are just static images breaking the animation flow of motion.
The Blu-Ray also includes Dolby Digital 5.1 surround in English, French and original Japanese (with English and French subtitles for Japanese –language purists). It’s all clear, easy to hear. The soundtrack is populated mostly by the Celtic-themed tunes of French singer Cécile Corbel (including the main theme “Arrietty’s Song”). All of these perfectly match the green, lush setting of the country home the film takes place in. Tacked onto the ending credits is Arrietty’s English voice Bridgit Mendler’s generic poppy “Summertime,” which doesn’t fit as well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This release doesn’t have many interesting bonuses. Included are a couple of music videos – one with the calm and soothing Celtic-like “Arrietty’s Song,” and the generic and forgettable pop song “Summertime.” Unfortunately the latter is the one with the “making of” video.
The disc includes storyboards for the film, but instead of appearing in a slide show, they’re presented as an optional replacement to the film’s animation in the main feature. It’s a unique gimmick, to show the film following the original storyboard plans, but it slows down anyone wanting to simply browse the art.
This set also comes with a DVD copy of the film, which only included the “Summertime” music video and its “making of” feature, so skip that disc.
Overall (Not an Average)
I want to like the newer Ghibli movies more than I do, being a fan of earlier films like Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and even Howl’s Moving Castle. But at the end of this family film, I felt that nothing really came out of it. It’s pretty and has a good score, which is great for background noise, but that’s about it.
The Film 7/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
If you’re like me and you always have 15 things to do on free comic book day then you didn’t get any awesome freebies at your local comic book shop. Well if you’re a DC Comics fan and you read your comics digitally you’re in luck! Dc has made their two high profile FCBD books available for download via the DC Comics app! From the Source Blog:
“DC COMICS–THE NEW 52 FCBD SPECIAL EDITION and DC NATION FCBD SUPER SAMPLER/SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES FLIPBOOK. And best of all, the price is exactly the same as it was on FCBD—free!
Whether in print or digital, these are two books you want in your collection. The New 52 FCBD Special Edition boasts an unbelievable creative team and a storyline that leads directly into next year’s major event, “The Trinity Wars.”
It also includes:
A cover by legendary artist Jim Lee, who also illustrated five interior pages—including a gorgeous, four-page gatefold.
An all-new story written by New York Times bestselling author Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Gene Ha and Kenneth Rocafort.
Exclusive preview material from DC COMICS–THE NEW 52 “Second Wave” titles, including BATMAN INCORPORATED, DIAL H, EARTH 2, G.I. COMBAT, THE RAVAGERS and WORLDS’ FINEST.
Meanwhile, the all-ages DC Nation/Superman Family Adventures flipbook includes new kid-friendly stories from GREEN LANTERN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and YOUNG JUSTICE and a preview of the highly anticipated SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES, from the Eisner-winning creative team behind TINY TITANS.”
Get the comics in the DC Comics app now!
Written by:Michael E. Uslan
Chronicle Books LLC
On January 12, 1966 Batman premiered on ABC. The campy irreverent take on the iconic superhero so traumatized a thirteen year old comic book fan that he vowed someday to restore Batman’s reputation by making a dark, serious, Batman movie returning Batman to his pulpy pre code glory. This is that boy’s story.
In many ways Michael Uslan’s boyhood was idyllic yet typical. Like many other kids born in the fifties he grew up in the suburbs with loving parents, an annoying older brother, close friends and twenty thousand comic books in the garage. Okay maybe parts of his childhood weren’t exactly typical. Michael Uslan not only loved comic books, his whole life revolved around them. Luckily he had an understanding Mother who instead of throwing his books out allowed him to hang on to his collection as long as he kept them neatly stacked. On the tragic day that a ten year old Michael learned about inflation, the comics went up from ten cents to twelve, and he had to choose between Superman’s Friend Jimmy Olsen #57 and Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #30 after explaining inflation to him she drove him back out to Wanamassa Pharmacy to pick up that copy of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #30. His father also proved his toleration when the collection grew to fill the family garage. Comics introduced him to his friends. One day in third grade he struck up a conversation with another third grader who told him about a new comic book he had seen with four new superheroes. The kid was a little vague about the details so after school Michael rode his bike to Old Man Tepid’s, the scariest place in Wanamassa for a kid to buy comics. After braving the scowl of Old Man Tepid and checking out the new comic he decided to make his purchase. “You looked at ALL of these! And now they’re ruined boy!” Old Man Tepid howled when he came to the register, there was a reason a ten year old avoided Old Man Tepid’s if at all possible. Michael was intimated by the old grouch into buying all four copies of the new series titled Fantastic Four #1, each one now worth around $50,000. Despite the trauma of dealing with Old Man Tepid, Michael and the kid were best friends from that day on.
Archie Comics informed his expectations for high school, accurate or not. Comics expanded his vocabulary adding useful words like; foe, origin, indestructible and invulnerable. Useful words for an eight year old. Comics allowed him to get an A on his Red Badge of Courage book report never having cracked the book, he had read the Classics Illustrated comic book version. Paying close attention to detail could also be rewarding, beyond the pleasure of knowing Batman’s butler Alfred’s last name, both of them, spotting such “boo boo’s” could get your name in the letters to the editor just pages away from Batman or Superman. It wasn’t all diversion and escapism, reading the story The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent where Clark Kent’s foster parents die just before Superman is moving from Smallville to Metropolis Michael contemplated how parents did not fare well in the comics. All dead; Batman’s parents, Robin’s parents, Superman’s parents and now foster parents, Spiderman’s parents and his Uncle Ben, and the list goes on. It wasn’t pleasant facing the fact that one day his parents too would pass. Of all the comic book titles one stood out. At around eight Superman began to pale. His very invulnerability made him less interesting. On the other hand Batman’s stories were the more powerful because of his humanity. If he got stabbed he bled. When he went up against a super-villain all he had were his wits and will and of course some select gadgets from his tool belt. Here was a man who upon seeing his mother and father murdered before his own eyes vowed not only to catch the bad guys who killed his parents, he vowed to catch all the bad guys, heady stuff for an eight year old.
Michael did not grow out of comic books as he got older. His fascination just grew. When Michael and his friends found fanzines, they plugged into a network of people who loved comics just as much as they did. Michael not only read the books and discussed them with his friends, as a teenager he managed to meet and correspond with some of the legends of comics like Otto Binder and C.C. Beck. He attended the first ComicCon in New York City with two hundred rabid fans. By the time he graduated high school his collection was up to 30,000 comic books. While attending the University of Indiana he organized and taught the first accredited college course in comic books and worked for DC during the summer. He even accomplished one of his dreams by actually getting to write Batman stories. While attending law school instead of studying after class he was writing scripts for issues of The Shadow. When he couldn’t find a job in the entertainment industry after college he decided to go to law school not because he wanted to be a lawyer but he figured entertainment law was a way he could get into the movie business through the backdoor. Just writing for DC wasn’t enough he was still on a mission to make that dark, serious Batman movie. Which after many twists and turns he did.
The Boy Who Loved Batman is written in a light conversational style. Reading it feels like you are sitting across the table with Michael sharing a pizza and some beers. If you’re looking for a blow by blow timeline of how the Burton and Nolan movies came to be this is not the book for you. The Boy Who Loved Batman is Michael’s story, how he came to be in a position to get those movies made. It’s a fun and inspiring read. Just looking at a list of Michael’s accomplishments it may seem as if he’s lead a charmed life, but once you know the details you see how any luck Michael had is luck he made through will power and hard work. After reading The Boy Who Loved Batman I felt like I too could accomplish anything if I could just keep plugging away at it.
That’s right, you’re seeing it, we’re broadcasting live right here! You can also find this show live on CulturesmashTV on youtube or you can join us to chat over on google plus! Just look up Culture Smash! If you missed the live show, you can see the video on youtube or get the audio podcast from iTunes!! The preshow starts at 6 pm Central!
With all of the focus these days being on videogames and multimedia entertainment it’s actually nice to see companies still working to innovate the good ol’ outside games. There’s still something to be said about getting out in the sun with friends or family and playing some games in person. With that in mind we’re checking out RingStix.
Explaining how to play RingStix is simple, mastering it is another story. Each player has two stix that look sort of like curved swords. You drop the small ring onto the two swords and push the swords together. Pick a direction and quickly pull the swords apart and watch the ring fly. Your opponent then attempts to catch the ring on one or both of their swords. That’s really all there is to it. The thing is that it’s quite difficult to properly execute more than once or twice. The ring is slim and small and looks really subtle flying through the air. It ends up being a small target to try and catch on the end of a stick. It’s not impossible but it takes a good amount of time investment to get it right. This isn’t the game you take outside for a fun afternoon with people who have never played it before. What you’ll end up with is an afternoon of helping them figure out how to master the game.
On the other hand, if you have a group who has taken the time to learn how to play the game, how to toss and catch the ring, it’s actually quite an innovative little game. You can play it in your yard, at the beach, basically anywhere you’d take a Frisbee. Some good hand eye coordination and even some general sports skills will be a great plus to enjoying this game too. I took the game out with a couple of friends to give it a go and the below video shows how it all went down:
The stix are well made as is the ring. They’re hard plastic and fairly rugged. Now the packaging promises that the ring glows. We had very little luck making that happen. The set comes with a convenient carrying bag to keep it organized.
Overall RingStix is innovative and has potential with future iterations and updates that would make it just a little easier to play. At this point only fairly skilled outside gamers need apply.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Game 6/10
Build Quality 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
Marvel’s Avengers set more records with its second week on the big screen and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down! Dark Shadows was new this week and it made a few bucks and garnered a horrible 42% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes so there’s no competition there. Will the board game brought to life Battleship stand a chance against Marvel’s super team?
Here are this week’s actual numbers:
|Niko||$ 29,685,274.00 -|
|Hector||$ 29,685,274.00 -|
|Weeks||Zack P||$ -|
|1||Dark Shadows||$ 29,,685,274|
|1||Men in Black III 3D|
|1||Snow White & the Hutsman|
|1||Jack the Giant Killer|
|1||Rock of Ages|
|1||That’s My Boy|
|1||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter|
|1||Sneaking a Friend of the End of the World|
|1||GI Joe: Retaliation|
|1||Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection|
|1||The Amazing Spider-Man|
|1||Ice Age: Continental Drift|
|1||The Dark Knight Rises|
|1||Step Up: Revolution|
|1||The Bourne Legacy|
|1||Diary of a Wimpy Kid: dog Days|
|1||The Expendables 2|
Directed: by Jon Knautz
Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Trevor Matthews
I really wish someone (not named Joss Whedon) would write a good horror movie.
The Shrine tells the story of newspaper reporter Carmen (Cindy Sampson). She stumbles across a case where a local backpacker has gone missing in Europe and wants to pursue the lead. So along with her assistant Sara (Meghan Heffern) and her photographer boyfriend Marcus (Aaron Ashmore) she sets off for Poland on an unapproved trip to find the truth. Once there they find a small rustic town with a mysterious fog hanging over a certain part of the forest. Then for the next hour the writer and director rips off The Exorcist, The Village, The Gate, Evil Dead and too many other movies to name here.
There are so many problems with this movie I just don’t know where to start. First off, when they get to the town almost no one speaks English but we never get subtitles for what is being said. In and of itself this isn’t a problem but late in the movie there is a good chunk of the dialogue that is in Polish (I’m assuming) and it is a bit hard to figure out what is going on. Also there is a scene when the three leads walk into the forest and find the fog. The two females both walk into the fog and reemerge with stunned looks. It is eventually revealed that they both saw the same statue and we are to assume that just the sight of this statue leaves them speechless. May be, however both actresses play this as flat as a pancake and their blank stares do not reflect awe as much as dead behind the eyes. The only thing worse is the explanation for the fog covered shrine, “It’s our curse.” The end.
I used to love horror movies. When I was a kid there were plenty of low budget horror movies that held my fascination. Then everyone decided they could write one and many, many small studios popped up allowing said movies to be made. And I’m glad that the technology is available and affordable so that some real innovation can happen outside of the studio system but that also lends to a lot of would be Wes Cravens trying to film their “vision.” Most of these movies are poorly written and acted but somehow they got distribution.
The Shrine falls into this category. But unlike the B-movies from the past this movie just doesn’t have any of the true horror or any other emotion to drive it along. Too often it relies on gore or thread bare horror movie clichés as substitutes for real horror. The Shrine is not alone in this as most of today’s movies depend on the audience to have a memory cache of horror movie tropes already implanted in their minds so that the “homage” or callback to an older movie will justify lazy writing (they didn’t even give the three leads last names). Don’t get me wrong, there are some good horror movies being made these days but by in large most of them fall well short of the mark. The Shrine is no exception.
16:9 aspect ratio and standard definition is so so. I’ve seen far worse but in these days of blu-ray and HD televisions watching a standard definition disc is like trying to listen to an old cassette copy of Led Zeppelin IV after the onset of CD.
The Dolby Digital stereo leave a lot to be desired. The sound mixing is low and sometimes the dialogue is almost impossible to understand.
The Packaging and Special Features
This is really a bare bones release, standard clamshell packaging and no real special features. Commentary, Behind-the scenes footage and the original theatrical trailer are all that is offered here. And none of these are worth the time to view.
I really do long for some original ideas in the horror genre. If you want to see a fresh take go see Cabin in the Woods. If you want to see a stale, under acted movie that was shelved for two years watch The Shrine. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10
The Movie 3/10
The Video 4/10
The Audio 2/10
The Packaging and Special Features 2/10
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring David Arquette, Salma Hayek, and William Sadler
Rodriguez describes the film in the commentary as Happy Days for the first 75 minutes and Fonzie snapping with a shotgun in the last 10. Except, Fonzie’s not a self-destructive and pretentious ass, and Happy Days has likeable characters, so that doesn’t work at all.
Dude (played by David Arquette and not to be confused with THE Dude) is a small-town greaser in the 1950s, clashing with other switchblade-wielding greasers and constantly at odds with the hard-ass sheriff (William Sadler). Dude’s girl Donna (Salma Hayek) keeps trying to get Dude to do something with his life and pursue his music, but Dude just can’t stay tied down. He’s got to rebel against the system, against society, against the girlfriend trying to tame him.
The film is part of a series of 1950s period pieces for the Showtime network. It’s Robert Rodriguez’s first Hollywood production, fresh off El Mariachi, taking several of his quick, one-man-crew tricks with him. The film is well made, that’s for sure. The shots and editing is good. It consistently flows and actually remembers how much ammunition a gun can hold (not true for a lot of movies). The acting is good. It’s the actual story and the written characters where the film flounders.
Dude really is a rebel without a cause, in that I don’t really get any motivation out of him other than being a self-involved jerk. He has some daddy issues to give him a push to make something out of his life, but he doesn’t try that either. He’s rude and lewd when there’s no call, cares more for being his own man than for his friend or girlfriend. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers references (with cameo from Kevin McCarthy) try to play on Dude’s anti-conformist nature, but he’s trying too hard at it that it comes off as pretentious. David Arquette does a good job playing Dude, but he’s playing a character I don’t care about. Pretty sad for the focus of the film.
And the hair grease, I don’t know why, but it just looks disgusting. At least it pays off with the funniest part of the film at the skating rink.
There’s no catching ending or thrilling action. The movie is well made, but it’s just not captivating. Most of the characters are hard to connect to, and those who aren’t don’t get enough attention. The few high points it has where Dude outwits the others aren’t enough to save it.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, with 1080p high definition. Really though, the Blu-Ray release doesn’t add anything noticeable. Rodriguez did re-color the film for home video, and the colors are vivid. The actual footage though doesn’t have that Blu-Ray pop of clarity, and some scenes are downright blurry thanks to poor zoom-ins.
The audio is all English, with 5.1 and 2.0 stereo, and it’s clear enough. The soundtrack is pretty fitting, with a lot of period early rock songs performed by Johnny Reno, who also played the head of the band in the film. There’s a weird clip from The Shadow radio shows added into the score, which doesn’t fit, but I can still appreciate it.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
If you look at this box and see Sin City, a more famous Robert Rodriguez film, you’d fall into the same trap I did. The cover puts stars Arquette and Hayek in black and white, except for Hayek’s red dress and lips. The back similarly mutes all the colors except red. Roadracers is not like Sin City, so don’t get your hopes up. (There’s also not a lot of roadracing either, but that’s a different story)
Bonuses are limited to audio commentary with Robert Rodriguez, and a 10-minute behind-the-scenes “film school” with Rodriguez. The commentary and the film school feature are really the only reason to own this at all. Not because they’re amazing, but because they showcase a prominent director who really is proficient at several aspects of movie making. The audience gets to see the process as he learned as well in making a Hollywood production on short time and cash and how to pull that through.
Overall (Not an Average)
One of the main reasons Robert Rodriguez says he did the film was simply to get Salma Hayek an English acting credit so the studio would let him cast her in Desperado. That level of directorial interest doesn’t speak highly. This film is a much better study piece on working with little time and cash, learning what tricks and tips to use. Beyond that, with its unlikeable characters that never seem to learn anything, it’s not worthwhile.
The Film 3/10
The Video 4/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10
So there wasn’t a lot to say about Fantasy Film week but we discuss the awesomeness that is Marvel’s Avengers! We also hit on Machete 2, Netflix reviving Jericho, a subsidized XBOX 360, Comics, and yeah the whole zombie penis thing. Finally, what city in the U.S. is the most porn addicted? We have the answer and we discuss!
So finally, after some unexpected delays the final episode of Culture Smash focusing on Toy Fair 2012 is live!! In this episode Victoria checks out the Walking Dead board game, the latest from Wiz Kids games, she flies or tries to fly an RC helicopter, and she punches stuff! It’s not over though, we’re bringing you additional extended scenes, bloopers, and much more from these three episodes over the coming weeks. So stay tuned! Scroll down and check out this episode or click it from the sidebar on the right!
Starring: Rebecca De Mornay, Jamie King, Shawn Ashmore
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
The release date on IMDB says 2010 for this film but we’re just now getting it on Blu-Ray. There was a little bit of buzz around this film during its production because you had the creator of the Saw franchise taking on a remake of one of the truly most nihilistic films ever made. Surely the man that was behind all of those bloody traps in Saw would have the wherewithal to truly bring us something horrific. Mother’s Day seemed like a film that was ripe for a remake from my standpoint. I prefer to see bad films that had the spark of something great get remade and see that spark cultivated rather than see a great film tarnished with a subpar remake. If it’s possible, the original Mother’s Day has been tarnished.
The original film followed the exploits of a mother and her inbreed sons as they drug unsuspecting campers into their horrific world simply for the pleasure of the mother. Girls that the brothers caught were treated as literal playthings and the boys would play with their toys as their mother directed. The film was cheap and the execution of much of it is fairly basic but it all played together into something that was truly disturbing at the time of its release. The film was made by the brother of Lloyd Kauffman (owner of Troma films) and it worked better than any of his brother’s projects.
This remake is connected with the film in name only, well other than one little wink at the audience. In this film the brothers have been separated from their mother and after a botched robbery they have to go into hiding. They head home only to learn that their mother has sold their house and she is in an RV with their sister. The new occupants are a group of young people who the brothers have now taken hostage. Eventually the mother and sister regroup with the brothers at the house and they set out to concoct a plan to assemble enough money to get out of the country.
In the meantime the family torments their hostages and forces one of them that happens to be a doctor to help a wounded brother. It sounds weird to type this but the torture in the film wasn’t meaningful enough. It feels placed in the film at extremely random points just to try and make the film feel edgy. At its heart this film is no more than a simple by the numbers suspense drama with a couple of ok actors delivering bland and uninspired dialogue. The mother sometimes seems to take no pleasure in the torture and then suddenly she kind of does seem to like it. Nothing makes sense, and not in that these people are crazy kind of way. It falls flat due to weak writing and execution and no amount of “these people are crazy” works in this case. It did work however in the original film. At least in that film the villains had a singular vision and purpose, even if it was all gross.
The widescreen HD presentation has that low budget indie look to it probably due to tighter budget and the claustrophobic sets but at the same time the presentation is clean and the colors are quite well represented on the disc. The image does get a little murky outside in the dark but not to a terrible degree. Overall it’s a good enough looking film.
The studio is a fairly basic presentation with surrounds getting some time but dialogue often coming off just a little soft in places. You’ll ride the remote a little with this one, just a little.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The film is packaged in a standard slim blu-ray case with De Mornay larger on the cover and the others leads listed. It’s not inspiring, much like the film.
A feature audio commentary is a must for most films. It offers up the deep behind the scenes information from those closest to the film. It makes a great companion to the featurettes. Wait, it makes a great companion. Well, there aren’t any featurettes or anything else really, just the commentary. While it’s a good listen some interviews and behind the scenes footage were required to round this presentation out.
Mother’s Day isn’t just a poor excuse for a remake it’s a poor excuse for a movie. Mother is definitely not pleased….
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10
The Movie 3/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average) 3/10