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Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Blood, Violence and Babes

A B-Movie Holy Grail by John Allman

If you’ve surfed the DVR pay-per-view options and seen a bunch of movies that you’ve never heard of, chances are John has watched them. Why? He loves movies. All kinds of movies. Good, bad, so-bad-they’re good, even the truly unwatchable ones. He mostly loves horror and science-fiction and drive-in exploitation movies that most upstanding model citizens wouldn’t dare watch. Then he writes up his thoughts so you can decide - watch, don’t watch or avoid at all costs. Sometimes he even gets to talk to the cool folks who make some of your favorite films.

‘Ghostbusters 3’ gets release date, ‘SNL’ heavy cast

TBO.com staff

It took a couple decades to get a third “Ghostbusters” film off the ground, but things seem to be moving along quickly since Paul Feig (“The Heat,” “Bridesmaids) signed on to direct with an all-female cast in late 2014.

Feig Tweeted on Tuesday that the cast will include “Bridesmaids” co-stars Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, along with current “Saturday Night Live” stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. With Wiig being an SNL alum, Feig is going heavy on the sketch comedy players past and present.

Feig also tweeted that the movie will hit theaters July 22, 2016, the date that will finally bring to an end to the sad, sad, 25-year absence in our lives of movies about people who bust ghosts.

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Here’s the early ‘Poop’ on Oscar nominations

Published:   |   Updated: January 15, 2015 at 11:28 AM
By Kim MacCormack

Another day in January, another Oscars nominations announcement.

The surprises were few, few gasps heard, well except when academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced that “Dick Poop, uh, Pope” was nominated for cinematography in “Mr. Turner.”

Enjoy your 10 minutes of fame, Mr. Pope, and look for your big basket of fruit that surely will be delivered to your office forthwith.

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2014 — The Year in Boxed Sets and Best Discs

John W. Allman

Every year, film studios and their distribution arms prepare for the holiday shopping season by readying must-have collections and impressive boxed sets of classic television, films and more for shoppers to gobble up just in time for home viewing.

Here’s a look at the best offerings released in late 2014. Each of these titles is available online or in retail stores, many for considerably less than the retail price.


1 – The Wonder Years: The Complete Series

Studio: StarVista Entertainment

Retail: $249.95

Specs: 26 discs

Format: DVD

Summary: By far, the most expansive collector’s set released in 2014, this gorgeous collection comes packaged in a replica metal high school locker designed after Kennedy Junior High with two notebooks filled with detailed episode information, photos, a replica yearbook, custom magnets and more.

2 – Secret Agent: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $79.97

Specs: 17 discs, 3,440 minutes

Format: DVD

3 – Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $129.99

Specs: 16 discs, 38 hours

Format: DVD

4 – Sgt. Bilko: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $129.99

Specs: 20 discs, 49 hours

Format: DVD

5 – WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $139.99

Specs: 13 discs, 37.5 hours

Format: DVD

6 – Annie Oakley: The Complete TV Collection

Studio: VCI Entertainment

Retail: $99.99

Specs: 11 discs, 36 hours

Format: DVD

7 – The Merv Griffin Show: 1962-1986

Studio: MPI

Retail: $129.98

Specs: 12 discs

Format: DVD

8 – Mister Ed: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $139.99

Specs: 22 discs, 58 hours

Format: DVD

9 – M Squad: The Complete Series

Studio: Timeless Media

Retail: $79.97

Specs: 16 discs, 3,066 minutes

Format: DVD

10 – The Jeffersons: The Complete Series – The Deee-Luxe Edition

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $229.99

Specs: 33 discs, 74 hours

Format: DVD


1 – Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series

Studio: Paramount

Retail: $129.99

Specs: 15 discs, 40 hours

Format: DVD

Summary: The best cult TV offering in 2014, sadly because of star Robin Williams’ untimely passing.

2 – Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series

Studio: BBC

Retail: $89.98

Specs: 4 discs, 586 minutes

Format: Blu-Ray

3 – The Sopranos: The Complete Series

Studio: HBO

Retail: $279.98

Specs: 28 discs, 83 hours

Format: Blu-Ray

4 – Reno 911! The Complete Series

Studio: Paramount

Retail: $45.98

Specs: 14 discs, 1,945 minutes

Format: DVD

5 – Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $149.99

Specs: 8 discs, 19 hours

Format: Blu-Ray

6 – Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1-6

Studio: A&E Home Video

Retail: $99.98

Specs: 23 discs, 69 hours

Format: DVD

7 – True Blood: The Complete Series

Studio: HBO

Retail: $249.99

Specs: 33 discs, 80 hours

Format: DVD


1 – Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition

Studio: Shout! Factory

Retail: $79.97

Specs: 3 discs

Format: Blu-Ray

Summary: Finally, the definitive version of Clive Barker’s 1990 adaptation of his novella, “Cabal,” is released with nearly 40 minutes of new, never-before-seen footage reinserted into a digitally-enhanced transfer. The collectible set comes with new artwork, a collectible book of photos and essays and two versions of the film, including the theatrical release.

2 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Studio: MPI

Retail: $99.98

Specs: 5 discs

Format: Blu-Ray

Summary: This amazing set comes packaged in an extendable Black Maria transport truck with a 40th Anniversary theatrical mini-poster, bloody Leatherface apron, bonus disc of new material and more.

GEEK HEAVEN: The Best Blu-Rays and DVDs of 2014

Best Guilty Pleasure – Nurse 3D

Best High Definition Upgrade – Sorcerer

Best Horror Movie – You’re Next

Best Action Movie – Raze

Best Documentary – Jodorowsky’s Dune

Best Cult Classic (Old) – Ms. 45

Best Cult Classic (New) – Cheap Thrills

Best 3D Movie – Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Remake – We Are What We Are

Best Zombie Movie – Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Best Art House (Foreign) – You and the Night

Best Art House (Domestic) – Under the Skin

Best Vampire Movie – Only Lovers Left Alive

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for October to December

Published:   |   Updated: December 30, 2014 at 03:59 PM
John W. Allman

Death is a weird thing. It doesn't heed holidays. It cares little for family relationships. It just shows up, bullying through the door like a drunk at a fraternity party, and refuses to take no for an answer.

I lost my mother on Wednesday, Nov. 26, almost a month to the day after she had been diagnosed with uterine cancer. The cancer didn't kill her. A freak complication from surgery did. Not that such specifics matter when something so awful occurs. Gone is gone, and she died with me and my father each holding one of her hands.

Death puts some things in perspective, and it saps your enthusiasm for others. My ability to constructively evaluate movies, for instance, went out the window for several weeks. It still hasn't officially returned full force, but it's getting there. Some new releases I simply couldn't watch due to subject matter. Surprisingly, zombie movies seemed the perfect remedy to speed about mental decompression.

What follows is a (very) truncated version of the typical BVB: Blood, Violence and Babes weekly column that has been on hiatus since mid-October when I first got the news that my mother wasn't feeling well at all.

To simplify things best, the first titles you will find under each date are the best genre offerings of that particular week with one brief review of my favorite or least favorite release. Below those first titles is a list of everything else that came out that might be of interest. By January 2015, hopefully, things will return closer to normal with the usual weekly ramblings about weird, wild and completely ridiculous movies that offer a brief, but needed, respite from the horrors of the real world. Until then...

October 14, 2014: "You and the Night" (Strand Releasing, 92 minutes, Unrated, DVD): A French new-wave mashup of “The Hunger,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Shortbus,” featuring a stellar score by M83, “You and the Night” is an unflinchingly brave gothic tale of ancient creatures desperately holding onto youth, hosting an orgy to satiate their need to feed on human emotion and energy, that becomes a character study of thrown-together misfits learning how to interact as social peers. It's weird, erotic, filled with flesh and pulsating with life. It's one of the best imports you need to see this year.

X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Devil's Business, Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise, Witching and Bitching, Chemical Peel Also Available: Mystery Road, Nothing Bad Can Happen, 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Third Season, A Golden Christmas Triple Feature, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1 The Last Supper Beneath the Harvest Sky Yu-Gi-Oh! The Complete Set, Cartoon Network Hall of Fame: Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season Two, The Good Witch Collection, Persecuted, The Equation of Life, Locked In, Venus in Fur, Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season, Throwdown, Devil's Deal, Pawn Stars: A Very Vegas Christmas Special, Chinese Puzzle, Whitey: United States of America Vs. James J. Bulger, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo – A Very Boo Christmas

October 21, 2014: "Snowpiercer" (Anchor Bay, 126 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Beautiful, haunting, breathtaking and bone-crunching, “Snowpiercer” is unlike any post-apocalyptic film you've ever seen, presenting a class war on aboard a speeding train with each car representing a different caste system and some filled with visual spectacle that you just don't find in most modern films today. An instant classic. \

The Purge: Anarchy, Play Hooky, See No Evil 2, Life After Beth, Also Available: Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series, Sex Tape, Mobiliz,e The Soul Man: The Complete Second Season, Mad Men: The Final Season, Part 1, Duck Dynasty: Seasons 4-6 Gift Set, The Red SkeletonShow: The Early Years, 1951-1955, Billy Crystal 700 Sundays, Annie Oakley: The Complete Series, The Fluffy Movie, A Letter to Momo, Satellite Le, Chef

October 28, 2014: "Nightbreed: The Director's Cut" (Shout! Factory, 121 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Clive Barker's most personal film finally gets the definitive version that fans have been clamoring for, complete with 18 minutes of never-before-seen footage reinserted and enhanced to today's high-definition clarity. This is the Median you've been waiting to visit.

Deliver Us from Evil, LFO, Squirm: Collector's Edition, Beneath Grace: The Possession. Also Available: Freefall, Begin Again, Wish I Was Here, Life of Crime, A Most Wanted Man, Good People, Bound by Flesh, America: Imagine the World Without Her, Child of Godv The Prince, The Reckoning, WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series.

November 4, 2014: "Maleficent" (Disney, 97 minutes, PG, Blu-Ray): A commercial success but a creative meh, “Maleficent” starts strong, gets muddled by an incomprehensible middle and concludes with dragons and visual effects aplenty.

The Taking of Deborah Logan Also Available: Hercules 3D, The Sopranos: The Complete Series Blu-Ray, Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show – The Complete Series, M Squad: The Complete Series, Step Up All In, Holiday Family Classics John Denver: The Christmas Gift, The Dog, Lifetime Holiday Triple Feature, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, Birds of Paradise, Little House on the Prairie: A Merry Ingalls Christmas, Perry Mason Movie Collection Double Features, The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition, The Merv Griffin Show: 1962-1986, The One I Love, Reno 911! The Complete Series, The Exes: Seasons 1 & 2, Frontera Premature, Impractical Jokers: The Complete Second Season,

November 11, 2014: "The House at the End of Time" (MPI, 101 minutes, Unrated, DVD): A simple haunted house tale becomes so much more in this breathtaking genre film that plays with the paranormal and time travel without ever missing a beat. I loved it.

S.O.B. – Summer of Blood, El Desierto (The Desert), The Damned, True Blood: The Complete Series, Demons, Demons 2 Also Available: The Doctor and the Devils, We Could Be King, Mondo, Cannibal In the Land of the Cannibals, Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions, Covert Operation, Once Upon a Time in Queens, UHF: 25th Anniversary Edition, The Compleat Al Patema Inverted Welcome to the Space Show, Nocturna, Dear Secret Sant,a Duck Dynasty: Duck the Halls, Jersey Boys, Happy Christmas, Dolls: Collector's Edition, Roots & Branches: 5 Elements, Qi Gong, Iceman, Getting On: The Complete First Season, I Am Santa Claus, Liberty: Heroes of the American Revolution, Gingerclown, Tammy, Deepsea Challenge 3D, I Am Ali, Ancient Aliens: The Complete Seasons 1-6 

November 18, 2014: "22 Jump Street" (Sony, 112 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): As unnecessary sequels go, at least “22 Jump Street” had the smarts to play up the fact that it's basically the same movie as “21 Jump Street,” just with a bigger budget. The only problem – they forgot to actually make it consistently funny from beginning to end.

Into the Storm, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Automata. Also Available: 20,000 Days on Earth, Reclaim The Dark Half, Monkey Shines, Brazilian Western Women of the Bible, Saban's Power Rangers, Megaforce: Robo Knight, Before Christmas, As the Light Goes Out, Wolf Blood: Season Two, Legends of the Knight, Ragnarok, Breaking Amish: Season 2 

November 25, 2014 "Shock Waves" (Blue Underground, 85 minutes, PG, Blu-Ray): Old-school Nazi zombies done the right way in this 1977 cult classic.

The Expendables 3 Also Available: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Turkey Day Collection, What If, The Giver, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection, Nyphomaniac Vol. I & Vol. II: Extended Director's Cut, San Francisco Giants World Series Collector's Edition 

December 2, 2014: "As Above/So Below" (Universal, 93 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): As found footage goes, “As Above/So Below” is actually a damn good little thriller with plenty of spooks, just enough jump scares and a bevy of claustrophobic unease. If only it would have ended 10 minutes sooner. A super lame ending to an otherwise solid genre thriller nearly undermines your appreciation for the 83 minutes of tense, taunt thrills that preceded it.

Justified: The Complete Fifth Season Also Available: Martial Arts Double Feature: Kung Fu Girl/Whiplash, Brandon Lee: Legacy of Rage, Be Fit in 30, Extreme Gutshot Straight, Speak No Evil, Cantinflas, WWE Power Series: Triple H, WWE Fit Series: Stephanie McMahon, Scream Factory Double Feature: Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror, The Congress, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: 75th Anniversary, Happy Days: The Sixth Season, Gunsmoke: The Eleventh Season, Star Trek The Next Generation: Season Seven, Star Trek The Next Generation: All Good Things, Perry Mason Movie Collection Double Features

December 9, 2014: "Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead" (Well Go USA, 100 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Hands down the best Nazi zombie film since, well, “Dead Snow,” and a superior sequel in every way. This is the Nazi zombie equivalent of “Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn.” It's fast, funny as hell, gory beyond belief and gonzo enough to make necrophilia seem like a perfect ending. You will absolutely love this movie, guaranteed.

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears Also Available: Mister Ed: The Complete Series, The Dark Place, The Jeffersons: The Complete Series – The Deee-Luxe Edition, Hart to Hart: The Complete Third Season, Secret Agent: The Complete Series, RWBY: Volume 2, Por Siempre Mi Amor, Jingle Bell Rocks, Saban's Power Rangers, Super Megaforce: Earth Fights Back, Exodus: The Real Story, In Search of Aliens: Season One, Frank, Dolphin Tale 2, Walker: Texas Ranger – The Road to Black Bayou, Under the Dome: Season 2, Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series, Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series

December 16, 2014: "At the Devil's Door" (IFC Midnight, 95 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): It starts strong and then goes to hell, literally and creatively. A prime example of how an attempt to improve upon a well-trodden genre can produce subpar results.

Cam2Cam, Lord of Illusions: Collector's Edition. Also Available: The Skeleton Twins, Drunk History: Seasons 1 & 2, The Devil's Hand, This is Where I Leave You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D, Stonehearst Asylum, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, Extant: The First Season, Hi-8: Horror Independent 8, Dominion: Season One 

December 23, 2014: "Sanatorium 7," Assassins Traffickers, The Good Lie, The Trip to Italy

December 30, 2014: "Tusk" (Lionsgate, 102 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): It's so rare that I really have trouble finding the proper adjectives for how much I loathed Kevin Smith's latest, “Tusk.” It's rare because typically if I really like a director, and I have been a fan of Smith's work since his first film, I can usually find some redeeming quality to tip a not-great movie over the line into passable entertainment territory. Not this time. Any goodwill generated in the opening 20 minutes or so, which wasn't bad, is completely squandered by Smith as soon as the diabolical plot at the heart of his second “horror” film is revealed. The whole thing just falls to hell. Michael Parks' inspired performance is wasted. And literally, the only upside to the entire fiasco is that Justin Long is rendered unable to speak for the second half of the film. That's how unlikeable his character is. You honestly want him to become a walrus just so he shuts up.

The Equalizer. Also Available: The Brittany Murphy Story, Banshee: The Complete Second Season, Que Pobres Tan Ricos, Reach Me, Elsa & Fred, Red vs. Blue: Season 12

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