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Monday, Dec 22, 2014

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.

Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Oct. 7

Published:   |   Updated: October 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Here's what's new in stores and on video shelves this week:

Edge of Tomorrow

Genre: Science Fiction

Directed by: Doug Liman

Run time: 113 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Format: 3D Blu-Ray

The Lowdown: Imagine if you had to relive the same day over and over, but unlike “Groundhog Day” where you only made a fool of yourself, in your little slice of personal hell, the day you kept returning to was the one where you died the most awful death imaginable at the hands of an alien race invading our planet.

“Edge of Tomorrow” is trippy, head-screw science fiction at its best. It's wholly original, even if based on a Japanese manga called “All You Need is Kill,” and it also was the second-best movie of the summer behind “Guardians of the Galaxy,” even if audiences avoided it in droves likely because of star Tom Cruise.

This is actually one of Cruise's best roles, ever. It encapsulates everything that people love about Cruise in one single performance – the charm, the hero's bravado, the smirking snark – and if you hate Cruise, it highlights him dying about 50 or more ways that are incredibly creative and unexpectedly funny. This is the second sci-fi epic starring Cruise that I thoroughly enjoyed even if audiences didn't seem to agree. I thought “Oblivion” was a blast, but “Edge of Tomorrow” is undeniably better.

It's fast-paced, whip-smart and it features a female protagonist in Emily Blunt who is every bit as badass as Cruise when it comes to blowing up alien bad guys. This is a solid must-see.

The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes. Nudity – No. Gore – Yes. Drug use – No. Bad Guys/Killers – Damn aliens. Buy/Rent – Buy it. Blu-Ray Bonus Features – Multiple featurettes, deleted scenes

Sharknado: The Second One – Extended Version (Asylum Home Entertainment, 95 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): If a bad CGI Syfy-original movie about sharks whirling inside a tornado can rejuvenate Ian Ziering's career, why wouldn't every B, C and D-list celebrity imaginable not want to appear in the sequel. That seems to be the main reason for “Sharknado: The Second One” even existing: The wealth of cameos that occupy your time while Ziering single-handedly tries to save New York from shark devastation. The best two cameos, hands down, are Robert Hays as an airline pilot (Hays starred in the great spoof, “Airplane!”), and Judd Hirsch as a taxi driver (Hirsch starred in the great sitcom, “Taxi”). Here's a little taste of everyone else who appears: Downtown Julie Brown, Billy Ray Cyrus, Robert Klein, Perez Hilton, Mark McGrath, Biz Markie, Kurt Angle, Pepa, Andy Dick, Jared Fogle, Kelly Osbourne. And that's not all. “Sharknado: The Second One” is an awful movie, no doubt. It's not even a campy spoof, which might justify its awfulness. It feels just like so many other unnecessary sequels that used to get pumped out, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, when most of the cameo stars were last relevant, and that's a damn shame.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (Universal, 116 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Funny, very funny, but much like “Ted,” the first live-action film from animation king Seth MacFarlane, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” can't sustain its kinetic energy for nearly two hours. The best gags are the early ones when MacFarlane goes an multiple rants about the perils of living in the Old West and just how awful it truly must have been. Still, this is definitely worth a watch, particularly for Sarah Silverman's inspired turn as a hooker with a heart of gold and a sailor's filthy mouth.

Nekromantik: Special Edition (Cult Epics, 80 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): German writer-director Jörg Buttgereit earned his cult status honestly when, in 1988, he made “Nekromantik,” which was subsequently banned in numerous countries due to its graphic and lurid depictions of necrophilia, animal cruelty and psychosexual debauchery. The film, long revered as an underground cult classic by gore-loving film fanatics, is finally making its high-definition, Blu-Ray debut, courtesy of distributor Cult Classics, and unlike other recent, previously-banned releases like “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Snuff,” “Nekromantik” is actually watchable despite the many ways it tries mightily to make viewers turn away. The film is gross, over the top and packed with imagery that would make most people immediately eject the disc and destroy it on principle alone, but it's not necessarily the most shocking film you've ever seen (I'm looking squarely at you, A Serbian Film). But it's still an exploitation film at heart, and not some demonic film reel meant to brainwash impressionable viewers and turn them into Satan worshiping, corpse loving deviants. Even better, included on the disc's impressive litany of special features is a dusted-off 35mm copy of Buttgereit's earlier work, “Hot Love,” which is essentially a romantic comedy that morphs into a gory zombie splatterfest.

Also Available: The Wonder Years: The Complete Series Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition Crimson Winter 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection – Vol. #5 Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season The Legend of Lizzie Borden Bates Motel: Season Two Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 4 Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season In the Flesh: The Complete Season 2 Afterlife: Season Two The Wonder Years: Season One Obvious Child To Be Takei Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart Doc Holliday's Revenge Adventures of the Wilderness Family: Triple Feature Houdini Duck Dynasty: Season 6 Ancient Aliens: Season 6, Volume 1 The Good Witch's Charm School Dance

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Tuesday, Sept. 30

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 12:03 PM
John W. Allman

Leprechaun: Origins

Genre: Horror/Sequel

Directed by: Zach Lipovsky

Run time: 90 minutes

Rating: R

Format: Blu-Ray

The Lowdown: Seriously, this is what WWE Studios does with the cult-classic “Leprechaun” franchise? They dumb it down to its base elements – a bunch of unlikable young adults, backpacking in Ireland, upsetting the locals and coming face to face with…whatever IT is, it's not Warwick Davis, and that fact alone dooms “Leprechaun: Origins” from jump.

People enjoyed the Leprechaun movies for a reason, and the biggest, littlest reason was Davis and his corny quips. Whether he was in space, in the hood or staring down Jennifer Anniston, Davis never failed to say something that caused a smile to break out on fan faces.

When you strip away that asset, all you're left with is a routine, ho-hum horror movie that will likely find second life on FearNet.com. Seriously, this is whoa, bad.

The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Not hot enough. Nudity – No. Gore – Not enough. Drug use – No. Bad Guys/Killers – Dylan Postl, the WWE wrestler, as the savage leprechaun. Yes, I giggled writing that.

Buy/Rent –Neither.

Delivery: The Beast Within (Salient Media, 89 minutes, Unrated, DVD): “Delivery: The Beast Within” is the first found footage movie to completely embrace the Bravo network's template for reality television with an opening sequence, splashy title cards announcing each new location and all-too familiar confessional-style footage. The problem here is that “Delivery: The Beast Within” keeps tipping its hat to future events.

In the first 20 minutes, you learn that the “stars” of this particular reality show didn't survive the first season. And everyone keeps dropping huge hints about the nature of the baby in the belly waiting to be born. It's slow as a long summer day, and about as interesting as watching that day pass through your bedroom window.

Grave Halloween (Anchor Bay, 89 minutes, R, DVD): This odd, J-horror-meets-American horror mash-up is just bad. Avoid at all costs.

American Muscle (Well Go USA, 90 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Nick Principe is a big, intimidating dude. He played a slasher in the “Laid to Rest” franchise. Here, he plays an ex-con hellbent on revenge. Principe's intense performance is reason enough for fans to check this one out.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount, 165 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): It's loud, overlong and ridiculously convoluted, but Mark Wahlberg puts his all into the franchise, delivering the best possible co-pilot to the giant robots on display and there's Dino-bots! How can you go wrong with robot dinosaurs? Did I mention that this movie is more than two and a half hours long?

Also Available: Stagefright Sniper: Legacy Sordid Lives Chef Motown 25: Yesterday – Today – Forever Walker: Texas Ranger – The Reunion Are You Here The Color of Rain Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary My Little Pony: The Complete Series Cold in July Nightcap

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Tuesday, Sept. 23

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM
By JOHN W. ALLMANTribune correspondent


Genre: Comedy

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

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A Conversation With: Ben Wagner

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM
By JOHN W. ALLMANTribune correspondent

BVB: Blood, Violence and Babes was thrilled recently to have the opportunity to speak with Ben Wagner, writer-director of the recently released zombie thriller “Dead Within.”

The film is truly a deconstruction of everything fans have come to expect from zombie movies of late, and at its heart, it may not be a movie about zombies at all but instead a scathing indictment on human relationships and the unbridled, destructive force of paranoia and fear.

Here’s what Wagner had to say about his exceptional film while speaking with BVB by phone for a too-brief chat where he discussed the unconventional approach to filming that he employed, how he found the perfect actors to portray the two main characters and why horror fans should take a chance on a zombie movie that has very few zombies and even less blood.

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Tuesday, Sept. 16

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM
By JOHN W. ALLMANTribune correspondent

The Battery

Genre: Horror

Directed by: Jeremy Gardner

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Tuesday, Sept. 9

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM
By JOHN W. ALLMANTribune correspondent

Dead Within

Genre: Horror

Directed by: Ben Wagner

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Blood, Violence, Babes: New Releases for Tuesday, Sept. 2

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM
By John W. AllmanTribune Correspondent

Draft Day

Genre: Drama

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

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