Blu-ray Today: Batman and Babadook Battle Brooding Boys

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Babadook - If it's on Blu-ray, written up by Luke, you shouldn't get rid of The Babadook. Jennifer Kent's slow-build, increasingly taut monster movie about a creepy children's book that draws power from repressed traumas was a horror hit with fans and critics alike, with an excellent lead performance by Essie Davis as the mother of an annoying asshole kid who might be driven to murder him before the movie's out. If the sometimes-invisible, sometimes ink-blot-like monster of the title doesn't get them both first.

The Blu-ray includes the original short film that helped Kickstarter the feature, as well as deleted scenes and interviews. Unlike the book in the movie, it is probably not flame-proof, so don't go there.

When a movie gives me the chills thinking back on it, I know that its scares worked well. I just wish Kent hadn't felt the need to leave room for an unnecessary sequel possibility.

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Want to Win a Blu-ray Copy of the Deadpool/Garfield Inspired Movie The Voices?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

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Want to see Ryan Reynolds as a Scottish cat, a redneck dog, and a homicidal Ryan Reynolds? Gemma Arterton as a sentient severed head? The writer-director of the comic-book/movie Persepolis, working with the producer of Dredd?

Trust me, you do. And I've got the means for you to get one.

Adi Shankar calls The Voices a mashup of Deadpool and Garfield. I want you, in comments below, to pitch me something similar that also involves at least one comic-book character and one comic-strip character interacting; I'll pick one I like to win. You must have a commenter account to enter, you can enter up to five times, and entries close next Monday, April 13th, 2015. (Sorry, but once again, the Blu-ray can only be sent to U.S. addresses.)

Blu-ray Today: Ryan Reynolds Hears Voices, Mars Invades and Bruce Dern Goes Quackers

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Voices - I'd rarely say this about anybody as stunningly blessed by genetics, but I almost feel sorry for Ryan Reynolds.

No, I don't feel sorry that he married first Scarlett Johansson and then Blake Lively. Though for all I know, they could have been very picky and made him do a lot of housework. Instead, I feel a tad empathetic that the guy wants to be a serious actor, but because he was gifted from birth with a face like a huge douche, people treat him that way. And it's unfair. In Buried, he kept my attention the entire time even when the whole plot of the movie was just him locked in a box, and nothing else. In his two comedies with Anna Faris, Waiting... and Just Friends, he's unabashedly hilarious. And even though he's not how I pictured Hal Jordan, I like his Green Lantern.

In The Voices, he stretches again as a factory worker with schizophrenia issues and talking pets (whom he also performs) that drive him to murder. It's a rare film that makes us feel for both killer and victim, but as with Norman Bates, and Terry O'Quinn's Stepfather, we want him to succeed and be redeemed by true love, even as it becomes more and more inevitable that such a thing cannot and will not happen.

Director Marjane Satrapi previously balanced sensitivity and politics in her animated Iranian autobiography Persepolis; here she rides the fine line between comedy and stomach-churning, with an ending that's pitch-perfect. You may not buy producer/costar Adi Shankar's claim that it's Deadpool meets Garfield, but if you like both you ought to enjoy just the same. And if this has interested you, stay tuned...we'll be giving a copy away later today.

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Disney and Fox, Working Together, Bring You Star Wars Movie Digital Downloads

Monday, April 6, 2015 at 7:31 pm

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We've seen figure sets, signs at Walmart, and hastily removed blog posts that suggested this was on the way. Now, in a co-branded press release, there is confirmation - Lucasfilm, Disney and Star Wars are making all six Star Wars cinematic episodes available digitally starting April 10th. Yes, they are, as best we can tell, the Blu-ray cuts, so no non-firing Greedo or unblinking Ewoks. Each one will come with at least two new extras, however, as well as some previously released featurettes and deleted scenes. New "Discoveries From Inside" will focus on design elements like weapons, costumes and matte paintings, while "Conversations" focus on collaborators like Doug Chiang and Ben Burtt.

But the best news may be what isn't said - the fact that Disney and Fox (who still own Empire and Jedi home entertainment rights, and own A New Hope forever) made this happen indicates they're willing to work together on Star Wars stuff, and if the will were ever to exist, those non-Special Editions that first-gen fans like me keep hoping for no longer seem entirely impossible. Unlikely, as long as George Lucas lives and nobody wants to hurt his feelings...but not impossible.

TR Interview: Dredd Producer Adi Shankar on How The Voices Is His Garfield-Meets-Deadpool

Monday, April 6, 2015 at 6:30 am

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You might not know producer Adi Shankar's name, but you know his work. Dredd first and foremost, of course, but also his "bootleg universe" shorts featuring characters he doesn't own the rights to, like Venom, Punisher, the Power Rangers and James Bond.

The Voices, out on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, is not on the face of it a comic-book property, but a very dark comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as a schizophrenic who kills women at the behest of his pets. Yet its roots are more comic-based than you'd think - Persepolis creator Marjane Satrapi is the director, and as Shankar revealed to us, his inspiration came very much from some familiar properties.

Shankar, who also acts in the film, was kind enough to talk to us about it all.

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Blu-ray Today: In Case You Wondered Where Hayden Christensen and Nicolas Cage Have Been

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 6:30 am

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Outcast - You know you want to fucking watch this. Don't even front like you don't.

Nicolas Cage. Hayden Christensen.

Templar Knights. Fake Accents.

In China.

I am imagining that their characters are coarse, rough and get everywhere. That "wigging out" is a phrase that has a double-meaning in this case. Or that the proceedings are highly enjoyable...from a certain point of view (the inebriated kind).

Cage needs the money. Christensen needs any kind of work whatsoever. It's like The Expendables of desperation getting medieval on our asses, with gratuitous Chinese references in a grab at international box-office dollars that's such a longshot, it's like either man finding a good script to be attached to again.

I guess what I mean is that I wanna see this. Even if you somehow convince me that you don't.

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Indie Picks' List of 150 Independent Video Stores Still Open in North America

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm

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Attention old guys who still like video stores! They live on!

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The Decline of Western Civilization is Coming to Blu-ray! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 10:37 am

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Attention metal heads, punkers, New Wavers, hardcore enthusiasts, nihilists, unhappy mutants, and tattooed love boys everywhere! The most important movies of all time are finally - FINALLY - coming to home video.


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Blu-Ray Today: Gates of Hell, Gates of Heaven, Gates of Hobbits

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Beyond - If you count yourself as a horror fan of any stripe, then you're likely already familiar with Lucio Fulci's 1981 horror classic The Beyond. The film, about a hotel that is resting on the mouth of Hell, is colorful, oddly paced, and wonderfully gory. It is perhaps the prime example Italian Euroschlock, definitely a proud genre for genre fanatics. The film will be released in a special three-disc set from Grindhouse releasing, which includes a soundtrack CD (those Italian horror films had some pretty groovy soundtracks). Also, the cover glows in the dark. The Beyond straddles a wonderful line between chintzy trash and cinema classic. I encourage you to check it out.

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Blu-Ray Today: Power Man, Dead Boyfriends, and the Wrath of God

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 6:30 am

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Halo: Nightfall - Essentially a piece of decently budgeted and officially sanctioned fan fiction, Halo: Nightfall is both frustrating and fulfilling. Frustrating, because it establishes a larger universe of possibilities in a whole universe dominated by a human-Covenant war, only to zero on on one tiny, semi-doomed mission to a mostly uninhabited planet; satisfying, in that it doesn't need to betray its source material to please a wider audience.

During an uneasy truce, a Covenant soldier detonates a bio-weapon formed from a compound that was created when Master Chief destroyed the first Halo ring. A team of Spartans is sent to the nearest planet to set of a nuke and ensure no more of said compound remains, but the barren planet features swarms of deadly flying worms who attack any form of technology they detect. With one spaceship left that will only carry two of the team to safety, tensions fray and personal concerns threaten to derail the mission.

The main thing to take away from this? Mike Colter is an awesome badass as team leader Jameson Locke, and he'll be a fine Luke Cage on Marvel's Netflix series.

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