Swedish Masters of the Universe Blu-ray Uses Fan Art Without Permission

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm

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Dave Rapoza

It's an odd choice - in Dolph Lundgren's native land, I guess they didn't think Frank Langella was enough of a threat for the homegrown hero, so the Blu-ray distributors just grabbed some Skeletor fan art off the web. Now, legally, artist Dave Rapoza is right in acknowledging he doesn't own the character (he may not be right in thinking Cannon is responsible - it's probably a local PR snafu), but technically they should at least pay him work-for-hire rates as they would anyone else they might get in-house to create a Skeletor for the poster. Naturally, they're counting on him not coming to Sweden and making it a court issue there.

They also probably know that given Rapoza's actual, for-hire work on League of Legends and X-Men: Days of Future Past, they couldn't afford him. However, if Sony sees this and decides to sign him on for the new movie, it'll probably be all good.

Most baffling of all in this equation? Why anyone would not sell the shit out of Frank Langella in that movie, when everyone agrees he's the best thing in it.

Full Daredevil Trailer Highlights "Dark Corners" of the Marvel Universe

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 8:38 am

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There will be blood. A whole lot of it, apparently.

Also Scott Glenn being super Scott Glennish, Vincent D'Onofrio all scary as the Kingpin...and more bruises and blood. His costume may not be red, but his body sure is. It's like Netflix is doing its absolute best to make us forget Disney owns Marvel...but they throw in a joke at the end just so we kinda remember. I feel bad for parents who have to tell their kids this is a Marvel show they can't watch yet.

As of yet it still doesn't hint at the better costume we've heard is coming, but it does make the torn sweatshirt one look not quite so bad in motion.

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Blu-ray Today: Dominatrixes, Wrestling Dogs, and Legends Conclude

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:30 am

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R100 - One hates to second-guess Drafthouse Films, particularly when they release movies like this that no other American distributor would touch, and they send yours truly to a sex dungeon as part of their publicity outreach. But it nonetheless seems to me that they should have picked a release date following Fifty Shades of Grey, so they could tout their movie's actual BDSM cred. Although for fairness' sake, let it be said that the dominatrixes onscreen here violate safe consent laws just as much as Christian Grey does, and their "victim" is just as turned on by it. They also have super powers, like the ability to generate infinite amounts of spit and the power to swallow humans alive, thanks to the fact that the entire story is a movie within another movie about a hundred year-old film director who made what we see as his own personal fetish.

It's an insane movie, from the director of the equally nutty kaiju parody Big Man Japan, and it cries out for supplemental material, but all you really get is a 12-page booklet and some trailers. For obvious reasons, this should fare better in the privacy of peoples' homes than it did in theaters.

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Top-Down Smackdown: Fruity Pebbles

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 4:56 pm

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The Flintstones/WWE crossover movie Stone Age Smackdown is about what you'd expect from both sides - a formulaic, extended sitcom episode with enough funny in-jokes to make it worth a viewing.

It's also a good Exhibit A in how long animation takes versus how quickly WWE storylines change - C.M. Punk is the primary villain, and a single scene with Daniel Bryan - in which he and John Cena do a variation on the old "duck season/wabbit season" gag by yelling "Yes!" and "No!" - was pretty clearly added late in the game once it became apparent Bryan would be a top guy by the time the Blu-ray came out.

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How to Make a Dredd Sequel: Do Found Footage, or Get The Rock

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

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Yes, producer Adi Shankar is calling attention to himself again, but this time it's with an educational video about the economics of sequels. Those who work in the movie business will already know most of this, but if you don't follow it that closely, he explains things pretty concisely and in a fun way.

The bottom line is that you're not getting a Dredd sequel unless a major celebrity wants it to happen. The narrative as to why that is was interesting to me, though. I hope it is to you too, once you get past the fact that a guy who draws Xs on his hands and paints his face is telling you how to do business.

Now, 2000AD fans: who could Dwayne Johnson play? Maybe a crossover movie where he's Rogue Trooper?

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Blu-ray Today Says Hooray for the Mockingjay on Friday

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (available Friday) - I've seen Mockingjay Part 1 three times now, and I think it's my favorite of the Hunger Games movies. It's the least like Battle Royale, it's the darkest in subject matter, and even without context, it's a solid indictment of a political system that depends upon propaganda and media-savvy to win a war and a nation. I'm sure the inevitable series ending will be happy and triumphant, but I really hope there are still some off-notes about trading one kind of ruthless phoniness in for a newer, "better" kind.

The disc includes a commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, most of which focuses on what changes they made to the book and why. There's also a making-of documentary, a tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lorde's theme-song video and a making of for that too (though the producers backed the wrong horse on that tune, as it turned out Jennifer Lawrence singing "Hanging Tree" is what people remember), deleted scenes, and an extended trailer for the Divergent sequel that actually gives some indication of a plot.

I know we'll never see it onscreen, but a "Divergent Games" comic book in which Katniss battles Tris would probably be successful. Unless Tris won, and then it would be bullshit.

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Blu-ray Today: Watership Down, Big Hero 6, Sons of Anarchy - It's Family Film Day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:30 am

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Watership Down (Criterion Collection) - Watership Down was one of my absolute favorite books when I was younger - an epic adventure with a quest, a team of heroes, a big bad evil villain who doesn't emerge until many other more abstract threats have been conquered, its own second language, and...aside from a weird last-minute twist, it's all about rabbits.

I didn't see the movie when it first came out, but when it finally came back around (in my youth, before everyone had a VCR, that happened a lot) I saw it and was disappointed that IT WASN'T EXACTLY LIKE THE BOOK. Hollywood didn't cater quite as much to authors as it does now - if the novel came out today, it would of course be planned as a trilogy with the third part split in two, converted to 3D and every last scene intact. But young me didn't get that sometimes things have to change, and an annoying Art Garfunkel song has to go somewhere in the middle.

I'd like to check it out again. Based on everything I hear, I bet it's actually a more decent adaptation that fundamentalist li'l me was willing to accept. A new director interview, as well as one with Guillermo del Toro for some reason, is included in the extras.

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Blu-ray Today: Birdman, Caveman, Doctor, Phantom...Fungus!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 6:30 am

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Birdman - Or, "That Movie With the Really Long and Extraneous Subtitle That Pedants Will Insist You Write out in Full Every Single Time, Even Though You Know Good and Well What I Mean When I Just Say 'Birdman.'"

At the beginning of a review of Birdman that I was going to write but never did, I framed it as Bruce Wayne vs. Bruce Banner, which seemed fair in a movie about former superhero actors, starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. Then I realized that such a frame is increasingly silly - we're getting to the point where every A-list actor there is is going to be in a superhero film at some point. Besides, the superhero hook is mainly there, it seems to me, to entice audience members who might not otherwise want to see a movie about Hollywood actors being overly, seriously pretentious as they try to get back to their perceived roots and put on a play. Yes, it's Michael Keaton haunted by a superhero, but it could just as easily be Leonard Nimoy haunted by a sciencey alien, or even Jim Parsons stalked by the ghost of Sheldon Cooper.

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Every Kill From John Wick in Under Eight Minutes

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm

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If you aren't sold on Keanu Reeves' John Wick yet, maybe this will do it. If you've already seen it, it's a fun way to relive it.

Spoilers for the uninitiated, obviously. But considering they're making a sequel right now, it's not like you really thought he was going to die at the end, right?

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Blu-ray Today: Grindhouse, Lego and Necrophilia

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 6:30 am

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The Beyond - When I was around the age of 12, The Beyond, also known as Seven Doors of Death, was spoken about reverently, in hushed tones, as a holy grail of gore that only the luckiest kids had ever managed to see without a wrathful parent running interference. In those pre-Internet days, it fell to the few who had beheld its horror to retell us the story in gruesome detail, with all its face-melting and zombie/demon kills.

Watching it today, it's pretty clear that it influenced an entire generation of those who managed to set eyes on it - the early Resident Evil games in particular owe it a debt. The house on the bayou in this film doesn't conceal a chemical lab, but rather one of the seven gates to hell, out of which zombies come. It's cheesy but heartfelt and seriously violent, with an amazing score you'll never get out of your head. This is Italian ghoul-meister Lucio Fulci at the peak of his powers, and a must-see.

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