Blu-ray Today: Disney's Big Dump, Toxic Avenger, DC Cartoons Great and Small

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks - It's witches versus Nazis in Disney's adaptation of Mary Norton's children's books, ultimately feeling like a hybrid of Mary Poppins and C.S. Lewis. Angela Lansbury is the aspiring witch, and David Tomlinson the con man in possession of some very real spells. Throw in an enchanted bedknob, a journey to an island of cartoon animals, and a full-on war scene between invading Germans and reanimated suits of armor, and you have a movie that will blow your mind when you try to think about how they pulled it off in the pre-CGI era.

This is one of many Disney Blu-rays being dropped into the marketplace today, in a weird strategy apparently designed to bankrupt parents. Also out today is the unfortunately timed Tarzan, which won Phil Collins the Oscar for Best Original Song despite Robin Williams' performance of South Park's "Blame Canada" at the Oscars, and Hercules, which I really hate, from the ugly Gerald Scarfe drawings to the calculatedly "sassy" black chorus to the Michael Bolton end-title song. Far more interesting is the double-feature of The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad/Fun and Fancy Free, which contains four stories in all, adapting "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," The Wind in the Willows, "Jack and the Beanstalk" and an original tale of a circus bear who escapes to the woods. It's also notable for featuring another onscreen appearance by Jiminy Cricket, and Walt's last vocal performance as Mickey Mouse.

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Top-Down Smackdown: Heyman, Can You Spare a Dime?

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm

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I don't always own wrestling Blu-rays. But when I do, they're wedding anniversary gifts from my wife.

Not that there's much actual wrestling on this set - a whopping three matches are included, all of which feature non-athlete Paul Heyman forced into an in-ring role. There's a six-man tag match with arch-nemesis Jim Cornette and the dueling Midnight Express teams, a tag match with Brock Lesnar against Matt and Jeff Hardy en route to the latter team breaking up, and a handicap match with Curtis Axel against CM Punk that features Heyman getting the thrashing of a lifetime with a kendo stick - even though he pulls out a cheap victory at the end, the catharsis is there for the fans who loved to hate him.

For those interested in the business of entertainment, however, this disc set is a winner. Mostly for wrestling fans...but not exclusively.

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Blu-ray Today: Shailene Woodley, Katee Sackhoff, Karen Gillan and Dragon Ball Z

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Oculus - Putting Katee Sackhoff and Karen Gillan in mortal danger is a great way to frighten the hell out of sci-fi fanboys and girls like most of us, and this tale of a haunted mirror delivers the scares in spades, as Gillan plots revenge on the evil looking-glass while it fights back by distorting her perception of reality. Past and present collide as she and brother Brenton Thwaites lose the ability to distinguish between their childhood with increasingly deranged parents, and adulthood bewitched by the ghosts in the glass - my only major complaint is that the lines of reality get so blurred by the end that it's hard to feel the jeopardy if it's mostly imagined.

The original 32-minute short that spawned the feature is included, as are deleted scenes with optional director's commentary.

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Rob Zombie Wants Fans to Fund His Next Movie. Also, Rob Zombie Still Has Fans

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm

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I'm not totally opposed to Rob Zombie the director - remaking The Empire Strikes Back as white-trash grindhouse in The Devil's Rejects was as close to brilliant as he gets, I'll defend Halloween II as an unreliable fever dream on Laurie's part, and House of 1,000 Corpses has Chris Hardwick being murdered. But the more I see of his work, the less I feel is there. Lords of Salem proved his wife could act and had some great visuals - but every one of said visuals was cribbed from Kubrick or Polanski. He's still like all the guys I went to film school with who insisted on pointing out which director each shot of their Super-8 film was a homage to.

You want to crowdsource a movie, Rob? Crowdsource a good script first. Because...you wanna hear the idea he has for this one?

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Sharknado 2 SPOILER Thread

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm

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What the hell. Let's do this. Movie's starting now on the east coast.

Director Paul Hough Picks the Human Race Signed DVD and Poster Winners

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

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My writer-director, fresh from an international tour to promote the film, emailed last night with his favorite contest entries, in which all of you tried to guess what character I play in his film, and what my fate is. Before I reveal the winners, here are his comments:

I like number 1 - very creative - and number 2 is smart - and number 3 funny

Without further ado...

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Blu-ray Today: Werner Herzog and Everything Else That Isn't Twin Peaks

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

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I don't think I've ever before run a Blu-ray list on the same day as Blu-ray Today - so as not to be redundant, I'll just suggest you look at today's prior post for Twin Peaks, the real highlight of the week. But if a damn fine copy - and hot! - of David Lynch's finest TV hours leaves you with only garmonbozia, there are other things coming out too.

Like Curtains. I don't know what it is, and I don't need to know. I just want it for the cover alone.

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Morning Round-up: Comic-Con's Last Day

Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 9:04 am

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(Thanks as always to Kyle for helping with this, big-time)

-It wasn't the big Dr. Strange announcement we were expecting, but Marvel has greenlit and set Guardians of the Galaxy 2, with James Gunn returning. Also, the cartoon showcases new details.

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GIVEAWAY: Cast/Crew Signed Human Race DVDs and Posters

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

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Because what good is my being in a sci-fi/horror movie if I can't score freebies for you folks, am I right?

I have three posters signed by writer/director Paul Hough and Eddie McGee, and three DVDs signed by not just them, but also producers Geza Decsy and Trip Hope, and actors Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Richard Gale, Trista Robinson, T. Arthur Cottam, Sean Decker and me. There are three prizes each of 1 poster and 1 DVD, but with this qualifier: DVDs can ship anywhere, but the posters can only ship to U.S. addresses. So if you enter without having one of those, you'll just get the DVD and someone else will get the poster.

Read on for the rules...

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Blu-ray Today: Cheerleaders Die, Holmes Gets Private, and a Dick Samurai

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

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All Cheerleaders Die - The original ACD is a movie almost nobody has seen, though I still have a VHS copy of it somewhere: a no-budget zombie movie shot on video by then-recent USC alumni Chris Sivertson and Lucky McKee. Both went on to solo directorial careers: Lucky with May and The Woods, and Chris with The Lost and I Know Who Killed Me. It may be a sign of how rough the marketplace is for indie horror that they rejoined to remake their first feature, and it feels, creatively, like a step back. There are a lot of plot threads going on in this movie about a spurned high school girl who wants to avenge her friend's accidental (?) death by infiltrating the cheerleading squad and ruining them - only for them all to wind up as undead flesh-eaters thanks to some magic glowing stones. But there's too much unnecessary soap-opera stuff for what needs to be a simpler premise, and the film's blatant set-up for a sequel at the end all but acknowledges there are more loose ends here than could be handled in one movie.

if there ends up being an ACD trilogy, this likely won't matter...but as a stand-alone, it's frustrating.

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