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DVD Playhouse—December 2009
Public Enemies (Universal) Johnny Depp portrays legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger in co- writer/director Michael Mann’s take on America’s first “Public Enemy Number One.” Like many big studio releases today, Public Enemies has it all: A-list talent before and behind the camera, but lacks a heart or soul that allows its audience to connect with it. Film plays out like a “true crime” TV show with re-enactments of famous events cast with top actors and shot by the best technicians in the business, with little, if any, character or story development to hold it together in between. A real disappointment from one of our finest filmmakers and finest actors. The lone standout: the great character actor Stephen Lang as a hard-eyed lawman who’s seen a lot, but manages to retain a tiny piece of his heart. For a better take on the same subject, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
British actor Richard Todd was noted for his roles in several Walt Disney adventure films in the early 1950s, starring in 1952’s The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, The Sword and the Rose (1953), and Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953).
He was born Richard Palethorpe-Todd in Dublin, Ireland, on June 11, 1919. He trained as an actor and began his career on stage in 1936. He appeared in small roles in several films later in the decade before the outbreak of World War II. Todd served in the British Army during the war. He rose to the rank of Captain by 1944 and participated in the D-Day landings with the British 6th Airborne Division. He returned to the stage and screen after the war.
- Harris Lentz
It.s elementary that Peter Cushing would take on the role of Sherlock Holmes. It.s also elementary that when a big budget re-imagining of the world.s first consulting detective is about to hit theaters that every studio would dig into its vaults to bring out similarly themed products. I.m still lukewarm on the big movie, but I.m happy to finally see Cushing in a deerstalker once again. The BBC produced a television version of the adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle.s Sherlock Holmes from 1964-1965 starring Douglas Wilmer as the great detective. Wilmer decided to leave the production and a new actor was needed to don the deerstalker. Wilmer cited budget issues and a tight shooting schedule as his »
- Patrick Luce
Its beginning to smell a lot like Christmas but its not too late to get some great DVD’s for the movie lovers on your list. To help you decide just what to get, here’s a list of some of the new movie and TV shows coming to DVD and Blu-ray this week that we’re looking forward to seeing. Also, there’s some classic, and not-so-classic, movies hitting Blu-ray for the first time.
Of all the new releases, we’re particularly interested in the Blu-ray versions of movies and TV shows such as The Hangover, The Goods, Star Trek: the Original Series and the Blu-ray debut of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (shown above with Brad Pitt and Eli Roth).
Check them out:
The Goods: Live Hard, »
- Joe Gillis
There are always way too many DVDs coming in than I possibly ever review, but since ’tis the season to be giving, I thought it was worth pointing out some of them to you, in case you’re stuck for gift ideas for the people on your list. (Or even to give as gifts to yourself. My own Christmas shopping does tend to drift into “one for you, one for me” if I don’t consciously tamp down that impluse.) Most of the BBC 1960s Sherlock Holmes has been lost (the BBC weirdly didn’t hold on to a lot of the TV stuff it broadcast early on). But here, in a collection new to DVD, we have five Conan Doyle mysteries starring Peter Cushing as the great detective, and Nigel Stock as Watson. On three discs and almost five hours of runtime, Holmes solves the cases of “The Hound of the Baskervilles, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
You can definitely tell DVD companies are counting on everyone to have already bought all the videos they plan to give out this holiday season -- with the highlight of this week's releases being C Me Dance, I think you can see where this is going.
Actually, there are a couple of diamonds in the rough such as a two batches of Sherlock Holmes flicks (yeah, we know they're not full-on horror, but they're still loads of fun) with such masters as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee along with Murder by Decree from 1979 starring Christopher Plummer, James Mason, David Hemmings, and Susan Clark. We've also got a trio of one-namers like Fallen, Throttle, and Trunk. But without a doubt the pick of the week is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians from Cinema Insomnia's Slime Line.
- Debi Moore
Visit The Evilshop @ Amazon!
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- The Woman In Black
There's a brief clip from the episode at the top of the interview -- so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't watch -- that's pretty fun to behold.
I've never seen that film, but I've always wondered if it's as bad as people say. I managed to find a fan trailer of that film, so I've added that below.
“Super-8 Movie Madness 3” will be held on Tuesday December 1 from 8pm to Midnight at the Way Out Club. The cover charge is a bargain at a measly $2.00. There will be movie passes, T-Shirts and poster giveaways this time. If you’re not familiar with the madness, here’s a brief rundown: Remember (before video tapes) the Super-8 films they used to sell in the 1950’s and 60’s that were condensed versions of features? In the 1970’s they sold Sound versions of these films and 16 of these will be projected on a large screen at the Way Out Club (they average about 15 minutes each).
Condensed versions of the following films will be screened December 1: Duel, The House Of Frankenstein, the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, The Dirty Dozen, Peter Cushing in Twins Of Evil, Sssssss (don’t say it…hiss it!), The Invisible Man, The Three Stooges in Disorder In The Court, »
'Hell Yeah!' is an ongoing series in which horror filmmakers, critics and fans share their take on movies they love. This month: vampires! No matter the amount of screen time they give their vampires, what sticks in the memory about most vampire films are their toothsome bloodsuckers. Schreck's misshapen creature, Lugosi's debonair count, Oldman's tragic lover – each of them overwhelm the other characters in their narratives. The bold exception to this rule is the output of England's Hammer Studios. Starting with the breakthrough hit The Curse of Frankenstein, it was clear the studio valued their human protagonists (here the antihero Victor Frankenstein, played by Peter Cushing), as much as »
British actor Edward Woodward starred as the ill-fated Sgt. Howie, a repressed and religious police officer, in Anthony Shaffer’s occult thriller The Wicker Man in 1973. Sent to the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to search for a missing girl, he becomes enmeshed in an arcane pagan ritual that results in his own sacrifice in a burning wicker effigy to ensure a bountiful harvest. Christopher Lee co-starred as Lord Summerisle, and Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, and Ingrid Pitt were featured as enticing pagan ladies.
Woodward was born in Croydon, England, on June 1, 1930. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his professional stage debut in 1946. A Shakespearean stage actor, he also appeared frequently in films and television from the early 1960s. He was featured in episodes of The Saint, The Baron, Mystery and Imagination, and Sherlock Holmes, and was Auguste Dupin in a 1968 production of Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue. »
- Harris Lentz
What’s the best movie from the late 70’s that features light sabers, an enormous space fortress capable of annihilating entire planets, wisecracking robot sidekicks, and dogfights between interplanetary spaceships? If you said Star Wars, you’d be wrong! Leave it to the wacky Italians, always quick to exploit a popular trend, to rip off George Lucas’s cash cow resulting in a film so spectacularly cheesy that over 30 years later it has actually aged better than the film it emulates. That movie is of course is the insane 1978 sci-fi “epic” Star Crash, an infamously harebrained but entertaining-as-hell Star Wars knockoff that is Not available on DVD.
Like Star Wars, most of Star Crash is comprised of a string of Flash Gordon-inspired cliffhanger adventures. Caroline Munro stars as Stella Star, an intergalactic smuggler who, along with her alien companion Akton (Marjoe Gortner), is captured by some sort of galaxy-wide »
When you scrape away the death obsessed subtext and technicalities of the process, watching and loving horror films should be just plain fun, exhilarating fun, a complete escape into another parallel world that echoes our own. If it's not, if you find yourself labouring to find that simple joyous eye of the proverbial needle, well then, perhaps you should just give up the pursuit of terror geekdome altogether.
For me, speaking as someone who was literally born into a world where the people that done made me loved dark movies and weird entertainments and fully endorsed my obsessions with my growing "id", horror films will forever be tied to the sweetest moments of my youth. From those secret late night, school night, TV movie binges to sneaking into R rated films after buying PG tickets, horror was my first rebellion against the mainstream so embraced by my peers and the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Alexander)
British film producer Robert S. Baker teamed with Monte Berman to produce, and occasionally direct, a handful of Gothic horror and science fiction films in the late 1950s. The duo produced the classic 1958 terror tale Blood of the Vampire (1958) starring Sir Donald Wolfit, and the cult sci-fi thriller The Crawling Eye (aka The Trollenberg Terror) (1958) starring Forrest Tucker. They produced and directed the 1959 gruesome recounting of Jack the Ripper (1959), and told the tale of the bodysnatching team of Burke and Hare in 1960’s The Flesh and the Fiends (aka Mania, The Fiendish Ghouls) starring Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence. They also produced the period thriller The Hellfire Club (1961) and the horror comedy No Place Like Homicide! (aka What a Carve Up!) (1961).
Baker was born in London on October 27, 1916. He served in the Royal Artillery in North Africa during World War II, before being transferred to the Army Film and Photographic Unit. »
- Harris Lentz
Christopher Lee has been knighted by the Prince of Wales in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The 87-year-old, who received the honour for his services to drama and charity from the Queen in June, was officially recognised today during the long-established investiture service, Sky News reports. Lee is considered to be one of the most prolific actors of his generation and has appeared in over 150 pictures. He is perhaps best known for his performances with co-star Peter Cushing in a string of successful Hammer horror films from the '50s and '60s, during which time he played famous monsters Dracula and Dr Frankenstein's creature (more) »
- By Tim Parks
The big-screen terrors just keep comin’ for Halloween and beyond as more revivals and special screenings have been announced. You can track back through our previous coverage starting here, and mark your calendars for the following recent announcements:
• New York City’s Maysles Institute (343 Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Avenue between 127th and 128th Streets) is in the midst of a series simply called The Horror!, focusing on documentaries pertaining to fright filmmaking, with all shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Tonight, Roy Frumkes will present Document Of The Dead, his chronicle of the making of George A. Romero’s classic Dawn Of The Dead (which will be shown after Frumkes’ post-document Q&A). Tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 28, there’ll be a rare chance to catch Joel DeMott’s Demon Lover Diary, the saga of the highly contentious production of the Michigan-lensed ’70s cheapie Demon Lover, starring Gunnar Hansen. Chris Smith’s American Movie, »
- email@example.com (Michael Gingold and Samuel Zimmerman)
There's an interesting article in Variety on Hammer Films. According to the article, Hammer has signed on with Pfd publishing, who will solicit new writers to bring fresh takes to old scares. The studio is most famous for its updates of Universal Classics horror films, which introduced a mixture of sex, violence and color film to their predecessors, and teamed Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Hammer made a recent revival on the internet, and hopes to expand its name to the literary world now.
Older fans are likely to rejoice at this news, but I fear younger genre fans are more likely to know Lionsgate and Darren Bousman than Hammer and Peter Cushing. I don't know how popular the studio is in its home country of England, but the statements made by Pfd's CEO Caroline Michel that, "Hammer is an iconic household name with a loyal fanbase and the raft »
Ferocious female vampires feast upon Keene, New Hampshire at The Colonial Theatre's Spooktacular, Saturday, October 24. Curated by Saturday Fright Special, New Hampshire's first home-grown horror host show, the cornerstone of the event is a rare 35mm screening of the 1960 Hammer horror classic Brides of Dracula , starring Peter Cushing. The Spooktacular will also feature additional Hammer and other vintage monster movie trailers and other fearsome film goodies too frightful to mention, horror DVD and T-shirt giveaways and an original Brides of Dracula sketch from renowned artist S.R. Bissette. The costumed cast from Saturday Fright Special will be on hand to introduce the film and live "vampire brides" will hand out free vampire fangs to the first 50 patrons. »
Raimi's Ghost House Pictures has agreed to produce the movie for independent film studio Mandate Pictures.
The Yeti - also called the Abominable Snowman - is a mythical apeman native to the Himalayas. The creature is the equivalent of North America's Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
It won't be the screen debut for the Yeti. Several of the creatures were in last year's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and it was also seen in 1954's The Snow Creature, 1957's The Abominable Snowman and in the animated film Monsters Inc.
Many movies and TV shows have featured Bigfoot. The excellent TV movie Snowbeast, from 1977, featured a man-eating, Bigfoot-like creature »
- David Bentley
Sex and horror go together like...well, like two things that go really, really well together. The history of attracting young male viewers with a mix of gore and gratuitous breast shots dates way back, at least as far as the European fright films of the '60s. Many a young male horror fan can remember experiencing new sensations watching pale British beauties with plunging necklines saved and/or defiled by Hammer Studios' stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Today, those same sensations are being offered to a new generation of young (and not so young) female horror fans. From Twilight to True Blood, shirtless guys are becoming as much a staple of the genre as topless gals, and we think there oughta be a »
Publishers of BBC DVDs 2entertain are set to release a new boxset featuring each Dalek adventure from Doctor Who since 2005 - and here's a first look at the cover! Confusingly it has been given the name of Doctor Who: The Dalek Collection - the same name given to the DVD set of Peter Cushing-starring Dalek films from the mid-1960s. Seven action-packed adventures plus an exclusive interview with David Tennant (no other extras) feature in Doctor Who: The Dalek Collection which is released on »
- Christian Cawley firstname.lastname@example.org
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