3D cinema may have undergone a bit of a resurgence in recent years, but it’s important to remember that – although we now have an array of new-fangled technology to enjoy it and a whole host of new films to go alongside – the phenomenon isn’t exactly new. Hence this brilliant little factoid on the cover of the Salvation Films Blu ray release of The Stewardesses: apparently, prior to Avatar (!) this was the highest-grossing 3D film of all time. Now if that’s a piece of the much-vaunted ‘fake news’ we’re currently hearing so much about, then it’s the kind I think we can approve of. But who knows? It could well be true. Before audiences wanted to be immersed into fictional universes, perhaps they wanted to be immersed into something rather more, shall we say, earthy…
What can be said about Back to the Future that hasn’t been said for the past thirty years? Yes, it’s a great family favorite that has surpassed its life expectancy and is still as entertaining today as it was thirty years ago and yes, we still love the sequels! Did we get our hoverboards and holographic Michael Jacksons as promised in the BttF sequel? Well, sort of. But you know what we didn’t get that I’m sure all franchise fans have been hankering for? An answer to how in the world big bully Biff became such a world-dominating powerhouse just by betting on a few horses. Wait, you never wondered, you just assumed there was thirty years of alternate plotline between 1955 and 1985 that just wasn’t important enough to get its own movie? Why am I asking so many hypothetical questions instead of getting to the damn point? Because life is chaos and nothing matters! But also, thanks to IDW Comics, there is an answer to what Biff has been up to in those three decades and it’s a whole lot of no good. A fun romp into the backwoods of the main storyline, readers can finally have a main character they don’t want to root for yet still can’t help but want to see succeed.
Arrow Video recently revealed their release slate for April and gosh are there some juicy looking gems in there!
On April 10th Arrow Video will release a dual-format edition of Caltiki the Immortal Monster, which is something of a pivotal Italian genre film from Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava. Part-sci-fi and part-horror, Caltiki was Freda’s second film to be taken over by his regular cinematographer and soon-to-be auteur Bava, after I Vampiri in 1959. Arguably Bava’s first official film as director, he completed Caltiki when Freda left the set enraged by the behaviour of his producers. Being an Arrow release there are copious extras, including two audio commentaries, several interviews and, if you get a copy from the first pressing, a booklet featuring new writing by Kat Ellinger and Roberto Curti.
When a film is touted as a supposedly offensive comedy, I tend to go in sceptical, because for me titles touted as such tend to be neither. Such was the case with War on Everyone, and it’s fair to say, in that regard at least, my expectations were met. War on Everyone failed to elicit a single belly laugh from me, and neither did it leave me writing letters to my local MP demanding the BFI should be dismantled for funding such sick filth. No, instead, I was mostly bored for just over an hour and a half, and wishing I’d re-watched The Nice Guys for a third time instead.
Japan is filled with strange and creepy creatures and I’m not just talking about the sleep-deprived salary men floating through the streets of Tokyo like underpaid zombies. Deeply rooted in its own culture, Japan has a rich history of ghosts and ghouls that go hundreds of years back and even today, the country has managed to keep the tradition going with its urban legends. One such legend is Kuchisake Onna: The Slit Mouthed Woman. A beautiful woman who sports a stylish Glasgow smile, she is rumored to approach unsuspecting victims and slit them from ear to ear. Her success has led to appearances in movies, manga, and anime, but what is Kuchisake’s real story? Did she ever really exist or was she a fever dream of a million over-worked students?
The love letter to Los Angeles that is La La Land is taking the world by storm and is a favorite for an Oscar nod. It’s dreamy, unreal and positive. It’s full of life and love and singing. The city of Los Angeles has played itself in cinema since the beginning. Like most cities, it’s many different things to the people who know it. Chad Ferrin’s Parasites, which is available today for digital HD download, takes a decidedly darker view of L.A. One that begins with an almost comical view of violence and ends up making a powerful commentary on class, power, society and institutionalized racism. The film meanders and stumbles a bit along the way, but stick with it. This is a truly bleak film, and an important one as well. Continue reading
I think it’s fair to say that director M. Night Shyamalan has had a variable track record to date. After his big break, The Sixth Sense, made a new sport out of guessing-the-twist, he seemed to have landed straight at the top and seemed likely to stay there – but subsequent films saw this influence wane, with offerings such as Lady in the Water dividing fans and more recent efforts, namely The Last Airbender, uniting them again – mostly in derision. (I’ll admit I haven’t seen The Last Airbender, though whenever faced with Shyamalan’s most twee efforts, I always feel like Michael Jackson’s Earth Song is about to break out.) So, this brings us to his new film, the recently-released Split (2016), which features no spooks, no mysterious realms and no crop circles. On paper, it certainly seems like a concerted effort has been made to head in a new direction – but just how complete, and successful, is this departure?
I’ve always thought it’s a crying shame that we generally know very little about Russian cinema; although many fine examples have made it across to the West, we can be sure that many have not, and even those which have are often very under-appreciated. And so it is that it has taken me around a decade from the point of seeing some intriguing stills in print from Viy (1967) to actually seeing the film itself. However, this omission has meant that I’ve just been able to see a film, which is now a staggering half a century old, as one amongst the most innovative supernatural yarns I’ve ever enjoyed to date. That is the magic of cinema. The best of it not only doesn’t have a best-before date; it actively gathers extra appeal from the intervening years, adding the charm of the time capsule effect to its other merits. Add Russian folklore into the mix and you also get that strange, but not displeasing distance, too – where the tales are similar, yet different; the predominant religion is unique, but also recognisable – and the threat of the otherworldly is so very Russian (or Ukrainian) in many ways, yet feels as though it’s interlaced with themes and ideas akin to many European stories.
There seems to have been something of a resurgence in print media – alongside many other pre-internet media – in recent years; titles which had quietly slipped off the radar are back, and the indie press, which many folk had anticipated would have disintegrated by now, is ticking along rather nicely. Even we (that is, our previous incarnation, Brutal as Hell) have been at it, and a very enjoyable thing it is to do. I have to admit, there is just something compelling about the physical product; it calls to mind the old excitement of ordering, awaiting and then enjoying a magazine or fanzine – an excitement which is simply missing in the immediacy of the online world. And this isn’t simply blithe nostalgia, believe me; these labours of love tend to bring together disparate, but interesting voices. Such is the case with the new print project, The Reprobate.
With Deadpool being the undoubtable, crowned champion of superhero movies last year, there is no question that the sequel is building up a considerable buzz months before we’ll even see a trailer. Just recently, both Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead have been confirmed for at least a cameo appearance if not a bigger role, but there is bigger news in store! Cable has already been dropped in and Domino has been confirmed to be in the works with ten actresses competing for the role. Despite the crowded script, Deadpool is still promised to be front and center of his own movie. Continue reading